Today's Ricoh Arena Talking Points
The Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England, is a complex which includes a 32,609-seater stadium, used by Wasps rugby union and Coventry City football clubs, a 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft) exhibition hall, a hotel and a casino. The site is also home to Arena Park Shopping Centre, containing one of UK's largest Tesco Extra hypermarkets. Built on the site of the Foleshill gasworks, it is named after its sponsor, Japanese company Ricoh, which paid £10 million for the naming rights over 10 years. For the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, where stadium naming sponsorship was forbidden, the stadium was known as the City of Coventry Stadium.
Originally built as a replacement for Coventry City's Highfield Road ground, the stadium was initially operated by Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), with Coventry City as tenants. ACL was owned jointly by Coventry City Council and the Higgs Charity. The stadium hosted its first football match in August 2005. The official opening was performed by Dame Kelly Holmes and sports minister Richard Caborn on 24 February 2007, by which time the arena had already hosted a sell-out England U21 football match against Germany as well as a full season of Coventry City matches.
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. However, the stadium now accepts cash at all kiosks.
Following a protracted rent dispute between Coventry City and ACL, the football club left the Ricoh Arena in 2013, playing home matches at Sixfields Stadium in Northampton for over a year before returning to the Ricoh in September 2014. Within two months, both shareholders in ACL were bought out by rugby union Premiership club Wasps, who relocated to the stadium from their previous ground, Adams Park in High Wycombe. Wasps' first home match in Coventry as owners was on 21 December 2014 against London Irish.Close