9 iconic stadiums across the world that no longer exist

AP Photo/Pat SullivanFrom London’s Wembley Stadium to the Pontiac Silverdome, some legendary stadiums look drastically different than they did when they first opened.
  • A good stadium can make or break a sporting event, which is why the best arenas are so well known to fans around the world.
  • But some formerly legendary arenas that once represented the peak of advancement have since slipped into oblivion and, in some cases, been demolished.
  • Check out these stadiums’ stunning transformations from relevance and fame to obscurity and dilapidation.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sporting events are about so much more than what happens on the field or court, and that’s why the best arenas are so well known to fans around the world.

But some formerly legendary arenas that once represented the peak of advancement have since slipped into oblivion. Legendary venues like the Pontiac Silverdome, once home to the Detroit Tigers and host of Super Bowl XVI, Wembley Stadium, which once hosted the Olympics and the World Cup, and the Houston Astrodome, the stadium that many Houston sports franchises called home, look very different than they did during their prime.

Check out these stadiums’ stunning transformations from relevance and fame to oblivion and, in some cases, disintegration:

Foxboro Stadium

Foxboro Stadium was constructed for a mere $US6.7 million and officially became home to the New England Patriots in 1971.

AP Photo

Source: AP

Many noteworthy Patriot games took place at the iconic stadium, but perhaps the most notable is the team’s final showing at Foxboro.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Known now as the “Tuck Rule” game, the snowy 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Patriots and the Oakland Raiders hinged on an apparent fumble that was reversed due Tom Brady’s arm “moving forward” at the time he lost the football. New England went on to win 16-13 in overtime.

Arthur Anderson/Getty Images

Foxboro Stadium hosted some impressive sporting events outside of football as well. The arena was the site of multiple World Cup games, including the one in which Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona scored his final World Cup goal.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

And beyond the world of sports, music icons from Madonna and Elton John to Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Mick Jagger performed at Foxboro Stadium.

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

By the 1990s, Foxboro Stadium had become obsolete relative to newer, more high-tech stadiums across the country. After the completion of the 2001 postseason, Foxboro was demolished and replaced by Gillette Stadium.

Stew Milne/AP

Pontiac Silverdome

Tom Pidgeon/Allsport

The Pontiac Silverdome was once one of the greatest arenas in professional sports.

Tom Pidgeon/Allsport

After opening in 1975, the Pontiac Silverdome became the home of the Detroit Lions. It was the largest stadium in the NFL for 22 years.

Tom Pidgeon/Allsport

Source: MLive.com

From 1978 to 1988, the Silverdome was also home to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.

Icon Sportswire

Source: MLive.com

The arena played host to Super Bowl XVI in 1982.

George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 and celebrated by carrying head coach Bill Walsh off the field.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

With the Lions’ move to Ford Field in 2002, the Silverdome lost its major tenant and all of its former glory.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Source: MLive.com

The stadium — which once played host to the World Cup, the Pope, and Wrestlemania — officially closed in 2006.

Source: MLive.com

The city sold the abandoned stadium to a Toronto-based Triple Investment Group for $US583,000 (less than 1% of the original cost to build the facility) in 2009. The arena reopened in 2010.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Source: MLive.com

Just three years later, disaster struck when a winter storm caused the roof of the arena to cave in, leaving the entire venue in tatters.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File

After the new owners failed to sell the dome for $US30 million, the city demolished the once-great arena in 2017.

Wembley Stadium

One of the most legendary stadiums in all of Europe, Wembley Stadium opened in London in 1923.

AP Photo

The arena was home to the 1948 Summer Olympics.

AP Photo

The stadium was also where captain Bobby Moore and the England squad defeated Germany to win its first and only World Cup in 1966.

AP Photo

And Queen, The Who, U2, David Bowie, and others performed at Wembley Stadium during the legendary Live Aid benefit concert in 1985.

Brendan Monks/Daily Mirror/MirrorpixGetty Images

The stadium was crumbling by the time it closed in 2000, and it was demolished three years later.

AP Photo/Alastair Grant

The new Wembley Stadium opened in its place in 2007.

AP Photo/Lewis Whyld

Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium — another beloved Detroit-area arena — fell from grace at the turn of the century.

Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport

Located in the Corktown neighbourhood of Detroit, the stadium first opened in 1912 as Navin Field.

Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Source: ESPN

Primarly known as home to the Detroit Tigers from 1912 to 1999, Tiger Stadium was also home to the Detroit Lions for 34 years.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Source: ESPN,Detroit Athletic Co.

The stadium hosted the 1941, 1951 and 1971 MLB All-Star Games.

Mitchell Layton/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It was also where New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig famously benched himself during what would be the final game of his career due to his progressive ALS — a disease now known by his name.

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

Source: SBNation

By the mid-1990s, Tiger Stadium had grown outdated, so the team began constructing a new stadium in 1997. The Tigers played their final season in the much-beloved ballpark two years later.

Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

Source: MLB.com

After efforts to preserve the stadium were rejected by the city, Tiger Stadium was demolished in a years-long process.

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Source: ESPN

The demolition was completed in 2009.

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Source: ESPN

Now all that remains is the original field.

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Houston Astrodome

The Houston Astrodrome — the world’s first dome stadium — was so famous and legendary that it was dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

The dome was home to the MLB’s Houston Astros from its opening in 1965 to 1999.

Sport/Getty Images

Source: Ballparksofbaseball.com

It was also home to the NFL’s Houston Oilers — now the Tennessee Titans — and, more briefly, the NBA’s Houston Rockets.


