What was once a location built with an eye towards seating for the masses has evolved into the elaborate structures of today that provide attendees with rest facilities, a variety of food choices, and a dome covering should the weather turn bad. It is not too far fetched to see the newer stadiums as precursors for futuristic self contained mini cities.
The Greeks built their stadiums in a U , or horseshoe, shape. An example of this would be The Stadium at Olympia. It contained stadium seating for about 45,000 individuals. As a side note, young girls, boys, and men were the only sanctioned spectators. Women were not allowed in the stadium while events were underway.
The Romans built two types of stadiums. They were the circus and the amphitheatre. The circus type was long and U shaped. Circus Maximus is an example of this type. It had stadium seats for 250,000 members of the community. It measured 500 feet across, 2,000 feet long, and was three stories high. This is where the chariot races were held.
The Colosseum is the largest and most well-known amphitheatre in Rome. It once offered 50,000 seats to visitors that used one or more of its 80 entrances and exits. It stands 157 feet high and consists of 3 tiers. There were “sails” attached to the top of the structure to alleviate spectator discomfort from the heat or rain. This item was called a”velarium”. Certaintly stadiums of the past could’ve benefited from backrest like the stadium seats here.
Modern styles of stadium building borrow from the ancients. A new form of construction inspired by the game of football has been labeled the elliptical bowl. The Rose Bowl is a good example of this. Similar designs have been inspired by baseball. A good representation of this is Yankee Stadium in New York. The idea here is to provide the maximum number of seats, stacked, while protecting them from the hot sun.
As we have looked, briefly, at stadiums and their construction designs, it becomes clear that not much has changed since the Greeks began building them as venues for sports activities long before the coming of Christ. Stadium seats have become much more comfortable.
Food, drink, and , often times, pull tabs are readily available for the hungry consumer. This in contrast to the time when the Greek and Roman civilizations dominated the land. One might go as far as to surmise that the events the ancients were spectators of and those that modern man attends appeal to the same pleasure zone in their brain(s).