Principality Stadium's 'massive financial boost' to Cardiff

The Principality Stadium is the home of Welsh rugby where the team clinched the Grand Slam in March Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Principality Stadium is the home of Welsh rugby where the team clinched their latest Grand Slam in March

Cardiff's Principality Stadium has helped to pump £2.75bn into the area over the last 20 years, a report says.

The home of Welsh rugby opened on 26 June 1999, replacing the old Arms Park.

It has witnessed Wales Grand Slams, football's FA Cup and Champions League finals, and music artists like Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Pink and Take That.

Spending by those visiting Cardiff for an event at the stadium has been about £1.95bn and businesses think its city centre location is key to its success.

"The stadium has showcased Wales and hosted national celebrations at key times in both sport and culture," said Dr Calvin Jones, author of the independent report by Econactive on behalf of stadium owners Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

"Most stadia lever a largely local audience, whether club or international focussed, with away or overseas audiences very rarely in the majority, even at global events such as the summer Olympics.

"Conversely in the Cardiff case both this and previous reports have found that the stadium consistently drives spectator spending that is largely non-Welsh in origin, adding real, net-additional income."

The report said on average the venue - known as the Millennium Stadium until a 10-year naming rights deal was signed with The Principality Building Society in 2016 - has supported about 2,500 jobs in Cardiff and Wales in each year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Manic Street Preachers, Beyonce, U2, Pink, The Rolling Stones and Shirley Bassey are among the big names to have performed at the stadium

Jobs supported across the region were also up by more than 1,000 on the 20 year average and the report also found the 73,931-capacity stadium, which is the fourth biggest in the UK behind Wembley, Twickenham and Old Trafford, supported about one in 10 tourism roles.

Recommendations made for the future of the stadium by the report include upgrading existing technology to enhance fan experience, a heritage centre on site and improving the surrounding rail travel.

Heather Myers, chief executive of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said the crowds attracted to the stadium for events had brought "a massive financial boost to the city".

Image copyright Principality Stadium
Image caption Ed Sheeran became the first artist to play four successive nights at the stadium in June 2018

"The fact that the stadium is in the city centre sets it apart from so many other large venues, and ensures that the whole city can benefit from major events," she added.

"Visitors often stay a few days, spending their money in local pubs, shops, tourist attractions and of course staying in hotels.

"The Principality Stadium has also been the catalyst for Cardiff holding a wide variety of events across the wide variety of venues in the city, giving year-round employment to thousands of people working in the hospitality sector.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Real Madrid beat Juventus when the stadium hosted the Champions League Final in 2017

"Having a stadium capable of hosting major international events shown on TV across the globe also gives us an opportunity to sell Wales to the world.

"Businesses that export tell me how being able to refer to their home as the place that hosted the UEFA Champions League Final or the Rugby World Cup helps build all-important relationships with potential customers."

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