The defining aspect of any sport is its location. Capacity of a particular location isn’t the only deciding factor; historical and cultural significance, passion for the sport and atmosphere play a role as well. The following venues have been listed along the same lines.
Wembley Stadium, England
The original Wembley stadium was constructed way back in 1923. But it was demolished in 2003 and in another 4 years, a World Class stadium with a capacity of 90,000 was built in its place. This architectural masterpiece is the second largest stadium in Europe. One of its distinct features is a partially retractable roof at a height of 134m. All home matches of the England Football Team are held here. Annually, it also holds the FA Cup Final and the FA Community Shield. Recently, it hosted the 2011 and 2013 Champions League Final.
Maracana Stadium, Brazil
Regarded as the “temple” of football, this is where players become legends. The Maracana was the site of Brazil’s heart breaking 2-1 loss in the 1950 FIFA World Cup final. Recently, it has also been decided that the stadium will be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The stadium holds all the major football matches, Cup finals and also rock concerts and Catholic Masses. It is the home of Rio’s most famous soccer teams: Flamengo and Fluminese.
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia
MCG is one of the largest and most iconic venue. It has been the home of the Melbourne Cricket Club since 1853. This ground has the distinction of holding the first Test Match (1877) and the first One-day International (1971) in history. Another record that the MCG has secured is the setting up of the world’s tallest floodlights. Over the years, the stadium has hosted various international rock concerts including those of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, U2 and the late Michael Jackson. After a series of renovations, it can now accommodate almost 100,000 spectators.
Century Link Field, USA
Built in 2 years, the Century Link Field has been the home of National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders. The stadium has been specifically built to amplify sound. At one time, the stadium held the record for the loudest roar ever made by an audience – 137.6 dB (Overtaken by Kansas City’s Arrowhead stadium – 142.2 dB). It has a capacity of approximately 70,000. Seattle Sounders began to use the stadium for home games from 2003.
Nou Camp, Spain
Since 1957, FC Barcelona has called Nou Camp its home. It’s Europe’s largest stadium with a seating capacity of almost 100,000. The stadium offers a unique experience for all football fans. During match day, the stadium rings with the Barca hymn (Bar-ca! Bar-ca! Barrrrrrr-ccccccca!) and is covered with blood red and yellow flags- the colour of the Catalan flag. Nou Camp has witnessed various sensational victories by the Barcelona team.
Monaco Circuit, Monaco
The first grand prix was held here in 1929. The circuit runs through the streets of Monte Carlo. There is a section that passes along the harbour front which is an added attraction. It has virtually no rivals when it comes to glamour. But, the Monaco circuit has numerous tight corners and curves. The roads are comparatively narrower, making it one of the most testing tracks of Formula One. Along with the Monaco Grand Prix held annually, the circuit also holds F2, Formula 3000 and GP2.
Fenway Park, USA
An unlikely location among these prestigious places, Fenway Park is well known for its historicity and its place in baseball. In fact, it’s known as the home of Major League Baseball. It is the oldest ball park in the Major League, having opened in 1912 and has also been the home of Boston Red Sox since then. The seats are cramped and tickets are very expensive. It can accommodate only 40,000, but has been considered a ‘shrine’ by many players. In its centennial year (2012), Fenway Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Wimbledon Stadium, England
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club or more commonly, the Wimbledon Stadium has been the venue for the oldest tennis tournament of all time. It is spread across 42 acres of land and has 19 grass, 5 red shale, 1 American clay, 3 Continental clay, 5 indoor and 20 practice courts. About 450,000 spectators visit the stadium every year to witness the Wimbledon Championship. It also houses a museum which contains memorabilia dating back to 1555. But when it comes to membership, it’s selective. As of now, it has only 400 members.
Augusta National Golf Club, USA
It is considered one of the most prestigious locations in world Golf. Since its opening in 1933, the course has held the Masters Tournament annually. But what draws more attention than the 7500 yards of grass is its exclusivity and archaic rules. For example, Afro-Americans weren’t allowed to join the club until 1990. Women were allowed to be members only 3 years back. Nevertheless, it has been ranked first among all the golf courses in America.
Twickenham Stadium, England
It is the largest stadium in the country devoted to the sport of rugby union. “Cabbage Patch” is a name that has stuck to it since its construction as the ground was used to grow cabbages. The first game was played in 1909. It has also hosted numerous concerts in the past. Some of the stars to have performed include Rihanna, Iron Maiden, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi etc. The common belief is that every Rugby fan in England has a Twickenham memory – such is its historical significance.
MGM Grand Garden Arena, USA
This versatile arena was recently in news for being the host for the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao boxing super fight. With a capacity of 16,800, the MGM Garden Arena was opened in Nevada in the year1993. It is capable of holding indoor soccer games, volleyball games, basketball matches and music concerts. Elton John, Cher and Britney Spears are few of the celebrities to have used the arena. Most notably, it hosts the Billboard Music Award every year.
The Bird’s Nest, China
Officially, it is known as The Beijing National Stadium. It is the world’s largest steel structure and the most complex stadium ever constructed. After serving as the main stadium for the 2008 Olympics, it was opened as a tourist attraction. Currently, it also hosts international and domestic events. It’s affectionately called The Bird’s Nest because the steel structure has been shaped in such a way that it resembles a nest. The stadium is covered with a unique kind of membrane which is rain proof; however, the membrane is translucent. This enhances lighting and diminishes glare. The stadium has been designed to withstand earthquakes.
Old Trafford, England
Nicknamed the “Theatre of Dreams”, it has been the home of Manchester United since 1910. It has a capacity of 75,000 and has a five star UEFA rating. Old Trafford guarantees a breath-taking environment for a football fan, especially on match days. It has undergone several expansions in the 1990s and its current expansion plan projects a capacity of 90,000. Various FA Cup Semi Finals and Rugby League matches have been held here apart from the home matches of Manchester United. 2003 Champions League Final was held in this stadium.
Cheltenham Racecourse, England
The Cheltenham Race course, which has a capacity of 67,500, is in Gloucestershire, England. A distinct feature is that it has its own railway station. The Racecourse as a whole is divided into two – Old Course and New Course. The latter is considered more challenging for horse riders because of tricky downhill fences and longer run in for steeplechases. It is also the home of the The Centaur which is considered the largest auditoria in South West England.
Crucible Theatre, England
Located in Sheffield, The Crucible Theatre jumped to prominence after it became the host of the most prestigious event in snooker, the World Championship. It may seat only a few but it guarantees an intimate environment with the performer or the snooker ball. The versatility of the theatre is a defining aspect as it can adapt dance and musical performances and classical and modern theatre. It is also capable of hosting Squash tournaments.