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Contribute to the study

The study on stadiums connected to mega-events is ongoing and will keep on growing in size as more data is uncovered.

We therefore invite you to contribute to the study by adding comments, specific data or any other type of information that might be relevant. 

Please contact Jens Alm at or +45 32 66 10 30

New information will be updated and available on this website.

If you have an article or an idea for a story on mega-event stadiums, perhaps from a local perspective, that might be interesting for Play the Game to publish, feel free to send your ideas to

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World Stadium Index 

Stadiums built for major sporting events - bright future or future burden?

New study from the Danish Institute for Sports Studies/Play the Game shows that the mantra "if you build it, they will come" is not a valid business plan when it comes to building mega-event stadiums.

About the report

The report ’Word Stadium Index - Stadiums built for major sporting events - bright future or future burden?’ is now published and available for download.

The report investigates the use of mega-event stadiums from around the world covering stadiums and arenas which have been constructed or extensively renovated as a part of a mega-event during 1996-2010. It includes the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Pan-American Games, Asian Games, All Africa Games, the FIFA World Cup (1998 excluded), UEFA European Championships and the Africa Cup of Nations.

The study has collected factual data about construction costs, capacity, cost per seat, number of spectators in 2010, ownership, and number of events in order to evaluate each stadium. The information has been gathered using internet sources, direct enquiries to the responsible parties and local informants in the different countries covered. 

A more or less complete set of data has been gathered for 65 stadiums out of the 75 covered in the report. The study is therefore ongoing and contributions to the project will be very much appreciated.

Jens Alm, analyst at the Danish Institute for Sports Studies, is responsible for the study and the report. 

The best and the worst

The objective of the report has been to investigate the use of the stadiums after the event to see which mega-event stadiums can be called a success and which stand empty after the event, becoming a financial burden for their owners.

The main variable in the report is thus the number of spectators per year, and by dividing the attendance figures with the capacity of the stadium, the report has created an index showing the stadium utilisation in 2010 making it possible to compare the stadiums included in the study.

The most successful stadium in the report is Atlanta’s Turner Field stadium, originally built for the 1996 Olympics. It has a capacity of almost 50,000 people and in 2010 it attracted enough spectators to fill the stadium 50 times.  

At the other end of the scale we find Nagano’s stadium built for the Winter Olympics in 1998. The stadium, which seats 30,000 people only managed to attract 18,000 spectators in 2010 equal to filling the stadium 0.6 times in a year. 

The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany is the single most successful event in the study as most of the stadiums built for the event have seen a large inflow of spectators after the World Cup. 

The stadiums built or renovated for the UEFA European Championships in Portugal in 2004 have a more problematic legacy. Three of the stadiums couldn’t even fill their stands three times during 2010.

Basis for debate

By pointing out that the promised sporting legacy is not always acheived, the report seeks to egnite a debate on the thoughtless waste of resources by many host countries and cities, who forget to take local needs into account before venturing into great construction projects.

Instead they customise their stadiums according to the requirements of the major sports organisations such as the IOC, FIFA and UEFA, who on their side also need to add more importance to economic and social sustainability in their lists of requirements, states the report. 

Download the report (English version)

Or download the specific chapters:

5. UEFA Euro stadiums

6. Africa Cup of Nations stadiums

7. The continental sporting events

8. China and the Chinese stadium diplomacy 

9. Analysis 

10. The Future




Photos: (top) The Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Photo credit: Allianz SE, (bottom) The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Photo credit: Mark Kirchner/Flickr.


Articles on stadiums and arenas 

Selected articles from Play the Game focussing on mega-event stadiums, stadium construction, 'white elephants' and expected legacies from mega-events.

UEFA launches 'Euro for Europe'

07 December 2012

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UEFA European Championship, the tournament in 2020 will be spread over several major European cities. The decision is overall welcomed but fans fear the lack of cohesiveness.[more]

UEFA backs Platini's idea of a Euro 2020 hosted across Europe. Photo: UEFA president Platini speaking at the Council of Europe/Jacques Denier

Brazilian stadium legacy may end up below international average

23 October 2012

The legacy of the 12 new or refurbished stadiums for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will all fall below international average if nothing is done to strengthen the plans for their after-use.[more]

Estádio Nacional de Brasília. Photo: GlauberQueiroz/ME/Flickr

Challenges lie ahead for Russian World Cup organisers

03 October 2012

Despite being ahead of schedule the Russian World Cup organisers are still facing a number of challenges in terms of legacy, transport, racism and other issues on the way towards 2018. David Gold, British freelance journalist,...[more]

The Luzhniki stadium in Moscow will host matches during the 2018 World Cup. Photo Flickr/Sauri

London legacy chief loses job over lack of anchor tenant for the Olympic Stadium

21 June 2012

Andrew Altman, the chief executive of the London Legacy Development Cooperation, will leave his job after the conclusion of the Olympic Games. He is thereby paying the price for failing to secure the future of the stadium. His...[more]

What will happen to London's Olympic Stadium? Photo: Stewart Cutler/Flickr

World Stadium Index looks at the stadium legacy for the Euro 2012

14 June 2012

Will the eight stadiums, four in Ukraine and four in Poland, built or renovated for the Euro 2012 be profitable in the long run, or will they end up as white elephants and be a financial burden for their owners and the community?...[more]

The National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. Photo: Colourbox

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