Source: Ballparksofbaseball.com

Though the stadium was known for hosting baseball, basketball, and football games, many legendary events outside of those sports took place inside the dome.

REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Tennis great Billie Jean King famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the battle of the sexes at the Astrodome in 1973.

Photo by ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images

And three-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali knocked out Cleveland Williams there in 1966.

Bettmann / Contributor

Even Elvis Presley performed at the Astrodome. He gave a series of performances there in 1970.

Bettmann / Getty Images

Source: Chron.com

The Astrodome was closed after being cited for code violations in 2008.

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File

Source: Chron.com

And ever since, the interior has deteriorated.

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

The turnstiles were quite literally bent out of shape.

Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

And the once bright-red seats became dirty and tattered.

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Still, many people felt connected to the once-legendary arena, and plans to refurbish the Astrodome cropped up soon after it closed.

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

In 2013, Houston voters opted against allocating $US217 million to turn the stadium into a giant convention centre and exhibition space.

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Source: ABC13

In 2018, the Harris County commissioners finally approved a $US105 million project to renovate the Astrodome into more than 500,000 square feet of rentable space.

Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Source: Houston Business Journal

Washington Coliseum

The Washington Coliseum — otherwise known as Uline Arena — was home to professional basketball teams of multiple leagues, including the Washington Capitols of the NBA.

Matt McClain For The Washington Post via Getty Images

But the arena was more famous for hosting events outside of the sports world.

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

Eleanor Roosevelt once hosted a party for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the famed venue.

Thomas D. Mcavoy/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Malcolm X once gave a speech there.

Richard Saunders/Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

And, most famously, The Beatles performed their first-ever North American concert there.

Rowland Scherman/Getty Images

They played for 8,092 adoring fans at a sold-out Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964, just two days after their famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Keystone/Getty Images

Source: Ultimateclassicrock.com

After a riot broke out during a 1967 performance by The Temptations forced the venue to stop hosting concerts, things went downhill for the Coliseum. For a time, the arena acted as a jail. It was also once a trash transfer station. By 2011, it had become a parking garage and has since been transformed into office spaces.

Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Source: DC Curbed

An REI store now sits in the Coliseum’s former location. They have preserved a few original seats from the famous arena as a wall decoration.

Jared Soares for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Source: Greater Greater Washington

Miami Marine Stadium

Miami Marine Stadium was constructed on Virginia Key in 1963.

Alan Band/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Source: Miami Herald

It was intended to host crowds during powerboat races, but became famous after hosting concerts and events with the likes of Richard Nixon and Sammy Davis Jr.

Bettmann / Getty Images

In September 1992, just a month after Hurricane Andrew ravaged Florida, the structure was deemed unsafe and subsequently closed down.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Source: Miami Herald

The stadium was slated to be demolished by the city as graffiti built up on its walls.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Source: Miami Herald

But famous artists Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Buffett, and others teamed up to try to save the historic site.

John Parra/Getty Images

And as of 2018, the City of Miami committed $US42 million to clean up the stadium and establish a park around it.

John Parra/Getty Images

Source: The Chronicle

Candlestick Park

Candlestick Park was first proposed as the stadium for the MLB’s New York Giants, who were planning to move to the West Coast.

AP Photo/Clarence Hamm

Source: Stadiums of Pro Football

Construction of the 45,000-seat stadium began in August 1958.

AP Photo/Ernest K. Bennett

Source: Stadiums of Pro Football

And, when all was said and done, the ball park cost $US15 million to complete.


Source: Stadiums of Pro Football

The newly-minted San Francisco Giants played their first game there in April 1960.


The Oakland Raiders — then a part of the American Football League — played part of the 1960 and 1961 season at Candlestick Park.

AP Photo/Robert Houston

The San Francisco 49ers moved in from Kezar Stadium for the 1971 season and made Candlestick Park their home stadium for more than 40 years.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Source: Stadiums of Pro Football

Over the years, the arena was home to five Super Bowl Champion teams and multiple Hall of Fame players, including wide receiver Jerry Rice and quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Source: Stadiums of Pro Football

The Giants moved out of Candlestick Park after the 1999 MLB season. At the time of their final home game, it was unclear whether the team would relocate to Florida or to a different stadium in the Bay Area. They chose the latter.

AP Photo/John Burgess

The 49ers stayed at “The Stick” for another 13 years, playing their final home game there in December 2013.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Source: Stadiums of Pro Football

Paul McCartney played one last show at the once-modern arena in front of a crowd of 49,000 on August 14, 2014.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Construction crews began the stadium’s demolition less than a year later.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Rather than using wrecking balls or dynamite, construction crews demolished the stadium piece by piece.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

And soon enough, the stadium was gone. The plot of land was meant to become a shopping mall, but work was suspended midway through 2018.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: NAI Northern California

Arsenal Stadium

Known colloquially as Highbury thanks to its location in Highbury, London, Arsenal Stadium was home to Arsenal Football Club from 1913 to 2006.

AP Photo/H. Tyn

But the stadium was far more than just the “Home of Football.” It hosted some cricket and baseball games as well as Henry Cooper and Muhammad Ali’s fight for the 1966 World Heavyweight boxing title.

AP Photo

The stadium was on its last legs when it finally closed in 2006. The lot has since been converted into an apartment complex, while the soccer club has moved to Emirates Stadium in Holloway, London.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Now check out college football fans’ favourite stadiums:

Tyler Smith/Getty Images

The 25 best college football stadiums according to fans

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