The 15 Most Ill-Conceived Sports Venues

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterApril 18, 2013

The 15 Most Ill-Conceived Sports Venues

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    Sometimes sports fans are fortunate to get a beautiful and legendary palace to enjoy their events. And then there are the poor saps who have to suffer through miserable conditions thanks to these ill-conceived marvels. 

    Here is a list dedicated to the poor decisions that turned into actual sports arenas and stadiums. 

    From blankets of snow in spring to ceilings that have been known to leak, we have some suggestions for venues that were doomed from the start. 

    Please don't take this as the last word on the subject, merely a starting point to make light of sports locales that really deserve it. 

    Feel free to blast my suggestions or offer up your own in the comments section below. With that, we head into one big block of failure. 

    Watch your heads. 

15. BMO Harris Bradley Center

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    The Milwaukee Bucks were once again in the bottom five of NBA attendance for the second year in a row. The Bucks are in the playoffs with the No. 8 seed, so perhaps fans are just tired with their outdated digs. 

    One of the biggest issues, as cited in Dubsism is the way the court actually sits at street level. This means fans walking in are already given a chore to make it to their seats. 

    If you are fortunate enough to sit in the nose-bleeds, you might be better off just heading home rather than embark on some impromptu cardio. 

    The Journal Sentinel's Don Walker doesn't believe it's all bad, but still fairly grim. His list of 12 real issues with the venue points to the place being extremely outdated. 

14. Alamodome

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    If you build it, they will come. Unless the it is the Alamodome and the they is an NFL team. 

    Another ill-advised arena is actually a fairly reputable sports venue and convention center, it's just not being used as intended. 

    The venue was opened in 1993 at a cost of $186 million in the hopes of wooing an NFL team to San Antonio. Well, they are still waiting. 

    While cutting edge at the time, the stadium would no doubt need renovations if an NFL team actually decided to ever make its way to San Antonio. 

    While it has served the Spurs valiantly, it now sits as a reminder that it's best to secure an NFL team before you actually build them a stadium. 

13. Marlins Park

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    In a rare twist, most of Marlins Park's gloom has little to do with the designs. Well, except for that sculpture in the outfield that lights up like a Las Vegas slot machine, because that thing is hideous. 

    No, the main reasons behind this ill-conceived disaster, aquariums in the backstop aside, are location and stadium funding. 

    A January report in Forbes touched upon the publicly funded venue and the man who received this gift from the taxpayers. 

    In a sense, Jeffrey Loria has no problem taking money, from taxpayers or from "Major League Baseball’s financial system" and then competing every now and again. Other than that, he is known to slash payroll in a great purging of talent, much as he did this past year. 

    Bleacher Report's own Zachary Rymer does a wonderful job summing things up. "This is not the kind of guy you want to build a new stadium for. When they did choose to invest in a new stadium for Loria, county officials had no guarantee that he would return the favor by continually investing in the product out on the field."

    Rymer also touches upon the other damning part of this venue: the location. The park is located in Little Havana, a location that is difficult to get to and provides scant parking. 

    There is also little in the way of businesses to frequent in the immediate area. But hey, at least you have an aquarium in the house. 


12. Multi-Purpose Stadiums

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    We normally don't like to lump a bunch of venues into one, but that is what a great many sports franchises gave us with the advent of the multi-purpose stadium. 

    If they can't be bothered to supply an entirely unique venue, then we can consider them all one big pile of concrete. 

    Three Rivers, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Riverfront, Qualcomm and so many more served to address multiple sports by sitting fans in a bowl of boredom. 

    Qualcomm may be among the worst in that it completely blocks out the beauty that might be enjoyed of the San Diego skyline. 

    Looking to fit all the needs of multiple sports, you get a bland stadium that ages horribly through the years. 

    As we learned, watching sports while sitting in a concrete slab becomes tiresome rather quickly. 

11. Rogers Centre

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    Of course, we have already discussed the faults of multi-purpose stadiums. However, this particular venue really deserved its own moment of glory. 

    Back in 2008, Deadspin came across quite the salacious story of a woman in the nude being perfectly visible by fans watching a Blue Jays game. 

