18 haunting photographs of abandoned sports venues

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We see it all the time, grand stadiums built for the pleasures of sports watching – whether it be for a team who left long ago, or for Olympic games who moved on with the torch. Some countries and teams make use of their old stadiums, turn them into venues for performances or continue using them for sports. But what happens to those that don’t get recycled? They make our creepy stadiums list.

The Silverdome, Pontiac Michigan

Once upon a time, the Silverdome in Michigan was home to the Detroit Lions. The stadium was able to seat 82,000 fans, the largest in the NFL when it first opened in 1975. It held the title until FedEx Field in suburban Washington DC was opened in1997, fitting 91,000 people. The Silverdome was also the first athletic facility to use a fiberglass fabric roof that was held up by air pressure. The Lions moved to Ford Field in 2002, and the stadium was sold at auction seven years later. They tried their luck with the stadium again, but to no avail. Instead, the owners auctioned off the contents of the stadium in 2014, and now it looks as if it were looted.

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Olympic Village, Athens, Greece

These halls were once overrun by young athletes, all dreaming of standing on the podium while their flag is raised and their national anthem is played for the world to hear. That was in 2004. But ever since the Olympians left Greece once the games were over, the already bankrupt government didn’t have much use for many of the left over venues, leaving them to be abandoned soon after. Now, these halls are forgotten about, and the once great swimming pool is filled with algae. There are several venues from the 2004 Olympics on this list, that are now more creepy than filled with glory.

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Canoe Slalom Stadium, Athens, Greece

The Greek government didn’t have much use for the Canoe Slalom Stadium after the 2004 Summer Olympics. During those games, Olympians kayaked through the stadium, but now it is covered in weeds and sand. After the country was hit by its economic crisis, many of the summer stadiums were left unattended. Some think Greece’s decision to host those 2004 Games was part of the economic problem.

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Olympic Baseball Field, Athens, Greece

The Greek Olympic venues from 2004 have shown up on this list several times. Proving how much the sites have been neglected by the government, which is preoccupied with bringing the country out of a dire financial meltdown. While baseball isn’t a very popular sport in the historic home of the Olympics, Greece built a state of the art complex for the event on the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport and included venues for several sports, baseball too. Note: these aren’t the Greek ruins you’re looking for.

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The Dionysus Theatre, Athens, Greece

The Dionysus Theatre was built around the 4th century BC, on the south side of the Acropolis in the now Greek capital, Athens. The theatre could fit as many as 17,000 people, and it underwent revisions over the years. Dionysus Theatre was reportedly home to public events, plays and sports. But in the 4th century AD, the theatre was abandoned and wasn’t rediscovered until the mid 1700s. A few decades later it was restored.

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Swimming Stadium, Finland

We usually think of Finland as a cold weather country, more appropriate for winter Olympics than summer. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the some of the infrastructure from the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki was left abandoned, because there was no reason to use it again. The venue, located at Lake Ahvenisto, was actually used shortly after the Olympics, but has now been untouched for decades and was left to rust away.

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Bobsled Track, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

At one point in time, these tracks were part of the 1984 Winter Olympics bobsled track, which were hosted in that year Sarajevo, in what was then Yugoslavia and is not the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were 30,000 bobsleigh fans who came to watch the competition that year. After those games, the track was used for the World Cup until the Yugoslavian Civil War broke out in 1991, with the tracks becoming damaged during the Siege of Sarajevo. Now, it’s a track covered in graffiti and is mostly seen by mountain bikers and sightseers climbing through the trees and grass.

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Ski Jump, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Ski jump used during the 1984 winter Olympics in Sarajevo have also been abandoned and left for nature to take it’s course. This was at one point considered a cutting edge facility, but now it’s a pile scrap of metal in the midst of overgrown weeds and grass. The lifts which once brought the athletes to their starting points are still hanging off to the side. Like the bobsled track, the war that ravaged the city took it’s toll on most of the sites once used during these Olympics.

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The Olympic Village, Berlin, Germany

The Olympic Village first opened its doors during that summer of 1936, when Adolf Hitler wanted to show off his Germany to the world. It was the site where the world’s greatest athletes congregated and lived as they competed to be the sole number one. Today, after another World War and a Cold War that divided the country and capital into East and West, the village stands as a reminder of the past, but not necessarily as glory. It now stands completely abandoned.

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Pool Complex, Berlin, Germany

Many sites across Berlin were left in ruin after World War II. But this image, of the pool complex used during the 1936 Summer Olympics before the war broke out is quite haunting. It was once a great swimming pool used by the world’s top athletes as they swam and dove for the gold. But the complex has been abandoned for years, along with many other venues that were forgotten about when the city was split between East and West.

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Bush Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Bush Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana was once the home of the Indianapolis Indians, from 1931 up to 1996. several other teams played in the stadium as well, including a Continental Football Team, the Indianapolis Capitols. Bush Stadium underwent several name changes throughout its history, from Perry Stadium, to Victory Stadium and in 1967 it got its final name, after MLF player Donie Bush. But in 1997, after the teams moved out, the stadium was leased and converted into a dirt track for racing. Later, in 2008 it was turned into a storage area for cards to be traded and in 2012, the demolition of the building began in order to make way for an apartment complex.

