Sun 10 April 2022 | 13:30

Top Facts about Millennium Stadium, the Welsh Arena

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

Millennium Stadium has been recognised since 2016 as the Principality Stadium for sponsorship reasons, 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.

Top Facts about Millennium Stadium, the Welsh Arena

One of the

top facts about Millennium Stadium

is that it was originally built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup, it has gone on to host many further important events, such as the Tsunami Relief Cardiff concert and the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain.

The Millennium Stadium also hosted FA Cup, League Cup and Football League play-off final matches while 

Wembley Stadium

 was being renovated from 2001 to 2006, as well as football games throughout the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The stadium is possessed by Millennium Stadium plc, a subsidiary company of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). The designers of the Millennium Stadium were Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture.

The structural engineers were WS Atkins and the construction contractor was Laing. The entire building expenditure of the venue was 121 million pounds, of which the Millennium Commission funded 46 million pounds.

The stadium opened in June 1999 and its first major sport event was an international rugby union game on 26 June 1999, when 


 defeated South Africa in a test match by 29–19 before a crowd of about 29,000. With a total seating capacity of 73,931, it is the biggest stadium in Wales and the fourth biggest in the United Kingdom by entire capacity.

Furthermore, it is the third-largest arena in the Six Nations Championship behind the Stade de France and Twickenham. It is also the second-largest stadium in the world with an entirely retractable roof and was the second sports ground in Europe to have this feature. 

Quick facts about Millennium Stadium

  • Former names:

    Millennium Stadium, Stadiwm y Mileniwm

  • Location:

    Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1NS

  • Public transit:

     Cardiff Central

  • Owner:

    Millennium Stadium plc

  • Operator:

    Millennium Stadium plc

  • Executive suites:


  • Capacity:

    73,931 (rugby union and football association), 78,000 (boxing)

  • Field size:

    120 metres × 79 metres (394 ft × 259 ft)

  • Surface:

    Grass (1999–2014), GrassMaster (2014–present)

  • Broke ground:


  • Opened:

    26 June 1999

  • Construction cost:

    121 million pounds

  • Architect:

    Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture

  • Structural engineer:

    WS Atkins

  • Main contractors:


  • Tenants:

    Wales national rugby union team (1999–present), Wales national football team (2000–2009), Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain (2001–present)

  • Website:


Millennium Stadium history

Until 1969, Cardiff RFC and Wales both played their home games on the same field at Cardiff Arms Park, but all this improved in the 1969–70 season. 

Due to a contract between Cardiff Athletic Club and the WRU, the National Stadium project established that a new venue for international games and events was vital, with Cardiff RFC moving to a novel, exclusive stadium on the original cricket ground at the site of the former Cardiff Arms Park stadium.

Until 7 April 1984 the National Stadium was publicly opened. Though, in 1994, a commission was set up to consider improving the National Stadium, and by 1995 the WRU had been selected to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

In 1995, the National Stadium, which was planned in 1962, only had a capacity of 53,000; other nations' arenas, such as Twickenham in England with a capacity of 75,000, and Murrayfield Stadium in Scotland with a capacity of 67,000, had surpassed it.

The choices for the novel stadium included adding a third tier to the existing National Stadium, or moving to another location. This last choice was discounted since it would have required a massive car parking facility, and that would have put severe temporary pressures on the local transport infrastructure, creating traffic jams and toxic waste.

The committee finally selected a new stadium in the same location but with great increase in its capacity. It would also involve moving the alignment of the stadium from west–east to north–south.

This was the decision maintained by the Millennium Commission. It was the fourth renovation of the Cardiff Arms Park site. It was also decided that the new stadium should have a retractable roof to accommodate a multi-use place, with a grass field for rugby and football games. The only other stadiums with sliding roofs in Europe at the time were two Dutch arenas – the 

Amsterdam Arena

, finished in 1996 with a capacity of 50,000; and Gelredome in Arnhem, a 30,000-capacity ground built from 1996 to 1998.

In 1999, the Millennium Stadium had replaced the National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park, as the national arena of Wales for rugby union and association football international games. Cardiff RFC continued as before to play at Cardiff Arms Park rugby ground, which had replaced the cricket ground in 1969.

Millennium Stadium construction

One of the

top facts about Millennium Stadium

is that it was designed by a group led by Rod Sheard at Lobb Sport Architecture, who later merged with HOK Sport to become Populous.

