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In a USA Today contest in 2019, Bluefield’s Mitchell Stadium was voted "America's best high school football stadium" based on nearly 6 million votes cast.
In a 2023 ranking of the best high school stadiums in each state, the website Stadium Talk chose Mitchell Stadium as the best in West Virginia.
As the 2023 high school football season got underway, West Virginia state Sen. Mike Oliverio, R-Monongalia, took to Facebook to reminisce about one of his first dates with his wife, Melissa.
In his post, Oliverio wrote that one of their early dates occurred at Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield, West Virginia. He said, "A few years back, this (Mitchell Stadium) was voted the best high school football field in America."
We checked this out and found that Oliverio is correct.
Oliverio pointed PolitiFact West Virginia to a national USA Today survey held in 2019. Oliverio said he remembered it because he was one of the people who cast some of the survey’s 5.8 million votes, which were spread over four rounds in a bracket-style competition.
In the survey, Bluefield’s stadium, which was built in 1936 and seats 10,000 spectators, beat out R.R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas, in the final round. Mitchell earned nearly 60% of the final round’s votes.
In earlier rounds, Mitchell Stadium attracted more votes than Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, Ohio; the Round Valley Ensphere in Eagar, Arizona; and the Stadium Bowl in Tacoma, Washington, successively.
In its article about the contest results, USA Today noted that Mitchell Stadium is home to high schools in two states: Bluefield High School in Bluefield, West Virginia, and Graham High School in neighboring Bluefield, Virginia. Graham High School is believed to be the only high school in the nation to play its home games in a different state.
Games between the two high schools often pack the stadium beyond its capacity, reportedly drawing up to 12,000 fans.
Bluefield University in Virginia also plays its home games at Mitchell Stadium.
Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield, W.Va. (Courtesy Bluefield Parks and Recreation)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bluefield, West Virginia’s population is 9,408, which means the entire population of Bluefield could attend a game at Mitchell Stadium. Adding the 5,001 residents of Bluefield, Virginia, would put the stadium over capacity, however.
PolitiFact West Virginia was unable to find any other contest with results that could undercut Mitchell Stadium’s victory in the USA Today contest.
In February, the website Stadium Talk offered its opinions of the best high school football stadiums in each state. Mitchell Stadium was chosen as the best in West Virginia. (R.R. Jones, the Round Valley Ensphere, and the Stadium Bowl also made Stadium Talk’s best-in-their-state list.)
Although he wrote about Mitchell Stadium, Oliverio doesn’t represent Bluefield, which is in Mercer County in southern West Virginia. His district includes portions of Marion and Monongalia counties in the northern part of the state.
Oliverio said, "A few years back," Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield, W.Va., "was voted the best high school football field in America."
He’s correct: In a USA Today contest in 2019, Mitchell Stadium was voted "America's best high school football stadium" after nearly 6 million votes had been cast.
In another ranking of the best high school stadiums in each state, the website Stadium Talk dubbed Mitchell Stadium the best in West Virginia.
We rate the statement True.
Mike Oliverio, Facebook post, August 29, 2023
Bluefield Parks and Recreation, Mitchell Stadium, accessed Sept. 27, 2023
USA Today, "Mitchell Stadium voted America’s Best High School Football Stadium," Nov. 4, 2019
Stadium Talk, "Best High School Football Stadiums by State," Feb. 3, 2023
The Smoking Musket, "America’s Best High School Football Stadium is in West Virginia," Nov. 4, 2019
U.S. Census Bureau, Bluefield, West Virginia, accessed Sept. 27, 2023
U.S. Census Bureau, Bluefield, Virginia, accessed Sept. 27, 2023
Email interview with Mike Oliverio, West Virginia state senator, Sept. 20, 2023
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