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10 biggest Championship football grounds

The Championship may only be the second division in English football, but it is arguably one of the most entertaining leagues in European football. From Leeds United to Sunderland, to Sheffield Wednesday – it is comprised of plenty of massive clubs that are steeped in plenty of history.

But the question remains, what are the 10 biggest Championship football grounds?

10 biggest Championship football grounds

EFL Championship logo on a Leicester City kit
The 2023/24 opening Championship weekend had a record-breaking 631,000 viewers on SkySports. Photo by Icon Sport

10. Bet365 Stadium

A general view of the bet365 Stadium
The Bet365 Stadium has a record attendance of 30,022. Photo by Icon Sport

Team: Stoke City

Capacity: 30,089

Opened: 1997

Previously named the Britannia Stadium, the ground has been the home of cult heroes Stoke City since it opened in 1997. The site rose to fame during the club's Premier League years, during which the Potters became renowned for their physicality and were admired by many.

A record attendance of 30,022 was achieved at the ground in 2018 during a Premier League clash with Everton. The Bet365 Stadium was built to replace the former Victoria Ground and cost the club over £14 million.

Aside from football, the ground has also been used as a venue for local firework displays, music concerts from artists such as Bon Jovi and has even been used by England youth teams on several occasions.

9. Ewood Park

A general view of Ewood Park
Ewood Park is the home of Blackburn Rovers and has a capacity of 31,367. Photo by Icon Sport

Team: Blackburn Rovers

Capacity: 31,367

Opened: 1882

Ewood Park has been the home of Lancashire outfit Blackburn Rovers since 1890. In fact, it is believed that the club first played at the site as early as 1881, although it was known as Ewood Bridge at that point and hosted a wide array of sporting events.

Its record attendance was set during an FA Cup sixth-round tie against Bolton Wanderers, with the match watched by over 60,000 fans. The ground was renovated as recently as 1995 when the modernisation of three of its sections was completed.

Primarily the home of Blackburn, Ewood Park has also hosted a handful of international matches, as well as six FA Cup semi-finals over the years.

8. King Power Stadium

A general view of the King Power Stadium
King Power Stadium was the home of Leicester City as the Foxes shocked the world in 2016 and won the Premier League title. Photo by Icon Sport

Team: Leicester City

Capacity: 32,273

Opened: 2002

The King Power Stadium has been the home of Leicester City ever since the Foxes departed their previous Filbert Street ground in 2002. Given that it was the home stadium during the club's surprising Premier League triumph in 2016, King Power Stadium will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Leicester supporters.

A special stadium needs an equally special opening, and in that sense, the club succeeded as club legend Gary Lineker was the man who cut the ribbons on July 23, 2002. Shortly after, on August 4, the ground hosted its first match – a friendly against Spanish side Athletic Bilbao.

King Power Stadium has developed its pedigree within football ever since, hosting a handful of international friendlies for England, as well as welcoming a host of European sides to the ground when the club reached the Champions League.

7. St.Mary's Stadium

A general view of the St.Mary's Stadium
St.Mary's Stadium was a venue for the 2022 UEFA Women's Euros. Photo by Icon Sport.

Team: Southampton

Capacity: 32,384

Opened: 2001

Another relatively new stadium for another side with Premier League pedigree, St.Mary's Stadium has been the home of Southampton since it opened in 2001.

It hosted its first match in August 2001 – a 4-3 defeat to Spanish outfit RCD Espanyol, however, that sour beginning would eventually lead to the club enjoying a lengthy spell in England's top flight that spanned across 10 years.

Many great players have made a name for themselves at St.Mary's over the years, including the likes of Theo Walcott, Sadio Mane and of course Virgil Van Dijk.

The record attendance at the ground currently stands at 32,363 – a feat achieved against Coventry City in 2012. In 2022, the stadium was also used as a venue for the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 tournament.

6. Coventry Building Society Arena

A general view of the Coventry Building Society Arena
The CSB Arena was opened in 2005 and has a current capacity of 32,609. Photo by Icon Sport.

Team: Coventry City

Capacity: 32,609

Opened: 2005

Continuing the theme of modern stadiums on this list, construction of the Coventry Building Society Arena was completed in 2005 and is the current home of Coventry City. However, the club have had a turbulent relationship with the site since its initial opening.

In 2013, the club were forced to play their home matches elsewhere due to an ongoing rent dispute, returning to the ground in 2014. But, after Rugby Union side Wasps purchased the arena, Coventry were again required to leave the site for another two seasons. Eventually, the issue was settled and the Sky Blues have called the CSB Arena home again since 2021.

At the time of construction, the CSB Arena was incredibly modern, highlighted by the fact that it was the first cashless stadium in the whole of the United Kingdom.

