About the Stadium of Light

An introduction to the magnificent home of Sunderland AFC.

The Stadium of Light is the magnificent home of Sunderland AFC.

The stadium, built on the former site of the Monkwearmouth Colliery by Ballast Wiltshire plc, opened with a showpiece game against Ajax in July 1997 and initially had a capacity of 42,000.

Construction officially began in May 1996 and took 14 months to complete, producing what is now regarded as one of the finest stadiums in Europe.

With the subsequent North Stand extension and other ground improvements, the present-day capacity is 49,000, making the Stadium of Light the fifth-biggest football stadium in England.

Sunderland AFC has always been famous for producing an intense atmosphere in its ground, and the traditions of Roker Park have remained at the Stadium of Light.

The stadium’s attendance record currently stands at 48,335, set when Liverpool visited Wearside in April 2002.

The Stadium of Light hosted its first full international in 1999 when England took on Belgium in a friendly, and housed its first competitive international in April 2003 as England faced Turkey in a Euro 2004 qualifier.

Aside from football, Sunderland’s home hosted a music concert for the first time when Take That visited in summer 2009, and it has since become one of the most respected venues on the European music circuit.

The stadium stands on the banks of the River Wear, a vision of the future and a landmark for Wearside.

Sunderland has always been a city without a cathedral, but the stadium has created a spiritual home for local people and on a matchday thousands of supporters flock to games to experience the passion and enjoy the action.

The Stadium's design drew inspiration from Sunderland's proud industrial heritage in glass-making, shipbuilding and coal-mining. With its bowl-shaped lower deck and a second tier over the West and North stands, it provides the ultimate in spectator comfort.