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25 Weird Sports Venues

by: Esteban On  Friday, October 11, 2013

weird unusual sports venues

Yesterday some pretty awesome college football news leaked. In 2016, an anonymous source confirmed, the University of Tennessee Volunteers would play the Virginia Tech Hokies at one of the most awesome sports venues in America: the Bristol Motor Speedway.

Now, in case you’re not familiar with the Bristol Motor Speedway, it’s located in the eponymous town of Bristol in northeastern Tennesse, where the state butts up against the far southwestern reaches of Virginia. It’s what they call a “short track” venue, with the track measuring just half a mile long. (By comparison, Daytona is 2.5 miles long.) And because of this short length, it’s one of the only venues in NASCAR that is actually a stadium…that seats 160,000 fans. So you know what that means, right? When the Vols and Hokies play there in a couple years, it’s going to shatter the record for largest attendance at a football game, which is 1115,109 and was set at Michigan’s Big House this past September.

Of course, even if by some miracle this game does not set the all-time football attendance record, it’s still going to be awesome because of the unique venue. And today, in honor of the announcement, we’re going to take a look at 25 other weird venues that sporting events have been held in throughout the years.

Ready to take a look?


25. Veltins-Arena (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)

23 usa vs germany iihf world championships at Veltins-Arena - weird sports venues

This is an indoor soccer stadium in Germany, home to FC Schalke 04 of the Bundesliga. Why is it “weird”? Well, when hosting soccer games it’s not. But when it hosted the opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship between Germany and the USA, that was different. At the time it set the world record for largest attendance at a hockey game at whopping 77,803.


24. Yankee Stadium

22 notre dame vs army at yankee stadium - weird sports venues

Like our first entry, Yankee stadium isn’t a weird venue at all when hosting the sport it was designed for. But when hosting football it’s a little unusual. In 2010, Notre Dame hosted one of their home games there against Army, and later that year the inaugural “Pinstripe Bowl” was held.


23. On a Boat in Doha Bay, Qatar

21 nadal and federer atop of dhow (boat) on doha bay in qatar (2009) - weird sports venues

Every year the ATP tour kicks off with the Qatar ExxonMobil tournament in Doha, Qatar, in January. And every year they stage some crazy publicity stunt. This one? Yep, that’s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal playing tennis on a dhow boat, which is a traditional sailing vessel invented by Arabs and used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.


22. Spartan Stadium

20 michigan vs msu cold war at michigan state stadium 2001 - weird sports venues

Spartan Stadium: pretty normal football venue, pretty weird hockey venue. In 2001, it hosted a game between the MSU Spartans and Michigan Wolverines hockey teams called “The Cold War.” There were 74,554 people in attendance, and they watched no. 1 MSU play no. 4 MU to a 3-3 tie. Boooring.


21. Michigan Stadium

19 michigan-msu hockey at big house - weird sports venues

Yep, it’s Michigan vs. Michigan State hockey again. Only this time the game was held in Ann Arbor in 2010, and it was called “The Big Chill at the Big House.”

Oh, right, and it set a world record with an attendance of 113,411, and the Wolverines blasted the Spartans 5-0.


20. Ralph Wilson Stadium

18 winter classic 2008 ralph wilson stadium - weird sports venues

The NCAA did it first, but they’re not the only ones who hold hockey games outdoors in huge football stadiums anymore. The NHL held their inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 between the Penguins and Sabres at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium.


19. Ski Dubai

ski dubai indoor ski lodge slopes - weird sports venues

An indoor ski resort in the middle of the desert? Yes, that’s weird. The Ski Dubai resort is 22,500 square feet with five different runs on a 280-foot artificial mountain, complete with genuine chair lift and stone ski lodge.

Oh, right. And there are penguins. Like real ones that you can pet—just like in the French Alps.


18. Boston Symphony Hall

17 squash in boston's symphony hall - weird sports venues

The Boston Symphony Hall was built in 1900 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999, and is still today the home of both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the world famous Boston Pops.

Of course, in 2002, the BSH also hosted its first even sporting event—the U.S. Open…of Squash. And it has hosted several other squash tournaments since then, too.


17. Radio City Music Hall

16 wnba game in radio city music hall (shock vs liberty 2004) - weird sports venues

But if you think squash at the Boston Symphony Hall is crazy, how about professional basketball at Radio City Music Hall?

In 2004, the Republican National Convention kicked the New York Liberty out of their digs at Madison Square Garden for a week, so they took up residence temporarily at Radio City. The fans could only sit on one side of the court, of course, but it was quite the spectacle.


16. Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium

15 wnba game at arthur ashe tennis stadium 2008 - weird sports venues

The New York Liberty apparently liked the idea of playing games in unusual places, because in 2008 they did it again and became the first professional basketball team to host a regular season game outdoors.

The venue? Arthur Ashe Stadium, the home of the US Open (of tennis…not squash).


15. Camp Randall Stadium

14 college hockey at camp randall stadium - weird sports venues

In 2010, the Wisconsin Badgers decided to host an outdoor hockey game in their own famous college football stadium. The ladies hockey team hosted and defeated Bemidji State (huh?), while the men’s side hosted and defeated the Michigan Wolverines.


14. Heinz Field

13 winter classic heintz field 2011 - weird sports venues

In 2011, the Penguins hosted the Winter Classic at Heinz Field, normally the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Of course, this season the Steelers might as well cancel the rest of their games and let the Penguins play there every Sunday. (Because they suck.)


13. Wrigley Field

12 illinois vs northwestern at wrigley field - weird sports venues

Wrigley hosting football? When Northwestern hosted Illinois there in 2010 it seemed pretty wacky. Due to the fact that there was no room between the eastern end zone and the famous brick wall in right field, both teams headed toward the same end zone (the western one) when on offense as a safety precaution.

However, lets not forget that the Bears used to call Wrigley Field home until 1971…and they just crashed into the bricks, because they were MEN!!! (Stupid, careless men with no understanding of concussions.)

Seriously, though, they used to crash into the bricks. There are famous legends about that.


12. Grand Central Station

11 squash tournament at grand central station - weird sports venues

The most famous train station in the world has also, like the Boston Symphony Hall, hosted a squash tournament. It’s all an attempt by the World Squash Federation to grow the sport.

(Incidentally, Grand Central Station has also hosted wrestling. Not the WWE, but real wrestling.)


11. Citizens Bank Park

10 winter classic at citizens bank park - weird sports venues

Hockey in baseball stadiums? That’s just goofy…and lots of fun. Philly’s Citizens Bank Park hosted the Winter Classic in 2012.


10. Wrigley Field

9 winter classic 2009 wrigley field - weird sports venues

The only thing crazier than football at Wrigley Field? Hockey at Wrigley Field…and the Cubs winning the World Series at Wrigley Field.

Wrigley, of course, hosted the Winter Classic in 2009.


9. Fenway Park

8 winter classic 2010 fenway park - weird sports venues

Fenway, baseball’s other ancient jewel, hosted the Winter Classic in 2010.


8. The Doha Bay, Qatar

7 nadal and federer play in doha bay qatar (2011) - weird sports venues

Remember when I said the ATP kicks off every year in Qatar, and they always stage a match in a weird place as a publicity stunt? Well, here is Federer taking on Nadal in the Doha Bay in 2011.


7. Piazza del Dampo (Sienna, Italy)

6 horse race in siena italy - weird sports venues

Every summer in Sienna, Tuscany, they hold the Palio horse races in the town’s central square. Started in 1656, the races are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, mother of little newborn baby Jesus.

And yes, the people are just crammed right up along the track. Because that’s totally safe.


6. The Uummannaq Ice Golf Course (Greenland)

5 uummannaq iceland ice golf course - weird sports venues

No joke. There is an ice golf course in Greenland. Every March it is home to—what else?—the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships.


5. Platform Suspended in the Air (Doha, Qatar)

4 nadal and federer play suspended in the air in doha qatar (2010)

Here’s the stunt match between Federer and Nadal that kicked off the 2010 ATP season.


4. The Float at Marina Bay (Singapore)

marina bay stadium singapore - weird sports venues

Behold what is known as “The Float at Marina Bay” in Singapore. It is the world’s largest floating stage and has hosted a number of crazy events including, yes, a soccer game. Because why not, right?


3. Squash at the Pyramids of Giza

3 squash tournament in front of pyramids of giza - weird sports venues

Setting up a squash court on top of one of the pyramids would have been cooler, but setting one up right in front of them is a close second.


2. The USS Carl Vinson


UNC and Michigan State played basketball on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011. There was supposed to be another aircraft carrier game between Georgetown and Florida on the USS Bataan in 2012, but it was cancelled due to bad weather, and in 2013 they cancelled the annual event altogether because it was a logistical nightmare.


1. The Helipad at the Burj Al Arab

1 agassi and federer play on burj dubai helipad (2005) - weird sports venues

Nope, that’s not photoshopped. That really is Andre Agassi playing Roger Federer on the Helipad of the world’s tallest building in Dubai in 2005.

How high is the helipad, you ask? Oh, just 1,053 feet. (You can bet these two got paid a lot for this stunt.)

Now that is the weirdest sports venue ever, don’t you think?