The King Power Stadium, formerly known as the Walkers Stadium before being renamed the Leicester City Stadium due to UEFA sponsorship rules, is a football stadium in Leicester, England. It has been Leicester City’s home stadium since 2002, with a capacity of 32,261 seats. Since 2021, the stadium has served as the primary home of Leicester City Women.
History on the King Power Stadium
Background and development
The neighborhood’s Filbert Street served as Leicester’s home stadium since 1891. The directors of Leicester City looked into constructing a new stadium in the early 1990s, but ultimately chose to redevelop the existing facility. By adding seats to the remaining standing areas and constructing a new stand on one side of Filbert Street, the stadium’s capacity increased to 21,500 for the 1994–95 season.
With their promotion to the Premier League after a seven-year absence from the top division and their relegation after just one season, it seemed the 21,500 capacity would be sufficient when Filbert Street was converted to an all-seater stadium.
By the end of the decade, nearly every game at Filbert Street was a sell-out due to increased attendance brought on by success in the late 1990s. Moving was soon again on the table; at this time, a number of teams, including Derby County and Stoke City, Leicester’s midland rivals, had moved to new stadiums.
The manager, Martin O’Neill, made light of the fact that some areas of the stadium, the East and North Stands in particular, were somewhat outdated by jokingly leading new recruits out of the players tunnel in the opposite direction so they wouldn’t see the East Stand.
The stadium Opening
On July 23, 2002, former Leicester striker Gary Lineker gave the stadium its official opening. He arrived at the stadium in a Walkers lorry and cut a ribbon on the field using a huge pair of scissors. On August 4, 2002, a friendly matchup with the Basque team Athletic Bilbao took place in the new stadium. Tiko scored the first goal at the stadium, and Jordan Stewart netted Leicester’s first goal as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. There were roughly 24,000 attendees (no official figure was recorded due to a computer problem). Six days later, Leicester defeated Watford 2-0 in front of a nearly capacity crowd of 31,022, in the inaugural competitive game. Both goals were scored by Brian Deane, including the first competitive goal ever at the venue. Even though Leicester began the 2002–03 season in receivership due to their massive debts, until a takeover deal was completed, they ended the season promoted back to the Premier League, losing just two home games.
The Stadium Ownership
Shortly after relocating to the new stadium, Leicester entered receivership due to the £37 million price tag of the new stadium, along with their relegation from the Premier League, the demise of the English transfer market due to the introduction of the transfer window, and the failure of ITV Digital. Because of this, Birse Construction, which had built the stadium, lost a significant portion of their fee and stopped building football fields.
The stadium’s ownership reverted to American academic retirement fund TIAA-CREF as part of the agreement that saved the club from going into receivership. TIAA-CREF had contributed £28 million via a bond scheme to the stadium’s construction, and the club took a long-term lease while the bond repayments were being made.
King Power, a Thai company, acquired the stadium on March 1, 2013, through its subsidiary K Power Holdings Co, Ltd.
Plans for the Stadium
Vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said there were plans in place to expand the venue’s capacity to about 42,000 in 2015. In the past, moving to a new stadium was also a possibility, but the club ultimately chose to develop the current location. Initial planning for the King Power Stadium’s development and expansion began, it was announced in April 2018.
The club announced on July 28, 2021, that it would reveal plans to the public that included raising the seating capacity to 40,000 and adding a new club store, sports arena, hotel, and multistory parking garage in the neighborhood. On October 25, 2021, the club declared that they had submitted a hybrid planning application to the Leicester City Council for the renovation of King Power Stadium and the neighborhood. In September 2021, they had also requested permission to start the enabling work ahead of schedule in order to prepare for the redevelopment.
More: On the King Power Stadium History Click Here
How to Get to the King Power Stadium
Arriving from City Center to King Power Stadium
Along the banks of the River Soar, the King Power is a 30-minute stroll from the city center. Walking south along Waterloo Way and past Welford Road from Leicester train station takes about the same amount of time. The best mode of transportation is the bus if walking is not an option. Find out more in the section on public transportation.
Arriving to King Power Stadium with Public Transportation
Leicester station [LEI]: The station is 25 minutes’ walk from the ground at London Road, Leicester LE2 0QB.
Take buses 47, 47A, 84, and 85 to get close to the stadium. Stop at Aylestone, which is outside of Freemen’s Common, and continue walking from there. The path is clearly marked.
Arriving by Car at King Power Stadium
Click here to view King Power Stadium on Google Maps.
The following major roads provide access to the stadium:
- From North: M1, A6; passing Loughborough
- From South: M1, A6; passing Market Harborough, Lutterworth and Rugby
- From East: A47, passing Uppingham and Thurnby
- From West: M6, M69; passing Coventry and Hinckley
From City Centre
The Eastern/Western Boulevard and Raw Dykes Road connect Leicester City Center to the King Power Stadium, which is located south of the city center. Close to the stadium, Welford Road (A594) also departs from the city’s center and passes the Leicester Tigers Rugby Club and Leicester Royal Infirmary.