The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has published a new report detailing the economic impact of the Principality Stadium on the 20-year anniversary of the Cardiff venue’s opening.

According to an independent report carried out by Econactive on behalf of the WRU, the stadium has contributed some £2.75bn (€3.07bn/$3.49bn) in economic impact.

The venue formerly known as the Millennium Stadium staged its first official event 20 years ago today (Wednesday) when the Welsh rugby union team defeated South Africa.

The report states that on average the stadium has supported around £135m of output and 2,500 FTE jobs in Cardiff and Wales in each year since it opened on June 26, 1999. This amounts to 50,275 years of employment in total and £1.32bn of gross value added.

Visitor spending has provided £1.95bn for the local economy and produced a £55m increase on the average estimated yearly impact in the last financial year. According to the report, jobs were also up by over 1,000 on the 20-year average, with the stadium said to support around one in 10 tourism jobs.

WRU chairman Gareth Davies, who also chairs the stadium’s board, said: “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.”

The first economic report was published in 2007 and estimated the annual contribution of the stadium at £105m a year. By 2013, the figure rose to £130m and the latest report places the estimation at £135m.

The latest report shows that the stadium generated £125m in regional spending away from the stadium between June 2017 and June 2018 and reached 1.23 million ticket sales across its portfolio of events.

The report also recommended that the stadium upgrade existing technology in order to enhance the fan experience and include an on-site heritage centre and access to a top-end hotel, which the WRU already has plans for. Other recommendations include improving and supporting surrounding travel infrastructure, in particular rail.

The stadium has hosted FA Cup finals, the 2017 UEFA Champions League final, Rugby World Cup matches, London 2012 Olympic football matches and high-profile boxing bouts. Music acts that have performed at the stadium include Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones and Madonna.

Image: Jeff Djevdet