Ricoh Arena

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This article is about the Ricoh Stadium and Arena. For the proposed railway station, see Coventry Arena railway station.
Ricoh Arena
City of Coventry Stadium
Ricoh Arena - - 901396.jpg
Full name The Ricoh Arena
Former names City of Coventry Stadium (2012 Summer Olympics)
Location Phoenix Way, Rowleys Green, Coventry, England CV6 6GE
Coordinates 52°26′53″N 1°29′44″W / 52.44806°N 1.49556°W / 52.44806; -1.49556Coordinates: 52°26′53″N 1°29′44″W / 52.44806°N 1.49556°W / 52.44806; -1.49556
Owner Wasps Holdings Ltd.
Operator ACL (Arena Coventry Ltd.)
Capacity 32,609[1]
Field size 105 x 68 m
Surface Grass
Built 2005
Opened 2005
Expanded 2010
Construction cost £113 million[2]
Architect The Miller Partnership
Coventry City (2005–2013, 2014–)
2012 Summer Olympics
Coventry City Ladies (2014–2015)
Wasps RFC (2014–)[3]

Ricoh Arena (commonly known as the Ricoh) is a stadium complex situated in the Rowleys Green district of the city of Coventry, England, containing a 32,609-seater rugby football and association football stadium, a 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft) exhibition hall, a hotel, a leisure club and a casino. The site is also home to Arena Park Shopping Centre, containing one of the largest Tesco Extra hypermarkets. The site was previously the Foleshill gasworks. The stadium is named after its sponsor, Japanese company Ricoh, which paid £10 million for the naming rights over 10 years.[2] For the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, where stadium naming sponsorship was forbidden, the stadium was known as the City of Coventry Stadium.[4][5]

The arena was opened officially by Dame Kelly Holmes and sports minister Richard Caborn on 24 February 2007. By this time the arena had been open for a year and had already hosted a sell-out England U21 football match against Germany and a full season of Coventry City football matches.

On 2 October 2014, the rugby union Premiership club Wasps made a £30 million offer to purchase the majority of the stadium, subject to approval from the ACL shareholders.[6] Coventry City Council unanimously approved the sale on 7 October 2014.[7] The following week, Wasps announced that their first home match in Coventry would be on 21 December.[8]

On 14 November 2014 Wasps confirmed the purchase of the final 50% from the Higgs Charity to become outright owners of the facility.[9]

History and background[edit]

The Ricoh Arena
The Ricoh Arena

The decision to move Coventry City Football Club from Highfield Road to a new stadium – with a larger capacity and better road links and parking facilities – was made in 1997 by the club's then chairman Bryan Richardson.[10] It was anticipated that the new stadium would be ready for the 2000–01 season.[11] Permission for the ground's construction was given in the spring of 1999, with a targeted completion date of August 2001. Actual construction was almost four years late – the final gas holder was not demolished until September 2002.

The original design for the arena was for a state-of-the-art 45,000 capacity stadium with a retractable roof and a pitch that could slide out to reveal a hard floor for concerts. After Coventry City's relegation in May 2001, a number of contractor/financier withdrawals and England's bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup ending in failure, the plans were significantly downsized to reflect new realities. By the summer of 2002, there were plans for a more basic 32,500-seat stadium in its place.

On Friday 6 October 2006, the arena hosted its first international football game when the England U-21 team played the German U-21 team in the first leg of a European U21 Championship qualifying play-off. England won the game 1–0, with the winning goal scored by Leighton Baines.

The name comes from a sponsorship deal, reported to be worth £10 million[12] over 10 years with camera and photocopier manufacturer Ricoh, though during construction the stadium was variously referred to as the Jaguar Arena, Arena Coventry and Arena 2000.

The sponsorship deal with Ricoh came about after the stadium's initial sponsor, the motor firm Jaguar, was forced to pull out because of the financial difficulties that had caused the controversial closure of the large Jaguar assembly plant at the city's Brown's Lane, previously a major source of employment in Coventry. On 4 August 2004, 12 months before the stadium's opening, it had been announced that the new stadium would be called the Jaguar Arena in a deal worth up to £7 million until 2015. However, the deal was cancelled on 17 December 2004.[13] Ricoh's sponsorship of the new stadium was confirmed on 26 April 2005.[14]

The arena is run by Arena Coventry Limited (ACL). Coventry City F.C. were tenants of the arena, which was owned jointly by Coventry City Council and the Higgs Charity[10] until both shareholders were bought out by Wasps in October and November 2014. The arena includes shopping facilities, a casino, exhibition halls and a concert venue.

