Sports’ greatest moments are immortal. We’ll fondly reminisce about the time spent in places like Yankee stadium long after the Yankees are gone, and Jessie Owens’s performance at the 1936 Olympics stadium will be in every history textbook for millennia: Champions will be written about, talked about, and rewatched on YouTube until the end of time.
But of course, not every aspect of their career-defining moments will last forever. Many of the green fields and roaring stadiums that hosted these historic games have since fallen into disrepair. In these abandoned stadiums, it’s pretty eerie — you can almost hear the calls of a phantom crowd…
1. Pontiac Silverdome: Longtime home of the Detroit Lions and Pistons, this stadium boasted a domed roof held up by air pressure! The new Ford Field, however, stole away its teams in 2002. Detroit has demolished most of the Silverdome in recent years.
2. Sarajevo Bobsleigh and Luge Track: Yet another Olympic relic from the 1984 games, this track never had much of a chance for reuse. Artillery from the Bosnian war-damaged sections of it in the 1990s. On a brighter note, renovation efforts are currently underway!
3. Houston Astrodome: The first multi-sport domed stadium, the Astrodome earned the title of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Unfortunately, it became obsolete in the 1990s, causing its home teams to move away.
But there is hope the dome might make a triumphant return: as of early 2019, Houston has proposed various refurbishment plans, though none have officially begun.
4. Avanhard Stadium: Like many of the structures surrounding it, this arena in Pripyat, Ukraine, closed after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Radiation from the nuclear meltdown rendered the entire area uninhabitable. Understandably, that did not help the attendance for local soccer clubs.
5. Arena da Amazonia: Located in Manaus, Brazil — the largest city within the Amazon rainforest — this stadium entertained soccer fans during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Because of its remote nature, however, no one has found a use for it since.
6. Maracana Stadium: When this Rio De Janeiro site opened in 1950, it had the largest capacity of any stadium on Earth. It hosted events up through the 2016 Olympics, yet rapidly deteriorated in the following years.
Rio will have to drop tens of millions of dollars if they ever wish to reopen the famed Maracana, which suffered after a legal dispute between the stadium’s owner and the Olympic organizing committee.
7. Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground: During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this arena saw Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor win gold without dropping a set. Sadly, no one has used it since, even though it’s right in the middle of dense Beijing.
8. Aquatic Center: Hopping from Manaus to Rio de Janeiro, this 2016 Olympic site was supposed to be moved and turned into a community swim center. As you might expect, the plans fell through. The $50 million venue sits crumbling and collecting mold.
9. Washington Coliseum: The hundreds of ice hockey and basketball games that took place under the Coliseum’s roof aren’t even the most interesting chapter of its history.
Washington Area Spark / Flickr
The venue housed U.S. service people during WWII, and it hosted The Beatles’ first American performance. Now, it’s a parking lot.
10. Miami Marine Stadium: The 1963 arena capitalized on a less conventional sporting pastime: powerboat racing. Hurricane Andrew ravaged the venue in 1992, leading it to be condemned. But fear not, boating fans. Talks to restore the stadium are in progress.
11. Berlin Olympic Village: Athletes from all over the world — including Jesse Owens — lodged in this charming site during the otherwise troubled 1936 Olympic Games. The German and Soviet governments later used it for military purposes before abandoning it.
12. Herschel Greer Stadium: Nashville crowds enjoyed minor league baseball in this stadium up until it shut down in 2014. Its guitar-shaped scoreboard remains a novel sight, but Greer has fallen into disrepair the past few years. Demolition probably isn’t too far off.
13. Strahov Stadium: With a capacity for 250,000 spectators, this Prague site is the largest stadium ever built! Its pitch — the size of nine soccer fields — was designed for synchronized gymnastics of all things.
Aside from soccer training and the odd concert, Strahov’s massive stands are eerily quiet these days — a sad fate for a huge stadium with massive potential.
14. Estadio Lluis Sitjar: On the Spanish isle of Mallorca, soccer fans came to cheer on their home team here starting in 1945. After developers built a newer venue in the area, nature claimed Lluis Sitjar. The city eventually knocked it down in 2014.
15. Candlestick Park: Speaking of famed ballparks, Candlestick was enough of a marvel in the 1960s to lure the Giants from New York to San Francisco. The Beatles also played their final major concert there.
The Beatles weren’t the only ones to make their farewell in Candlestick. Frisco took it down in 2014 after both the Giants and 49ers moved to newer fields.
16. Tiger Stadium: Built in 1912, the Detroit Tigers’ home field was right up there with Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in terms of classic baseball diamonds. With the opening of Comerica Park, Tiger Stadium stood unused for roughly a decade before its demolition.
17. Olympic Aquatic Centre: Originally built for the 1991 Mediterranean Games, this Athens swimming complex shined during the 2004 Olympics.
Unfortunately, due to Greece’s ongoing economic issues, they have been unable to keep the venue up to modern standards and it sees little to no action.
18. Stadion za Luzankami: The soccer stadium in Brno, Czech Republic, fell apart after its team left. Trees sprung up in the field, and homeless people moved into the stands. However, Brno renovated it enough to hold one match in 2015, and they hope to fully restore it in the future.
19. BVG Freibad: The best swimmers from all over the world trained at this pool complex ahead of the 1936 Berlin games. It stayed open as a recreational site until the 1980s. With the filthy water in the pool today, it’s not good for much more than sightseeing.
20. Fort Lauderdale Stadium: From 1962 through 1995, the New York Yankees trekked down to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Training. The Baltimore Orioles later took over the venue, but left it in 2009. These days, ghosts are the only ones playing ball on this field of dreams.