The MKM Stadium, which is also known as the Hull City Stadium due to UEFA sponsorship rules, is a versatile facility located in Kingston upon Hull, England. Originally named the KC Stadium, it was later rebranded as the KCOM Stadium in April 2016, thanks to sponsorship by KCOM. In June 2021, it received its current name, the MKM Stadium, due to a five-year sponsorship deal with MKM Building Supplies.
Conceptualized in the late 1990s, the stadium was completed in 2002 at an approximate cost of £44 million. It is under the ownership of Hull City Council and is managed by the Stadium Management Company (SMC). The SMC had previously considered expanding the stadium’s capacity to 34,000. The stadium has a bowl-like design with a single tier of seats and an additional second tier on the west side. Currently, it can accommodate 25,586 spectators.
The MKM Stadium is home to two sports teams: Hull City A.F.C., which moved there from Boothferry Park, and Hull FC, a rugby league football club that relocated from the Boulevard. It also holds the distinction of being the largest rugby league stadium in England. Moreover, the venue hosts international association football and rugby league competitions and serves as a location for concerts by notable musicians like Elton John and The Who.
The idea of a new stadium for Hull, home to Hull City football club since 1946, was first discussed in 1997. The funds for this project only became available when the city council sold some of its holdings in Kingston Communications. The council contributed over £42 million, with additional funding from government regeneration grants and the Football Stadium Improvement Fund.
John Topliss led the stadium construction project. He collaborated with consulting firm Drivers Jonas to address issues like stadium location, seating capacity, and facilities. They explored multiple sites before choosing The Circle in West Park, considering factors like transportation, government guidelines, existing sports facilities, distance from residential areas, and council ownership. The stadium site is about 110 yards (100 meters) from Hull City’s previous home ground, the original ‘Circle’ Stadium.
The stadium is all-seated and has a unique design. It features a single-tier, unevenly shaped bowl with around 20,000 seats, and there’s a second tier on the West Stand, providing about 5,000 seats. Currently, the stadium can hold 25,586 people. There are plans for future expansion, particularly if Hull City advances to the Premier League. They could add 4,500 more seats to create a second tier in the East Stand, and there’s also the possibility of extending the North and South Stands by about 2,000 seats each. If all these plans come to fruition, the stadium would become a complete two-tier structure with an overall capacity of around 34,000 seats.
The stadium became Hull City Association Football Club’s new home, replacing Boothferry Park. It played a significant role in the club’s journey through the English Football League. The stadium hosted Hull City’s home games starting in the second half of the 2002-03 season. Their first competitive match there was against Hartlepool United, which Hull City won 2-0.
Hull City, known as the Tigers, had an average attendance of nearly 17,000 in their first full season at the KC Stadium, the 2003-04 season. This number was more than three times the average attendance for Third Division teams that season, and it was only matched or surpassed by clubs in the Premier League and the First Division. The stadium also saw Premier League football for the first time in the 2008-09 season, with all 20,500 season tickets selling out quickly after Hull City’s Championship play-off victory at Wembley Stadium.
The stadium is also the home ground for the rugby league team, Hull Football Club, who relocated from the Boulevard. Since moving to the new stadium, they have consistently performed well. In 2003, they narrowly missed qualifying for the playoffs. In 2004, the club secured a third-place finish. They placed fourth in 2005 and had a major victory in the Challenge Cup by defeating the Leeds Rhinos in the final. In 2006, Hull F.C. reached the Super League Grand Final.