The Coventry Building Society Arena, often called the CBS Arena or Coventry Arena, is a large complex in Coventry, England. It has a big stadium that can hold 32,609 people and is currently where Coventry City F.C. plays their football matches. Besides the stadium, the complex has other things like a big exhibition hall (that’s about 6,000 square meters or 65,000 square feet), a hotel, and a casino. There’s also a shopping center called Arena Park, which has one of the biggest Tesco Extra stores in the UK. The arena got its name because the Coventry Building Society became its sponsor in 2021.
This place was built to replace Coventry City’s old Highfield Road stadium. At first, the stadium was run by a group called Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), and Coventry City rented it from them. ACL was owned by Coventry City Council and a charity called the Higgs Charity.
But there was a disagreement about how much rent Coventry City should pay ACL, so the football club left the arena in 2013. They played their home games in Northampton for more than a year before coming back in September 2014. Then, within two months, ACL was sold to a rugby union team called Wasps, who used to play at Adams Park in High Wycombe. Wasps moved to the Coventry arena. There was another problem between Coventry City and Wasps before the 2019–20 season, so Coventry City had to leave the Ricoh Arena for two more seasons. In March 2021, Wasps and Coventry City agreed on a ten-year deal to return to the arena and the city. But this deal didn’t happen because someone else bought the arena, a company called the Frasers Group.
In April 2023, it was announced that Coventry City and the Frasers Group made a new deal for Coventry City to play at the Arena for five more years. One interesting thing about the stadium is that it was the first stadium in the UK where you couldn’t use cash. You had to use a special card to buy things at the bars and shops. But now, they also accept cash at all the kiosks.
In 1997, Coventry City F.C.’s chairman, Bryan Richardson, decided to move the team from Highfield Road to a new stadium. This new stadium was supposed to be bigger and have better roads and parking. They planned to finish it by the 2000–01 season. Permission to build a 45,000-seat stadium was given in 1999, with a goal to finish it by August 2001. But it ended up being four years late and simpler than the original plan.
Coventry, along with London and Birmingham, wanted to host England’s new national stadium. The leader of Coventry City Council said their proposal was the best because they could finish the stadium in three years. They wanted to build a 90,000-seat stadium for £250 million, but Wembley in London was chosen instead. The first idea for the arena was a high-tech stadium with a roof that could open and a pitch that could move for concerts. But after Coventry City went down to a lower league in May 2001, some people and money left the project, and England lost its bid for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. So, they made new plans for a simpler 32,500-seat stadium by the summer of 2002.