Wembley reports centenary year achievements

Featured image credit: Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium has said it welcomed over 2.2 million people across 30 major events during its centenary year, outlining upgrades that are due in 2024.

The London venue headed into 2023 on the back of a record-breaking year in which it welcomed more than 2.6 million people in 2022. It kicked off its centenary celebrations by calling on football, sports and music fans to share their most memorable moments of the stadium, which first opened its doors on April 28, 1923.

On the sports front in 2023, England’s Lionesses became the first ever women’s football Finalissima winners when they defeated Brazil 2-1 in April. The men’s team also went through the year unbeaten at Wembley, securing qualification to UEFA Euro 2024 with a 3-1 win over Italy in October.

Both Manchester teams claimed victories in the major domestic cups, United winning the Carabao Cup in February, while City lifted the FA Cup in May. Chelsea won the women’s FA Cup.

Luton Town completed a dramatic rise up the football league pyramid by beating Coventry City on penalties in the Championship play-off final. Sheffield Wednesday and Carlisle United also went up via the play-offs as all three finals in May ended in dramatic fashion.

Sports history was also made in August, when, for the first time ever, the annual rugby league Challenge Cup Finals’ Day featured the women’s final. In October, the NFL returned to Wembley as the Jacksonville Jaguars beat Atlanta Falcons in what was their 10th appearance at the stadium.

Wembley Stadium was also home to some of the biggest music concerts in the UK this year. In June, Harry Styles performed four sold-out shows to more than 320,000 fans. Blur also returned for two sold out gigs, while The Weeknd rounded off the summer in front of more than 80,000 fans.

August also saw Wembley put on one of the biggest entertainment shows this year when AEW Wrestling brought its All In show to London. It was the first major wrestling event at Wembley since 1992, when the stadium hosted WWE’s Summerslam. Following its success, AEW immediately announced it would be returning to the venue in 2024 for another show.

Various upgrades were also made to Wembley over the year. In the summer, the stadium had a £5m (€5.78m/$6.33m) revamp to further boost fans’ experience at the venue. Hospitality spaces, security and digital signage underwent comprehensive upgrades. The investment included an overhaul of the long bar areas on level two.

Turnstiles and accessibility entrances were also made more secure, based on recommendations from the Baroness Casey review of issues during Euro 2020. A new three-metre perimeter fence is underway, and roller shutters are being added to external concourses for additional safety measures.

The two large screens at each end of the stadium will be upgraded in the new year, with improvements to hospitality areas on level five also in the pipeline.

Looking ahead to 2024, Wembley is set to host the Champions League final for a record eight time. The venue will also be home to a record-equalling eight nights of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour – all of which are already sold out. Bruce Springsteen and Green Day have also been confirmed on the summer concert bill.

Wembley stadium director Liam Boylan, who announced his impending departure from the role back in September, said: “Throughout its 100-year history Wembley has played an important role in so many momentous occasions across music, sport, and entertainment.

“It has been the place for some of the most iconic moments in UK history. We are delighted to have continued that tradition with another big year of special events here at the stadium and look forward to delivering more big moments in 2024.”