Sportpaleis Antwerp

The Antwerps Sportpaleis (Antwerp's Sport Palace), also called Sportpaleis Antwerpen or simply the Sportpaleis, is an arena in Antwerp, Belgium. It is a multipurpose hall where concerts, sporting events, festivals and fairs are organized. The arena was built for sport, especially track cycling, but there is now little sport there, an exception being the Diamond Games tennis.

According to Billboard Magazine, the Sportpaleis is the second most visited event hall in the world, second only to Madison Square Garden. The Sportpaleis is known for performances by both Dutch-speaking and international artists. It also hosts the Nekka-Nacht, the Proximus Diamond Games tennis tournament for women and Pop Poll De Luxe, organised by the magazine HUMO.

The main building is 88 metres wide and 132 metres long and has a roof spanning 11.600 m². Under the stands, there is a wooden cycling track 250 meters long and 8 meters wide. The arena is elliptical and has two floors.

Next to the Sportpaleis is the Lotto Arena, an hall that can accommodate 5,000 spectators.

History

Building started on 11 January 1932. It lasted 21 months: on 11 September 1933, the building was completed, the largest indoor arena in Europe.

On 29 September 1956, road cycling world champion Stan Ockers died a few days after a crash in his 116th performance at the track.

On 19 November 1988, Roy Orbison gave his last performance at the Sportpaleis, performing "You Got It", live, for the first and only time.

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

Famous singer Britney Spears performed here on a stop during her highest-grossing tour, The Circus Starring Britney Spears, on July 9th, 2009. In 2011 her team confirmed that Britney Spears will return for her newest tour, Femme Fatale Tour, to promote her new album.

Sting performed during his Symphonicities Tour on 13 October 2010, along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Rihanna will come to the Sportpaleis for two sold-out concerts in October and November in 2011 as part of her Loud Tour.

Some artists who have performed at the Sportpaleis are: Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Pink, Kylie Minogue, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyonce, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Spice Girls, Black Eyed Peas,...

Audience

Billboard Magazine said the Sportpaleis was the second most visited event hall in the world between November 2007 and November 2008, with 1,239,436 visitors. Only Madison Square Garden in New York had more.

The arena can hold 18,500 people. It has 13,500 seats in the stands and 1,780 square center (seats) and the capacity to house a standing audience of 5,000.