Page last updated at 06:29 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 07:29 UK

Stadium's '1bn boost' to Wales

Sell-out crowd for Take That
Earlier this month more than 120,000 Take That fans watched the band at the Millennium Stadium

As Cardiff's Millennium Stadium marks its 10th anniversary, managers say it has brought over £1bn to the Welsh economy and supported 2,400 jobs.

As well as hosting rugby and football matches, some of the biggest names in music have played to huge crowds.

Earlier this month more than 120,000 Take That fans descended on the Welsh capital for two sell-out shows.

The hotel industry said nearby cities such as Swansea and Bristol benefited from visitors it attracted as well.

The stadium is owned and operated by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

Finance director Steve Phillips said it was the biggest tourist attraction in Wales and among the top 10 in the UK.

A study commissioned by the WRU and published in November 2007 estimated the financial benefit to the Welsh economy to be in excess of £105m a year.

TAKE THAT, BOUGHT THIS...
Concert goers ate 3,000 hospitality meals at the stadium
They consumed nearly 1,000kg of chocolate and 7,000 portions of pizza
The stadium sold 4,000 glasses of Pimms
Source: Millennium Stadium

It found 85% of the money stayed in the Cardiff area and was thought to support up to 2,400 full time jobs a year.

Mr Phillips said: "The Millennium Stadium has attracted more than one billion pounds into the Welsh economy in its first 10 years.

"Visitors attracted to the stadium number over 1m a year with almost half of them from outside Wales.

"This makes us far and away the premier tourist attraction in Wales and easily within the UK Top Ten, one of only a handful of attractions outside London of this scale.

"There is plenty for us to celebrate in the 10th anniversary year.

"Our event calendar is as strong as ever with the recent Take That concert the perfect example of the power of the venue in attracting visitor numbers to Cardiff and Wales.

"Our concert business has never been better and the important thing we have now established, over the ten year history of our venue, is a consistent ability to attract and successfully deliver the biggest acts."

Derek Harvey, chairman of the Cardiff Hoteliers' Association, said the stadium had played a big part in the regeneration of the city.

"When there is an event there it has a massive impact on the city," he added.

The Millennium Stadium's retractable roof has given it versatility as a venue

"It's a unique facility - one because it is in the centre of the city and two because the roof closes. When the stadium bids for concerts there is less of a risk for promoters.

"The unmeasurable is the amount of media coverage it attracts for Wales and the city of Cardiff," he added.

Mr Harvey said that was particularly the case when it hosted the FA Cup finals and semi-finals while Wembley was being rebuild.

And he said with certain events - such as the Six Nations rugby - then cities such as Swansea and Bristol saw increased visitor number as well.

The stadium, with not all stands ready, opened on 26 June 1999 with the Welsh rugby team playing - and beating - South Africa.

Later that year Wales hosted the Rugby World Cup, and have enjoyed two Grand Slams since.

The stadium also hosted the FA Cup, League Cup and play-off finals while Wembley was rebuilt.

Meanwhile rock and pop giants ranging from U2, Bruce Springsteen to Oasis and Madonna have played at the stadium.

There has also been speedway, rugby league, rallying and monster truck racing.

To mark its 10th anniversary, the stadium has a re-designed logo for the coming season. It will first be seen on tickets for the rugby international against New Zealand in November.


We asked for your favourite memory or event at the Millennium Stadium over the last 10 years. Here is a selection of your comments.

Grand Slam winners 2005
Wales celebrate the 2005 Grand Slam at the stadium

Hard to choose between the 2 Grand Slam afternoons of 2005 and 2008 but I think the latter shades it - Shane Williams' try sealing the win and him becoming Wales' record tryscorer in the process. Good times!
Rob, Neath, South Wales

Watching Cardiff win the Play Off final was an amazing experience and to do it at in our home city...priceless
Ben, Cardiff, South Wales

Opening game vs. the Boks. Wales' only victory against them. Especially as me misses is a SAFa and it's the only time I've been able to gloat. Plus, it is topical and on current form can't see the Lions winning a test.
mark, Wrexham

I have two mega memories! The opening match when Wales beat South Africa and the stadium was only partially finished and Wales beating Ireland for the Grand Slam in gorgeous spring sunshine. Many others though; Manics and Phonics concerts, Wales v France for the Grand Slam, that day we almost beat the All Blacks and of course the World Cup...too many!
Lloyd, London

Watching Wrexham win the LDV Trophy in 2005 and Wales beating Italy 2-1 (should of been 3-1!) in October 2002. Happy memories of one of the world's greatest stadiums!!!
Richie Jones, Penmaenmawr, North Wales

It has to be the 2005 Grand Slam because of the outpouring of emotion and relief when that final whistle blew. The memory of thousands of supporters, both Welsh and Irish, staying in the stadium as Max Boyce performed and sang on the pitch is priceless!
Paul Fears, Church Village

Wales Grand Slams and Liverpool winning the FA Cup
Nic, Cardiff, Wales

I've loads of great times in our magnificent stadium. The highlight is still the opening game with only 28,000 people and huge pillars holding up the roof, closely followed by the opening game of RWC99. All the NZ games are amazing and the atmosphere for grand slams was outstanding! The stadium is a wonderful facility and I just hope they get to complete the bowl and increase capacity so more people can enjoy this amazing place : happy days!
Matt, Cardiff

Yes I'd have to agree that the 2008 Grand Slam match against France was right up there and both the tries from Shane and Martyn were scored right in front of us as well, it's doesn't get much better than that. And any victory over England is always special. :-) Also worth a mention was the 2 - 1 win over Italy in the Euro 2004 Qualifiers in October 2002.
Dai, Cardiff

