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A modern stadium (plural stadia or stadiums) is a place, or venue, for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts 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 Olympiamarker, in western Peloponnesemarker, Greecemarker, where the Olympic Games of antiquity were held since 776 BC. Initially 'the Games' consisted of a single event, 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. Greek and Roman stadia have been found in numerous ancient cities, perhaps the most famous being the Stadium of Domitian, in Romemarker.

The modern stadium


Dome 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 infrastructure.

The term "stadium" tends to be used mostly in connection with games like association football, American football, Baseball, Gaelic football, Cricket, Hurling, Rugby, and other large field games. Exceptions include the basketball arena at Duke Universitymarker, which is called Cameron Indoor Stadiummarker and the now-demolished Chicago Stadiummarker, former home of the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL and Chicago Bulls of the NBA.

Design issues

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 Irelandmarker, while ones built specifically for baseball or American Football are common in the United Statesmarker. The most common multiple use design combines a football pitch with a running track, a 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 Alpimarker in Turinmarker is being remodelled to remove the running track after persistent complaints from fans of Juventus F.C. In 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 where spectators 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 and American football are the two most popular outdoor spectator sports, a number of football/baseball multi-use stadia were built, especially during the 1960s, and some of them were successful.

However, since the requirements for baseball and football are significantly different, the trend beginning with Kansas City in 1972–1973marker, 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. Yankee Stadiummarker, for example, was built on a triangular city block in The Bronxmarker, New York Citymarker. This resulted in a large left field dimension but a small right field dimension.

Before more modern football stadia were built in the United States, many baseball parks, including Fenway Parkmarker, the Polo Groundsmarker, Wrigley Fieldmarker, Comiskey Parkmarker, Tiger Stadiummarker, Griffith Stadiummarker, Milwaukee County Stadiummarker, Shibe Parkmarker, Forbes Fieldmarker, Yankee Stadiummarker and Sportsman's Parkmarker 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 Yardsmarker was the first such ballpark for Major League Baseball to be built using early 20th century styling with 21st century amenities.

Spectator areas and seating

An "all-seater" stadium has seats 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 disastermarker. Since these, both the FA Premier League and FIFA World Cup qualifying matches require all spectators to be seated (though not necessarily in an all-seater stadium, if terraces are left empty).

The spectator areas of a stadium can be referred to as bleachers, especially in the U.S., or as terraces, especially in the United Kingdom but also in some American baseball parks, as an alternative to the term tier. 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 Fieldmarker in Cincinnati, Ohiomarker.

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 can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Corporate naming

In recent decades, to help take the burden of the massive expense of building and maintaining a stadium, many Americanmarker and European sports teams have sold the rights to the name of the facility. This 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 Centremarker, previously known as SkyDome. But many of the more recently-built ballparks, such as Milwaukee's Miller Parkmarker, have never been known by a non-corporate name. The sponsorship phenomenon has since spread worldwide. There remain a few municipally-owned stadia, which are often known by a name that is significant to their area (for example, Minneapolismarker' Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodomemarker). 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 there.

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 Fieldmarker, 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 Parkmarker 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. On the other hand, Los Angeles' Great Western Forummarker, 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. Perhaps the most interesting example is Houston's Minute Maid Parkmarker, 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 Professional Baseball league of Japan, in which many of the teams are themselves named after their parent corporations. Also, many new European football stadia, such as the Reebok Stadiummarker and Emirates Stadiummarker in England and Allianz Arenamarker in Germany have been corporately named.

This new trend in corporate naming (or re-naming) is distinguishable from names of some older parks such as Crosley Fieldmarker, Wrigley Fieldmarker and the firstmarker and second Busch Stadiamarker, 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 Stadiummarker received its name via a modern naming rights agreement.)

SkyDome in Torontomarker, Canadamarker had that name from 1987 until it was renamed Rogers Centremarker in 2005.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, some stadia were temporarily renamed because the FIFAmarker prohibits sponsorship of stadia unless the stadium sponsors are also official FIFA sponsors. For example, the Allianz Arenamarker in Munichmarker was called the FIFA World Cup Stadium, Munich during the tournament. Likewise, the same stadium will be known as the "München Arena" during the European Competitions. Similar rules affect the Emirates Stadiummarker and HSH Nordbank Arenamarker.

See also: Naming rights and List of sports venues with sole naming rights

Music venues

Modern stadia are often used by bands and musicians as concert venues with some groups and singers such as The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, U2, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna doing stadium tours.


File:Azadistadium_tehran_iran.jpg|Azadi Stadiummarker in Tehranmarker, Iranmarker, is the fourth biggest stadium in the world.Image:Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.jpg| Ben Hill Griffin Stadiummarker in Gainesvillemarker 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 Stadiummarker (Telstra Dome) in Melbournemarker, Australia with the roof closed for an Australian Football League matchImage:Estadio do Dragao 20050805.jpg|Estádio do Dragãomarker, home to F.C. Porto in Portomarker, Portugalmarker.Image:Firpark.jpg‎| Fir Parkmarker Stadium in Motherwellmarker, Scotlandmarker. It is the home ground of Motherwell Football Club, a club in the Scottish Premier League.Image:India stadium hyderabad.jpg|G.marker M.marker C.marker Balayogi Athletic Stadiummarker in Hyderabadmarker, Indiamarker.Image:Croke Park from the hill.jpg|Gaelic football match at Croke Parkmarker in Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker.File:Nat Std01.JPG| National Cricket Stadium in Karachimarker, PakistanmarkerImage:CentreFieldEastFinalsm.jpg|Rogers Centremarker in Torontomarker, Canadamarker 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 Stadiummarker in Kolkatamarker, Indiamarker is the world's second largest football stadium with 120,000 seating capacity.Image:Stade R.Champroux marcory.PNG|The Stade Robert Champrouxmarker in Abidjanmarker, Côte d'Ivoiremarker in 2007.Image:Grandstandcampnou.jpg|Camp Noumarker in Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker is the largest stadium in Europe.

See also



  1. Both forms of the plural are used in English.


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