Get in the Game: Choosing Spectator Binoculars for Stadium Sports

A quality pair of binoculars will take your sporting event experience to the next level, if you choose wisely. Luckily, the experts at are here to walk you through your key considerations when selecting the perfect optic.  

Why should I bring binoculars to a sporting event?

You probably won’t look through your binoculars for the entire game, but having a good pair can come in handy, especially at football and baseball games. Use them to get a detailed view of the quarterback, players in the huddle, referees, or coaches on the sidelines. At a baseball game, you’ll never wonder which pitcher is warming up in the bullpen or whether a runner made it safely to base.

How much magnification do I need?

We get this question a lot, and the short answer is, it depends on where your seats are located. For fast-paced sports like football, you want to make sure you have wide enough field of view that you can follow the action without having to move your binoculars too much. This is especially true if your seats are closer to the field. A low-powered, wide field binocular like the Bushnell NatureView 6x30 is perfect for following the action on the field. As you move up toward the nosebleeds, you can get away with more magnification. If you want very detailed views of individual players, go for something with more power like the Zhumell Short Barrel 10x42.

What size should I choose for spectating binoculars?

When it comes to size, most people prefer compact binoculars for sporting events. A lightweight 20 or 25mm binocular won’t get in your way when you’re carrying an armload of food and drinks to your seats. The flip side is that these compact binoculars can be tough to hold completely steady. We like binoculars in the 30-42mm range because they strike the perfect balance between weight and portability.

What features should I look for in binoculars for sporting events?

You might think tough binoculars with rubber armor and waterproofing are only for outdoor activities like hiking and hunting. But we recommend that your spectating binoculars are just as rugged. If you happen to spill your favorite $12 beverage on your binoculars, you’ll be glad they’re waterproof. Simply rinse them off with water and get back out there. A rubber covered exterior will also protect your optics from minor bumps in a crowded stadium.

Of course, if you wear eyeglasses, make sure your binoculars offer enough eye relief (at least 12mm). Twist-up eyecups make viewing more comfortable with or without glasses.