Cleveland Municipal Stadium

Cleveland Stadium (also known as Lakefront Stadium and Cleveland Municipal Stadium) was a baseball and American football stadium located in Cleveland, Ohio. The stadium is thought to have been built in a failed attempt to attract the 1932 Summer Olympics, which were instead awarded to the city of Los Angeles, California. However, some historians and industry insiders claim that this is false, since by the time construction of this facility began, the Olympic Game had already been awarded to Los Angeles. This was pretty much set in stone a long time before the construction works on the stadium even began. It is definitely most likely that the stadium was simply created as a new home for the local MLB team the Cleveland Indians. They played all their games there, starting from the mid-1932 season through the 1933 season. However, the games would draw an average of 40,000 people per event, which simply was not a big number enough to fill the stadium, even at the highest recorded attendance for those years.

Instead of managing a facility that was simply to large for the crowds that they were expecting, the Indians decided that they would rather return to play most of their games at their former home, League Park, a much smaller facility with roots at the turn of the century.

In 1936, the Cleveland Indians decided to start playing games on Sundays, as well as during public holidays. They would even play again at the Municipal during the summer months. This reflected a trend that started in the great depression. The idea is that most people were out holding on to their jobs or looking for employment in the difficult financial climate of those years. For this reason, daytime entertainment was becoming less popular than it used to be, and new solutions were being sought by teams looking to retain their audience. In the 30s, night games as well as weekend and holiday matches became quite commonplace, initiating a trend that we are still seeing to this very day.

Starting from the year 1938, the Cleveland Municipal Stadium became the home of various high-profile games. In 1939, the stadium was outfitted with lights, and it started to host its very first nighttime games. The other local venue, League Park, actually had had no lighting, so the Municipal stadium was the only facility which could easily accommodate night performances. Later starting from 1940, the Indians played most of their home matches at the Municipal stadium, abandoning League Park almost entirely. By 1946, the former facility was abandoned fully.

In its later years, the stadium had 74,000 seats for baseball and 78,000 for football. It cost $ 2,500,000. It closed on December 17, 1995 and demolition began on November 4, 1996.

In 1966, the stadium hosted its very first musical concert, being the setting to The Beatles’ Cleveland show in 1966. This was a rather important tour for the history of music, since it was the very first time in which a major musical artist would perform stadium. At the time, this was seen as a very bold and even foolish move, since most people in the industry had no faith that a musical entertainer could really fill a stadium. The record-breaking sales proved them wrong, and the Beatles’ tour actually became somewhat of the proof of concept for a brand new era for live music, in which stadium shows became kind of commonplace. In addition to the Beatles, the stadium hosted other major acts, including the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Aerosmith, some of the biggest acts in the 70s. The Rolling Stones were actually the first band who reportedly gross over one million dollars with their live show! In later decades, other iconic artists performed at this venue, including U2, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Jerry Lee Lewis, only to mention a few.