The History of Stadium Collapses

Stadium collapses are one of the most tragic things that can happen. Everyone is packed in so tight to watch the game; there is almost no escape when it happens. The dynamics of thousands pressed tightly into a small space allows more damage to come from the panic than anything else. Unfortunately, stadium collapses are still happening even with increased concern for safety.

The Metrodome collapse

The Metrodome in Minnesota was opened in 1982, and has been home to the Vikings since that time. It is the ninth oldest stadium in the NFL today. The roof is made of a fiberglass fabric that is self-supported with air pressure. It needs about 250,000 cubic feet of air per minute to stay inflated. The main method of supporting it comes through twenty fans.

In 2010, a larger than usual snowstorm created more pressure than planned for on the roof, causing it to fall and burst just before a Giants Vikings game. Luckily, nobody was in the stadium at the time, so there were no injuries, however, things could have ended much worse. Overly creative roof designs can lead to more problems than they are worth.

The Burnden Park Disaster

In 1946 Burnden Park football stadium held 85,000 people, way over its capacity, to watch the BoltonWanders game. March 9, 1946 turned out to be one of the deadliest stadium-related disasters in British history. The crowd was so large people kept being pushed out onto the field, causing the play to be stopped several times.

Two separate barriers in the stands collapsed. Those who were higher up in the stands fell forward, crushing those who had been closest to the field. This event led to better regulations on crowd control.

Ibrox Disaster

The disaster at Ibrox stadium in 1971 is probably more famous and resulted in more than double the deaths, but prior to that, this stadium had its own fair share of disasters. In 1902 a complete section of the stands collapsed, killing 25 and injuring another 517.

It happened during the British Home Championship. The stands had recently been constructed, but became weak as a result of excessive rain. Victims fell about forty feet, straight to the ground below. This accident led to a huge change in the way stadiums were constructed.

Fidenae Collapse

The original stadium collapse goes back all the way to 27 AD. From this point forward, those who construct stadiums should learn from the mistakes made here to improve the way amphitheaters are designed.

This was by far the worst stadium disaster in history. The structure was not very sturdy, made of wood that could not support the thousands of spectators. It is estimated that about 20,000 people were either dead or injured, almost half of those who were in attendance.

Stadium disasters are tragic and require a hefty cleanup. Finding the correct way to build the structure in the first place is important. Stadiums that are packed over capacity are one of the biggest causes of these collapses. Learning from the mistake of past constructed stadiums can help keep fans safe for many sporting events to come.