Historic Stadiums That Were Abandoned, And A Few That May Return
Avid sports fans never forget an iconic moment. Music lovers never forget classic concerts. Even casual supporters will find it hard to forget about a special moment they experienced at a game or show, including the venue. Some of the greatest games and performances took place in stadiums that are now nothing more than ghost towns. The Beatles final performance, Notre Dame’s first game played at night, and a special heavyweight title match are a few things that audiences will always remember where they were when it happened. Sadly, many of the stadiums where these events took place were abandoned. Also learn which ones might be brought back to their former glory.
An Olympic Relic: The Sarajevo Bobsleigh and Luge Track
This stadium was left behind in the 20th century but was never forgotten. Located in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sarajevo Bobsleigh and Luge Track first opened in 1982 and cost $8.5 million to construct and constructed initially for the 1984 Winter Olympics.
The track didn’t have much a chance for reuse after artillery from the Bosnian war wrecked portions of it in the ’90s. Glory will soon return to Sarajevo, though, as renovations began to fix up the stadium in 2014.
Home Of The Lions And Pistons: The Pontiac Silverdome
Located in Pontiac, Michigan and opened on August 23, 1975, the Pontiac Silverdome used to host the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons. It sat on 127 acres of land and had a fiberglass fabric roof held up by air pressure. It was the first use of the technique in a pro athletic facility.
At the time, it was the biggest stadium in the NFL. The Pontiac Silverdome finally closed in 2013 after the new Ford Field stole the teams that once played at the iconic Pontiac Silverdome.
The First Dome Of It’s Kind: Houston Astrodome
Construction for the Houston Astrodome began in 1962 and would take three years before officially opening in 1965. The fans ate it up right away, and the stadium became known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. It was also the first multi-sport domed stadium.
The Astrodome was also an early adopter of artificial turf, dubbing it AstroTurf. Even with earning a spot in the National Register of Historic Places, this historic dome is primarily in a decrepit state. In 2005, people came here for shelter after Hurricane Katrina.
Closed Due To Disaster: Avanhard Stadium
The Avanhard Stadium is one of many facilities within a 30-kilometer zone near the Chernobyl Power Plant. Located in Pripyat, Ukraine, the stadium shut down after the Chernobyl catastrophe. That isn’t somewhere you want to be in the vicinity of after something like that.
It used to serve as the home grounds for the FC Stroitel Pripyat, meaning at one time this was an epic soccer field. Opened in 1979, it was only used for about seven years.
The Distant Stadium: Arena da Amazônia
The FIFA World Cup attracts a tremendous amount of fans every year it goes down. It’s only right that they build a stadium that has a high capacity and looks devilishly fancy. That’s why Brazil spent four years constructing the Arena da Amazônia in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.
The stadium would see maximum usage in 2014 and 2016, but outside of that, it’s pretty much been a ghost town. The reason is the location, which is very remote, making it hard to attract any larger than major events.
Kicked To The Curb After The Olympics: Stone Mountain Tennis Center
How about the fact that they constructed for the 1996 Olympics, Stone Mountain Tennis Centers biggest downfall was its location; the middle of football country. A state of the art marvel, the facility could hold 12,000 screaming fans at its peak. As it began to lose favor in the community, that capacity was dropped to 7,200.
It cost $22 million to make this stadium that was in Stone Mountain, Georgia (hence the name). Sadly, 11 years after going up, it was no longer open for business and is now demolished.
No More Spikes Here: Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground
Here is another stadium specially built for an Olympic event. The Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground was created for the 2008 Summer Olympics volleyball finals. It was able to fit 12,000 fans, had two warmup grounds, and six training grounds.
During the 2008 Olympics, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor won gold without dropping a set. The incredible feat put them in elite territory. Oddly enough, the stadium hasn’t had any usage since those Olympics even in the middle of Beijing.
Creepy Abandoned Olympic Aquatic Center in Rio de Janeiro
When it’s time for the Olympics, and you’re the city hosting it, you’d better have facilities prepared for the biggest sporting event held every four years. When it was Rio de Janeiro’s turn, things became convoluted for multiple reasons, but they managed to pull it off.
Now that years have passed, many of their arenas are not in use anymore. This aquatic center was going to get converted into a community swim center. Those plans sadly fell through.
Coliseum Turned Parking Lot: Washington Coliseum
The Washington Coliseum was host to so many significant events; it’s hard to keep up. President Dwight D. Eisenhower held one of his two inaugural balls at this stadium. Most importantly, The Beatles had their first American show here! Ice hockey and basketball games were regularly played there, too.
