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Image by Ben Salter from Wikimedia

Top 10 Interesting Facts about Millennium Stadium


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.

Millennium Stadium is the national home of Wales. It is located in Cardiff and is also the home of the Wales national rugby union team and has also held Wales national football team matches.

Principality has hosted a variety of different sporting events including Wales National football team matches.

The Millennium Stadium boasts a UEFA 5-Star rating and has hosted matches from two Rugby World Cups including the Final in 1999.

It has witnessed three Wales Grand Slam successes in the RBS Six Nations, staged six showpiece FA Cup Finals plus hosted the major artists of the music business with a plethora of major concerts.

The Millennium Stadium opened in June 1999 and its first major event was an international rugby union match on 26 June 1999, when Wales beat South Africa in a test match

In this article, we are going to take a look at the top 10 facts about Millennium Stadium.



1. The Millennium Stadium was built for the 1999 Rugby World Cup

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Image by Nick Richards from Wikimedia

The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the reason for building the Millennium Stadium. The stadium hosted 7 out of 41 matches.

Private funds covered the 121 million pound construction costs. 

The Millennium Commission sold debentures to supporters (which offered guaranteed tickets in exchange for an interest-free loan) and loans.   They raised £46 million from the public.

The development left the WRU heavily in debt.

The Millennium Stadium was named as such in recognition of the Millennium Commission’s contribution to the building.

2.  Principality is the New Stadium Name

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Image by Seth Whales from Wikimedia

Principality Building Society’s 10-year naming rights deal ensured the Millennium Stadium was renamed Principality Stadium. 

the Millennium Stadium has officially renamed the Principality Stadium on 22 January 2016.

The new name is written bilingually (“Stadiwm Principality Stadium”) and covers 114 square metres (1,230 sq ft) of the upper stadium. 

A festival to encourage grassroots rugby was done during the stadium,s launch

The change of name also meant a change of logo for the Millennium Stadium. 

a panel which included the former Wales international captain Ryan Jones and staff and members of the WRU and Principality Building Society chose the final design.

A spokesperson for the WRU said: “The new stadium logo takes its inspiration from the venue’s iconic architecture; four spires, curved frontage and fully retractable roof.

3.  Millennium Stadium Record-Setting Retractable Roof

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Roof closed Image by Philip Halling / Inside the Millennium Stadium / CC BY-SA 2.0 from Wikimedia

The roof was designed to accommodate a requirement for multi-usage.

It features a retractable roof, only the second stadium of its type in Europe and the largest football stadium in the world with this feature.

The only other retractable roof in Europe at the time was the Amsterdam Arena, home of Ajax Football Club.

Its roof panels can be closed over the spectator and pitch areas in less than 20 minutes, transforming the stadium into a weather-tight arena.

There are 200,000 nuts and bolts on the roof.

4. The Millennium Stadium Boasts a UEFA 5-Star Rating

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Image by UEFA from Wikimedia

The Principality Stadium boasts a UEFA 5-Star rating and has hosted matches from various Rugby World Cups including the Final in 1999.

It has also staged six FA Cup Finals plus played host to the major artists of the music industry with an abundance of major concerts.

One of the most crucial criteria for rating is the capacity, it should be of no less than 50,000 people (later raised to 60,000+, with 70,000+ preferred).

Among UEFA’s key roles, is to inspect stadiums before they host matches in European competitions.

In addition, the stadium facilities are verified, and the stadium management must give details of emergency contingency requirements.

5. Millenium Stadium is a Multi-Faceted Stadium

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Image by Seth Whales from Wikimedia

It is designed to host sports matches, as well as to adapt for use as a concert and entertainment venue.

Sporting the first fully retractable roof in the UK, the venue is at the leading edge as a multi-purpose, multi-faceted event venue. 

The Millennium Stadium has hosted matches from two Rugby World Cups including the Final in 1999.

It has witnessed three Wales Grand Slam successes in the RBS Six Nations, staged six showpiece FA Cup Finals plus hosted the major artists of the music business with a plethora of major concerts and motorsports events on its CV.