5. Cardiff City Stadium

A general view of the Cardiff City Stadium
The Cardiff City Stadium has been the home of both Cardiff City and the Wales national team since 2009. Photo by Icon Sport

Team: Cardiff City

Capacity: 33,280

Opened: 2009

The first and only ground to be located in Wales rather than England on this list, the Cardiff City Stadium is also the newest, opening in 2009 after construction initially began in 2007.

Despite being opened just 15 years ago, the ground has already been renovated, an event which took place in 2014 and saw the Ninian Stand developed and allowed the club to expand its capacity to its current 33,280.

As well as being the home of Cardiff City Football Club, the site was also the home stadium of the Cardiff Blues, a Rugby team, until 2012. It has also been the national stadium of Wales since 2009 and has hosted a wide array of international matches as a result.

4. Riverside Stadium

A general view of the Riverside Stadium
The Riverside Stadium hosted its first match in 1995 against English giants Chelsea. Photo by Icon Sport.

Team: Middlesborough

Capacity: 33,746

Opened: 1995

A throwback to a more traditional style of stadium, the Riverside was opened in 1995 and has been the home of Middlesborough Football Club ever since. As with many of the grounds on this list, it was built in response to the Taylor Report, which required all stadiums to be an all-seated facility and replaced the previous Ayresome Park in the process.

Its record attendance was set less than 10 years after its opening, when, in 2003, the England national team welcomed Slovakia to the ground in front of 35,000 spectators.

Riverside hosted several international fixtures during this time and has also been the venue for multiple Rugby matches and music concerts over the years. Already the fourth biggest stadium in the Championship, there are reportedly provisional plans in place to expand the current capacity if and when the club feel it is necessary.

3. Elland Road

A general view of Elland Road
Leeds United's Elland Road was used a venue at Euro 1996. Photo by Icon Sport.

Team: Leeds United

Capacity: 37,890

Opened: 1897

Arguably the home of the biggest club on this list, Leeds United's Elland Road sees us take a substantial jump in terms of capacity within the ground. Its ability to hold over 37,000 spectators means it is the third-largest stadium in the Championship.

Despite its obvious status within English football, Elland Road actually started its life as primarily a home ground for Rugby League side Holbeck. In fact, it was not used by Leeds United until over 20 years after its opening in 1919.

However, as mentioned, the ground is now steeped in historical importance within football, having hosted multiple FA Cup semi-finals and also a handful of fixtures as a venue at the 1996 European Championships.

Its record attendance is by far and away the highest on the list so far, with over 57,000 fans flocking to Elland Road in 1967 to watch Leeds United take on Sunderland in the FA Cup.

With Leeds currently looking well-placed for a potential promotion this season, we may just see Elland Road back in the Premier League for the 2024/25 campaign.

2. Hillsborough

A general view of Hillsborough Stadium
Hillsborough has a record attendance of 72,841. Photo by Icon Sport.

Team: Sheffield Wednesday

Capacity: 39,859

Opened: 1899

It is impossible to talk about Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium without touching on the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. On this day, a combination of poor organisation, sub-par health and safety regulations as well as gross misconduct resulted in a catastrophic incident which saw 97 Liverpool fans tragically lose their lives.

Hillsborough's reputation was and has been tarnished ever since, however, the ground has also done plenty of good within the sport. It was used as a venue at both the 1966 World Cup, made even more special by England‘s eventual triumph in the competition, and also for the 1996 European Championships.

Its record attendance obliterates that of the aforementioned Elland Road, with a figure of over 72,000 being achieved during an FA Cup clash with Manchester City in 1932. Hillsborough also reportedly holds the record for the highest attendance at a third-tier football match in England, when a crowd of over 49,000 were in attendance as Wednesday thrashed their bitter rivals, Sheffield United, 4-0 in 1976.

1. Stadium of Light

A general view of the Stadium of Light
The Stadium of Light's design allows for further expansion up to a potential of 66,000. Photo by Icon Sport.

Team: Sunderland

Capacity: 48,707

Opened: 1997

And the biggest Championship ground is… the Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland. With the ability to hold over 49,000 spectators, the site dwarfs the stadiums of even some of the biggest Premier League clubs – Chelsea's Stamford Bridge only has a capacity of 40,341 for example.

A notorious ground within English football, the Stadium of Light has hosted three matches for the national team, as well as several England youth team fixtures. But, perhaps its biggest claim to fame is of course hosting many a Tyne-Wear derby over the years – one of the most fierce rivalries in the country.

The ground's current record attendance for football stands at 48,353, and was set during a match against Liverpool in 2002. However, with reports suggesting that the Stadium of Light's design allows for further expansion up to a potential 66,000, that figure could one day increase even further.


Harry Dowsett

Freelance football writer with experience writing for multiple digital platforms, such as GIVEMESPORT. Recently graduated from Portsmouth University with a media studies degree - completing a dissertation on the evolution of sports journalism in the process. He has a love for Arsenal Football Club and a passion for football as a whole.

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