Sadly, this once great venue is a literal parking lot. The transition came after it was used for housing U.S. service people during the Second World War. That’s a lot of history lost to time.
Historic Olympic Village: Berlin Olympic Village
Not many tourists are aware of the Berlin Olympic Village, otherwise known as “Hitler’s Olympic Village” built for the “Nazi Games” of 1936. Athletes from all over, including the brave Jesse Owens, walked these grounds as the tyrant looked on anticipating victory.
At the time, this beautiful but historically controversial site hosted the world’s greatest athletes. Now, it’s nothing more than a former military ground that the German and Soviet governments ended up abandoning.
The Size Of Nine Soccer Fields!: Strahov Stadium
You’re an executive, and someone is coming in to pitch an idea for a new stadium. Everything sounds great, and then they hit you with the punchline; “let’s make it the size of nine soccer fields.” What do you do?
The city of Prague took the pitch and built the Strahov Stadium. It had a capacity of 250,000 and was primarily for synchronized gymnastics, of all things. Huge in size, the stadium was abandoned in the ’90s after hosting a Rolling Stones concert. Then, in 2003, the old stadium was renovated and turned into professional practice facilities, proving there is still hope for some of these lost treasures.
No Room For The Old: Lluís Sitjar Stadium
The Lluís Sitjar Stadium opened in 1945 and could hold 18,000 screaming fans. The venue was on the Spanish isle of Mallorca, where soccer lovers would always go to cheer on their home team.
The former stadium where the RCD Mallorca played wouldn’t last long however. Developers built a newer venue nearby, causing this one to become a ghost land. Eventually, they tore it down. Lasting roughly seven decades isn’t too bad if you ask us, though.
A Once Iconic Bay Area Stadium: Candlestick Park
The former home of the San Fransisco 49ers, Candlestick Park used to be a staple in the Bay area. In the ’50s, this venue was so spectacular that it was enough to lure the Giants from New York to San Fransisco.
Incredibly, The Beatles played their last major concert at Candlestick Park. When the 49er moved to their new high tech stadium in 2014, taking down the stadium was all there was left to do.
Tigers Find A New Home: Tiger Stadium
The Detroit Tigers had a cozy home between 1912 and 2000. They played at Tiger Stadium located in Detroit, Michigan. In 1939, Joe Louis even defended his World Heavyweight title against Bob Pastor there. The Detroit crowd received 11 rounds of madness.
This park was up there with Wrigley Field and Fenway Park as far as classic baseball diamonds go. As with most things in life, eventually, it was time for a change. Detroit built Comerica Park, and Tiger Stadium eventually got torn down in 2009.
What Once Was In Greece: Olympic Aquatic Centre
The Olympic Games originated centuries ago in ancient Greece. It’s uncertain what led to the creation of this expo of insanely good athletes, but we do know that the Greeks did it based on the values of Greek society. In 1991, Greece opened the Olympic Aquatic Centre.
With it being in the birthplace of the Olympics, you’d think it wouldn’t get abandoned. Sadly, due to the economic issues in Greece, they’ve been unable to keep it up to modern standards, and it’s seen little action.
No Team, No Stadium: Stadion za Luzankami
The Stadion za Luzankami is currently an inactive stadium in Brno, Czech Republic. It was a mecca for soccer, and where the FC Zbrojovka Brno played. This arena holds the record for the highest attendance in the Czech First League.
Fifty thousand people could fit in this arena, but once FC Zbrojovka Brno left, the place fell apart. Trees started growing on the field, and the homeless started living in the stands. It officially closed in 2001.
Hockey No More: Athens Olympic Hockey Field
This is an abandoned Olympic stadium for field hockey that was constructed for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. To this day, Greece has been criticized for spending so much money on the Games and failing to utilize the facilities after the fact.
In Ancient Greece, although the competition was fierce, athletes didn’t have many advantages over one another since everyone competed naked. This was so every event was as fair as possible and cheating would have been hard, if not impossible.
Rio’s Olympic Village
In this photo taken only seven months after Rio held its first-ever Olympics, it is obvious that many of the sites are abandoned. This includes the totally reusable Olympic Village, which is now nothing more than a ghost town.
This has angered many people since the organizers claimed that the Games would provide a legacy benefitting the city of Rio de Janeiro when in reality, it just made it worse. This used to be a bustling Olympic stadium packed with some of the greatest athletes in the world. Now, it’s a useless structure.
Minor League Baseball Lost To The Ages: Herschel Greer Stadium
Folks around Nashville, Tennessee were able to enjoy minor league baseball games at Herschel Greer Stadium from 1978 to 2014. Despite several upgrades and repairs, by the of this ballpark’s run, it was considered well below the acceptable standard for professional baseball.
