New Sunderland AFC owners 'absolutely intent' on return of Stadium of Light concerts

Fans queue for Beyonc
Fans queue for Beyonc

Sunderland AFC's new owners are determined to see the return of big-name gigs to the Stadium of Light.

The Stadium hosted a succession of concerts from 2009, with global superstars including Pink, Take That, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Coldplay and Foo Fighters attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.

Bruce Springsteen defies the rain

Bruce Springsteen defies the rain

But Beyoncé's show in 2016 was the last, with the club confirming in February that it had turned down an offer to host the Rolling Stones this summer.

Now director Charlie Methven has confirmed the return of shows is on the cards.

In an interview with fanzine A Love Supreme, he was asked about the commercial viability of concerts and replied: "I think they did make money. Maybe one or two didn’t, but obviously if you’re managing things incorrectly then they might not be.

"We are absolutely intent on bringing the concerts back. It’s part of the programme that has to re-engage Sunderland with its community and making the Stadium of Light the centre of that.

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl

"What Bob Murray intended was for the SOL to be a beacon, a sort of symbol of hope, and that great things that can happen in Sunderland.

"Of course, that’s mostly football, but the reality is the Stadium gets used for football 30 times a year.

"It’s an amazing facility. Why would you only use it 30 times a year?"

Stadium concerts have attracted national media attention to the city and crowds of up to 56,000, as well as visitors from across Britain and beyond, with each gig bringing in around £3.5million in spending from visitors.

Rihanna performs in 2013

Rihanna performs in 2013

The club confirmed in February it had been rejected the possibility of hosting the Rolling Stones this summer.

A spokesperson said: "SAFC was approached about the possibility of holding the concert, however, the date proposed would not have allowed enough time to complete pitch renovations ahead of the 2018-19 season.

"Both parties explored earlier dates but were unfortunately unable to find a solution.”

Stadium of Light concerts over the years

2009 - Take That and Oasis

2010 - Pink

2011 - Take That and Kings of Leon

2012 - Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen

2013 - Bon Jovi, Rihanna and North East Live

2014 - One Direction and North East Live

2015 - Foo Fighters

2016 - Beyoncé