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Football in the Ancient Venues. Is it possible?

Roger Hampel

Football Business Journal welcomes you to an exciting article about Pula Arena, a unique sports venue located in the heart of Pula, Croatia. With its rich history and remarkable architecture, Pula Arena is an unforgettable setting for football games and other events.

History of Pula Arena

Built nearly 2,000 years ago, Pula Arena is a Roman amphitheater located in the city of Pula, in Croatia. It is one of the most well-preserved ancient Roman amphitheaters in the world, and it is also the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders preserved.

The arena was built between 27 BC and 68 AD, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It was originally used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles, such as animal fights and theatrical performances. The arena could seat up to 20,000 spectators, and it was the site of many important events during the Roman era.

Today, the Pula Arena is a popular tourist attraction and cultural venue. It is used for a variety of events, including concerts, theater productions, and film festivals. Visitors can also take guided tours of the arena and learn more about its history and significance.

Pula Arena and Football

The Pula Arena is a remarkable and unparalleled location for a football match. Its grand, oval structure, built from stone and brick, and adorned with three preserved Roman architectural orders, creates a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that both players and spectators will never forget. The pitch is situated at the center of the arena, surrounded by four side towers, which create an intimate and historic setting for football matches.


Over the years, the Pula Arena has played host to numerous sports events. In 2019, the stadium earned the distinction of being the oldest stadium in the world to ever host a football match. As part of a spectacular program arranged by the Tourist Board of Istria County, Bayern Munich legends and the Croatian football team, who took third place at the World Cup in France in 1998, faced off in the Pula Arena.

The ancient amphitheater was transformed into a football arena for the first time, creating a soccer spectacle that was designed as part of a strategic partnership agreement between Istria Turístyczna and the powerful Bavarian club, which was then managed by Croatian Niko Kovač.

The tremendous success of the event was demonstrated by the large audience that gathered for the football spectacle, the historical setting, and the incredible atmosphere that lasted for the full three hours. The partnership with FC Bayern München, a strategic partner of the Istria County Tourist Organization, proved to be exceedingly fruitful and attractive to the local population and tourists alike. From a marketing standpoint, the event served as a remarkable promotion of Istria at the European level, with great potential for the future.


Other Events

The arena is used as a venue for many concerts. Performances have included ones by Foo Fighters, Luciano Pavarotti, Đorđe Balašević, Plácido Domingo, Nina Badrić, Hillsong United, Patrizio Buanne, Jose Carreras, Dino Merlin, Jamiroquai, Anastacia, Eros Ramazzotti, Maksim Mrvica, Norah Jones, Zucchero, Zdravko Čolić, Alanis Morissette, Sinéad O'Connor, Elton John, 2Cellos, Sting, Michael Bolton, Seal, Il Divo, Tom Jones, Gibonni, Manu Chao, Oliver Dragojević, Leonard Cohen, Grace Jones, Moderat, David Gilmour, Arctic Monkeys and Frank Zivkovic. It has a capacity of about 5000 spectators, and also hosts operas, ballets, sports competitions as well as the Pula Film Festival. The arena is open to the public daily, and the underground passages house exhibitions of viticulture and olive growing in Istria.

The arena has also been used for cinematic works such as Titus, a 1999 film adaptation of Shakespeare's revenge tragedy Titus Andronicus by Julie Taymor. Two professional ice hockey games were played there on September 14 and 16, 2012 KHL Medveščak, a Zagreb-based Erste Bank Eishockey Liga club, hosted HDD Olimpija Ljubljana and the Vienna Capitals.

The Importance of Uniqueness of the Sports Venues

In the current times when most stadiums look quite similar, the uniqueness of a sports venue can make all the difference. Pula Arena is a prime example of this, as its historic and distinctive architecture offers a one-of-a-kind experience for football fans. It's not just about watching the game, but also about immersing oneself in the history and culture of the venue.

Moreover, a unique and unforgettable sports venue can also help attract more fans, increase revenue, and boost the local economy. Pula Arena is an excellent example of this, as its popularity as a tourist attraction and cultural venue has brought in more visitors and boosted the local economy.

In conclusion, Pula Arena is a remarkable venue that has stood the test of time and continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Hosting football games in this historic and unique venue offers an unparalleled experience for both players and spectators. The importance of uniqueness in sports venues cannot be overstated, as it can help attract more fans, increase revenue, and boost the local economy. Football Business Journal encourages football fans to visit Pula Arena and experience its history, architecture, and unforgettable atmosphere firsthand.

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