The Craziest Sports Venues Around

Sporting is a multi-billion dollar industry that the masses simply can't get enough of. People, absolute love spending literally billions of dollars on their favorite sports but it doesn't just stop at the stadium anymore. If you look at teams like the New York Yankees and Manchester United, they have completely turned their teams into brands and complete lifestyles really. It's the elevation of sporting that brought this industry to where it is today and has allowed some of the biggest teams in professional sport to construct some of the most ridiculous stadiums, suites for their guests, and dressing rooms for their prized players. It is in this list that we will explore the most ridiculous things that all your hard earned money has gone to purchase for the teams and their fans.

Coyboys Stadium

cowboys stadium

The people at HKS Architects in Dallas have just unveiled their absolutely insane new stadium for the Cowboys. Cowboys Stadium seats 80,000 people but has had 105,121 people in it with expanded seating which is a few people but it's true beauty lies in the design and flourish of the stadium. This is basically the pinnacle of the American football stadium construction and it lets it be known. The design manages to be absolutely beautiful with literally tonnes of glass and state of the art design while still retaining its insanely high testosterone levels inside. Either end of the stadium is adorned with a massive glass door that admits views in and out of the stadium and allows for a whole lot of natural light to get in.

cowboys stadium 2

Beyond all the steel and glass lies Cowboys Stadium's famed television. It's not a jumbotron 5000 or anything, it's basically the exact same LCD TV hanging above your fireplace at home, but like forty times bigger. The two center hung LCD's are now the biggest in the world at 160 by 72 feet and are actually capable of outputting full 1080p high definition. Technically, it has 2,432 pixels wide and 1,088 high ranking it up there into 1080p territory. Because each pixel is made up of four LED's Mitsubishi's patented "Dynamic Pixel" Technology allows it to borrow the corner LED's from the four neighboring pixel clusters allowing for a much cleaner and crisper image. Obviously, somebody who has access to the video inputs of these massive TV's is a gamer because there is some hilarious video of them playing Halo on the monster screen.

Allianz Arena

allianz arena

Allianz Arena is a personal favorite of mine because I have actually stood in its presence. Earlier this year when I was in Munich, it was suggested that I go check it out at night because it would make for good pictures. I have to say that standing in front of the Allianz Arena is an absolutely incredible experience. Being inside it with 70,000 other screaming FC Bayern München fans is one thing but this stadium is special because of what it looks like outside. Its shell is made up of 2,874 ETFE-foil air panels that are filled with dry air giving it that puffy look.

allianz arena 3

The panels appear to be white from a distance but are actually transparent and covered with white dots. This enables the each panel to be changed to either red, white or blue to support whichever team happens to be playing at home that night. When the stadium is all lit up it is a sight to behold and is really quite beautiful. I have to hand it to Herzog & de Meuron for their flagship building.

The Vancouver Canucks' Dressing Room

canucks locker room

The Vancouver Canucks play in a sold out GM place for every single game. The stadium was built in 1995 and seats just 18,810 people so there's really no state of the art numbers or facts to accompany it, but they have just finished building the most incredible locker room for the players. There are two giant fogged glass doors bearing the team's logo that slide open like on the Enterprise. You wonder if mere mortals are allowed to enter. Once you step in, you see that the room is an oval so that nobody has any corners to hide in and the coaches can stand right in the middle and eye down players without a problem. The Jerseys are hung above dark wood benches where the players get dressed for the game.

locker room canucks

The whiteboard has been replaced with a giant video screen the coaches can draw plays on. There are state of the art exercise facilities, a ridiculous medical room, and even bathrooms that look like a spa's. Each player can shower after a game and shave at one of the many sinks in the bathroom. After, they can take a breather in one of the lounges with white leather couches and watch the game highlights on the giant televisions, or check their email on any number of computers provided for them. The boys would quite literally never have to leave the dressing room if they didn't want to, and who would with digs like this? Bet you never thought you'd see a hockey team's dressing room in a list with the Allianz Arena.

Wembley Stadium

wembley 1

London's new Wembley Stadium was, at the time it was built, the most expensive sports arena in the world. When it had been completed and finally opened in 2007, the bill was an absolutely staggering 800 million pounds, which works out to roughly 1.57 billion American dollars. The stadium is home to many high profile soccer and rugby games, as well as some of the biggest concerts in the world. Some of the live earth concerts took place here on July 7th of 2007 that were viewed by over 8 million people around the world. The stadium was designed by architects Foster + Partners and its signature feature is a massive circular section lattice arch. It spans an incredible 315m, is mounted at 22° off of straight to support the entire weight of the north roof and 60% of the weight of the retracting roof.

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What really blows my mind more than anything else about this stadium is how the hell it cost as much as it does. When you're inside, it looks just like any other stadium. There are still plenty of trusses supporting the roof that hinder your view of the overhead jumbotron and the field still looks pretty far away when you're up on the top shelf, I just don't understand why this stadium is so special. Granted, it looks kind of like the suspension bridge of stadiums but for 1.5 billion dollars, I would be pretty upset if this is what I got.

Torino Palavela

Palazzo a vela

Turin updated the incredible Palazzo a vela for their kick at the winter Olympics in 2006 and turned it into the Torino Palavela. Originally built in 1961, engineers and architects were faced with the challenge of renovating the structure to meet today's Olympic standards and seat thousands of people. What the team of architects, led by Gae Aulenti, effectively ended up doing was building a building within a building. I know, that's a lot of buildings.

