Ever since it opened in 1999, the Millennium Stadium (now named the Principality Stadium) has catapulted Welsh sport into an exciting new era with all the modern feels and technologies you would come to expect. A variety of different sporting events have been held at the Principality but it’s predominantly used as the home of Welsh rugby.
Warren Gatland’s men will be preparing for their opening Six Nations match with France on 1st of February, with their first home match coming against England two weeks later. Wales haven’t won the Six Nations since 2012 and although the likes of Ireland and England are the favourites to win it, there’s no reason why Gatland’s side can’t cause an upset.
Here, we take a look at seven interesting facts that you might not have known about the Principality Stadium.
1. The construction project for the Millennium Stadium took two years to complete. It was opened in June 1999 and 56,000 tonnes of concrete were used to complete the build. In terms of facilities, the stadium boasts three tiers with 112 private hospitality suites and 34 public bars. Furthermore, there are seven standard hospitality lounges with 16 food and beverage outlets.
2. On 16th January, 2016 the Millennium Stadium was renamed the Principality Stadium after a ten-year naming rights deal with Principality Building Society was agreed. WRU chairman Gareth Davies told BBC Sport in 2015: “Both parties are comfortable with the arrangement, I think a ten-year deal is significant in terms of naming rights for a stadium.”
3. The all-seater stadium boasts a total capacity of 74,500 spectators, making it the fourth largest in the United Kingdom. 33,000 fans can be situated across the upper tier with 18,000 in the middle tier. A further 23,500 people will fill the lower tier.
4. The largest recorded attendance for a rugby match was in the 2009 Six Nations clash between Wales and Ireland (74,645), with the visitors recording a 17-15 win to take their first Grand Slam since 1948. Joe Schmidt’s side are favourites to taste glory again in 2019, with all Six Nations betting odds available here. The Welsh national football team’s highest recorded attendance to date was set in 2003, when 73,062 watched the Dragons slip to a 1-0 defeat to Russia in a Euro 2004 play-off.
5. To date, over 350 events have been held at the Millennium/Principality Stadium including the Tsunami Relief Project, the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain, the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain and a whole host of music concerts. The Manic Street Preachers were the first band to play at the stadium on New Year’s Eve 1999.
6. Revenue-wise, the Principality Stadium generates over £130m a year via the various events that are held there. Approximately 2,500 permanent jobs have been created and 770,000 visitors pass through its gates each year, with 50,000 people visiting the ground annually for guided tours.
7. Whilst Wembley Stadium was been redeveloped, the Millennium/Principality Stadium was used to host the FA Cup Final. Liverpool were the first side to taste glory in 2001, after being Arsenal 2-1 and were also the last team to win it in Cardiff, beating West Ham United on penalties after a 3-3 draw.