At the end of the 2008–09 Championship season in May 2009, the stadium had still not achieved a capacity 32,600 crowd. The stadium's highest attendance for a home game was an FA Cup quarter-final match against Chelsea in 2009. This game was technically a sellout as the fan segregation took up a whole block and all available tickets were sold.

The Ricoh Arena was the first cashless stadium in the United Kingdom, with customers using a prepay smartcard system in the grounds bars and shops.[15] However, during the 2010–11 football season, one third of the bars and kiosks accepted cash.[16]

On 28 July 2011 a bronze statue of Jimmy Hill was unveiled at the entrance to the stadium.[17]

On 23 March 2013, Coventry City moved all its staff and club shop stock from the Ricoh Arena after a long dispute over rent and access to matchday revenue with the club.[18]

From the start of the 2013–14 football season, with the rent dispute and associated issues ongoing, Coventry City played "home" matches at Sixfields Stadium, the home ground of Northampton Town Football Club.

ACL, and its part-owners Coventry City Council, continued to maintain that the Ricoh Arena was a viable business without Coventry City playing there.

In January 2014, it was announced that Football Conference Youth Alliance Midland Division side FootballCV Reds had agreed to play eight games at the stadium.[19]

Leicester City's under-21 development squad played twice at the Arena on 29 January 2014[20] and 3 February 2014[21] due to waterlogged pitches at the original venues. The first game was behind closed doors but the second game against Manchester United was open to the public.

In August 2014 it was announced that Coventry City Ladies would be moving to the Ricoh Arena for the 2014–15 season.[22]

Coventry City also moved back for the 2014–15 season, playing their first game against Gillingham on 5 September 2014. [23] This followed a payment of £470,000 from SISU to ACL after a Football League ruling.[24]

Following their purchase of a 50% stake in the stadium in October 2014, Wasps announced that they would move their home matches there in December 2014. The first Wasps match in Coventry was their Premiership match against London Irish on 21 December.[8] After Wasps purchased the remaining 50% from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity in November 2014, the club announced that the north stand would be renamed "The Higgs Charity Stand", and added that 50 pence would be donated to the charity from each ticket sold in that stand.[9]


The stadium is situated on the northern side of Coventry, less than 1 mile south of junction 3 of the M6 motorway, on the A444 road from Coventry to Nuneaton. . The railway line between Coventry and Nuneaton is immediately adjacent and plans for a station are advanced with a forecast opening date of 2015. Although officially designated as being situated in the Foleshill district, it is in fact located in the small suburb of Rowleys Green, between two larger suburbs, namely Holbrooks to the west, and Longford to the east. However, the stadium was constructed on the former site of the 'Foleshill' gasworks complex, although the Foleshill district itself begins more than a mile to the south east. The stadium is located within a quarter-mile of the boundary with Nuneaton and Bedworth and the county of Warwickshire. It is next to the Arena Park Shopping Centre.

Inaugural events[edit]

The arena became the venue for Coventry City's home games at the start of the 2005–06 season, following 106 years at the Highfield Road stadium. The first competitive football match played at the Ricoh Arena was against Queens Park Rangers on 20 August 2005, in front of a reduced (for safety reasons) 23,012 capacity crowd. The game ended 3–0 to Coventry, with Claus Bech Jørgensen becoming the first player to score at the arena. Hull City became the first away team to win at the Ricoh, easing their way to a 2–0 win on 24 September 2005, with both goals coming from John Welsh.

The first concert held at the arena was by Bryan Adams on 23 September 2005. The bar in the Eon Lounge, overlooking the pitch, was named 'The Bryan Adams Bar' after the Canadian rocker. The venue played host to the Heineken Cup semi-final match between Northampton Saints and Wasps (then known as London Wasps) on Sunday 22 April 2007. London Wasps (who went on to win the cup) again played at the Ricoh Arena against Munster on 10 November 2007 narrowly winning 24–23. Later in that season's Heineken Cup, Saracens, which had choice of venue in their semi-final against Munster, took the match to the Ricoh on 27 April 2008, with Munster winning 18–16.[25] The stadium hosted its first ever American football game on 6 May 2007, when the Coventry Cassidy Jets beat then British national champions London Olympians 27–20.[26] The Jets had hoped to play their inaugural EFAF Cup game against Madrid Bears on 29 April but they were forced to change venue. The Heineken Cup the previous week to the Madrid game had led to CCFC objecting in case of damage to the pitch.[27]

Further events[edit]

