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Stadium crucial to Welsh economy

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Principality Stadium's incredible 20-year value to the Welsh economy

A newly published independent report has revealed that Principality Stadium has contributed £2.75billion STG in economic output during its 20-year period of operation to date

Research carried out by Econactive, on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union, revealed that the stadium has supported around £135million of output and 2,500 FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs in Cardiff and Wales in each year since it hosted its first event on June 26, 1999. That amounts to 50,275 person years of employment in total and £1.32bn of gross value added.

The third in a series of independent reports, spanning two decades and published on Wednesday, the day of the stadium’s 20th anniversary, also estimates visitor spending has provided £1.95bn for the local economy while producing a £55m increase on the average estimated yearly impact in the last financial year alone.

Jobs supported across the region were also up by over 1,000 on the 20-year average, the report also pointing out that Principality Stadium supports around one in 10 tourism jobs.

“Twenty years ago today, when Wales played in front of a part capacity crowd to pull off the first win over South Africa in the history of our game, we all knew we had a very special future ahead of us at our brand new and already iconic national ground,” said Gareth Davies, the WRU chairman who also chairs the stadium’s board.

“Our unique city centre location means a smaller footprint than most comparable stadia around the globe, so spectators are always in close proximity to the pitch and benefit from optimum sight lines wherever they are seated.

“This is one of the reasons we are ranked so highly in customer satisfaction terms by supporters who attend our events. We also have a fully retractable roof and adaptable playing surface and this versatility has attracted promoters and event owners from across the international music and sports industries.

“We are an iconic, chameleon-like venue whose only limitation is the imagination of our dedicated staff or of those managing visiting acts and events. Today’s report highlights the extensive and impressive positive impact we have had on both the city and the nation over the last 20 years, an impact we are all extremely proud of.”

The first economic report of the series, published in 2007, estimated the annual contribution of the stadium to be £105m a year. In 2013 that figure was said to have risen to £130m, and the latest estimate is that £135m contribution is made on an annual basis.

The period June 2017 to June 2018 is described as a ‘particularly good year’, generating £125m in regional spending away from the stadium alone, and reaching 1.23m ticket sales across a range of events.

Key recommendations in the report for the future of the stadium include upgrading existing technology to enhance fan experience, a heritage centre on site, access to a top-end hotel – which is a project already put in place by the WRU – and improving and supporting the surrounding travel infrastructure, particularly rail.

“The stadium has become a reliable and important generator of both economic impact and visitation to Cardiff and Wales,” said Dr Calvin Jones of Econactive.

“It remains an important and consistent economic presence in the Cardiff capital city region, is a critical element of the city’s visitor offer and positively impacts upon the city’s wider profile.”

In the six years since the last economic impact report was completed in 2013, the stadium has welcomed 4.14m visitors to its events, with over 60 per cent of those being international rugby fans and around 20 per cent (720,000) at pop and rock concerts.

The report found that the stadium remains Wales’ top single site attraction by a significant margin and, despite retaining only around 15 per cent of the revenue it brings to Cardiff itself, remains a long term profitable prospect.

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Principality Stadium's incredible 20-year value to the Welsh economy