AN AMERICAN sports fan has revealed the huge size difference between major British footie grounds and the stadiums used for US college football.
Melina Dautovic is an alumnus of the University of Georgia – whose college football team she supports – as well as being a fan of London-based Premier League side Chelsea.
Melina from Atlanta, Georgia, however, has been left astounded at the scale of the grounds used by professional football teams in Britain, compared to those that play host to college students in America.
In a video explaining the capacity of college football stadiums, financial analyst Melina begins: “Old Trafford is a teeny, tiny, little stadium – or at least it would be if we were talking about college football.
“If there’s one thing that categorically blows every single European’s mind when I talk to them about this, it is college sports – specifically college football.
“Old Trafford’s capacity is 75,000, that makes it – or would make it – the 22nd or 23rd largest college football stadium.
“We are talking about the biggest football league in the world compared to an ‘amateur’ football league that feeds the NFL (National Football League).
“We are talking about Manchester United, one of the biggest football brands in the world.
“It doesn’t even crack the top 20 biggest college football stadiums, and I know why – England, small, US, big, more space – I get it.
“But it doesn’t make it any less absurd, and as somebody who consumes absolutely insane, unhealthy amounts of both of these sports on a weekly basis, it still blows my mind.
“I can’t believe that I went to a school with a stadium whose capacity is 92,000 for these so-called ‘amateurs’ and I still can’t believe it.”
Melina, 24, then shows an image of a table which depicts the 25 largest college football team stadiums for the 2023 season.
She continues: “If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s just go through this list.
“So, where I went to school – number nine, Georgia – is like 93,000 and barely in the top ten.
“Michigan Stadium, aka the Big House, 107,000 and number two and three we have Penn State, Happy Valley – 106,000, Ohio State, ‘The Horseshoe’ – 102,000.
“Just notice how the top eight are all over 100,000 capacity, isn’t that just crazy.
“I’ve been to London a bunch of times, and people will ask about college sports and I always tell them and they’re always so surprised.
“The second biggest sport in the United States is not the NBA, the MLB, NHL.
“It’s college football by a f***ing mile and college football feeds the NFL, the biggest sport in America and without college football, there would be no NFL.
“And some of these stadiums are much bigger than NFL stadiums, but anyways that’s what I had to say, I’ve been to Old Trafford, lovely place I was just baiting you guys.”
Melina uploaded the video to social media last month with the on-screen caption: “Old Trafford versus college football stadiums.”
The clip has since received over 1,600 likes and more than 800 comments from users seemingly left unimpressed by the size and atmosphere of college football stadiums.
One user wrote: “There are football stadiums in the fifth tier of English football who would still have a better atmosphere than college football matches.”
Another commented: “Man Utd vs Real Madrid – Michigan stadium – 109,318. This was a friendly.”
A third said: “Yeah but there’s more atmosphere at a funeral than Michigan Stadium!”
Another replied: “The reason why the grounds in the UK are that size is that there over 40,000 registered football teams here. In America you have the NFL, which is 32.”
A fifth wrote: “Safety regulations in Europe don’t allow bleachers like the stadiums in college football. they have individual seats which reduces capacity a lot.”
Speaking today, Melina said: “As an overview, I was speaking about college football stadiums, which is different from the NFL.
“The NFL drafts it’s players from college football, so it’s basically a feeder system, if you already didn’t know.
“Many people will tell you that college football and its fans are much more intense and passionate than the NFL.
“I’m honestly not sure exactly why this is, but almost everyone who’s gone to a big football-minded school has this intense love for it.
“I think it’s because you’re at that school for 4 years and you’re always surrounded by the football aspect. The entire fall social calendar is based around Saturdays and game times.
“As for the stadiums being bigger than the Premier League and even NFL, that’s due to the school boosters who fund it.
“The boosters are usually alumni of the school who are very, very well-off and contribute huge sums of money for stadiums, facilities, and other things.
“Also, that video had comments saying there’s no atmosphere at CFB games and I’d like to reiterate that the atmosphere is insane and that British fans would love it – there are great traditions at the stadiums too, for sure.”
Manchester United’s Old Trafford remains the UK’s largest club side capacity with 74,310 whilst England’s national team stadium, Wembley, has a maximum capacity of 90,000.