A modern stadium
) is a place, or venue, for
(mostly) outdoor sports
or other events, consisting of a field or
stage partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to
allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.
History of the stadium
The word originates from the Greek word "stadion" (στάδιον), a
Greek measure of length roughly 180 - 200m. The oldest known
stadium is the one in Olympia, in western
Peloponnese, Greece, where the
Olympic Games of antiquity were held
since 776 BC.
Initially 'the Games' consisted of a
, a sprint along the length of the stadium.
Therefore the length of the Olympia stadium was more or less
standardized as a measure of distance (approximately 190 meters or
210 yd). The practice of standardizing footrace tracks to a length
of 180-200 meters (200-220 yd) was followed by the Romans as well.
Roman stadia have been found in numerous ancient cities, perhaps
the most famous being the Stadium of Domitian, in Rome.
The modern stadium
stadia are distinguished from conventional
stadia by their enclosing roofs. They are called stadia
because they are large enough for, and designed for, what are
generally considered to be outdoor sports. Those designed for what
are usually indoor sports are called arenas
. Some stadia have partial roofs, and a few
have even been designed to have moveable fields as part of the
The term "stadium" tends to be used mostly in connection with games
like association football
other large field games. Exceptions include the basketball arena at Duke University, which is called Cameron Indoor Stadium and the now-demolished
Stadium, former home of the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL and Chicago Bulls of
Different sports require fields of different size and shape. Some
stadia are designed primarily for a single sport while others can
accommodate different events, particularly ones with retractable seating
. Stadia built
specifically for football are
quite common in Europe however Gaelic games Stadia would be most common in
Ireland, while ones built specifically for baseball or American
Football are common in the United States.
The most common multiple use design
football pitch with a running track
combination which generally works fairly well, although certain
compromises must be made. The major drawback is that the stands are
necessarily set back a good distance from the pitch, especially at
the ends of the pitch. The Stadio Delle Alpi in Turin is being
remodelled to remove the running track after persistent complaints
from fans of Juventus F.C.
the case of some smaller stadia, there are not stands at the ends.
When there are stands all the way around, the stadium takes on an
oval shape. When one end is open, the stadium has a horseshoe
shape. All three configurations (open, oval and horseshoe) are
common, especially in the case of American college football stadia.
Rectangular stadia are more common in Europe, especially for
football where many stadia have four often distinct and very
different stands on the four sides of the stadium. These are often
all of different sizes and designs and have been erected at
different periods in the stadium's history. The vastly differing
character of European football stadia has led to the growing hobby
of ground hopping
make a journey to visit the stadium for itself rather than for the
event held there. In recent years the trend of building completely
new oval stadia in Europe has led to traditionalists criticising
the designs as bland and lacking in the character of the old
stadiua they replace.
In North America, where baseball
are the two most
popular outdoor spectator sports, a number of football/baseball
especially during the 1960s, and some of them were successful.
since the requirements for baseball and football are significantly
different, the trend beginning with Kansas City in
1972–1973, and accelerating in the 1990s, has been toward the
construction of single-purpose stadia.
In several cases an
American football stadium has been constructed adjacent to a
baseball park. In many cases, earlier baseball stadia were
constructed to fit into a particular land area or city block. This
resulted in asymmetrical dimensions for many baseball fields.
Stadium, for example, was built on a triangular city block
Bronx, New York
This resulted in a large left field
dimension but a small right field dimension.
more modern football stadia were built in the United States, many
baseball parks, including Fenway Park, the Polo
Park, Tiger Stadium, Griffith
Stadium, Milwaukee County Stadium, Shibe Park, Forbes
Field, Yankee Stadium and Sportsman's Park were used by the National Football League or the
American Football League.
Along with today's single use
stadia is the trend for retro style ballparks closer to downtown
areas. Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the first such ballpark for Major League Baseball to be built
using early 20th century styling with 21st century
Spectator areas and seating
An "all-seater" stadium
for all spectators. Other stadia are designed so that all or some
spectators stand to view the event. The term "all-seater" is not
common in the U.S., perhaps because very few American stadia have
sizeable standing-only sections. Poor stadium design has contributed to
disasters such as the Hillsborough
disaster and the Heysel Stadium disaster.
