sports gazette

The original sports cathedral

Inside the Colosseum
Published: 5 Jan 2017

The Colosseum may be past its prime, but it is still the greatest sports arena to ever exist.

Wembley, Old Trafford, The Rose Bowl, Wrigley Field.

Each of these stadiums have seen their fair share of history and leave a legacy for supporters and visitors alike.

From 5,000 seat forums to 100,000 seat arenas, sports stadiums produce an atmosphere like no other, where fans from all walks of life gather in their respective holy ground to support their teams the best way they can.

Despite the artificial environment that modern stadiums may create, there is no comparison to the Mecca of all sports arenas: The Colosseum.

As versatile as new Wembley, historic as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, and with an estimated capacity greater than any current Premier League stadium (upwards of nearly 80,000) the Colosseum had it all.

Made of only stone and sand, the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD, and was estimated to be used for contests up until the year 523, where it survived earthquakes, fires and stone robbers to become a staple of entertainment for the Roman people.

In it’s heyday, it was most famously used for bloody gladiator battles that attracted the entire Roman empire, from the poor to royalty.

It was the Colosseum’s versatility however, in an era without modern technology which made the great stadium famous. The infamous lower level, with trap doors where gladiators and animals seemingly rose from the floor, was mystical. The stadium was even flooded for ship battles.

Even after the formative years of the Colosseum were long gone, the area was still used into the 19th century as its own small settlement, and is flooded by thousands of tourists each year, despite its decrepit state.

The longevity of the stadium is a borderline miracle. In modern sports, the comfort of the fan has taken the place of the atmosphere it creates.

Take Turner Field for example. The home of the Atlanta Braves was completed in 1997, yet just 20 years later it is being replaced with a brand new field ready to use for the start of the 2017 season.

The impact the Colosseum has had on modern sporting arenas cannot be understated. Still to this day, stadiums are named after the once great sporting cathedral, and A.S. Roma is modelling their future ground based on the design of the Colosseum.

There will never be another Colosseum, and that is okay. But despite its semi-demolished state, its history and architecture still makes it a grand spectacle, which any sports fan would be lucky to visit.

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