The Stadium of Light is an all-seater football stadium in Sunderland, England and home to Sunderland A.F.C. With space for 48,707 spectators, the Stadium of Light is the eighth largest stadium in England. However, in March 2018 it was announced that after the recent relegations of the football club to the third tier of English football, the upper tiers will be closed during the 2018/2019 season. The stadium primarily hosts Sunderland A.F.C. home matches. According to Sir Bob Murray, then chairman of Sunderland A.F.C., the name Stadium of Light "was chosen for two main reasons; namely as an ever-lasting tribute to the region's mine-workers and proud industrial heritage and in the expectation that the stadium would be a guiding light in the future. The name is very much a symbolic link to the thousands of miners and Sunderland supporters that emerged from the darkness and into the light every day when they returned to the surface after working in the mine." A Davy lamp monument stands at the entrance to reflect the coal mining industry that brought prosperity to the town.
As well as hosting Sunderland games, the stadium has hosted three matches for the England national football team, as well as one England under-20 football team match. With an original capacity of 42,000, it was expanded in 2000 to seat 48,707. Its simple design is apparently to allow for redevelopments up to a capacity of 66,000. The attendance record at the Stadium of Light is 48,353 set on 13 April 2002, when Sunderland played Liverpool with the visitors running out 1–0 winners. Along with hosting football matches, the stadium has played host to performers such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Oasis, Take That, Kings of Leon and Coldplay. The ground also holds conference and banqueting suites, the Black Cats Bar, and a club shop selling Sunderland merchandise.
Following the release of the Taylor Report in January 1990, Sunderland was obliged to make plans to turn their Roker Park home into an all-seater stadium. Roker Park was a ground that mainly consisted of standing terraces, and if converted into all-seater it would have held far fewer spectators than before. Enclosed by residential streets on all sides, expansion was practically impossible. So, by 1991, Sunderland chairman Bob Murray began investigating the possibility of relocation to a new stadium.
The front-runner that emerged was a proposed stadium located on an area of land adjacent to the Nissan car plant. The 49,000 all-seater ground was labelled "the Wembley of the North" by Sunderland fans and would boast a capacity that not even Manchester United's Old Trafford exceeded until 1996. The plans did not come to fruition. Shortly after the plans were announced in 1992, Nissan launched an official objection, ultimately forcing Sunderland to abandon the idea. In 1995, Sunderland put forward a plan to build a stadium on the former site of Wearmouth Colliery, which had closed in December 1993. The area, on the north bank of the River Wear in the Sheepfolds district of Sunderland, was only a few hundred yards from Roker Park, and close to the centre of the city.
In 1993, Sunderland's planned new stadium was on the shortlist for Euro 96 venues, as England had been named as hosts of the competition in May 1992. However, it soon become clear that a new stadium in Sunderland would not be ready in time for the tournament.
On 13 November 1995, the Sunderland chairman Bob Murray announced that the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation had approved plans for Sunderland to build a 34,000-seater stadium on the site.
The stadium is in the shape of a square bowl, and is separated into the West Stand, North Stand, East Stand (formerly the Vaux Stand, the Carling Stand, and Fosters Stand respectively), and the South Stand (also known as the Metro FM Stand). The West Stand includes the mothballed Premier Concourse which is the name of the upper tier that was closed at the end of the 2017/18 season, and a number of executive boxes. The North Stand also includes an upper tier, called the Strongbow Upper, which contained the exterior seating for the Black Cats Bar. When the away fans were relocated, the Black Cats Bar seating was relocated at the rear of the lower tier.