    It seems that tipped them off to a report on far more sordid tales. They point to an Ottawa Sun report that no longer exists online. However, they do quote the more intriguing portion that comes courtesy of the stadium sitting right next to the Renaissance Hotel. 

    Since it opened in 1989, there have been at least three incidents at the hotel where couples were having sex in plain view of tens of thousands of fans, as well as one incident when a man was thrown out of the hotel for masturbating at the window, believing it was one-way glass.

    Speaking of one-way glass, perhaps that may have been the way to go when constructing a hotel that overlooks a stadium. 

    As we know, people do some awful things in their hotel rooms. That's why I never touch a thing when traveling. 

10. California Memorial Stadium

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    This one hurts. As a Cal Bear, I absolutely love this stadium, which features classic lines and an old-school feel. It sits nestled into the hillside and is close enough to campus to allow a quick walk up to enjoy a game. 

    It also recently underwent a renovation that had a $321 million budget

    Still, an entire stadium sitting over the Hayward fault line would most certainly garner inclusion on a list of ill-advised venues. 

9. IZOD Center

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    The IZOD Center was once the proud (cramped?) home of the New Jersey Devils and the NBA's former New Jersey Nets (now in Brooklyn). 

    Back in 2005, USA Today ranked it the least fan-friendly arena in all the NBA. High-fives all around. 

    The big issue, and one raised by Total Pro Sports, is there is just one concourse for fans to leave, making way for a traffic jam long before you reached the parking lot. 

8. Tropicana Field

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    While we covered blights like these in multi-purpose fields, Tropicana is a special place that really deserves a specific nod. 

    Not only is it fashioned from the bland cookie-cutter architecture of most sports domes, it's located in a place most fans can't be bothered to travel to. 

    A recent USA Today report signaled all the issues associated with the stadium, including the location, which is roughly 20 miles from the most densely populated part of Tampa. 

    When you get there, you are greeted by a nondescript, outdated venue. That's what you get when you build a stadium before securing a franchise. 

    As the report reminds us, Tropicana, formerly known as St. Pete's Suncoast Dome, was built in the 1980s to woo a baseball team, finally nabbing the expansion Devil Rays in 1998. 

7. Target Field

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    So, it snows in Minnesota. More specifically, it snows in Minneapolis where the Twins built their newfangled and beautiful Target Field in 2010. 

    The city voted No. 6 in a 2010 Forbes article for worst winter cities has their snowfall decline by baseball season, with an average of 2.5 inches dumped on the city per year in April. 

    As we now know, sometimes this can be a great deal more. 

    I can understand the hesitation to open another ballpark with a roof. When your most recent baseball memories featured the horrendous blight known as the Metrodome, anything with a roof is cause for concern. 

    That just means the Twins will have to get used to the thought of snow cancellations like the one they suffered against the New York Mets in the teams' series finale on April 14

    Baseball was not meant to be played in 32-degree weather. 

6. Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

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    Keeping things in the Twin Cities, we head over to the enormous tent known as the Metrodome, one that famously collapsed due to high winds and immense snowfall back in 2010. 

    Again, you would think a stadium built in a city known to receive a ton of snow would be able to withstand the onslaught of powder, at least well enough to not collapse. 

    A 2010 Seattle Post-Intelligencer report signals what went wrong with a roof designed to stay in place thanks to air pressure. It seems the makers of Birdair suggested the franchise replace the roof to no avail. 

    In a report to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which manages and obtains financing for the Metrodome, Birdair explained that the roof should be replaced, and that while it’s outer fabric “is performing well as compared to the original fabric specification,” the inner membrane “has exceeded its service life of 20 years.”

    As the report also reminds, the roof had collapsed four times in 28 years of existence, including this unforgettable moment featured in the video. 

    Of course, that isn't even mentioning that this stadium, also used for the Twins from 1982-2009, had special rules designated for it when a baseball would hit the roof or overhangings, because the ceiling was low enough to come into play during games


5. Maracana Stadium

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    If you don't cringe from the word "Macarena," let me tell you about the stadium built that holds no ties to the song that became a staple at every single wedding in the '90s. 

