SportsPro names the world’s most important sports venues
The World Games Stadium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan has been rated as the world’s most important sports venue by SportsPro magazine, the international monthly publication for the sports industry. With a capacity of 55,000, the stadium, built in 2009, features 8,844 solar panels, making it the largest solar panelled sports venue in the world. Designed by Toyo Ito, the stadium generates enough energy to supply 75 per cent of its power needs during an event, and when not in use powers 80 per cent of the surrounding area.
Dubai’s spectacular US$2 billion-plus Meydan Racecourse was ranked second in the list, followed by Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, London’s Wembley Stadium and Soccer City, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The list, which is published in the June edition of SportsPro magazine, is the first truly global ranking of the world’s most important sports venues. The list includes venues from 13 different countries. The USA has nine; the UK has four; and the United Arab Emirates has three. Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan each have two venues on the list. Four London venues are included, with three from New York and two each from Dubai and Indianapolis.
David Cushnan, editor of SportsPro commented: “The crucial thing to remember is that this is not a list of the best stadiums in the world; it is a ranking of the most important. We took many factors into account, including size, history, modernity and infrastructure, but we also examined the technology of each venue, as well as the versatility, originality and commercial performance.”
“The World Games Stadium might not be the largest or most-used sports venue in the world, but there can be no doubt that, thanks to the environmentally friendly way it has been designed, it is amongst the most significant and could well be a model for the next generation of stadia. That guaranteed it the number one spot, even against some of the most historic sports venues in the world – the likes of Fenway Park, Augusta, Lord’s and the Melbourne Cricket Ground – and some of the spectacular new facilities like Meydan, the Yas Marina circuit and Soccer City.”
“Ultimately, though, it’s a subjective list and we make no apologies for that. Every venue that made the list fully deserves to be there – each for very different reasons.”
The world’s most important sports venues follows
30) Las Ventas
29) Signul Iduna Park
28) Bristol Motor Speedway
27) La Bombonera
26) Ryogoku Kokugikan
25) Croke Park
24) ANZ Stadium
23) Air Canada Centre
22) Lucas Oil Stadium
21) Emirates Stadium
20) Fenway Park
19) Lord’s Cricket Ground
18) Indianapolis Motor Speedway
17) Augusta National Golf Club
16) Yankee Stadium
15) Melbourne Cricket Ground
14) Madison Square Garden
13) Camp Nou
12) Flushing Meadows
11) Dubai Sports City
10) The Bird’s Nest
9) Veltins Arena
8) Yas Marina Circuit
7) All England Club
6) Sapporo Dome
5)Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa
- The symbolic new home of African soccer
As football fans around the world prepare to migrate south this summer, South Africa is busy applying the finishing touches to what Africa hopes will be a World Cup symbolic of the continent’s acceptance onto a global sporting stage. Nowhere is this dream better realised than on the hallowed turf of Soccer City, a venue etched into South African history books as the site of Nelson Mandela’s first speech in Johannesburg following his release from prison. Designed by local architects Boogertman Urban Edge and Partners to represent an iconic calabash pot, ubiquitous across much of Africa, the 94,700 capacity stadium is undoubtedly one of the most artistic and awe-inspiring sporting arenas on the planet and a fitting venue for the 2010 Fifa World Cup final. Juxtaposed against the backdrop of the sprawling Johannesburg cityscape, Soccer City stands out from the pack as the crown jewel of the 2010 World Cup and the new home of African football.
4)Wembley Stadium, London, UK
- The rebirth of the legendary home of soccer
Fate denied Pele, one of the great sportsmen of the 20th century, the chance to play under the famous old twin towers at the original Wembley Stadium, but he spoke for many soccer fans when he said, “Wembley is the cathedral of football. It is the capital of football and it is the heart of football.” By extension, then, Norman Foster was cast as Sir Christopher Wren when the time came to rebuild this sporting St Paul’s a decade ago. Infamously, construction ran well over time and over budget, and the project came close to being scrapped more than once before completion in 2007 at a cost of UK£798 million. Since then, in spite of a temperamental playing surface and continued transport problems at major evening events, its relaunch has been a resounding commercial success. The experience for spectators is a vast improvement over that offered by its predecessor, with a retractable roof, and far superior facilities and sightlines throughout. Characterised by its 134m arch, the 90,000-seater venue has already established itself as a local landmark, and Wembley is once again a magnet for world-class events: the Uefa Champions League final will follow the NFL and a string of huge pop concerts to north-west London in 2011.
