Bad sports stadiums are universal, even if we think the US has a monopoly on them. From rickety staircases to flooded fields, patchy turf, cracks, and leaks – it’s any wonder some of these grounds ever got the tick of approval in the first place. Did these people go to the George Castanza School of Architecture?
Ugly designs are the worst crime of the lot. The landlord and patrons can forgive some wear and tear on facilities, it’s part and parcel of following our team through a long season. But when passers by have to see weird arches and roofing that looks suitable for a prison, you have to wonder what on earth these people were thinking.
Massive corporate entities like the International Olympic Committee and FIFA are the two guiltiest parties when it comes to creating white elephants that stink the joint out.
Sure the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA have their moments, but a nation like Greece doesn’t go belly up with their economy if they invested in jobs and infrastructure rather than Athens 2004.
And don’t even get us started on what Qatar 2022 will end up looking like post 2023, it’s not even worth thinking about. While countries like the US, UK and Australia had to put the checks and balances in place to ensure all stadia came up to speed, FIFA opted for new air conditioned grounds to be built by slave labor in the middle of the desert.
So bring your hard hat and get the bulldozers ready to prepare the big ball and chain because these are 20 stadiums that should be demolished right now! Ca Boom!
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20 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
With a 2/5 rating on Yelp, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis is struggling to stay afloat. One reviewer explained, “A horrible place to watch baseball, yet I saw Nolan Ryan, Kirby Puckett and George Brett there.” I guess that counts as consolation. The ground’s capacity varies between 46,000 to 60,00 depending on whether it’s used for the Minnesota Twins in the MLB, Vikings in the NFL, Timberwolves in the NBA or rock concerts. In 2010 the roof couldn’t hold out a heavy snowstorm to buckle under the pressure, not a good sign when climatic weather isn’t calculated into the equation.
19 Stade Louis II
For a wealthy club in the principality of Monaco, the Stade Louis II leaves a lot to be desired. Not even reaching 20,000 in capacity, the stadium is designed with a running track and a random set of nine arches at one end to create a bizarre aesthetic that doesn’t make any sense for a soccer ground. The home side AS Monaco don’t have a lot of supporters in any case by Ligue 1 standards, but for a field situated in the middle of a tax haven with ambitions of European domination, then surely the Stade Louis II is in desperate need of a major renovation.
18 FedEx Field
The home of the Redskins is beginning to reflect and catch up with the performance of the players playing in it. According to The Washington Post, the NFL franchises’ recent 7-25 record has seen a waiting list for memberships dwindle down from 200,000 names to the point where they’ve removed seating capacity for the third time in five seasons. On Yelp reviewer David H. bluntly stated, “This is an awful place and a fitting tribute to its owner.” The Redskins just can’t take a trick at the moment.
17 Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego is a gorgeous part of the world on America’s West Coast. A truly vibrant city that deserves a football team to be proud of. Unfortunately for the Chargers, their home ground Qualcomm Stadium sounds as appetizing as listening to a time-share presentation. The huge corporate monstrosity is enormous at 70,000 capacity, but lacks any soul or character. Patrons haven’t been too enthusiastic about their experience and it’s easy to see why the franchise is continually linked with a move across to Los Angeles. If they do switch then they can’t do much worse than Qualcomm Stadium.
16 Rogers Centre
MLB baseball teams want opposition teams to be fearful of heading to their ground, but when it’s because of pitch condition concerns and not the quality of the players you know you have a problem. Earlier this season reports emerged that the Baltimore Orioles considered a boycott of the stadium due to the turf being in horrendous condition. The Astroturf apparently deadened ground balls with rubber pellets laying underneath the surface to maintain the fake grass blades. Being Canadians we’re sure if we ask them politely they’ll tear it all up and start again.
15 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The renovations are about to get underway, but such is the state of this rickety old piece of junk that it’s worth an entry into the top 20 list. This multipurpose arena in Uniondale will be destroyed and Islanders fans will have to go across town for a new Barclays Center because the New York franchise couldn’t sustain an environment that is stuck in the 1970s. Forest City Ratner’s development proposal looks like transforming a pale cake tin exterior to a 21st Century spaceship design, quite the rags to riches upgrade for the Islanders.
14 Stadio Artemio Franchi
Italian football architecture was perfectly suitable to host the 1990 World Cup, but as soon as the FIFA tournament went to the USA four years later this part of the world has been in need of massive changes. The home ground of ACF Fiorentina, the Stadio Artemio Franchi, is arguably the ground in need of the biggest redevelopment. Situated in beautiful Florence, this stadium at 47,000 capacity has obscure towers sticking out, fencing to hold out ultra fans and was built entirely of concrete in the early 1930s. If Italian football wants to take itself seriously it needs to bulldoze these facilities.
13 Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre
The images really do speak for themselves. The former home of National Rugby League club the Brisbane Broncos, the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre has gone by many different names over the years depending on which sponsor bought the rights at the time. Complete with a running track and yellowy/brown open seating, this venue on the outskirts of Brisbane has been waiting to die a peaceful death for many years since it was abandoned by the NRL. No one will miss this piece of garbage.
12 Sleep Train Arena
The name doesn’t really generate a lot of excitement. For a sport like the NBA who hires a multitude of marketing executives, surely the Sleep Train Arena could have an overnight makeover at least with the title. In any case the home of the Sacramento Kings is on its last legs as they prepare to go to the Golden 1 Center. Created in 1988, the Sleep Train Arena resembled a franchise that was under waning ownership and in the current environment any stadium designed for a poultry $40 million is not worth holding onto.