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Warming Hut, Sapporo, Japan

It doesn’t seem as if the Sapporo Olympics in Japan in 1972 were that long ago, b ut the infrastructure used to house some of the venues has been abandoned for years. The Mt. Teine bobsled course, which cost around $1.3 million to build, was separated from the luge track. The course itself was dismantled several decades later, but one thing was left behind: the bobsled finish house, where there are still Olympic rings on display.

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Beach Volleyball Stadium, Beijing, China

The Chinese put on a huge show of sports and venues during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Of course we all remember the Bird’s Nest, which cost about $471 million and will still take years to pay off. What we may not remember is the beach volleyball stadiums, the lesser venues which are now abandoned and closed off to the public. The venues haven’t been used since 2008, and instead of cheers and fans you now find graffiti and torn up cloth.

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Kayaking Venue, Beijing, China

Next on the list is another venue from the Beijing Olympics: the kayaking venue. The kayaking stadium, just like the beach volleyball stadium, hasn’t been touched since the Olympics left town. With the water gone, the artificial kayaking course is now just a slab of concrete left to rot away without a care in anyone’s world. Perhaps maybe one day China would be able to use it for another Olympics? If it’s in any decent shape….

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Estadio Lluís Sitjar, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The Estadio Lluís Sitjar was a stadium on the Spanish island of Mallorca. While the stadium held several events, it was for the most part home to soccer teams. The venue, which opened back in 1945, could fit up to 18,000 spectators. RCB Mallorca, the local soccer team which used the stadium for home games, left the venue in 1999 when a new stadium was built. The stadium, was home to another team, RCB Mallorca B until 2007. The building was left unattended and was eventually demolished in late 2014.

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Astrodome, Houston, Texas

The Houston Astrodome was the first multi-purpose, domed athletic stadium. The dome, located in Houston (hence the name), first opened to the public in 1965, and hosted the Astros and Oilers’ home games. It was also the part time home of the Rockets from 1971-1975. Eventually the Oilers moved to Tennessee and the Astros moved to Minute Maid Park in 2000. The Astrodome still hosted events for a few years and even housed residents of New Orleans who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. But in 2008, the Astrodome was declared noncompliant with fire code. In 2013, it was finally demolished.

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Stadion Za Lužánkami, Czech Republic

The Stadion Za Lužánkami is a currently inactive stadium in the Czech Republic. Once the home of FC Zbrojovka Brno, Stadion Za Lužánkami was able to fit some 50,000 fans. The venue was originally opened in the 1950s and, at a time, was the largest stadium in Czechoslovakia. But the stadium was closed in 2001, when the team moved because Stadion Za Lužánkami did not meet FIFA’s requirements. There were some reconstruction plans, but they faltered. Thankfully, fans got together to clean up the stadium so the team can play one, last farewell game, which they did in 2015.

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Miami Marine Stadium

Back in its prime, the Miami Marine Stadium was an interesting site. The facility, on Virginia Key in Miami, was built for powerboat racing, and was the first of its kind. The stadium was built in 1963 and could fit about 6,500 spectators. Besides water sporting events, the stadium also hosted boxing matches and concerts. The venue was ultimately declared unsafe by Miami Dade County following Hurricane Andrew in 1972, but in the late 2000s, a group, called Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, was formed with a single purpose: restore the stadium so it could operate once again. The International Boat Show is expected to return to the stadium in 2018.

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Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield, UK

Don Valley Stadium has one the shortest shelf-life from the date they opened to the date they closed. Don Valley opened in 1990 with a big bang. The stadium could seat 25,000 viewers and was considered the second-largest stadium in England. When it was functioning it was the home of the Sheffield Eagles and Rotherham United teams. In 2013, however, the Sheffield municipality ran out of money and was also facing a serious budget cut. They decided to close down the stadium and tear it down. In 2014 the demolition was underway.

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Old National Stadium, Singapore

Old National Stadium opened it’s doors in 1973 and was a place of hope, sportsmanship and togetherness. The stadium was known for its innate ability to bring people together under the unlikeliest of circumstances. The reason for the stadium’s demise was due to the fact that a newer version of it was being built elsewhere, with a more modern and advanced tech capabilities. In 2011 it was finally torn down.

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Faliro Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre, Athens, Greece

Much like the rest of the Olympic Park that was built for the 2004 games, Faliro Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre fell into disrepair and neglect after the games as there was no upkeep done to the facility. There are weeds and untamed vegetation growing in the sand, the chair’s color is fading and the plastic sheets between the bleachers and the court are cracked.

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Tennis Arena, Valencia, Spain

Currently overrun with graffiti and dust, this tennis arena was once a small high-end court that was able to hold a little over 200 people. Since the recession that hit the world in 2007, this court, along with many other businesses and homes, went under. The arena doesn’t hold any games anymore and is home to those who prefer to express themselves more artistically with graffiti artwork than with a racket and ball.

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