The Millennium Stadium, also called the Principality Stadium, holds the distinction of being the third biggest in UK and Wale’s national stadium. It was constructed for holding the World Cup Rugby in 1999 and replaced Cardiff Arms Park, Wale’s original stadium. It started being built in 1997 and finally got completed two years later incurring a total of $114 million in expenses.
This stadium is home to Wale’s national rugby team and organizes Wales’s national football team matches. Besides hosting the World Cup Rugby final in 1999, this venue is now used for many large-scale events like Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Britain, Tsunami Relief Cardiff concert, Great Britain’s Speedway Grand Prix, etc. It even hosted the League Cup, FA Cup, and play-off finals for the Football League when the Wembley was being renovated.
Millennium Stadium’s owner is the Millennium Stadium plc which is a subsidiary company under the Welsh Rugby Union. It was inaugurated in June 1999 and the first big event had been the international rugby match between South Africa and Wales in which Wales emerged victorious. The seating capacity is huge and it can accommodate 73,391 people making it the 2nd largest globally with a retractable roof. No surprises then why this stadium was selected as venue for the UEFA Champions League Final in 2017.
The National Stadium originally had limited seating facilities and was hidden by many neighboring buildings; access to its grounds was also limited as the main gate was a rather narrow opening onto the Westgate Street that was used by spectators and vehicles. So, the options available for a new stadium meant adding either a third tier to the one that existed or relocate to a new site. The second option was dismissed because it would need a very large parking capacity. This would have led to unwanted traffic congestions and pollution. So, the committee decided on a new stadium to be built on the existing site but with much expanded capacity. It was supposed to be the fourth re-development of the original Cardiff Arms Park. Extra space was made by buying adjacent buildings and constructing a new River Walk to the west of stadium on the River Taff. By 1999, this new stadium completely replaced the original as the national stadium for all rugby union matches and international football matches.
The stadium had been designed by Rob Sheard, an architect and later merged with HOK Sport. Many buildings had to be demolished in the process, including the existing Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Empire Telephone Exchange, and Wales Empire Pool. Steve Ager was head of construction and the stadium was finished in 1999. The entire cost was financed by both public and private investments and the development obviously left WRU in a lot of debt. It was because of the Millennium Commission’s contributions that the stadium was named Millennium Stadium. In 2015, it was decided to change its name to Principality Stadium but fans did not approve of this. In 2016 however, the name was changed as was the existing logo. Three designs were shortlisted and a panel formed to choose the final. Today, this stadium can comfortably hold 74,500 supporters and has a retractable roof, making it the biggest stadium for football to have this feature. Its 4 4nds are named South Stand, North Stand, BT Stand, and West Stand. It has 3 tiers of seats except the North Stand which has 2.