11 Spotless Stadium
No you heard it right, that’s the actual name of the AFL club Greater Western Sydney Giants’ home ground. The new franchise was artificially created in 2009 to play in the national Aussie Rules competition and this stadium was spruced up in the wake of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Close to public transport but far removed from suburban Sydney, this ground has recently attempted to try and put in a special music stage inside the venue to generate a modicum of atmosphere. If you buy into that you’ll buy anything.
10 Nou Sardenya
When kids played soccer on the streets, they didn’t dream of making the big time meters away from those very same lanes and alleyways. The home stadium to lower league Spanish outfit CE Europa is in the suburbs of Barcelona and planted smack bang in the hustle and bustle of local neighborhoods. Towering motels and high-rise buildings literally cast a shadow over the whole atmosphere of the intimate setting, something that stands out like a sore thumb on a typical sunny day in the Catalan capital.
9 Dolen Omurzakov Stadium
Aka the Spartak Stadium in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, this little pitch complete with red and yellow seating is probably what we should expect from a far removed Eastern European nation. Putting aside all the Borat gags you would expect from that region, the fact of the matter is the last proper renovation for the “stadium” was back in 1963. So long ago was their redevelopment, it only just coincided with Sean Connery’s debut as James Bond in the film Dr. No. Australia’s Socceroos team played there a few months ago and the team’s first goal came courtesy of chunk of grass that spun the ball at a right angle. The 23,000 crowds pack in but even for a country like Kyrgyzstan surely FIFA’s billions in reserve could pay for something more suitable to the 21st Century.
8 Edward Jones Dome
The concrete inside Edward Jones Dome might have claimed the scalp of Reggie Bush this season and who knows which victim the stadium will pick up next match day. Time Magazine called the home of the St. Louis Rams the 7th worst stadia in America as the only major overhaul to the venue has undergone is new giant screens at either end. We’ve seen the dangers of wide receivers hitting people and objects in the NFL before, but when players are colliding with blocks of concrete then football needs to take a long look at itself.
7 Priestfield Stadium
Apologies to all the Gillingham FC fans out there, but we have to tell it like it is. This quaint little British ground has zero car parking for home and away fans, adding insult to injury on account of the street parking being classified purely for residents only. The club has been pushing for a move away from the ground for a number of years and it’s easy to see why. The Brian Moore Stand was implemented on a “temporary” period which still continues to this day. 11 years ago The Observer voted it the worst football stadium in England, quite some achievement when you count the 80 plus professional clubs and thousands of semi-professional to amateur sides.
6 Oakland Coliseum
“Dilapidated” is a word that comes to mind when you think of the house the Oakland Athletics are residing in. The franchise is considering their options, talking of a shifting to a new stadium across the road. When major publications are so open about their distain for a venue, it clearly has drastic problems and for the Oakland Coliseum the word on the street is it’s terminal. It provided a nice backdrop for the film Moneyball, but even Brad Pitt’s character Billy Beane couldn’t helped but be blown away by the difference in quality between that ground and Boston’s Fenway Park. There really is no comparison.
5 The Den Millwall
Millwall FC is the tough, working class team from East London who no one wants to play. The club is synonymous for having the most aggressive supporter base in English football, particularly when they come up against archrivals West Ham United. Despite some upgrades in the late 1980s, the new Den ground still looks like a throwback to the bad old hooligan days. Any stadium that is named after a dwelling for a lion requires a lot of positive impressions to get past that perception. Unfortunately the Den is not that stadium.
4 WACA Ground Perth
Cricket grounds don’t come any more maligned than the poor old WACA Ground in Perth. The most isolated city in the world has the reputation for providing the fastest pitch in world cricket, giving pace bowlers the bounce and speed to intimidate batsmen at will. Yet the demise of this asset on the wicket combined with ailing crowds below the 25,000 capacity makes the WACA a ground on the nose with cricket officials down under. It used to be a powerhouse in the 1970s and 80s but all good things must come to an end.
3 Arthur Ashe Stadium
Tortoises move quicker than the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Queens tennis arena needs that thing to move quick because the gusts of wind and rain often hit the New York borough like few other locations in America. This is the jewel of the US Open’s crown so having this venue run smoothly is imperative for the reputation of US tennis around the world. $100 million has been spent on the current roof and for that amount of coin it should move at the flick of a switch, not at a snail’s pace.
2 Athens Olympic Stadium
If The Walking Dead run out of storylines for the prequel, then a series based in Greece could be started tomorrow if they base production around the abandoned Athens Olympic Stadium. Don’t stop to think about it for too long because it will make you incredibly sad and angry, seeing a government waste billions on a group of white elephants that just sit there crumbling away once the Athens 2004 circus picked up and left town 11 years ago. The IOC has a hell of a lot to answer for and it’s any wonder these structures are still standing. This is one of the reasons why the country has economically collapsed in spectacular fashion.
1 Tropicana Field
The dome is doomed. Even by Floridian standards, how anyone saw fit to create the Tropicana Field for the Tampa Bay Rays to play baseball is beyond all comprehension. From the disgusting interior that’s been compared to a warehouse environment to the obscure catwalks hanging aloft the ceiling for some reason, there is no argument to justify how this venue got up and running. There’s not even a barrier in place between the bullpen and the field of play, how does that even work? Clearly the worst of the worst and should be demolished immediately!
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