Super Bowl XLVIII is right around the corner, with kickoff set for the evening of Sunday, February 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Opened in 2010, one of MetLife’s defining features is its exterior aluminum louvers, along with the stadium’s interior lighting, a bank of LEDs that changes color depending on the home team (blue for the Giants, green for Jets). With its fancy lighting system, MetLife currently stands as the most expensive stadium ever built, at $1.6 billion. Below are a few more famous stadiums, some new, some iconic and others that still stand the test of time.
London Olympic Stadium
Cost: About USD $702 million
The most recent Summer Olympics venue is London’s Olympic Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field events. With London already home to another large stadium (see below), Olympic Stadium will be retrofitted as a European football stadium that holds 54,000. The venue’s new tenant: West Ham United.
In 2015, London Olympic Stadium will also host matches during the Rugby World Cup.
AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium)
Cost: $1.1 billion
Like the phrase goes, “everything’s bigger in Texas,” and AT&T Stadium in Arlington is no exception. The futuristic home to NFL’s Dallas Cowboys replaced Texas Stadium in 2009, and holds 80,000 fans (expandable to 100,000). In its five-year history, the stadium has already hosted a Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game and will host the upcoming NCAA Final Four.
Up until last year, the stadium was also home to the largest video screen in the world. That is, until the team’s in-state rival, the Houston Texans, unveiled its own big(ger)-screen TV. Not to worry, AT&T Stadium’s screen, which stretches from one 20-yard line to the other, is still pretty massive.
Yankee Stadium II
Cost: $1.5 billion
The original Yankee Stadium (1923-2008) gained the nickname “The House That Ruth Built”, in honor of the late, great Babe Ruth. And the venue more than lived up to its name; “Yankee Stadium I” is considered a palace, having hosted numerous World Series games, religious events and football games including the 1958 NFL Championship, which many consider to be one of the greatest games of all time.
Like the AT&T Stadium, the new Yankees stadium resembles its predecessor in design. The new stadium’s exterior is adorned in Indiana limestone, and in just five years, the venue has hosted a few big events, including boxing matches and college football games like the Pinstripe Bowl. Both Yankee Stadiums hold a unique distinction, though, in that both celebrated their inaugural seasons with World Series titles.
Beijing National Stadium
Cost: USD $428 million
Capacity: 80,000 plus 11,000 temporary seats
Another Olympic venue is Beijing National Stadium, which, like London Olympic Stadium, also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field events. Known as the “Bird’s Nest,” Beijing National Stadium opened in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics. With a capacity of 80,000 Beijing National currently hosts skiing competitions.
Comprised of more than 36 km (22 miles) of interwoven steel, the stadium’s circular shape represents Heaven, and its structure is designed to withstand earthquakes up to 8.0 on the Richter scale.
Cost: About USD $1.23 billion
The second-largest stadium in all of Europe, Wembley Stadium hosts both European and American rules football games. For the former, the venue hosts the FA Cup, League Cup Final and matches for the England national football team.
For American football fans, Wembley is home to the NFL’s International Series matchup (the Steelers vs. Vikings and 49ers vs. Jaguars played one another in 2013). Could Wembley become home to a future NFL team or even a Super Bowl? League Commissioner Roger Goodell says it is a possibility.
Mercedes Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.
Cost: $134 million in 1975 (about $572 million in 2012)
In its nearly 40-year lifetime, the Superdome has seen its share of big events. In addition to being the home of the New Orleans Saints, the stadium has also hosted an NFL-record seven Super Bowls, including last year’s matchup between the Ravens and 49ers. That game was notable (or infamous) for a 34-minute blackout that delayed the game. The 49ers lost that game, but were on the winning side of another historic Super Bowl played in New Orleans. In January 1990, the “Niners” set a record for most points scored in a Super Bowl, putting up 55 against the Broncos, who only scored 10.
The Superdome’s history is also a bittersweet one, as the stadium became a shelter when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. The stadium sustained extensive damage itself before reopening a year later to jubilant Saints fans. Four years later, “N’awlins” had yet another reason to celebrate, as the Saints brought home the first Super Bowl ring in franchise history.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, Calif.
Home to the USC Trojans, the Coliseum contains an extensive history, serving as a venue for the 1932 and ’84 Summer Olympics, as well as college football, NFL and even MLB games. Yes, the Dodgers once called the Coliseum home, as their current stadium was being built. In fact, the 1959 World Series (won by L.A.) played three games at the Coliseum. The Coliseum also hosted the first ever Super Bowl, then called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game in 1967. In recent years, the stadium hosted a special exhibition game between the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox in 2008; that game’s attendance of more than 115,000 people set an MLB attendance record.
Other special events include appearances and speeches by Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and Billy Graham, among several concerts.
The Rose Bowl
Cost: $272,000 in 1922 (about $3.6 million in 2012)
Capacity: 91,136 (minimum)
USC’s rival, the UCLA Bruins, currently call the Rose Bowl Stadium home, and the venue hosts the college football bowl game of the same name, a tradition that spans more than a century. In addition, the Rose Bowl has also hosted five Super Bowl matchups, as well as the dramatic 1999 Women’s World Cup soccer championship.
However, the stadium’s origins date back to the late 19th Century, with the first Tournament of Roses parade being held in Pasadena. Early events included the parade of horses and buggies, and gladiator-style competitions like foot races and jousting. The first ever football game was played at Tournament Park in 1902; Michigan shut out Stanford 49-0.
Cost: $650,000 in 1912 (about $15 million in 2012)
It is only fitting that an equally historic MLB venue belongs to that of the Yankees’ bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park opened more than a century ago, and is named for its setting in The Back Bay Fens (aka The Fens) section of Boston. One of Fenway’s famous features is its outfield wall, dubbed The Green Monster. This nickname comes from the wall’s height, standing tall at more than 37 feet. Due to its height, The Green Monster stands as a barrier, keeping potential home run balls inside the stadium (becoming doubles).
While many believe in “The Curse of the Bambino,” stemming from Babe Ruth’s trade to the hated Yankees, the Red Sox have been able to reverse its misfortunes in the new millennium, having won three World Series titles in less than a decade (2004, 2007, 2013). In 2013, the Sox finally won a title at Fenway for the first time since 1918.