Madonna in concert
Madonna brought her dazzling stage show to the stadium

Firstly - Best stadium in the World! Have been to the stadium over 50 times and seen rugby grand slams won, FA cup finals, Welsh football games (including that one against Italy), concerts and even abseiled off the roof! - But the best atmosphere I ever experienced was when the welsh team stood up to the haka last year. The noise generated from the crowd on that occasion when the teams just stood eyeball to eyeball was immense and to see the all blacks walk away was priceless. - Pity the game went all downhill from there!!
Ben, Cardiff

Even smaller scale events can be memorable. I watched Wrexham FC beat Southend Utd and pick the LDV trophy with large support from Wrexham and North wales.Which was in my experience. Their greatest achievement in my eyes.
Ian, Wrexham

My top 5 'Millenium Moments' from the last 10 years:

1. Winning the Granslam against Ireland

2. Wales football team beating Italy 2-1 3. Hensons penalty against England in 2005 4. Beating France to win the 2nd Grandslam 5. Wales beating the boks in the opening game The Tsunami gig in 2005 just missed the cut!
Dai, Cardiff

Seeing the WRC superpecial. When Colin McRae drove onto the stage I thought the roof would lift.
Bob Price, Cardiff

Some great memories, including the 2-1 win over Italy, but the greatest was the 2008 Grand Slam match against France. Had just got back from Australia, having watched the Scotland match in Adelaide and the Ireland match in Sydney, and was still very jet-lagged. The atmosphere was incredible before and during the game, but when we won it went to a whole new level which kept me going until alcohol and jet lag made me nearly fall asleep into my chinese meal at a restaurant where the supporters were still singing hours after the game had finished.
Robert, Weston-Super-Mare

On a par with the new Wembley, seen Oasis here, magnificent venue, up there as one of the best ever.
Calvin, Edinburgh,

Two favourites.

The first visit to the stadium with my son to watch Samoa and the standoff against NZ last Autumn. Lose or not the team showed what being a Welshman was all about.
Chris, Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales

1] - Seeing NEWPORT RFC lifting the Welsh Cup in 2001 against Neath. 2] - Stereophonics Concert 3] - Watching Wales v Scotland , sitting next to Gary Teichmann and Henry Honibal 4] - U2 Concert's 5] - All Wales v NZ matches
Darren Little, NEWPORT Wales

Never been to the stadium but my favourite memory from watching on TV is Ireland's Grand Slam victory over Wales last March. Munster's 2 Heineken Cup successes were pretty amazing too and I'm a Leinster fan!
Richard, Dublin, Ireland

Two favorites. The first visit to the stadium with my son to watch Samoa and the standoff against NZ last Autumn. Lose or not the team showed what being a Welshman was all about.
Chris, Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales

Entering the stadium for the very first time at the opening of the World Cup in 1999. Completely overwhelming.
Dave, Cardiff, Wales.

On a par with the new Wembley, seen Oasis here, magnificent venue, up there as one of the best ever.
Calvin, Edinburgh.

Watching Joe Calzaghe beat Mikkel Kessler to unify the SM title and remain undeated for 11 years as World Champion in front of 50,000. Awesome night!
Andrew, Cardiff

My favourite memories must include beating the boks in the first game at the stadium and then getting a ticket 5 minutes before the opening world cup game for the seats they had forgotten to sell! Being there the day we won 2005 Grand Slam was unbelievable and also seeing Gav kick that kick against England! But I mustn't forget the wonderful concerts including the manics, the phonics & Take That !
Chrissie , Haarlem, Netherlands

Take That this year and 2006 were brilliant at the stadium. The atmosphere was great! Very fortunate to have such a fab venue so near to us.
Karen, Tredegar, South Wales

As a Wrexham girl it has to be watching the Dragons there winning the LDV vans Trophy final in 2005. From my arm chair though, I very much enjoyed Liverpool's 2 FA cup triumphs of 2001 and 2006, and of course the unforgettable Grand Slam winning games from 2005 and 2008. U2 were pretty amazing there too, I hope they will be again this coming August.
Liz, Stourport-on-Severn, England

To see our soldiers marching ito the stadium after finishing their tour of Iraq, seeing them recieve theor well deserved medals
Sally Adams, Swansea

Best would be beating Italy 2-1 on 16th October 2002, a date and game carved into my memory for ever.

Also, I saw the greatest bit of footballing ever in the Man United vs Arsenal charity shield. Viera had picked up the ball at the half way line and was moving to goal, out of the corner of your eye you see Keane running and running, all the Man United supporters stand up in anticipation, to see Keane slide into Viera, Viera down and Keane back up in an instant running with the ball. The fans celebrated like it was a match winning goal. Magnificent. Great great stadium
Rich Davies, Isle of Man

I'm a Red scouser living in Cardiff. Wish I'd been here for Michael Owen's winner in 2001 and Stevie Gerrard's in 2006. Give me the Millennium Stadium over Wembley any time.
Neil, Cardiff, Wales

watching wales response to the haka in 2008 and wales winning the grand slam and beating ENGLAND
gavin clement, ystrad rhondda

Truly great stadium. Shame that they failed to promote Rugby League, hence the move to Murrayfield for Magic Weekend - ask most "Northerners" and they would prefer to play all the major Rugby League finals in Cardiff! How much money did Cardiff lose by not hosting Millennium Magic this year? Millions I guess!
Colin Neale, Aberdare, South Wales



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