China Is Full Of Stunning State-Of-The-Art Sports Stadiums That Never Get Used

Beijing National Satidum

Photo: Edwin Lee/Flickr

The stadium-building frenzy that took over China in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics hasn’t stopped.The glitzy new Shanghai Oriental Sports centre opened earlier this summer, and more venues are currently under construction in cities and towns across the country.

But these stadiums have one little problem: no one uses them.

China’s domestic sports scene is still in its infancy — with basketball and a corruption-hit soccer league the only viable organisations.

That means many of these spectacular-looking, expensively-built monuments sit empty until they lure big international competitions to town once or twice a year.

National Stadium in Beijing is primarily a tourist attraction

The Bird's Nest is one of the most iconic buildings of the 21st century.

After it was centre stage during the Olympics, it's fallen into relative disuse.

The 91,000-seat venue is now a tourist trap where visitors pay $7 to enter the souvenir shop.

The local soccer team doesn't play there, and the only events it holds are sporadic concerts or exhibition games.

Source: NYT

They turned it into an amusement park called Happy Ice and Snow Season in 2010

But the exterior is still stunning

The 'Water Cube' has been turned into a water park

Granted, most large swimming venues struggle to attract tenants when big international races aren't in town.

The Cube now offers tours and serves as a water park.

Source: NYT

It also holds concert light shows

Shanghai International Circuit is a world-class Formula One track

260,000 people showed up to the inaugural China Grand Prix in 2004. But that has plummeted over the years, and only 150,000 attended the race in 2010.

The race is the one notable event held at the track annually. It sits empty the rest of the year.

Source: Reuters

An impressive grandstand, but empty

There are even rumours that the local government bused in fans to fill the stands at the last Grand Prix

Source: Girl Racer

Guangdong Stadium was part of a handful of stadiums built for the 2010 Asia Games

Gaunghzou saw a massive stadium boom in the lead up to the 2010 Asia Games.

Guangdong Stadium is now without a tenant, at great expense.

Source: Global Times

Stunning, but largely unused

Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena hosts one tennis tournament a year

The stadium hosts one ATP tournament a year -- the ATP Masters.

That's fine if you're hosting Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.

But building a stadium just so you can host a second-tier event for one week a year? That shows you just how dedicated the Chinese government is to building world-class venues.

Source: Global Times

It has a retractable roof, despite the fact that it hosts just one tournament

Bao'an Stadium in Shenzhen is all bamboo

It was built specifically for an obscure international competition called the Universiade this summer.

It now has no tenant.

Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre is the newest venue

The Water Cube is now second-fiddle as far as Chinese aquatics venues go.

The complex has an 18,000-seat indoor pool, a 5,000-seat indoor pool, and a 5,000-seat outdoor pool.

It hosted the FINA Swimming Championships this summer.

The only upcoming event listed on its website is a figure skating show next month

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