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Cardiff International Arena

Coordinates: 51°28′44″N 3°10′18″W / 51.478943°N 3.171737°W / 51.478943; -3.171737
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Utilita Arena Cardiff
Utilita Arena Cardiff, September 2023
Former namesCardiff International Arena & Convention Centre (1993–2000)
Cardiff International Arena (2000–2011, 2022–2023)
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff (2011–2021)
AddressMary Ann St
Cardiff CF10 2EQ Wales
Coordinates51°28′44″N 3°10′18″W / 51.478943°N 3.171737°W / 51.478943; -3.171737
OwnerCardiff Council (Freehold)
Live Nation UK (Leasehold)
OperatorLive Nation UK
Capacity5,000 (seating)
7,500 (standing)
Opened9 September 1993
Construction cost£23 million
Official website

Cardiff International Arena (formerly known as Cardiff International Arena & Convention Centre and currently, for sponsorship reasons, as Utilita Arena Cardiff) is an indoor exhibition centre and events arena located in Cardiff, Wales, and was opened on 9 September 1993 by singer Shirley Bassey.[1] It is Cardiff's largest purpose-built exhibition facility and its former name was due to a sponsorship agreement from 2011 to 2022. The upstairs of the building is known as the World Trade Centre.[2]

The arena contains a number of function areas, the largest being the main arena which has hosted many national and international events, such as concerts, sports and comedy performances.


The red dragon outside the main entrance to the arena in 2023
The CIA logo used before the arena was rebranded under the Motorpoint sponsorship agreement.

The arena was opened on 9 September 1993, by Shirley Bassey, in front of 5,500 fans.[1] The concert was later televised on BBC One on 30 July 1994.[3] It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 14 October 1993.[4]

In 1999, SFX Entertainment acquired the arena.[5] It is now owned by the US media giant Live Nation UK, who have confirmed they would cease to operate the existing arena and terminate their leasehold interest in the council-owned site if the new proposed arena in Atlantic Wharf is built to replace it and are successful in securing the operator lease.[6] The CIA is then expected to be closed by Live Nation and could be demolished for a new development.[7]

On 1 March 2011, the Cardiff International Arena was renamed Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, for sponsorship reasons, after the car sales company entered into an agreement regarding the naming rights to the Arena for five years in what was called "a seven-figure investment". Other names who have performed in the arena are among Westlife, Kylie Minogue, One Direction, Jessie J, Anastacia, Steps, JLS, Jason Derulo and Mariah Carey.[8]

In March 2015, the venue's 3000th event was marked by a show headlined by singer Katherine Jenkins.[9] In July 2016, Motorpoint extended its naming rights contract with the arena until at least 2021. This included a complete re-branding of the building including installation of outdoor LED signage on the arena's towers.[10]

The arena reverted back to its original CIA name on 22 September 2022 after being named Motorpoint Arena Cardiff since March 2011.[11]

During August 2023 the arena was renamed Utilita Arena Cardiff, for sponsorship reasons, after the energy company entered into an agreement regarding the naming rights to the arena.[12]


Inside the Cardiff International Arena in October 2022

The main arena offers 4,500 square metres of exhibition space, and is very versatile, for the number of different events that take place at the arena. Full capacity can reach 7,500, in a standing layout and 5,000, for a fully seated event.

There are over 30 additional areas, including a conference suite (groups of up to 460) and four executive boardrooms.[citation needed]



Comedian Lee Evans has brought four tours XL Tour, Big, Roadrunner and Monsters to the arena, Evans played his last show before retiring from stand-up at the arena from 24 to 30 November 2014.[13][14]


Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

The venue has hosted a number of concerts since it opened, with artists such as A-HA,[15] Sigrid, George Ezra, Richard Ashcroft, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Fatboy Slim, The 1975, Bring Me The Horizon, Céline Dion, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Metallica, Enrique Iglesias, The Script, New Kids on the Block, Take That, Paloma Faith, Michael Bublé, Steps, Craig David, Gary Barlow, James Blunt, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Liam Gallagher, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Dio, Twisted Sister, Meat Loaf, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Gabrielle, LeAnn Rimes, Culture Club, Jessie J, Little Mix, Dolly Parton, Anastacia, Fifth Harmony, Leona Lewis, Ellie Goulding, Olly Murs, Ella Eyre, John Newman, Westlife, Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, The Killers, Biffy Clyro, The Prodigy, The Nolans, The Beach Boys, Frankie Valli, McFly, Panic! at the Disco, Dropkick Murphys, Feeder, Fall out Boy, You Me At Six, Blink 182, All American Rejects, Ben Howard, Arctic Monkeys, Paramore, Yungblud, The Vamps, One Direction, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, 5 Seconds of Summer and local favourites Catatonia, Kids in Glass Houses, Stereophonics and the Manic Street Preachers taking to the stage.


Arena hosting the Welsh Open snooker championship in 2015

In 1999, the Cardiff International Arena hosted the (Nine-ball) World Professional Pool Championship. The official WPA World Nine-ball Championship was hosted at the Cardiff International Arena between 2000 and 2003.

Since 2007, the arena has been one of the Premier League Darts venues, including the semi-finals and finals night of the 2008 Premier League Darts on 26 May 2008. The PDC Champions League of Darts was held in the arena in 2016 and 2017.[16] Between 2016 and 2017 the arena hosted the Champions League of Darts.

In February 2015, the Welsh Open snooker championship was transferred from the Newport Centre (where it had taken place since 2005) to the arena.[17] The arena previously hosted the championship between 1999 and 2003. In 2021 the event was transferred back to Newport, this time held at the Celtic Manor Resort.

Professional wrestling[edit]

In 2019, WWE's NXT UK brand announced the venue would host the second ever TakeOver event for the brand, NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff. This took place on 31 August 2019 and was the first TakeOver to take place in Wales.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Opening of the Cardiff International Arena 1993". 5 August 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  2. ^ "49 landmark moments since Cardiff Motorpoint Arena opened its doors". Wales Online. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  3. ^ "The Shirley Bassey Concert". Radio Times. No. 3681. 28 July 1994. p. 44. Retrieved 21 June 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  4. ^ Owens, David (6 October 2018). "Arena's 25-year history by the people who worked there". Wales Online. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  5. ^ "Cardiff arena set for US takeover". news.bbc.co.uk. 5 August 1999. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  6. ^ Morris, Josh (12 November 2018) (12 November 2018). "Cabinet to authorise negotiations on land purchase for arena". Insidermedia. Retrieved 30 April 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Lewis, Ffion (25 July 2023). "The changes being proposed to the £280m Cardiff Arena project as costs soar". Wales Online. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  8. ^ "Motorpoint takes Cardiff International Arena naming rights".
  9. ^ "Katherine Jenkins to headline 3000th show for Cardiff arena". ITV News. 14 March 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Motorpoint extends its naming rights for the 7,500 capacity Cardiff centre arena". Wales Online. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  11. ^ Harries, Robert (22 September 2022). "Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena changes name back to the CIA". WalesOnline. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  12. ^ Ahmed, Reem (23 August 2023). "Cardiff International Arena has changed its name again". WalesOnline.
  13. ^ "Lee Evans: Fun facts about the funnyman ahead of his Cardiff Motorpoint Arena run". Wales Online. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Lee Evans to retire from comedy circuit to spend more time with family". The Guardian. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Ending on a High Note – Farewell Tour 2010 | a-ha live".
  16. ^ "BBC to show new Champions League of Darts from Cardiff". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  17. ^ "Snooker: Cardiff move will boost Welsh Open – Barry Hearn". BBC News. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  18. ^ "NXT UK TakeOver". MotorpointArenaCardiff.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.

External links[edit]