Historic Stadiums That Were Abandoned, And A Few That May Return

Sports | 7/29/19

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

Sarajevo Bobsleigh and Luge Track abandoned olympic stadium
dogslobber/flickr
dogslobber/flickr

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

Pontiac Silverdome abandoned NFL field
BuzzFeed/Pinterest
BuzzFeed/Pinterest

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

Houston Astrodome abandoned mlb baseball field
Jeff Francis/Pinterest
Jeff Francis/Pinterest

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

 Avanhard stadium abandoned stadium
Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

Let’s Try Again, But 20 Feet Away: Giants Stadium

giants stadium in new york abandoned nfl football stadium
Connie Rizzo-Turpin/Pinterest
Connie Rizzo-Turpin/Pinterest

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.

The Distant Stadium: Arena da Amazônia

arena amazonia abandoned world cup stadium
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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

stone mountain tennis center abandoned tennis stadium
james tingle/YouTube
james tingle/YouTube

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

Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground abandoned summer Olympic stadium
Light Yagami/Pinterest
Light Yagami/Pinterest

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

rio olympic pool abandoned stadium
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

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

Washington Coliseum abandoned stadium parking lot
Martha Champagne/Pinterest
Martha Champagne/Pinterest

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

olympic village germany abandoned stadium
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

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.

Minor League Baseball Lost To The Ages: Herschel Greer Stadium

Herschel Greer Stadium abandoned
RnK All Day/YouTube
RnK All Day/YouTube

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.

The Size Of Nine Soccer Fields!: Strahov Stadium

strahov stadium massive abandoned venue
Stephen Pond/EMPICS via Getty Images
Stephen Pond/EMPICS via Getty Images

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

Estadio Lluis Sitjar abandoned stadium
Robert Howard/Pinterest
Robert Howard/Pinterest

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

candlestick park abandoned and demolished
Mike Powell /Allsport
Mike Powell /Allsport

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

Tiger Stadium abandoned photo
flickr
flickr

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

olympic aquatic center abandoned in greece
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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

Stadion za Luzankami abandoned
stadiongebod/Twitter
stadiongebod/Twitter

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

Hockey Stadium -69627
ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/GettyImages
ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/GettyImages

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

Abandined Olympic Village Rio -82793
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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.

Where Champions Stood: Olympic Podium in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

Where Champions Stood -97582
Ioanna Sakellaraki / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Ioanna Sakellaraki / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

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

Forgotten Mascotts -80609
GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images
GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

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.

More Mascots

More Mascots -79798
GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images
GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

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

Play Ball -22328
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

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

Looks Like A Warzone -60018
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

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

Where Flags Once Hung  -18573

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

Beach Volleyball
Pinterest
Pinterest

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

Long Gone -1155877523
DAN LEVINE/AFP/Getty Images
DAN LEVINE/AFP/Getty Images

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

Nansen Ski Jump
YouTube/MrRoboto
YouTube/MrRoboto

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.