Laing was the construction contractor and the engineers of the structures were WS Atkins. Mike Otlet of WS Atkins designed the stadium's sliding roof. Cimolai S.p.A. from Italy made-up and raised the 72 steel plane frames for the stands and all the 4,500 constituents of the retractable roof.

The total construction budget of the Millennium Stadium was 121 million pounds, which was funded by private investment and 46 million pounds of public funds from the Millennium Commission, the sale of debentures to fans and loans. Though, the expansion left the WRU deeply in debt.

The stadium was named as such in credit of the Millennium Commission's contribution to the construction.

The Millennium Stadium was used for a key event on 26 June 1999 for the first time, when Wales played South Africa in a rugby union test game before a crowd of 29,000 attendees. Wales won 29–19 and it was the first time they had ever defeated the Springboks.

Millennium Stadium 2016 renaming

On 8 September 2015, it was declared that the Millennium Stadium would be given new name of Principality Stadium as the result of a 10-year naming rights deal with the Principality Building Society. Some supporters expressed their disapproval on social media.

On 22 January 2016, the Millennium Stadium was legitimately renamed as the Principality Stadium. The new name is also written bilingually "Stadiwm Principality Stadium" and it covers 114 square metres of the upper stadium, was lit up at a special evening event, to be followed by a festival to inspire popular rugby.

Renaming the stadium also meant a change of logo for the stadium. There were three proposals shortlisted, and a panel, which included the former Wales international captain Ryan Jones and staff and associates of the WRU and Principality Building Society, selected the final design. 

A speaker for the WRU stated: "The new stadium logo takes its inspiration from the venue's iconic architecture; four spires, curved frontage and fully retractable roof."

Statue of Sir Tasker Watkins at Millennium Stadium

A statue of Sir Tasker Watkins, the former WRU president from 1993 to 2004, was commissioned to stand outside Gate 3 of the arena. The bronze statue, 9 feet (2.7 metres) tall, was made by Llantwit Major based sculptor Roger Andrews. The Welsh Government contributed 50,000 pounds as well as Cardiff Council. It was publicly uncovered on 15 November 2009 by his daughter, Lady Mair Griffith-Williams.

Millennium Stadium usage

One of the

top facts about Millennium Stadium

is that as well as international rugby union and association football, the Millennium Stadium has held numerous sports, including, rugby league,  including the Challenge Cup Final for three times from 2003 to 2005, the inaugural of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and Welsh Rugby League internationals, speedway, boxing, the Wales Rally Great Britain stage of the World Rally Championship, Monster Jam and indoor cricket.

It is worth mentioning that the indoor cricket game between The Brits and a Rest of the World team for the Pertemps Power Cricket Cup took place on 4 and 5 October 2002.

Rugby union at Millennium Stadium

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that it is the home of the Welsh rugby union team, who play all of their home matches at the arena. These fixtures include those during the Six Nations, as well as the Autumn Internationals against teams from the Southern Hemisphere.

Apart from the national team, the stadium has also held Heineken Cup finals on five occasions. In total, the place, including the National Stadium, has held the final of the Heineken Cup seven times.

Also, the stadium has been used for Celtic League matches, and the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2006 and 2007. Since 2013, the stadium has held Judgement Day, a double-header between the four Welsh Pro12 clubs. The 2015 edition had 52,762 attendees, the most in the history of the league.

Millennium Stadium hosted the first game in the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand when they drew 25–25 against Argentina in a warm-up test game.

Welsh Varsity rugby matches at Millennium Stadium

On 30 March 2011, the arena held the Welsh Varsity rugby game for the first time in the history of the game between the senior teams of Cardiff University and Swansea University.

Moreover, the stadium is used alternating years with Liberty Stadium in Swansea. The Welsh Varsity event commemorated its 20th anniversary in 2016 at this arena.

Rugby World Cup at Millennium Stadium

The Welsh Rugby Union held the 1999 Rugby World Cup with the final being played at the Millennium Stadium. The arena also hosted 3 pool games and 1 quarter-final game of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Rugby league at Millennium Stadium

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that the venue first hosted rugby league football during the 2000 World Cup: a double header featuring Cook Islands versus Lebanon and Wales versus New Zealand that involved 17,612 people. It was also used as Wales' home field throughout the 2002 New Zealand rugby league tour of Great Britain and France when they again hosted the Kiwis this time fascinating 8,746 attendees.

