Over 90,000 people participated in largest events here. John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Madonna, 1994 World Cup, 1982 Super Bowl – the list goes on and on. Until it ends in 2010, since when the stadium has been abandoned and falling into despair. Now most of it will be auctioned.
Pontiac Silverdome was considered one of the most advanced stadiums in 1970s and one of the most impressive inflated dome ever built in the US. Meeting with John Paul II and the Wrestlemania in 1980s enjoyed attendances of over 90,000 each. Then in 1990s the world’s largest single-sport tournament came as FIFA decided to make Pontiac Silverdome a part of the World Cup.
Between these events concerts of the world’s best-selling musicians and most importantly 26 years of NFL tenancy by Detroit Lions made history at that stadium. One that ended in 2001, when the Lions moved to downtown Detroit Ford Field. Since then the owner, Andreas Apostolopoulos, never found a new business model for his arena.
Silverdome was closed in 2006. In 2010 Apostolopoulous’s company Triple Sports & Entertainment made the last effort to re-open the Silverdome. But after just two large events, a monster truck show and AC Milan – Panathinaikos friendly, the inflated giant closed its doors again.
Triple S&E were also said to negotiate with the MLS to establish a permanent football franchise here, but that plan never came to fruition.
Recent years have seen the stadium become a case of misery and despair as the roof collapsed in January 2013, never to be inflated again. Quite the opposite, its membrane is now almost completely torn to shreds after heavy snow- and rainfall, while nature began taking back parts of the ground. Natural grass and weeds are now growing out of the once-synthetic turf.
To avoid destruction of Silverdome’s equipment, almost everything is now being put on sale. Seats get grabbed by sentimental Lions fans despite their high price, set at $100 per unit. Soon also the suite furnishings and technical systems are to be distributed to whoever is interested.
What’s next for the abandoned and bare skeleton? It’s unclear whether the owners will demolish it or want to transform the stadium in another effort to bring life and revenues here.
Fot: The Oakland Press
Fot: Uniquely Detroit
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Fot: Paul O'Brien