  • Almost 40,000 people saw Oasis play a concert at the stadium on 7 July 2009.[28]
  • Scouting for Girls performed on 30 November 2008, in the Jaguar Exhibition Hall.
  • The EDF rugby semi-finals took place at the arena on 28 March 2009.
  • Premier League Darts was held at the Ricoh on 21 February 2008 and returned on 19 February 2009 as the Jaguar Exhibition Hall became the venue for the sport.
  • The Women's FA Cup final, won by Arsenal Ladies, was held at the ground on 21 May 2011.[29]
  • Coldplay played to a record crowd of about 40,500 on 29 May 2012 at the start of their UK summer stadium tour.[30]
  • Muse performed a show on 22 May 2013 as part of their world tour with Dizzie Rascal and Bastille as their opening acts.
  • Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band performed a concert to a sell-out crowd of 37,262 on 20 June 2013 as part of their Wrecking Ball Tour.
  • A nearby railway station named Coventry Arena was due to open in June 2015. However this has been delayed but will be ready for the Aviva Premiership 2015/16 season.
  • The Champion of Champions Snooker event took place at the Ricoh Arena in 2013.[31] The championship is also scheduled to take place at the arena in 2014.
  • Multiplay's Insomnia Festival is hosted at the Ricoh Stadium.[32]

2012 Olympics[edit]

It was announced on 3 June 2010 that the arena would be one of the regional host stadiums for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Since corporate sponsorship on venue names is prohibited, it was renamed as the "City of Coventry Stadium" for the duration of the Games.[4]

In preparation for the Olympics, a test event on 23 April 2012 saw Oman play Senegal in the Olympic Qualifier 'Play-offs'.[33] Senegal won 2–0 and took the final place in the men's 2012 Olympic draw.[34]

The first Olympic match, on 25 July 2012, was between Japan and Canada in Group F of the women's tournament.[35]

On 9 August 2012, the bronze medal game was held between France and Canada at City of Coventry Stadium. Canada won the bronze medal in a 1–0 stoppage time victory on a goal from Diana Matheson.[36]

2013 Davis Cup[edit]

The arena was selected to host the Great Britain versus Russia tie of the 2013 Davis Cup tennis competition on 5–7 April.[37] Great Britain earned a shock 3–2 victory over Russia after they were trailing 2–0 in the tie. On Friday 5 April, Russia's Dmitry Tursunov beat Great Britain's Dan Evans and Evgeny Donskoy defeated James Ward, which meant Russia were 2–0 up after Friday's ties. On Saturday 6 April, Great Britain won the double pairs match as Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray won against Igor Kunitsyn and Victor Baluda. On Sunday 7 April, Great Britain completed the comeback when James Ward got the win against Dmitry Tursunov and Dan Evans achieved victory against Evgeny Donskoy.[38]

Rent dispute[edit]

In December 2012, Coventry City owners SISU Capital became embroiled in a high-profile dispute with ACL over the rent arrangement and a lack of access to matchday revenue. The previously agreed rent amounted to £1.2 million per year, but did not give Coventry City access to matchday revenue. A deadline of 27 December 2012 was given by ACL for unpaid rent. After the deadline passed, a winding up order was enforced through the High Court. Subsequently, after ACL planned to place Coventry City FC Ltd into administration, the club itself entered administration, accepting a 10-point penalty from the Football League as a consequence. A further 10-point penalty was incurred when ACL refused to accept the terms of a CVA proposed by the administrator. Coventry City Football Club has since been bought by Otium Entertainment Group, but is still facing liquidation.

Coventry City agreed to play their home games at Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium to ensure that they fulfill their fixtures. This resulted in ACL threatening to sue Northampton Town if they decided to carry on hosting Coventry City's home games. Northampton Town released a club statement saying that they "will not be bullied or threatened".[39]

ACL has since withdrawn its legal action against Northampton Town, but the latter said it intends to take action to recover legal costs already incurred. Northampton also demanded a public apology from ACL.

ACL and Sisu agreed a two-year deal to bring Coventry City back to the Ricoh Arena in 2014. The club also has the option to play at the Ricoh Arena for a further two years; they played their first match back at the Ricoh Arena on 5 September 2014 against Gillingham.

Highest attendances[edit]


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  26. ^ Welcome to the Cassidy Jets Website! – News[dead link]
  27. ^ Welcome to the Cassidy Jets Website! – News[dead link]
  28. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  41. ^ Wasps. Wasps. 9 May 2015 Retrieved 9 May 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  42. ^ "Premiership: Wasps 48–16 London Irish". BBC Sport (BBC). 21 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 

External links[edit]