Football matches at Millennium Stadium

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that from 2000 to 2009, it was the almost-permanent home of Welsh football team. The national team played the enormous majority of home games at the Millennium Stadium, with a a few of friendly games once or twice a year at the Liberty Stadium,


, Racecourse or Ground, Wrexham.

The first Welsh football match at the stadium was played against Finland national team in 2000, and attracted a then-record home crowd for Welsh football of more than 66,000 spectators. This record has since been improved on numerous occasions.

Nevertheless, since 2010, most of the home matches have been played at the smaller Cardiff City Stadium, the home of Cardiff City. Wales national team have only played at the arena twice since 2009; in 2011 against England and in 2018 against Spain.

Whereas the Millennium Stadium was being built, the original Wembley Stadium had hosted the Welsh rugby national team throughout the construction of the new ground.

The favour was returned from 2001 when the new Wembley Stadium was under constructed, with the Millennium hosting: FA Cup Final, League Cup Final, Football League Trophy Final, Football League play-off Finals and FA Community Shield.

The stadium became infamous for an obvious "away team talisman because the first 11 major cup final matches were all won by the teams occupying the home dressing room. 

Stoke City

beat Brentford 2–0 in 2002 to finish the "talisman", after Paul Darby carried out a feng shui blessing.

Liverpool were the first club to lift the FA Cup at the Millennium Stadium in 2001 after beating Arsenal 2–1 while Michael Owen scored both goals for his team. They were also the first team to win the League Cup at the arena, beating Birmingham City in a penalty shoot-out earlier that year. 

In 2003, Liverpool lifted the League Cup for the seventh time in the history of the club thanks to a 2–0 victory over Manchester United in the final at the arena. Also, Liverpool won the last FA Cup Final at the stadium in 2006, beating West Ham United 3–1 in a penalty shoot-out that after a 3–3 draw after extra time in what was recognised as 'the best cup final of the modern era'.

In the Football League Third Division play-offs in 2003 AFC


 defeated Lincoln City 5–2. In this match, Bournemouth set a new record for the most goals scored by one team in a single game at the Millennium Stadium. This record has been matched but not broken since then. 

The last national cup match played at the stadium was when Doncaster Rovers defeated 

Bristol Rovers

 3–2 after extra time in the Football League Trophy Final match on 1 April 2007.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) in 2001 confirmed that they had bid to hold the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final. The Millennium Stadium had newly been rated as a five-star stadium by UEFA, making it one of the favourites to host the match, but the final match was finally given to Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that it was suggested that the stadium would have been one of the places of a suggested UEFA Euro 2016 championship hosted jointly by Wales and Scotland. 

Though, the bid did not reach the formal UEFA choice stage, having been abandoned by the Welsh and Scottish Football Associations for economic reasons.

In April 2014, the FAW also send a formal bid to host three group games and either a round of 16 match or a quarter-final at Euro 2020, which UEFA scheduled to host at 13 stadiums across Europe. 

Once the host venues were voted on in September 2014, the Millennium Stadium lost out the competition by only a single vote behind Glasgow's Hampden Park, a decision that FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford put down to UEFA politics.

On 30 June 2015, the Millennium Stadium was selected as the stadium for the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final. UEFA rules meant it could not be branded as the Principality Stadium during the final, resulting in all names and logos – as well as those of other non-UEFA sponsors – being covered or removed duration the match. The match was played on 3 June 2017 between Italian giant Juventus and Spanish club Real Madrid, in a repeat of the 1998 final and Real Madrid won the game 4–1.

When London was chosen as the host city for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Millennium Stadium was named as one of the six stadiums for the football matches.

Boxing games at Millennium Stadium

There have been five nights of boxing at the stadium. On 8 July 2006, Matt Skelton defeated Danny Williams for the Commonwealth heavyweight trophy.

On 7 April 2007, Joe Calzaghe beat Peter Manfredo to keep his WBO super middleweight belt. On 3 November 2007, Calzaghe beat Mikkel Kessler to keep his WBO super middleweight belt and achieved the WBA and WBC super middleweight titles.

Motorsports at Millennium Stadium

In 2001, Millennium Stadium staged its first ever motorsport competition, holding the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain, and has done so every year since, attracting a record crowd of 44,150 in 2010. 

Films at Millennium Stadium

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that the stadium has been used on several occasions as a venue for shooting film and television productions. Parts of the 2001 Hindi film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... were filmed there.

