THE launch of a new stand at Emerald Headingley Stadium has kicked off an exciting era for sport in Leeds
The completion of the new north stand takes the rugby stadium’s capacity back up to nearly 20,000 seats.
Today club chiefs said the new improved north stand helps to cement the stadium as a 'world class' venue, after more than two decades of planning as the new £45m redevelopment of the Headingley rugby and cricket ground is finally complete.
The stand was unveiled in spectacular fashion at the Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers match on Thursday night, with a one day international cricket match on Sunday, set to attract huge crowds.
Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are extremely proud of our club’s history and heritage in particular our home here at Emerald Headingley.
"With over 130 years history on the same site, it was vitally important that we continue to develop and ensure generations to come have the opportunity to use our facilities and enjoy top class sport in the heart of our community. I would like to thank our partners Yorkshire CCC, Leeds City Council and Caddicks for helping to make this transformation possible.”
The new improved Emerald Headingley stadium is set to play host to a series of international cricket matches.
On Sunday England will play Pakistan in the Fifth Royal London a one-day international match, when Yorkshire County Cricket Club is expecting more than 13,000 people.
Mark Arthur, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club chief executive, said: "As a club, we feel immensely proud of the new Emerald Stand. When you look out at the ground and you see the shape of it, it’s a proper cricket ground. We truly have world-class facilities here all the way around the ground for the first time ever.
“It is a truly exciting summer of cricket at Emerald Headingley, with Sunday’s One-Day International, four ICC Cricket World Cup games and an Ashes Test Match. We look forward to showing off our world-class venue to the world."
This summer, YCCC is also hosting an Ashes Test Match for the first time in 10 years and four World Cup fixtures including the first World Cup to be played in England for 20 years.
The first three days of the Ashes is sold out, with day four almost sold out with a 18,350 capacity.
For the Ashes and World Cup games this summer, the club has a high number of international fans travelling from Australia, India, USA, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake, said: "Emerald Headingley Stadium is a truly iconic venue which as the home of Yorkshire CCC, Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie, is loved and celebrated by people across the world.
"We were determined to find to a way to ensure that top-class sport could continue to be played at Headingley through the redevelopment of the stadium.
Caddick Construction Managing Director Andrew Murray added: “It is a very proud moment for all of the Caddick team to see the unveiling of the new stadium facilities in all their glory. It was always going to be a challenging project on so many levels – not least constructing the new stands above and around the fans whilst normal sporting fixtures were in full swing.
“But all the effort was worthwhile, and the project was brought in on time and on budget which is testament to the team’s expertise and resilience. We now hope that new legions of sports fans locally, from across the UK and internationally will be able to enjoy the facilities and a stadium that is truly world class.”
Emerald Headingley Stadium North Stand Facts
- A total of 8,228 seats have been installed as part of the re-construction with over a kilometre of handrails in place around the stadium.
- More than 3,000 cubic metres of concrete were used in the foundations and nearly 12,000 metre square of blockwork walls have been laid with 204 doors hung.
- 1240 tonnes of steel were used in the construction all held together with 42,000 bolts and fans will recall the emerging stand appearing like a giant puzzle as 1,363 pieces of pre-cast concrete were lowered into place totalling 2,995 tonnes.