In 1939, a movement began. A movement to build a stadium in Akron, Ohio when Akron Beacon Journal sports editor James Schlemmer and Akron Municipal Airport director Bain Fulton started a campaign, raising funds by asking the club’s patrons to donate $1 each! From this humble fundraising effort, a stadium was built and opened in 1940. Between 1940 and 2008, the Rubber Bowl was the home of the Akron Zips football team, which belonged to a school in NE Ohio. With a capacity of 35,000, the stadium hosted concerts, professional football games, high school football games and a number of other events.
In 2009, sadly, the Akron Zips moved to InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, which was to become their new home! But let’s be real – it’s just not the same! Since then, the stadium has been vacant, occasionally hosting high school football games. Initially, after a company acquired the stadium, there were plans to overhaul it and base it as the home for a professional football team. But in 2017, the stadium was condemned, with partial demolition commencing in June 2018. Fun fact: the Rubber Bowl had hosted Bon Jovi, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and others!
Chicago Stadium (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Between 1929 and 1994, “The Madhouse on Madison”, as it was colloquially known by Chicago natives, was one of the most famous indoor arenas in Illinois. The home of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks and the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls, the stadium had a capacity of roughly 18,000. If you’re wondering why the “Madhouse” nickname, well, there's a very good reason for that – it was in fact due to the rowdy crowds which would pack into the arena every evening. “The Loudest Arena in the NBA”, in 1971 during the Stanley Cup semi-finals, announcer Dan Kelly reported “I can feel our booth shaking! That’s the kind of place Chicago Stadium is right now!” Yah, that loud.
But sadly, the raucous barn-shaped arena ultimately would be demolished. After the Blackhawks and Bulls moved to the United Center, the stadium had to go, and made way for… a parking lot. At the time, the demolition attracted media attention – CNN even televised its demolition, showing devoted fans crying as the wrecking ball took down their beloved stadium. Ah well, out with the old and in with the new!
Giants Stadium (New York, USA)
Between 1976 and 2010, the Giants Stadium, also known as “The Swamp”, hosted a plethora of sporting events and concerts. The home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets, it held a whopping 80,000+ spectators! 756 feet long and 592 feet wide, it reached up as high as 178 feet! For the Giants, the stadium proved to be a lucky charm of sorts – for the New York Jets, however, it was a different story. It was also home to the New York Cosmos, a professional soccer team, which saw its peak attendance reached in the 70s.
But as of 2009, the Giants Stadium was closed. Why? Well, because the bigger and better MetLife stadium was constructed, just 20 feet away. In 2010, the stadium held its final event, where the Jets took on the Cincinnati Bengals. A month after, demolition began. Since then, both the Giants and Jets moved over to MetLife Stadium, and the former Giants Stadium became a parking lot. It’s kinda sad that such an iconic stadium had to go, but it seems that such is the way of the world.
Maple Leaf Gardens (Toronto, Canada)
The historic building which has seen some of the greatest hockey matches on ice, ever, is none other than the Maple Leaf Gardens. Considered one of the “cathedrals” of the game, it was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League from 1931 to 1999. Fun fact: it was one of the few venues outside of the United States where Elvis Presley performed in concert, back in 1957! Over the years its housed many teams and held many fans, as well as hosting game 2 of the world-famous Summit Series where Team Canada faced off against the USSR!
In 1999, Maple Leaf Gardens closed, when the NHL’s Maple Leafs moved to the Air Canada Centre and was sadly left alone for a number of years. However, in 2011, it was reopened to the public, though there seemed to be more foodies than hockey fans – due to the reopening constituting the installation of a retail center and eateries! At least this wasn’t an abandoned waste of money!
Stadion Za Lužánkami (Brno, Czech Republic)
Currently inactive, and clearly overcome with weeds, the Stadion Za Lužánkami was in fact built back in the 1950s, used for football, and acted as the home ground of FC Zbrojovka Brno. During the 60s and 70s, the 50,000 pax stadium was the biggest in Czechslovakia! In 2001 however, the stadium was closed after 1. FC Brno moved to a new home. According to FIFA criteria, the stadium was no longer suitable, and the club was thus, forced to move.
Sitting idle, there were plans to renovate the stadium and see the possible return of the much-loved football club. In 2012 however, it was announced that funds were lacking – as a result, these financial concerns put the reconstruction plans on hold. The stadium fell further into disrepair. That was until FC Zbrojovka Brno captain Petr Švancara, took things into his own hands, and via crowdfunding, managed to restore the stadium so that he could play a farewell game! Due to the success, the FC’s youth team train at the stadium – apparently there are concrete plans for a massive $48 million US overhaul. So this one; not such a sad, lonely story after all!