Also Sébastien Foucan jumped over the gap of the opening of the arena roof in the parkour documentary "Jump Britain".

Holding events at Millennium Stadium

The inaugural Express Eventing International Cup took place at the Millennium Stadium on 30 November 2008. The three-event competition made up of dressage, cross-country and show jumping all took place over the one day. Finally, Oliver Townend won the event.

Concerts at Millennium Stadium

One of the

top facts about Millennium Stadium

is that it has also been used for a numerous musical events, including the Manic Street Preachers concert held on Millennium Eve and, on the next day, a recording of the BBC's Songs of Praise, which fascinated an attendance of 60,000.

Tina Turner performed a sold-out concert at the Millennium Stadium during her very successful Twenty Four Seven Tour in 2000. 

Welsh rock musicians Stereophonics have performed two sold-out shows at the stadium: In July 2001 as part of their two-day "A Day at the Races" festival which would later be released to DVD and in 2003, shortly after the departure of the late Stuart Cable.

American rock group Bon Jovi played the stadium throughout the One Wild Night Tour in 2001. At the end of January 2005, the arena held a tsunami relief concert in aid of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, with Eric Clapton featuring the event.

The Millennium Stadium has also been host to Madonna on two occasions, the first in July 2006 when she opened the UK leg of her Confessions Tour, and most lately in August 2008 when she kicked off her Sticky & Sweet Tour at the arena. Other musicians who have played at the Millennium Stadium include Robbie Williams as part of his Weddings, Barmitzvahs & Stadiums Tour, U2 as part of their Vertigo Tour, Red Hot Chili Peppers as part of their By the Way tour, The Rolling Stones as part of their A Bigger Bang Tour, R.E.M. as part of their Monster tour and again for their Around the Sun tour.

Paul McCartney also performed at the Millennium Stadium as part of his Up and Coming Tour, and The Police played there as part of their Reunion Tour. In late 2005, Oasis played at the arena during their Don't Believe the Truth Tour and again on their Dig Out Your Soul Tour in 2009. 

In 2008, the Millennium Stadium held Neil Diamond and Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band as part of their Magic Tour, On 22 August 2009, U2 again played at the arena, as part of their European leg of their U2 360° Tour, playing to a record-breaking concert crowd of 73,354.

Conferences at Millennium Stadium

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that it offers conferencing facilities via the foodservice organisation Compass Group. The amenities consist of six separately designed lounges and 124 pitch-facing exclusive box suites.

In addition to commerce events, the amenities are also obtainable for dinners, feasts, balls, celebrations and weddings parties.

Millennium Stadium as a temporary hospital

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that on 28 March 2020 it was proclaimed that the arena was to be converted at a cost of 8 million pounds into a temporary field hospital to lodge more than to 2000 patients of the coronavirus pandemic, at the same time as the Excel Centre, London, NEC, Birmingham, and the Manchester Central Convention Complex. By April 2020, the Millennium Stadium had a capacity of 330 beds.

How to get to the Millennium Stadium

The Millennium Stadium is situated in the centre of Cardiff almost opposite Cardiff Central Rail station.

Regular trains link Cardiff to London Paddington, Birmingham New Street, and Bristol.

If you arrive by car, make your way to the centre of Cardiff and find a parking place, which will almost at all times be at walking distance from the stadium.

Millennium Stadium Address is Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1NS

Eat, drink, and sleep near the Millennium Stadium

The Millennium Stadium’s central place makes that there are plenty of eating and drinking choices in the near area of the stadium. Cardiff’s city centre lies just east of the Millennium Stadium and is full of pubs, bars, and restaurants.

The same is true about hotels. There are many hotels situated on all sides of the Millennium Stadium in numerous price categories. You can check the online booking websites for an overview of hotels near the Millennium Stadium.

Millennium Stadium tours and Wales tickets

One of the top facts about Millennium Stadium is that it has guided stadium tours that include the home dressing room, press conference suite, players tunnel, VIP suites, and President’s Box. The tours may take between 60 and 75 minutes.

Tours are offered seven days a week up to seven times a day. You can check the website of the stadium to book days and times.

For more information you can  call +44 (0) 29 2082 2228, or email tours@millenniumstadium.com. The tour fees are 12.50 pounds.

Wales football national team tickets can be bought online at the website of the Welsh FA.


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