University of Bolton Stadium (formerly Macron Stadium and Reebok Stadium) is the home stadium of English Championship club Bolton Wanderers, and is located on the Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, Greater Manchester.
From its opening in 1997 until 2014, the stadium was named "Reebok Stadium", after long-term club sponsors Reebok. However, after Bolton Wanderers signed an initial four-year naming rights and kit deal with Italy's Macron sportswear company, the stadium name was changed to reflect the new deal.
A hotel forms part of the stadium's construction and some of the rooms offer views of the pitch. The hotel was operated by the De Vere Group until August 2013, when the club assumed ownership and renamed it the "Bolton Whites Hotel".
|University of Bolton Stadium|
|Full name||University of Bolton Stadium|
|Former names||Macron Stadium (2014–2018)|
Reebok Stadium (1997–2014)
|Location||Burnden Way |
|Operator||Bolton Wanderers (1997–present)|
|Field size||110 x 72 yards (100.6 x 65.8 metres)|
University of Bolton Stadium is a all-seater stadium with a capacity of almost 29,000 and was completed in 1997, replacing the club's old ground, Burnden Park. The lead consultant/architect of the project was Lobb Sports, while local firm Bradshaw Gass & Hope acted as planning supervisors and quantity surveyors, the contractor was Birse Construction, and Deakin Callard & Partners provided structural engineering services. The value of the contract was £25 million (US$42.1 million). The stadium is noted for its distinct gabled architecture, first pioneered by the John Smith's Stadium. The upper-tier corners do not have seating due to concerns of health and safety access.
The stadium consists of four stands: The Carrs Pasties (North) Stand at one end; the South Stand (Franking Sense and also the away end) at the other end; the West Stand at one side of the pitch; and the Nat Lofthouse (east) Stand at the other side.
When the stadium was named after long-time team sponsor Reebok in 1997, fans considered the title impersonal and believed that too much emphasis was being placed on financial considerations. This opposition considerably lessened after the stadium was built, as fans grew accustomed to the name and were bolstered by Reebok's status as a local company.
The Macron title was applied in July 2014 after the Bolton Wanderers club finalised a partnership with the large Italian sportswear brand. In April 2014, club chairman Phil Gartside stated that he was "proud" to be associated with Macron and had "been very impressed with their [Macron's] passion for football". A four-year duration was negotiated for the Macron deal and the club had the option to extend at completion.
When the deal with Macron came to an end in August 2018 the stadium was again renamed, this time as the University of Bolton Stadium.
In addition to hosting football games, the stadium also offers other services, such as a hotel and function rooms.
Every November until 2012, the Reebok Stadium hosted Kidz up North which is one of the largest free UK exhibitions totally dedicated to children with disabilities and special needs, their parents, carers and professionals who work with them.
The venue's Premier Suite is home to the UK's leading amateur mixed martial arts event, Full Contact Contender. As of 16 March 2013 The Reebok has played host to three Full Contact Contender events.
The stadium has also hosted six rugby league matches. The results were as follows;
|1||7 November 1998||New Zealand def. Great Britain 36–16||27,486||1998 Great Britain vs New Zealand series|
|1||18 November 2000||New Zealand def. England 49–6||16,032||2000 Rugby League World Cup semi-final|
|3||17 November 2001||Australia def. Great Britain 40–12||22,152||2001 Ashes series|
|1||26 January 2001||St. Helens def. Brisbane Broncos 20–18||16,041||2001 World Club Challenge|
|2||14 February 2003||Sydney Roosters def. St. Helens 38–0||19,807||2003 World Club Challenge|
|3||23 February 2007||St. Helens def. Brisbane Broncos 18–14||23,207||2007 World Club Challenge|
In 2014 the club established Bolton Wanderers Free School at the stadium. It was a sixth form centre offering sports and related courses for 16- to 19-year-olds. The centre utilised the facilities of the stadium for most of its teaching and learning.
Lowest attendance for a competitive match: 1,540 v Everton U23s, 30 August 2016 Football League Trophy, Northern Group Stage, Game One
Lowest Premier League attendance: 17,014 v Derby County, 2 January 2008
|Season||Division||League Average Attendance||European Average Attendance||FA Cup Average Attendance||League Cup Average Attendance|
The stadium's West Stand lies about 200 metres from Horwich Parkway railway station. The station lies between Lostock and Blackrod on the Manchester to Preston Line. Football specials operate to and from this station on matchdays. Bus services are laid on by the club from across the borough when the Wanderers are at home.
On non-matchdays Horwich Parkway is served by three services an hour in each direction, operated by Northern or TransPennine Express. Numerous routes serve bus stops near or at the ground, operated by Arriva and FirstBus.
Bolton Wanderers unveiled a bronze statue of their most famous player, Nat Lofthouse, prior to a game against Queens Park Rangers on 24 August 2013. The statue, which cost £100,000 due to the generosity of public donations and sponsors, is situated near to the south-west corner of the stadium and was officially revealed by club owner Eddie Davies in a special ceremony.
Club chaplain Phil Mason, chairman Phil Gartside and the son of Nat Lofthouse – Jeff Lofthouse, also took part in the ceremony as did sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn. Hedges-Quinn had taken 18 months overall to complete the project having worked successfully on the statues such as that of Bob Stokoe at The Stadium of Light, Ted Bates at St Mary's Stadium and Sir Bobby Robson and Alf Ramsey at Portman Road.