The trademark guitar-shaped scoreboard was a novel sight, but by 2014 the Nashville Sounds found a new home and left Merschel Greer behind. That ultimately led to the demolition of it in 2019. Rest in peace funky guitar; you will be missed.
Let’s Try Again, But 20 Feet Away: Giants Stadium
Eight miles outside of NewYork City stood Giants Stadium, the home for the New York Giants and Jets. It operated from 1976 to 2010, and during those years, the Giants had a great run, winning multiple Super Bowls. As for the Jets, we can’t say the same for that New York team.
In 2010, MetLife Stadium opened, serving as the new home of the New York based football teams. The shiny new stadium was built 20 feet away from their old aging house, which was demolished the same year.
Where Champions Stood: Olympic Podium in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Here, the winners once stood proudly before the world to show off their medals and represent their country. Little did any of them know that where they were standing would eventually become a battlefield.
By 1992, the Yugoslavian Federation broke up, igniting a three-year civil war. The entire Olympic stadium and village became a shelling target of the Serbians. Somehow, the winners stage still stands which only makes the entire sight that much more unsettling.
Forgotten Mascots: Beijing
This is a picture of Bebei, one of the five mascots used during the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games. Today, it lies among the trees, behind an incomplete and abandoned mall in Bejing. The overgrown brush shows that nobody has even attempted to move it since the Games.
Now, it’s become part of the forest that adventurers can go see on their own if they wish to explore the Olympic ruins. This is one of the many artifacts left behind.
Here, two more mascots, Nini and Yingying, lie in the same area with the rest of the abandoned mascots behind the failed mall. While these mascots once brought excitement and amusement to the attendants of the Games, they now lie defeated in the overgrowth.
They are a symbol of what happened to the Olympic stadium in Beijing as a whole even though they may just be silly animated characters. It’s surprising nobody has tried to steal them.
Play Ball!: The Athens Baseball Olympic Stadium
Much like the rest of the Athens Olympic stadiums, the baseball stadium is in shambles as well. When it was in use, each country would play each team once for a total of seven Games.
The top four teams at the end of the round would them advance to the medals rounds. The results were Cuba took the gold, Australia silver, and Japan the bronze. Once filled with eager fans and competitive players, that’s no longer the case.
Looks Like A War Zone: Athens Olympic Village
The Olympic Village in Athens certainly wasn’t spared either. Over the years, it has experienced a fair amount of vandalism on top of the natural decay of the structures. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, 10,625 athletes competed, 600 more than originally expected, along with 5,501 team officials from 201 countries.
Fun Fact: The six Olympic colors: blue, yellow, black, green, and red were chosen because every countries flag has at least one of them.
Where Flags Once Hung: Athens Olympics
The Olympic fields, pools, and stadiums aren’t the only things that have seen their fair share of decay. The entire complex looks about the same. This can be seen by these unused flagposts in front of a water stream feature inside the complex.
Considering this was the birthplace of the ancient Games, one would think it would have been taken care of properly. Of course, historical value isn’t always given priority and this is a prime example of that.
Not Enough Beach For Volleyball: Athens Volleyball Stadium
A beloved Olympic game, beach volleyball was played during the 2004 Olympics in Greece. The competition was fierce, and the arena built for the event was a sight to behold.
Unfortunately for Greece, they finished in 15th place in the overall medal count, which isn’t the best considering they put so much time and money into the Olympic stadium. In the end, the stadium fell into shambles, including the beach volleyball court which is no longer usable.
Seattle’s Kingdome Is Long Gone
Here is an exterior shot of Seattle’s Kingdome, once home to the Seahawks and the Mariners from the 1970s to 1999. It was a fan favorite for Seattle’s die-hard fans, but the dome had its own set of problems. In 1994, part of the ceiling collapsed during a Mariner’s warm-up before a game. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured.
After some time, it was decided that new funding would be allotted for improved stadiums. For that reason, on March 26, 2000, the Kingdome was demolished by implosion.
The Nansen Ski Jump Was A Hit: Milan, New Hampshire
Located in Milan, New Hampshire resides the Nansen ski jump. Although Milan only has a population of around 1,000 people, back in 1936, it was the talk of the region after the Nansen Ski Jump was built.
Back then, it was the largest ski jump in the eastern United States and was where Olympians on the east coast would train. Unfortunately, by 1988, the jump was no longer in use and was left to the elements. However, there are currently conservation efforts to restore the jump to its former glory.
