The bet365 Stadium is the home of Stoke City Football Club and has been so since the summer of 1997.
The all-seater stadium cost nearly £15,000,000 to build and brought the Club up to standards set out in the Taylor Report following 119 years at the Victoria Ground.
The first sod from the land, formerly owned by the National Coal Board and operated as Hem Heath Colliery until its closure in the early 1990s, was cut in the late autumn of 1996.
By early 1997, the skeletal steel superstructure was in place and the stadium began to take shape.
Later that year, it opened its doors for the first time as the Britannia Stadium thanks to a £1m, 10-year sponsorship deal with the Britannia Building Society which was instrumental in the overall funding of the project.
Another £3m was given as a grant by the Football Trust.
Rochdale were the visitors for the historic first-ever competitive match on 27th August – a 1-1 draw in the Worthington Cup watched by 15,439 – and four days later the first-ever League game took place against Swindon Town before a crowd of 23,859 in party mood.
Ten years on the Club obtained full ownership of the stadium in a deal worth £6m following the previous joint-partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke-on-Trent Regeneration Ltd.
In April 2016, an initial six-year stadium naming rights agreement was entered into with Club owners bet365 was announced, with the name ‘bet365 Stadium’ taking effect from 1st June 2016.
The horseshoe shaped Boothen End sponsored by Staffordshire University, Tile Mountain Stand and South Stand sweep around the North, East and South sides of the stadium and can seat over 22,700 supporters.
The main Franklyn Stand is a two-tier construction seating over 7,350 fans as well as hosting the media and all the major conferencing and event facilities such as the Tony Waddington Suite.
The South Stand is usually segregated to allow both home and away support to enter the stand at the South end of the stadium.
The Club administration offices, dressing rooms and boardroom are nested within the South-West corner of the stadium along with the Ticket Office, Lottery Office and Club Store.
The stadium’s elevated location on land rising towards Heron Cross and looking across the valley of the River Trent and the Trent and Mersey canal means it commands superb views of the City and the site of the Club’s previous home, the Victoria Ground. Its lofty position means it can be seen by visitors as they arrive into the City on both the A500 and A50.
As well as football, the stadium has staged funfairs, firework displays and music concerts. The likes of Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Busted, Elton John and Rod Stewart have all played out on the pitch at the ground in addition to the numerous summer music concerts.
Built upon the ever-expanding Trentham Lakes site, the whole area now employs more people than it did when it was Hem Heath Colliery.