Written by Callum Walker
Photo by Hull FC
One of the newest stadiums in modern Rugby League, the KCOM Stadium (formerly the KC until a major rebrand in 2016) opened for business in 2002 as a 25,400-capacity stadium.
Housing Hull FC as well as local football side Hull City, the KCOM has been regularly used as a concert venue also with the likes of Elton John and The Who taking their tours there. Performances on the field from the Airlie Birds improved almost instantly with the move from the iconic Boulevard stadium.
That old relic was built in 1895 and demolished in 2010, taking with it a substantial part of Hull’s history. Even FC’s nickname ‘Airlie Birds’ comes from the fact that the main entrance was on Airlie Street.
However, the move into the 21st century was essential and with the building of the originally-named KC Stadium, the club as a whole dramatically transformed. Of course, being council owned, the Rugby League side does have to pay rent, but by the early 2000s, Hull were on the up and the brand-spanking new stadium complemented that upturn in form.
The takeover by Adam Pearson in 2011 meant that the amount of money being invested increased exponentially and, with it, the attraction of the Hull club as a whole.
A modern stadium adorned with state-of-the-art facilities is always going to be a big influence for potential recruits – particularly those from abroad – so it’s been no wonder that the black-and-whites have been able to charm the likes of Gareth Ellis, Mark O’Meley and Craig Fitzgibbon to ditch sunny Australia for East Yorkshire.
There have been plans in the pipeline to expand the KCOM to over 30,000, with Hull City owners Assam and Ehab Allam broaching the idea consistently in recent years. If so, the venue would make a superb place to host semi-finals and finals, just like it stepped in to save the Super League Grand Final in 2020.
Following the less-than straightforward sporting season, being able to step up and host Rugby League’s most prestigious event certainly did the KCOM and Hull no harm whatsoever. And, from its quite obvious success in doing so, it won’t be the last time that the KCOM is thrust into the limelight.