Cardiff is set for a host of bumper rugby and football weekends which will see tens of thousands of fans descend on the capital, it has emerged.
The release of Cardiff City’s fixture list shows that the city will host Premier League football and international rugby on the same weekend on four occasions in the coming months.
In one case, respective matches at the Millennium and Cardiff City Stadiums are currently scheduled to kick-off within half-an-hour of each other.
It raises the prospect of the city being crammed full of visitors who, retailers, restaurateurs and hoteliers hope will bring a “long-term” economic benefit to Cardiff.
David Hughes-Lewis, of The Cardiff Retail Partnership, said: “I think when we get these big travelling teams, particularly from up north, they will stay overnight on a Friday and Saturday and hopefully shop in the city. “It can only be good for the city.
“When we had the FA Cup here a few years ago when they were developing Wembley, so many fans came to stay and said: ‘Gosh, what a nice place. I haven’t been here before. I think I will come back’.”
At 7.30pm on Friday November 22, Wales take on Tonga in their autumn rugby international series the day before Cardiff City tackle Manchester United at The Cardiff City Stadium.
A week later, on Saturday November 30, the Bluebirds play Arsenal at home at 3pm – two hours before Wales take on the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium.
Then on Saturday February 1 next year, Wales begin their Six Nations defence against Italy at 2.30pm half-an-hour before Cardiff play Norwich.
And Wales’ second home game of their campaign against France at 8pm on Friday February 21 precedes Cardiff’s match with Hull the next day.
Mike Morris, who runs the Cardiff City Message Board (CCMB), said he expected Premier League football would add to the atmosphere in the city on weekends.
Reacting to the release of the Bluebirds’ fixtures, he said: “There’s some sequences in there where, before Christmas, we have got consecutive home games against Arsenal and then, just after Christmas, consecutive away games at Manchester City and Manchester United.
“It’s a fantastic city anyway. People only need to visit once to come back again and now the spotlight it’s going to get in the world wide media is going to highlight that.
“The only mid-week game is Aston Villa at home. All those other teams are going to be bringing fans and overseas visitors.”
Chief Inspector Steve Murray from South Wales Police said the force was used to sporting events being held simultaneously from similar instances last year.
He said: “It is credit to both venues and both sets of supporters that both games can be played at the same time.
“South Wales Police is recognised nationally and internationally for dealing with major events in Cardiff and there will be plenty of officers to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment.”
A Cardiff council spokesman said its role was to look after road closures in the city centre for international rugby weekends as usual.
Cardiff City’s current fixtures are subject to change depending on TV scheduling expected to be announced by Sky Sports next month. They can also be affected by opposing teams competing in Europe.