Fortress judged world’s best Stadium
4th June 2009, 3:28 pm By Principality Stadium
The Millennium Stadium has been named as the best rugby stadium in the world by New Zealand Rugby World magazine – beating big names such as Twickenham (fifth place) and Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (second) in the process.
The Stadium opened for the 1999 Rugby World Cup and has witnessed some of the greatest international sporting occasions over the decade to secure its position as the top rugby venue by the leading industry magazine which considered the ‘entire package of the rugby experience’.
Millennium Stadium venue sales manager Alex Luff believes that the NZRW is a great reminder about the benefits that the Millennium Stadium brings to the capital and the many fans that have enjoyed the home of Welsh rugby since its inception ten years ago.
"We have a great reputation here in Cardiff for delivering the highest standard across a wide range of events and we are proud of our global status which certainly puts Cardiff on the map as a must-visit sporting city," he said.
"To be recognised by New Zealand Rugby World magazine is a huge boost for everyone here at the Millennium Stadium as we continue to work hard year-after-year to bring prestigious rugby events such as the Rugby World Cup to Cardiff."
NZRW Editor Gregor Paul considered the town or city the stadium is in, ease of transport to the stadium, the facilities and the atmosphere when compiling the list. He commented on the Millennium Stadium and the overall experience for rugby fans: "It is a stunning facility. Nearly 75,000 people can be crammed into this state-of-the-art stadium that was built for the 1999 World Cup.
"The most amazing thing about the Millennium is its location – it is literally in the centre of Cardiff. People can bus or train into central Cardiff and be just two minutes walk from the ground. Or, for those who stay overnight – the bulk of the city’s hotels are within five minutes walk.
"There is no shortage of places to eat and drink both before and after kick-off and the stadium fills and empties in a flash as no one ever has to mill around outside the ground wondering what to do next."
"There is also deep history at the ground as it is built on the site of the Cardiff Arms Park and then there is also the contribution the Welsh themselves make. They know their rugby and they love their rugby. They love singing too and have one of the most moving national anthems. Millennium knows how to host the big occasion and it knows how to touch the soul of rugby fans."
The news follows the RFU announcement their Rugby World Cup 2015 bid includes proposals for matches to be played at the Millennium Stadium – a significant venue during three previous Rugby World Cup competitions (1991, 1999, 2007). Cardiff has also hosted three Heineken Cup Finals (2002, 2006, 2008) and recently attracted record-breaking semi and quarter final matches in the competition to the capital city.
Mr Luff added: "We are confident that the Millennium Stadium is a favourite among the fans that have travelled in their thousands to enjoy some of the greatest moments across sport and entertainment in recent years.
"Last month we became the first venue to witness a kicking shoot-out during the last moments of the Heineken Cup semi final game between Leicester Tigers and Cardiff Blues and, funnily enough, we were also the first venue to stage a penalty shoot-out in the FA Cup final during the reconstruction of Wembley."
He added: "Our reputation is testament to the Stadium’s significance as an iconic sporting arena."
According to NZRW magazine, the full list of top stadiums is as follows:
1 – Millennium Stadium (Cardiff, Wales)
2 – Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane, Australia)
3 – Yarrow Stadium (New Plymouth, New Zealand)
4 – Croke Park (Dublin, Ireland)
5 – Twickenham (London, England)
6 – Stade Aime Giral (Perpignan, France)
7 – Newlands (Cape Town, South Africa)
8 – The Greenyards (Melrose, Scotland)
9 – Thomond Park (Limerick, Ireland)
10 – Stadio Flamino (Rome, Italy)