Smaller stadium for Pro14 final
NEWS: Former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton believes Cardiff City Stadium will provide the best atmosphere possible when the 2020 PRO14 final comes to the Welsh capital next season.
The showpiece takes place on June 20, 2020, and will mark the first time that Cardiff has hosted the event in the era of ‘Destination Finals’.
“Rugby has always been a sport at the heart of Wales and having another world-class rugby event in our capital city is very exciting,” enthused Warburton. “I have seen a couple of matches in Cardiff City Stadium and the atmosphere can be electric with the right crowd – it’s going to be a great final whichever of the teams make it.
“Being a Cardiff boy myself, I could be biased, but it really is a great city with a great community. As the crow flies, the Cardiff City Stadium is under a mile from the city centre, so it makes a great location for fans wanting to make a day or a weekend of the event.”
Having enjoyed record crowds at their finals in recent seasons, the one drawback is that the next destination final will be a less crowded affair due to stadium capacity.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) August 22, 2019
The showpieces have been enjoying excellent growth. Murrayfield attracted 34 550 for an all-Irish final in 2016, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium hosted attendances of 44 558 and 46 092 in 2016 and 2017 respectively, while last May’s crowd at Glasgow’s Celtic Park topped that record again, 47 128 turning up to see Leinster retain their crowd against local side Glasgow Warriors.
That record will now stay intact until at least 2021 as the ground used by the Cardiff City football team, who were relegated from the English Premier League last May, has a 33 280 capacity.
PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi explained his tournament’s choice about aiming for a sell-out rather than risk staging the game at a bigger capacity stadium. “We have long heard the voices of the Welsh fans who wanted to see the PRO14 final take place here and it’s great that all of the pieces have finally fallen into place for 2020.
“Choosing Cardiff City Stadium as the location for next year’s final allows us to aim for a sell-out event after four successive years of setting new attendance records.
“Bringing the final to Wales is another move in making the decider about supporters of rugby, not just fans of the teams involved, and we know from experience that Welsh supporters are the most vocal. Cardiff City Stadium also brings us to a football venue for the second year in a row after the tremendous success of our most recent final in Glasgow’s Celtic Park.”