No More Powerboat Racing
Where this is open space, people will find a way to race, especially if that space is on the Florida shoreline. Opened in 1963, the Miami Marine Stadium was a marine stadium founded in Virginia Key, Miami, Florida. It was the first stadium ever built for powerboat racing.
Unfortunately, when Hurrican Andrew struck in 1992, it left the marine wonderland wrecked and eventually condemned. Today, graffiti runs all throughout it, but there have been talks to restore it to its original form soon.
New York Baseball In Florida
Before the start of every baseball season, teams participate in what they call Spring Training; a time to get in shape heading into the year. Between 1962 and 1995, the New York Yankees held their training at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
That’s a bit of a trek, but it’s a beautiful field, and they had the means to do it. The Baltimore Orioles took over the grounds later but would leave it in 2009. In 2019, the stadium met its maker and was demolished.
Canoe/Kayak Slalom Games Once Occurred Here
This is a view of the Olympic Canoe/Kayak Slalom Center at the Helliniko complex in Athens, Greece. In 2004, the motto of the Games was “Welcome Home,” but little did anyone know that the grounds would become a wasteland of concrete.
The cost of the Games was an estimated 9 billion euros, with the majority of the sporting venues built for the Games. After the Olympics, Greece struggled financially, and almost all of the stadiums are now abandoned.
The Sports Pavilion That Turned Into A Ghost Town
The Faliro Sports Pavilion Arena is part of the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex. It is an indoor arena in Palaio Florio, near Athens, Greece. It is nicknamed “The Little Peace and Friendship Stadium” due to its design and the close proximity to the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
During the 2004 Olympics, it was the site of handball and taekwondo competition. Now, there’s not a soul in sight, and even a pair of shoes look lonely out front.
Not A Patch Of Grass In Sight
With little to no maintenance, it’s no surprise that the golf course from the 2016 Olympics essentially ceases to exist. It’s now nothing but a barren wasteland sprinkled with abandoned prefabricated houses.
Although it is now destroyed, the 2016 Summer Olympics was the first time golf had been played at the Olympics since 1904. Unfortunately, nobody in the surrounding area can play and say that they’ve played on the same course as Olympians. What a waste!
Ride At Your Own Risk
This is an image of the unused grandstand at Harne Hill Velodrome in South London. It was used as a venue for cycling events at the 1948 Olympics which were held in London. The games returned to the world after a 12-year hiatus caused by the outbreak of World War II.
The 1940 Olympics had been scheduled to be in Tokyo and the 1944 Olympics in Helsinki. Wars clearly got in the way of the Olympic games!
The Home Of Olympians
This is the deserted athlete housing in the former Olympic Village of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Berlin had won the bid over Barcelona in 1931, just two years before the Nazis came into power. Hitler wanted to outdo the Los Angeles Games of 1932 and build a new 100,000-seat track stadium, six gymnasiums, and numerous other arenas.
While Hitler may have thought he had outshined the Los Angeles Games, but he certainly managed to leave behind a large amount of trash.
Inside The Abandoned Olympic Housing
This is the interior where the German athletes were housed during the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. By this time, the Nazis had already come into power, which is apparent by the propaganda that adorned the walls. It was also during these Games that Hitler made his antisemitic views clear when he tried to ban Jews from participating.
During the 1936 Games, two Japanese pole-vaulters tied for second. Instead of competing again, the two cut a silver and bronze medal in half and took half of both.
Once Full Of Skiers
In 1984, these ski slopes were packed full of spectators and competitors eager to prove their abilities. However, prior to 1984, the Austrian-Turkish town was best known for the site of the assassination of the Austrian archduke, which started World War I.
They believed that hosting the 1984 Olympic Games would help to change that. While that might have been their goal, it ended in a large compound that would, unfortunately, become a horrific battlefield.
Evidence Of Violence
Here is evidence of the violence and carnage that occurred on the grounds where the 1984 Winter games were held. Buildings that were once used to house athletes or accommodate crowds were turned into sniper towers and mass graves.
At the time, nobody imagined that such an impressive spectacle provided by Sarajevo would play a crucial war in a civil war. As you can see, this building has a massive hole which was most likely caused by some kind of explosion.
Abandoned In Beijing
Considering the resources that go into preparing a city to host the Olympic Games, it’s always surprising to see how quickly some of the facilities are abandoned after the prestigious Games are over.
In 2008, Beijing hosted the Summer Games, the most expensive to date. But some of the facilities quickly became public eyesores, such as the Shunyi canoeing and kayaking park. This is how the park looks today, a far cry from its glory days.