Principality Stadium

Capacity74 500
500 (VIP seats)
325 (Press seats)
Country Wales
CityCardiff
Clubs-
Other names Millennium Stadium (1999-2016)
Floodlights 1,300 lux
Inauguration 10/1999 (Rugby World Cup opening ceremony)
Record attendance 74,576 (Wales - Scotland, 09/02/2008)
Design Populous
Cost £ 167 million
Address 101 St Marys Street, Cardiff CF10 1GE
Other Rettractable roof

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Description: Principality Stadium

In 1984 Wales erected their first official national rugby stadium, however it soon turned out to be outdated. Design created back in 1960’s and compromised capacity after Taylor Report (down to 47,500) led to talks of a major overhaul already in mid-1990’s. A special commission was created in 1994 to lead the work, prompted by the selection of Wales as 1999 Rugby World Cup hosts.

Two options were taken into account – remodeling the existing venue or moving to a new location. The latter one appeared unviable, mostly for transportation reasons. The first one on the other hand required additional land which was acquired in order to fit in a larger ground.

Main expectations were capacity of app. 75,000 seats – a lot in the modest plot available – and a retractable roof. This feature was a very innovative one in the days, only Amsterdam ArenA had one then, with Gelredome being planned in the same time as Millennium Stadium. Design company HOK S+V+E (later called Populous) was on the job. A three-tiered bowl was created except for the North stand which had to be left from the previous ground due to space restrictions. The megastructure was possible to carry out thanks to private funding mostly, with public subsidy, long-term seat allocations and debt being of support to the budget.

First event was organized in June 1999 before a ‘test-crowd’, but all stands were opened a few months later, for Autumn’s Rugby World Cup. Main tenant is the rugby national team with their football equivalent playing more games at smaller grounds. Other major matches in both football and rugby took place here though, to name just the Challenge Cup or FA Cup (during Wembley’s revamp).

Apart from sporting events (including boxing and motorsports), other large scale events are held here as well. The arena has a curtain system that allows ‘cutting off’ stands for smaller events to 46,000 or even 12,000 seats only.

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