    The Estadio de Maracana is poised to host the final in the 2014 World Cup, if it makes it that long. Per a 2000 Telegraph report, fans have been urinating this venue to its destruction. 

    The issue, which continues to be remedied in a push towards the World Cup, all stems from a lack of functional bathrooms. 

    It seems fans were so annoyed with long lines to the restroom that they just started peeing on their own stadium. That's drunk logic for you. 

    The urine is so corrosive that Maracana actually suffered structural damage. An engineer was quoted in the report: 

    We believe that the main cause of this structural damage is people going to the toilet. All those gallons of urine contain a lot of ammonia which acts with amazing speed. It eats through the concrete and then acts like acid on the steel girders, which is why the corrosion is so devastating.

    Perhaps installing a few more urinals may have been a good idea. Hell, I would suggest the deplorable and unfortunate trough system if you are really pressed for answers. 

4. Candlestick Park

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    Before I get started, let me say I rather enjoyed Candlestick, especially during baseball games. There is something memorable about holding onto your seat so you don't blow away. 

    Of course, it makes playing sports all the more treacherous and makes watching them all the more uncomfortable. 

    Candlestick will soon say goodbye to its only resident, the San Francisco 49ers. Fans will hardly miss the cold and windy venue. One that USA Today reminds once hosted the 1961 MLB All-Star Game, when pitcher Stu Miller was blown down and called for a balk. 

3. Arthur Ashe Stadium

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    I hope you love your tennis, because Arthur Ashe Stadium has enough seats to accommodate you and 22,000 of your closest friends. 

    Yes, the sport that demands an intimate locale has this gigantic venue that is also the largest tennis-only arena in the world.


    The stadium has no roof, which has posed some issues in the past thanks to high winds and rain. Still, the bigger issues are the sheer size of this particular venue. 

    A Total Pro Sports article ranking some truly regrettable stadiums states fans are tasked with ridiculously long aisles to maneuver during play and seats that reach as far as row Z, well above the playing surface. 

    Sometimes you just have to imagine you can actually see the tennis ball get hit. 

2. Seattle Kingdome

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    We don't ask much from our ceilings, merely that they not leak and not, you know, fall from the sky and crash down in a terrifying thunder. 

    A 1994 Seattle Times report reminds the failings that opened the Kingdome in Seattle. 

    Three months before it opened, the Kingdome roof began to leak. Nearly two decades later, it hasn't stopped.

    High-priced consultants were called in and various fixes were attempted as the roof just seemed to get soggier and soggier.

    Sounds like a lovely experience if you bring your favorite raincoat along with you to the ballgame. The scariest moment in its tumultuous history was when 26-pound ceiling tiles began raining down onto seats. 

    In a separate report, The Seattle Times remembered the moment in 1994 when huge chunks of the roof began falling during pre-game activities before a Mariners and Orioles game. 

    It was demolished in 2000, which surprisingly took more than someone merely leaning on the structure. 

1. Olympic Stadium

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    Olympic Stadium may not have a regular tenant to keep it filled with constant entertainment, but that's just fine, because its history proves the venue has had enough excitement for a lifetime. 

    A dated ESPN report does a fine job summing up some of the key points in one of the more forgettable baseball venues. The Expos, as it seems, never stood a chance. 

    Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. 1986: Engineers determine that the tower, designed to lean at 45 degrees, won't be structurally sound if completed in concrete, as originally designed. Steel is used instead. 
  2. 1986: Explosions and fire in the tower interrupt an Expos game, causing $1 million in damage. Nobody is injured. 
  3. 1986: A chunk of steel falls from the tower and lands near the Expos bullpen while a game is in progress.
  4. Not to worry about that retractable roof that was supposed to be installed 10 years prior, because it finally gets installed in 1987. 

    1987: The tower and roof are completed. The roof is made of 50 tons of Kevlar, a fabric from which bulletproof vests are made. When the roof is raised for the first time, it tears. As a result, it stays closed for several years.


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