Palazzo a vela 2

They created a giant sail structure in the middle of three concrete arches set at 60 degrees to cover the building completely and give it a completely new look. The Palazzo is now capable of seating 10,000 people and is really quite versatile in that it can necessitate many different types of events and that it can even still be expanded if needed in the future. What is really incredible about this venue is the fact that it was completely updated to be one of the worlds more striking arenas from an old, and rather boring arena if I don't say so myself.

The University of Phoenix Stadium

uop stadium

The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona is the first professional sports facility to have a retractable roof… and a retractable grass field. That can't be right. Seriously, this stadium has a field it can roll in and out on a very specially designed tray so that real grass can be played on and the field can be quickly converted to necessitate any number of other playing surfaces. Let's get into some details about this unbelievable slide out field. The tray the field resides in weighs 12 million pounds, is 234 feet wide and 400 feet long and it takes about 45 minutes to roll it in or out of the stadium. It reminds me of the trucks that NASA uses to transport its engines. Not only does this make it incredibly convenient for multiple sporting events, but it also nearly eliminates humidity problems caused by keeping grass alive inside and is supposed to decrease the costs of maintaining the field indoors by $50 million. The stadium is a giant collaboration between the famous Peter Eisenman and HOK.

uop stadium from space

It cost a mere $355 million to build, takes up 160 acres and seats 63,000 people. Everything about the stadium was built with the unusually arid climate in mind. It has a state of the art metal skin that allows for more desirable temperatures and natural light to enter inside due to open-air gaps in between the panels. The sliding fabric roof provides an open air feel even when it is closed and makes a truly unique experience for all 63,000 people in the stadium.

Ski Dubai

ski dubai

Dubai is becoming an oasis in the middle of a huge desert. Still, the last thing you would expect to see there is a ski hill. Leave it to the East's richest princes to attempt the impossible. This is an incredible example of a ridiculous sporting venue. The resort is absolutely insane taking up 32,290 square feet of winter wonderland. It has five downhill ski runs with various difficulties, a cross-country trail, and a quarter pipe for snowboarders. Of course, all this skiing requires chair lifts so they have those too. It is right next to the mall of the emirates so you can do your shopping, then hit the slopes feeling like an absolute spoiled brat. It also has the world's largest indoor snow park at 9,842 square feet that features tobogganing hills, a bobsled track with two side by side tracks, a snowball fight gallery and even a little cavern to get lost in and pretend you're in the mountains of Afghanistan struggling to survive. The good news is, you're not, you're in the emirates and they want you to spend lots of money here because it cost them $275 million to grow this snow land.

dubai ski

The temperature outside in Dubai ranges from 60 to 135 degrees but they manage to keep the ski hill at a constant 28 degrees. The whole building is designed as a giant fridge and uses many of the same technologies. The walls are insulated with many layers and have 23 blast coolers that are constantly adjusting the temperature. There is a two-foot base of packed snow underneath a crisp and beautiful layer of powder replenished nightly. They blast out chemical-free water through an incredible chilling machine and it's absolutely vomited out of snow cannons; the water crystallizes and forms snow before it ever touches the frozen ground. Leave it to Dubai to take ridiculous sports venues to the next level.

Beijing Water Cube

water cube

China really overdid it with their Olympic buildings last year. Obviously, we'll get to the bird's nest in a bit, but first we absolutely have to talk about their stunning so called "Water Cube" or National Aquatics Center, which is a much more boring name so I won't be referring to it as that again. The Water Cube is an absolutely striking building constructed of lightweight Teflon that provides an incredible green house like effect inside the building. This allows for incredibly efficient operation of the building. They didn't stop there though; the building also uses solar energy to heat the pools, which even reuse the backwashed pool water using a double-filtered technique, water that would normally be thrown out. Rain water is even collected and stored to fill the pools.

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The bubble like shell that houses the pools was developed at Dublin's Trinity University due to extensive studies on the structural properties of soap bubbles. It is said to be able to withstand any degree of seismic activity and is at the cutting edge of modern architecture. This is really an incredible accomplishment of efficiency and engineering and they have spared absolutely nothing to create this incredible building.

The Birds Nest Stadium

bird's nest 2

Perhaps even more iconic of the Beijing Olympics is the Herzog & de Meuron masterpiece, the Beijing National Stadium, or Bird's Nest as it was called. It took only four and a half years to build and cost just $423 million, peanuts when you look at Wembley. The design of the arena was actually bidded upon which I found quite weird; a little democracy in a communist country. Anyways, the people picked the nest design and it became a symbol of not only the Olympics but China as well.

bird's nest 3

There are actually two different structures that go into the creation of this stadium. There is the red bowl that houses the playing area and seating, and the intricate and beautiful exoskeleton that supports it all. The Bird's Nest goes in the list not because it is the biggest or the most beautiful, but because it has managed to create an image, a feeling or a state of mind, for all of China, even if that's really just brainwashing people into nationalism.

The Azadi Stadium

azadi tehran

Tehran, Iran has one of my personal favorite stadiums in the world. One that might not get as much coverage as you would normally get for a marvel of this caliber due to our, how do I put this lightly, tension with their so called President. The Azadi was built in 1971 by the then Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and succeeded miraculously at creating not only a place for Iranians to play soccer, but an attitude. It's iconic design is timeless and brought the Iranian people together by creating a very imposing feeling.


It's been said that the Azadi is not just a stadium it's an attitude. In fact, famous Iranian soccer player Javad Nekounam famously warned the South Korean player Park Ji-sung that he had never felt anything like playing in the Azadi. He claimed the 100,000 screaming men has to be felt to be believed. I can't imagine playing in the stadium let alone being a member of the crowd. In addition to the incredible atmosphere the stadium is capable of producing, it is also a marvel of architecture and absolutely stunning. It is a timeless design and one that provided an identity to Tehran's people shortly before their revolution.