Most Unusual Venues to Host a Sporting Event
At 6pm Evansville time on Veterans Day, the Spartans of Michigan State University will take on the Tar Heels of North Carolina in a rematch of the 2009 national championship game. The differences being, there's no national title on the line, and neither team will have the benefit of playing in front of a home crowd or inside a home gym for that matter.
No, tonight's game, airing live on ESPN, will take place on the flight deck (weather permitting) of the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, CA in the first ever Carrier Classic. The same aircraft carrier responsible for placing the body of Osama Bin Laden in his final resting place at the bottom of the sea.
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports reports that while this is an unusual venue for a basketball game, there are other sports that have taken themselves out of their "comfort zones" in an effort to drum up interest from casual fans. Check out five of the ten venue's Jeff deems (rightfully so) as "unusual".
5. Great Wall Marathon
During this 26.2 mile marathon, participants have negotiate this 3,000+ mile structure not once, but twice, negotiating over 3,800 steps in the process. The world record holder is Spaniard Salvador Calvo who finished the race in 2007 with a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes, 10 seconds.
4. NHL Winter Classic
In 2001, the Michigan State hockey team put a unique twist on their game against in-state rival Michigan by hosting the game inside their open-air football stadium. Noting the popularity the game generated, the National Hockey League borrowed the idea and now holds the annual Winter Classic every New Year's Day. Last year's game took place inside Boston's Fenway Park (home of the Red Sox) and featured the Boston Bruins beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime.
3. College Football at Wrigley Field
There's an old saying that goes, "the best ideas are stolen" which was the case when Northwestern University decided to shake things up and host their 2010 game against Illinois at the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field. The same idea took place at Yankee Stadium in New York when Notre Dame played Army in November of 2010. The one tiny, little problem they ran into was not properly taking into account the size of a regulation football field and the amount of space available inside Wrigley. Notice in the picture above how close the the upper right-hand corner of the field is to the wall. Because of this, officials determined there was too much of a safety concern to use that end zone during the game so both teams had to use the opposite end zone whenever their offense took the field. As any carpenter will tell you, "Measure twice, cut once."
2. World Ice Golf Championship
As a golfer myself (although not a very good one) I can tell you the game is as enjoyable as it is frustrating. While I prefer to play on a lovely spring or summer day, I have played in 30-degree weather on New Year's Day which is nothing compared to the annual World Ice Golf Championship held every March in Greenland. The sand and water hazards here are replaced by snow, ice, and the occasional iceberg. Players must also use a florescent orange ball for obvious reasons.
1. Tennis at 700 feet in the air
Back in 2005, Tennis superstars Andre Aggasi and Roger Federer played in an exhibition match in Dubai on a what appears to be a real-life version of Wii Sports Resort's Swordplay Dual, but is actually a helicopter pad at the ultra-posh Burj Al Arab hotel. Hovering 700 feet in the air over Dubai's Jumeirah beach, the two tennis pro's traded backhands in what I consider to be the most unique venue for any sport. No word on who was responsible for retrieving out of bounds tennis balls.
Check out Jeff Eisenberg's other unusual sports venues on Yahoo! Sports.