Seating & Access
When it comes to legroom and comfort here Wembley wins hands down, there’s so much space at Wembley compared to Twickenham it’s not even close. When it comes to sightlines it’s a dead heat, both stadia are bowls with cantilevered and supported roofs so wherever you sit in either stadium your views will be unimpeded, but the design of the bowls in each does leave Twickenham feeling slightly closer to the action it’s steeper sides and smaller legroom means your compressed towards the field slightly and that does let you feel closer to the action. While you may be closer to the action at Twickenham your also closer to everyone around you, and it’s not like your miles away at Wembley either.
Twickenham is an old stadium that’s been extended and in getting up and down and around the concourses it shows its age. Even though it has been modernised recently only a significant modernisation can create the concourse and access spaces that you will find at Wembley and given that it will offer no financial fruit to do so it’s not ever likely to happen.
Crowd & Atmosphere
This is a difficult one to Judge, the atmosphere inside Twickenham was electric for the Giants vs Rams game, and the fact that your closer together does ramp the noise up a bit more but there are several factors that caused that and have potentially given a false impression. The New York Giants have a huge following, and a lot of people from New York live in London. I heard more New York accents than British accents at Twickenham, throw in Twickenham’s proximity to Heathrow there were plenty of people who could come over for the game too, so that has skewed some of the findings.
It being the only game at Twickenham also meant there were no season ticket holders. People like me who love the game and will take any chance to watch it but unfortunately hold 0 rooting interest for either of the teams involved. A lot of people, myself included do realise that you must create an atmosphere for the home team and for the Bengal’s game the atmosphere ramped up. Also, the First Wembley game this was dross, two completely bum teams which despite the efforts of the Jags hierarchy nobody really cares about. Let the Jags play the Titans at Twickenham next year and we’ll see what the atmosphere sounds like.
Result: Twickenham* but with the caveat that only a popular team has played there so far.
This one goes to Wembley, it’s a full 10,000 seats larger. Both Stadia reduce the capacity for NFL Games, with the front few rows having to be covered up, because with all the players and coaches on the side-lines you wouldn’t be able to see sat there, though I do think at Wembley the end blocks could still be used and sold as restricted view, but that’s just me. Wembley in NFL mode is good for 85,000 down from 90,000
Twickenham is down from 81,000 to 75,000 in NFL mode a similar reduction in capacity to accommodate for the same problems. These problems will likely remain persistent as UK Stadia tend not to have dug in pitches like NFL stadia. This helps a lot the extra capacity and more corporate gigs meant the Wembley seats were a fraction cheaper than Twickenham.
There’s a whole host of options around Wembley for Parking, train access, tube access you name it. With two tube stations and an over ground station, loads of parking available, buses Wembley is by far and away the hands down winner here. Twickenham is in the middle of nowhere and getting to and from it, particularly if you’re coming from outside London like me means bowling around the M25 past Heathrow which is a permanent nightmare, tube access and rail access are also far further away.
When you look at Wembley Stadium you see a Modern Masterpiece, one of the finest stadiums in the World, its large concourses and glass exterior are a sight to behold, Twickenham on the other hand is a dingy grey concrete mess. This is an odd category to include but it’s important, the NFL is all about spectacle, and convincing teams to come over to the UK and play games. If you want to attract a franchise, then you have got to offer the best places to play.
While Twickenham has a glorious history and a special place in many fans hearts, let’s be perfectly honest here. If Twickenham was an NFL stadium in America it would be lined up for Demolition. There I said it, as special as it is, as important as it is, It’s a terrible stadium. Nobody building a new stadium for the NFL would build one like it, nobody building a new stadium for any team would build one like it, its fine for 8 Rugby games a year but if you wanted to put an NFL franchise in London, you couldn’t put it at Twickenham.
Wembley and its approaches are littered with decent food and beer options but I like what they did with the space around Twickenham before, during and after the game. Putting Red Zone on the big screens and creating an atmosphere after the game was as important as doing it before the game we stayed behind for ages, talking to people, sharing our experiences with our different teams, drinking beer and decent meat. I wish they would bring that in at Wembley somehow because it was a great idea that worked well. The fan areas around Twickenham were a little more compact in parts but were very well organised and led to a much better experience outside the ground.