Since these, both the FA Premier League
and FIFA World Cup qualifying
require all spectators to be seated (though not
necessarily in an all-seater stadium, if terraces are left
The spectator areas of a stadium can be referred to as bleachers
, especially in the U.S., or as
, especially in the United Kingdom but also in
some American baseball parks, as an alternative to the term
. Originally set out for standing
room only, they are now usually equipped with seating.Either way,
the term originates from the step-like rows which resemble agricultural terraces
. Related, but not
precisely the same, is the use of terrace
to describe a
sloping portion of the outfield in a baseball
park, possibly but not necessarily for
seating, but for practical or decorative purposes. The most famous of
these was at Crosley
Field in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Many stadia make luxury suites available to patrons for thousands
of dollars per event. These suites can accommodate fewer than 10
spectators or upwards of 30 depending on the venue. Luxury suites
at events such as the Super Bowl
hundreds of thousands of dollars.
decades, to help take the burden of the massive expense of building
and maintaining a stadium, many American and European sports teams
have sold the rights to the name of the facility.
trend, which began in the 1970s but accelerated greatly in the
1990s, has led to sponsors' names being affixed to both established
stadia and new ones. In some cases, the corporate name replaces
(with varying degrees of success) the name by which the venue has
been known for many years — examples include Toronto's Rogers Centre, previously known as SkyDome. But many of the more
recently-built ballparks, such as Milwaukee's Miller
Park, have never been known by a non-corporate
The sponsorship phenomenon has since spread worldwide.
remain a few municipally-owned stadia, which are often known by a
name that is significant to their area (for example, Minneapolis' Hubert H.
In recent years, some government-owned
stadia have also been subject to naming-rights agreements, with
some or all of the revenue often going to the team(s) that play
One consequence of corporate naming has been an increase in stadium
name changes, for example when the namesake corporation changes its
name, or if the naming agreement simply expires. Phoenix's Chase Field, for example, was previously known as Bank One
Ballpark but was re-named to reflect the takeover of the latter
corporation. San Francisco's historic Candlestick
Park was renamed as 3Com Park for
several years, but the name was dropped when the sponsorship
agreement expired, and it was another two years before a new name
of Monster Park was applied.
Local opposition to the corporate naming of that particular stadium
led San Francisco's city council to permanently restore the
Candlestick Park name once the Monster contract expired.
other hand, Los Angeles' Great
Western Forum, one of the earliest examples of corporate
re-naming, retained its name for many years, even after the
namesake bank no longer existed, the corporate name being dropped
only after the building later changed ownership.
the most interesting example is Houston's Minute Maid
Park, which hurriedly dropped its original name of
Enron Field when scandal engulfed the latter
corporation — it became Astros Field for a year before finding a
new corporate naming sponsor.
This practice has typically
been less common in countries outside the United States. A notable
exception is the Nippon
league of Japan, in which many of the
teams are themselves named after their parent corporations.
many new European football stadia, such as the Reebok
Stadium and Emirates Stadium in England and Allianz Arena in Germany have been corporately named.
trend in corporate naming (or re-naming) is distinguishable from
names of some older parks such as Crosley Field, Wrigley
Field and the first and second Busch Stadia, in that the parks were named by and for the club's
owner, which also happened to be the names of companies owned by
those clubowners. (The current Busch Stadium received its name via a modern naming rights
in Toronto, Canada had that
name from 1987 until it was renamed Rogers Centre in 2005.
the 2006 FIFA World Cup in
Germany, some stadia were temporarily renamed because the FIFA prohibits
sponsorship of stadia unless the stadium sponsors are also official
FIFA sponsors. For example, the Allianz Arena in Munich was called
the FIFA World Cup Stadium, Munich during the
Likewise, the same stadium will be known as the
"München Arena" during the European Competitions. Similar rules affect
Stadium and HSH Nordbank Arena.
See also: Naming rights
and List of sports
venues with sole naming rights
Modern stadia are often used by bands and musicians as concert
venues with some groups and singers such as The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
, Bon Jovi
, Tina Turner
doing stadium tours.
File:Azadistadium_tehran_iran.jpg|Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, is the
fourth biggest stadium in the world.Image:Ben Hill
Griffin Stadium.jpg| Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville is the 12th largest college football stadium in the United
States by capacity.Image:Telstra Dome Panoramic.jpg|A panoramic
view of the interior of Docklands Stadium (Telstra Dome) in Melbourne, Australia with the roof
closed for an Australian
Football League matchImage:Estadio do Dragao
20050805.jpg|Estádio do Dragão, home to F.C.
Porto in Porto, Portugal.Image:Firpark.jpg| Fir Park Stadium in Motherwell, Scotland.
It is the home ground of Motherwell
Football Club, a club in the Scottish Premier League
hyderabad.jpg|G. M. C. Balayogi
Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad, India.Image:Croke Park from the hill.jpg|Gaelic football match at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland.File:Nat Std01.JPG| National
Cricket Stadium in Karachi, PakistanImage:CentreFieldEastFinalsm.jpg|Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada was called
SkyDome before it was bought by Rogers Communications in
2005.Image:Salt Lake Stadium - Yuva Bharati
Krirangan , Kolkata - Calcutta 4.jpg| Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, India is the
world's second largest football
stadium with 120,000 seating
capacity.Image:Stade R.Champroux marcory.PNG|The
Champroux in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire in 2007.Image:Grandstandcampnou.jpg|Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain is the
largest stadium in Europe.
- Both forms of the plural are used in English. Dictionary.com