3)Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, USA
- The global benchmark for ultra-modern stadia
They tend to do things bigger in Texas, and the 80,000 seater, US$1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium is no exception. Completed in the summer of 2009, the HKS-designed home of the NFL’s
Dallas Cowboys marries scale and high technology in a manner hardly seen before. Two 91m-high arches run the length of the world’s largest domed stadium. Inside the world’s biggest column-free interior, a 49m by 22m high-definition television screen – another world record - hangs above the playing field. Over 3,000 Sony LCD TV screens are dotted around the stadium’s many hospitality suites and concourses. Giant glass doors can be opened at either end of the stadium, and the roof is retractable. Its versatility has already been in evidence, with a world record 108,718 fans watching the NBA All-Star Game in February and Manny Pacquiao defending his WBO World Welterweight boxing title against Joshua Clottey under the dome in March.
2)Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, UAE
- An architectural oasis in the desert
Officially opened at the end of March when it hosted the
Dubai World Cup, the richest race meet in the world, Meydan Racecourse is the realisation of one man’s equine dream. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the ruler of Dubai and perhaps the biggest investor in horse racing the sport will ever see. Some estimates put the price of his gigantic new venue at US$2 billion. Covering 7.5 million square metres, the racecourse development comprises two tracks as well as an 18-hole golf course. The centrepiece is the glittering new 60,000 capacity grandstand. The distinctive wing-shaped building, which spans a full 1.6 kilometres making it by far the world’s largest grandstand, holds a five-star hotel, six haute cuisine restaurants, an IMAX theatre, a racing museum, a 10,000 capacity covered car park as well as state of the art breeding and training facilities, not to mention a marina. It also boasts the world’s longest LED screen. As part of a wider city development, the place is simply awe-inspiring. Champion jockey Frankie Dettori’s verdict when he rode there in a warm up race in January? “It’s like Old Trafford, the Emirates and Wembley all rolled into one. When they turn the lights on it looks like a spaceship from Star Wars.”
1)World Games Stadium, Koashiung, Taiwan
- The world’s largest solar stadium
Purpose-built for the 2009 competition from which it takes its name, the World Games Stadium in Kaohsiung, with a capacity of 55,000, is the largest stadium in Taiwan. An impressive accolade that may be, but the venue’s importance lies not in its size but on its roof. There, on top of a dragon-inspired, semi-spiral shaped 14,155 square metre structure, are fitted 8,844 solar panels, making it the largest solar panelled stadium in the world. Built at a cost of US$150 million and designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito, the stadium generates enough energy to supply 75 per cent of its power needs during events. The stadium’s role when nothing is being held there is perhaps even more important. Scientific estimates suggest it could generate 1.14 gigawatt hours of electricity every year, enough to power up to 80 per cent of the surrounding neighbourhood. In eco terms, that equates to a reduction of 660 tons of annual carbon dioxide output from the Kaohsiung region. The stadium’s green credentials are enhanced still further by the fact that all the raw materials used in its construction are not only Taiwanese, but 100 per cent re-usable.
Evaluations of the other 25 venues included in the list feature in the June edition of SportsPro magazine, which is available now.
For more information, contact David Cushnan via email: [email protected]
About SportsPro Media
SportsPro Media comprises SportsPro magazine, www.sportspromedia.com and the SportsPro Daily Deal e-newsletter.
SportsPro is the international monthly magazine for the business of sport. It focuses on sponsorship and financing as well as marketing and management across the world’s top sports.
SportsPro features the sports industry’s top executives and features events, deals and venues as well as exclusive reports, sponsorship reviews and industry insights. It is distributed to 15,000+ senior executives every issue.
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