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An arena is a circular or oval shaped public space (akin to a classical amphitheatre), designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. It is comprised of a large open space surrounded on all sides by raised, usually tiered, seats or benches for spectators. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the lowest point, allowing for maximum visibility. Usually, an arena is designed to accommidate a very large number of spectators, such as New York City's Madison Square Garden or Pasadena's Rose Bowl.

The term "arena" is also used loosesly to refer to any event or type of event which either literally or metaphorically takes place in such a location--- often with the specific intent of comparing an idea to a sportng event, such as "the arena of war" or "the arena of love."