September 30th, 2010 Antwerpen, Belgium @ Sportpaleis


Another super show coming up tomorrow night in Belgium!

Sportpaleis Antwerp (Sports Palace Antwerp) is an arena in Antwerp, Belgium. It is a multipurpose hall where various events such as concerts, sporting events, festivals and fairs are organized. The building is located in the district Merksem , next to the Antwerp ring road. The arena was originally built for sports, especially track cycling, but these sport events generally don’t take place there anymore, with the exception being the Diamond Games (indoor tennis tournament).

The Arena is now best known for performances by major Dutch-speaking artists like Clouseau, Marco Borsato and Milk Inc., but also for concerts by major international artists such as Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Black Eyed Peas, et cetera (see the section ‘Trivia’). Other well-known events in the Sports Palace include the Diamond Games, Nekka Eight and ‘Pop Poll De Luxe’, an event organised by the magazine Humo. Formerly, the Sportpaleis also hosted the ECC tennis tournament , a tennis tournament for men. Today, each February, the Proximus Diamond Games are organised at the site, a tennis tournament for women.

Adjacent to the Sportpaleis is the Lotto Arena, an event hall that can accommodate about 5000 spectators. The hall is in use since March 2006 and complements the main building of the Sportpaleis. Among other things, it is used by basketball team Antwerp Giants, who play their home games there.

History

Around 1930, many people were dreaming of an indoor cycling track near the city of Antwerp. At that time, it would be the largest indoor arena in Europe. Building started on January 11, 1932. The construction lasted exactly 21 months: on September 11, 1933, the brand-new building was completed.

On September 29, 1956, road cycling World Champion Stan Ockers was mortally wounded after a crash on the slopes. This happened during his 116th performance at this track. He died a few days later.

On November 19, 1988, singer Roy Orbison gave his last performance before his death at the Sportpaleis, performing his single ‘You got it’ live for the first and only time.

The main building of the actual hall is 88 metres wide and 132 metres long and has an immense roof, spanning 11.600 m². Under the stands, there is a wooden cycling track of 250 meters long and 8 meters wide. When completed in 1933, the Sportpaleis was seen as a construction miracle.

The arena is built in an elliptical shape and has two floors. Both from the upper galleries and from the ground floor, there is a good visibility for the public. Various room configurations are possible, ensuring a perfect solution can be offered for the various needs of users.

In April 2010, works have begun to change the popular green color into blue.

Trivia

Artists who have performed at the arena include AC/DC, Christina Aguilera, Anastacia, Beyoncé, The Black Eyed Peas, Marco Borsato, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Cher, Coldplay, The Cure, Deep Purple, Destiny’s Child, Neil Diamond, Céline Dion, En Vogue, Fiction Plane, Richard Fleeshman, Macy Gray, The Horrors, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Jonas Brothers, Grace Jones, K’s Choice, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Lemar, Demi Lovato, Massive Attack, Paul McCartney, Metallica, George Michael, Mika, Milk Inc., Kylie Minogue, Muse, Pearl Jam, P!nk, Pink Floyd, Pitbull, The Police, Prince, Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Rammstein, Raygun, Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, Shaggy, Shakira, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Gwen Stefani, Donna Summer, Tiësto, Justin Timberlake, Toto, Tina Turner, Shania Twain, U2 and Roger Waters, among others.

Janet Jackson was scheduled to perform during her All for You Tour on November 29, 2001, but the show was cancelled, due to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Many of them performed during the Night of the Proms, which is also held at the venue.

In 2007, Sportpaleis was voted the 10th best venue, by Billboard Magazine.

Audience

According to the classification of the American music magazine Billboard, the Sportpaleis was the second most visited event hall in the world in the period between November 2007 and November 2008, with 1,239,436 visitors. Only Madison Square Garden in New York had more visitors during this period.

The arena opened in 1933 and holds up to 18,500 people. It consists of 13,500 seats in the stands and also has a capacity for 1780 square center (seats) and the capacity to house a standing audience of 5,000. It is the current venue for the Proximus Diamond Games women’s tennis tournament.

Accessibility

The sports stadium is located at an exit of the Antwerp ring road. There is insufficient parking capacity for all visitors during an event. This regularly causes parking problems in the vicinity and traffic jams on the Antwerp ring road.

However, the Sportpaleis does have its own subway station (premetro station ‘Sport’). Both lines 3 and 6 stop at this station. Above ground, the sports stadium can be reached by Tram 12.

External links

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