ABC NEWS – When our stadiums are oversized, the atmosphere and intimacy of the game suffers

Recently an English acquaintance who is spending the summer in Australia asked me which of Melbourne’s many stadiums was hosting an A-League game he hoped to attend.

I told him it was AAMI Park before adding rather apologetically that: “It’s a great stadium for football, rugby and rugby league, but it only holds about 28,000.”

“Only 28,000?” he replied. “That’s a bloody big stadium where I come from.”

The response was informative because it exposes both the common misconception about sports attendance in many other nations and also our increasingly outmoded addiction to much bigger and supposedly better venues.

The outcome of these long-held beliefs is that now, increasingly, we are seeing sport played in big venues attended by small crowds, meaning an inevitable lack of atmosphere and intimacy for those who have turned up.

Venues are being downsized all over the world