England: Coventry stadium to change ownership?

source: StadiumDB.com; author: Maciej Ściłba

England: Coventry stadium to change ownership? Coventry Building Society Arena is owned by Wasps RFC. The club, which has previously competed in Premiership Rugby, is in giant financial trouble and is looking for ways to pay off its debt. Selling the stadium is expected to be one of them.


The 32,753 capacity CBS Arena was previously known as the Ricoh Arena. It is the largest venue in the city used not only by Wasps but also by Coventry City FC who play in the EFL Championship football at the moment. The team currently sits 20th in the table having a one point advantage over the relegation zone. If you have a hunch on where this team will ultimately finish, then bet on football leagues and enjoy the highs. 

Coventry City FC, unlike the rugby club, has no ownership rights and remains a tenant of the facility. Wasps has a 100% shareholding thanks to the buyout of Arena Coventry Ltd. in November 2014, and since then they have been able to decide the fate of the stadium almost single-handedly. However, this is about to change. It was announced in May 2022 that the club had defaulted on £35 million of bonds that were sold in 2015. There was, however, hope that they would be refinanced by August 13, but ultimately this did not happen. Wasps owner Derek Richardson assured at the time that he had no concerns about bringing administrators into the company.

Coventry Building Society Arena© Slovak / stadiony.net

Subsequent events have already unfolded very quickly. On September 21, Wasps Holdings announced that administration had to be put in place after all. In October, it was confirmed that there was no chance of the team continuing to play in the new Premiership Rugby season. It was not long before new administrators were in place and former CEO Stephen Vaughan admitted that Wasps' debts totalled more than £100 million. All that remained for the league authorities was to announce the suspension of the team, relegation and the removal of the club's results from September 2022.

One more problem still exists in the form of CBS Arena. It is almost certain that it will change ownership. A concerned party has also emerged to buy it. Birmingham-based NEC Group is one of the UK's leading live events companies. Their extensive portfolio includes exhibitions, conferences, concerts, sporting events, family events and those related to hospitality. 

They already own The International Convention Centre, The Vox Conference Centre, the Resorts World Arena with a capacity of 15,685 and the Utilita Arena. All of the facilities mentioned are located within the previously mentioned Birmingham area. The complex in Coventry, which includes a stadium, a 65,000 square metre exhibition hall, hotel and casino, is set to be another building alongside the NEC Group's National Exhibition Centre outside the city where they are based. 

Coventry Building Society Arena© Gerhard Rudolf

BBC Sport recently reported that bondholders' trustee US Bank Trustees Limited had asked for a bailout in a letter to bondholders. This was to allow the sale of Wasps-owned facilities to continue to potential investors or new owners. The fact that the receivership is only in place for Wasps Holdings and does not yet include Arena Coventry Limited and Arena Coventry (2006), which are the operators of the venue, also remains a problem.

In the letter to bondholders we could also read that without additional financial support, it will not be possible to market the assets that form part of the security. As a result, the goal of the administration may not be reached and the directors of the stadium management companies may be forced to go to court for compulsory liquidation. The initial deadline to find funds passed on October 31 and there is no information as yet on whether an extension or an investor has been found