The installation of a partition drape system means that the bowl of the Millennium Stadium can be used for multiple concert mode configurations and for staging exhibitions.

6. Millennium Stadium Averages 1.3 Million Visitors per Year

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Image by Phil Guest from Wikimedia

Since opening in June 1999, the Millennium Stadium has welcomed, on average, over 1.3 million visitors per year.

The largest recorded attendance for a rugby match was in the 2009 Six Nations clash between Wales and Ireland (74,645). The visitors recorded a 17-15 win to take their first Grand Slam since 1948.

Among the highest concert audience at the stadium was 73,354, who saw U2 in 2009.

In 2018 Ed Sheeran performed for a record-breaking 4 nights at the Stadium on his  Tour. The stadium’s total seating capacity for sporting events is 73,434.

Anthony Joshua’s fight against Carlos Takam in 2017 saw the highest attendance of 78,000 people.

7. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Laid the Foundation Stone for the Stadium

Image by The World Affairs Council from Wikimedia

The construction project for the Millennium Stadium took two years to complete. Prime Minister Tony Blair laid the foundation stone for the new venue in September 1997.

The total construction cost of the stadium was £121 million. The construction project ran between 1997 and 1999, on the site of the old National Stadium.

The stadium’s construction required the use of 440,000t of concrete, 12,000t of structural steel, 4,000t of steel reinforcement, 34,000m² (365,972ft²) of blockwork, 13,500 foundation piles and aluminium wall cladding.

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.

8. The National Stadium of Wales gave way to the Millennium Stadium

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Image by Mooganic profile at Flickr website from Wikimedia

The National Stadium was demolished in 1997 to make way for the Millennium Stadium.

To remain on the Arms Park site, additional space had to be found to allow safe access and to provide room for the increased capacity and improved facilities.

They purchased buildings to the south and east to ensure the stadium remains at the Arms Park site.

Construction involved the demolition of a number of other buildings including the Wales Empire Pool on Wood Street and the Cardiff Empire Telephone Exchange building (owned by BT) on Park Street.

The newly built Territorial Auxiliary & Volunteer Reserve building on Park Street and the Social Security offices on Westgate Street also had to go.

9. The Millennium Stadium has hosted more than 500 Major Events

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Image by Peter Broster from Wikimedia

The Principality Stadium has hosted some of the world’s biggest events and is one of Cardiff’s most iconic buildings.

Originally named the Millennium Stadium, the doors opened to a half-completed stadium on 26 June 1999 with a historic moment to match. The Wales rugby team sealed a win over the then world Champions South Africa for the first time.

Since then there’s been no shortage of major sporting and music events at the venue.

The 74,000 seater stadium has hosted three Rugby World Cups, a Champions League Final, four Heineken Cup Finals, Six FA Cup finals and 2012 Olympic Games football as well as hosting the world’s biggest artists including Madonna, The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and the Spice Girls.

Other events include the Tsunami Relief Project, the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain and the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain.

The Manic Street Preachers were the first band to play at the stadium on New Year’s Eve 1999.

10. Millennium Stadium is Property of the Welsh Rugby Union

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image by Chaps the Idol from Wikimedia

The stadium is owned by Millennium Stadium Plc, which is a subsidiary of Welsh Rugby Union and the Cardiff County Council.

It was designed by Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture (now known as Populous). It is the home stadium of the Wales National Rugby Union Team.

The stadium has helped inject £2.75bn into the area over the last 20 years and has helped support around 2,500 jobs in Cardiff and Wales each year.

It’s welcomed more than 4m visitors, with over 60% of those being international rugby fans and around 20% (720,000) at pop and rock concerts.

A report found that the Stadium is Wales’ top single site attraction.

Most new stadia are built on the outskirts of cities, but the Millenium is in the heart of Cardiff, and has become the centre of the Welsh capital since 1999.

The structure dominates the Cardiff skyline and looks brilliant. Its striking spikes and elegant style have made this one of the world’s most recognisable stadia.