The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has announced that Cardiff’s Principality Stadium will become the latest major UK venue to incorporate a rooftop visitor attraction.
The WRU, which owns and operates Principality Stadium, has partnered with urban aerial adventure experts Wire & Sky to develop what it states will be a “high flying, adrenaline-fueled visitor attraction” for the Welsh capital’s skyline.
Set to open in March 2024, the multi-million pound project will be operated by Wire & Sky on behalf of the WRU Group. The attraction will include full disabled access to the experience, both for ambulant disabled and those in wheelchairs.
Wire & Sky, which has worked on similar projects at Wembley Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Liverpool FC’s Anfield and The O2 arena, has already begun building work in Cardiff which is now visible from Principality Stadium’s riverwalk.
The WRU has long been linked to such a project, with WalesOnline stating that the governing body will fund the venture from its share of the investments made by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners for minority equity stakes in the Six Nations and United Rugby Championship.
WRU chair, Richard Collier-Keywood, said: “Principality Stadium is a magnificent world class venue and now fans, if they dare, will be able to experience it from a whole new perspective, as well as take in the spectacular city panorama from the roof.
“We have long been a must see destination for international rugby supporters as well as a must play venue for the world’s biggest acts. Now this ambitious project will help us further utilise one of the major assets in Welsh rugby to reach its full potential as a major visitor attraction for thrill seekers and those who want to see Cardiff from a totally different perspective.
“This new venture will have a hugely positive impact on Welsh rugby, with all profits going back into the game in Wales from opening. Wire & Sky are world renowned and have delivered stand out projects at other venues across the country such as The Dare Skywalk in Tottenham and UP at the O2.
“I’m confident from the plans that the experiences in store will be equally as exhilarating as Wire & Sky’s other projects and we look forward to revealing more details about the attraction name in due course.”
Andy Broad, managing director of Wire & Sky, added: “We’ve had the privilege of delivering breathtaking experiences at some of the world’s best venues and stadia and the plans for Principality Stadium are up there with the very best of them.
“We’ve been working alongside the team at the stadium in Cardiff for a number of years to come up with a unique proposition that takes advantage of the stadium’s location in the city, its views, its identity as the home of Welsh rugby and a bucket-list experience to boot.
“This a highly complex, ambitious project but I’m truly excited at what’s instore. We are working with major Welsh construction company Pro Steel Engineering on the build and will be coming back to interested parties shortly with more details of what the adventure will entail.”
CIA becomes Utilita Arena Cardiff
In other news from the Welsh capital, energy supplier Utilita Energy has added Cardiff International Arena (CIA) to its naming rights portfolio.
The 7,500-capacity events venue has been known under its current name since September 2022 after a naming rights deal ended with car sales company Motorpoint which had dated back to 2011. Terms of the new deal, which will see the venue renamed as Utilita Arena Cardiff, were not disclosed, but it is intended to give the company – the only firm of its kind to specialise in smart prepay energy – an established foothold in Wales.
The CIA will now join Utilita’s existing portfolio, which includes naming rights deals with arenas in the English cities of Newcastle, Birmingham and Sheffield. Jem Maidment, chief marketing officer at Utilita, said: “As well as providing our customers here with fantastic opportunities to see some world-class shows, we will use this partnership to become a staple part of the local community.
“This isn’t just about the music, comedy, and performances – we want our presence to be felt through the crucial support that we, and our charity partner Utilita Giving, can offer. It seems our timing is apt, as recent data shows 55% of people in Wales believe their home isn’t energy efficient.
“Cardiff, we are really motivated to spread our support now that we are here, and we will make a difference.”
Utilita Arena Cardiff is set to be supplanted as the city’s main indoor arena. In March, it was reported that the budget to deliver a new 17,000-capacity venue had reportedly risen to £280m (€326.7m/$352.6m), with the opening date for the venue also pushed back until 2026.