The “Steel City” of Sheffield in South Yorkshire is amongst the UK’s sporting hotbeds, with two famous football clubs in Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday (three if you count the oldest of them all, Sheffield FC), a rugby league side, an excellent athletics stadium and it houses the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre. Adding still further to that mix is the Sheffield Sports Stadium, which stages regular greyhound and speedway action.
Also known as the Owlerton Stadium, the track lies close to Sheffield Wednesday’s home ground of Hillsborough and first opened for business back in 1929. Home to a selection of top-class events, including the Steel City Cup and Northern Sprint, this 4,000-capacity venue boasts facilities to match, including an excellent panoramic restaurant and a selection of bars.
What’s On Offer at Sheffield?
Sheffield plays host to a regular programme of five meetings per week, taking place on Monday and Thursday afternoons, and Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The British Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS) meetings on Mondays and Thursdays are mainly held for the benefit of the betting industry and take place behind closed doors. The Monday card runs from 2:04pm through to 5:22pm, with the Thursday action kicking off at 11:11am and ending at 2:05pm.
In contrast to the quiet afternoon events, the evening fixtures are very well attended. Tuesday and Saturday meetings both feature 12 races, with the first getting underway at 6:19pm, and the hare being set in motion for the last at 9:49pm. Friday evening’s shorter 10-race card begins at around 7:30pm, running through to a little after 10pm. Gates open around an hour and a half before the first race ahead of all three evening fixtures.
- Circuit Length – 434m
- Run to First Bend – 62m
- Sprint Distance – 280m – 362m
- Middle Distances – 480m – 500m (standard)
- Stayers Distance – 660m – 720m
- Marathon Distance – 915m – 934m
In addition to the greyhound action, the stadium also acts as the home of the Sheffield Tigers Speedway outfit. Based at the stadium ever since it first opened in 1929, the Tigers have won numerous honours throughout their history and continue to draw in healthy crowds.
For those interested in taking in the live motorsport action, fixtures take place on Thursday evenings from March through to October. Tickets are priced at £19 for adults, £17 for OAPs and Students, £6 for 12 to 16 year olds and £1 for six to 11 year olds, with all under fives going free.
What Can You Expect?
General admission is priced at £3 on Tuesdays and £5 on Fridays and Saturdays. This price includes a racecard, access to all three bars, the fast-food snack bar, and a trackside viewing area.
“6 Pack” Deal
One of the most popular ticketing options is the excellent value “6 Pack” deal. Available at all evening fixtures, this package includes admission, racecard, chicken strips and fries meal, alcoholic or soft drink, £2 win bet, and a £1 Jackpot Bet – all for only £6 on a Tuesday, £8 on Fridays, and £10 on Saturdays. Priced at £2 more on each day, the “6 Pack Plus” deal features all of the above in addition to guaranteed seating for the evening.
Restaurant Package Deal
Racegoers seeking a sit-down meal are also well catered for thanks to the track’s Restaurant Package deal. Priced at £16, £22 and £25 on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday respectively, this offer includes admission, a racecard, a three-course meal, bar and betting table service, and excellent viewing from the panoramic restaurant.
Last but by no means least, the track’s hospitality boxes provide an excellent option for groups celebrating a special occasion or looking for a more private experience. Able to cater for parties of between 15 and 20, hospitality box deals consist of admission, a racecard, a hot and cold buffet, a mini bar, bar and betting service and private balcony viewing, with prices starting at £20 per head.
If attending the track for a birthday or other special occasion, why not really make it a night to remember with the track’s Celebration Package? Priced at £75 per party, the package includes a bottle of Prosecco, a celebration cake, table decorations, a race sponsored in your honour, a PA announcement, a trophy presentation and a photo with winning connections.
How to Get There
The track address is Owlerton Stadium, Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2DE. For those driving to the track, the stadium lies on the A61 North, close to Hillsborough Football Stadium. Motorists travelling via the M1 should take junction 36 to Sheffield City Centre before moving onto the A61 North. Upon arrival at the track, racegoers will find ample free parking available just outside the stadium.
Sheffield Train Station enjoys strong links with most areas of the country and lies only a short taxi journey from the stadium. Alternatively, the number 8 and 57 local bus services stop just a short walk from the venue.
How to Get in Touch
- Tel: – 0114 234 3074
- Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: – @OwlertonStadium
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Plans were first set in motion for a new greyhound stadium in the area back in 1929, with the site selected being a 20-acre freehold patch of land at Owlerton in the midst of the famous steelworks. The initial works were completed quickly, with the track opening to stage a speedway event on the 30th March, 1929.
With the track in place, owners Sheffield Stadium Sports Ltd set about making the required tweaks to ready the site for greyhound action, with additions including an impressive glass-fronted grandstand. The first greyhound meeting then took place on 12the January, 1932, as Owlerton Stadium became the second oval dog track in the city alongside Darnall Stadium, which had opened in 1927. A big hit from the off, that inaugural fixture attracted 10,000 racegoers to the track, with both the facilities and tote betting system coming in for praise.
World Intertrack Championship
Unlike many sporting venues, Owlerton Stadium remained open during WWII, however, the track’s open race programme took a hit due to the domestic travel restrictions in place. Overall, the stadium emerged from the other side of the global conflict in fine shape, winning the News of the World Intertrack Championship in 1951 – effectively the FA Cup of the dog racing world.
Tric-Trac & Spectre II
The closure of Darnall Stadium in the 1960s saw the venue increase still further in prominence, attracting the attention of the Sheffield Corporation who stepped in to purchase the site for £185,000. Owlerton Stadium grabbed the national greyhound spotlight in 1965 when locally trained full brothers, Tric-Trac and Spectre II, finished first and second in the English Greyhound Derby.
Steel City Cup Debut
1970 saw the stadium add a prestigious event of its own to the calendar, as the Steel City Cup made its debut. Building on this success the owners made a significant upgrade to the track in 1978 when converting the surface from grass to sand for the first time.
Terry Cordon, who also owned the lease for Derby then took over the running of Sheffield during the 1980s, but in common with many sporting venues faced significant issues following the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. Unable to meet the new safety requirements, Cordon sold Derby, with Sheffield being shut down but the local council.
The track was, however, quickly re-opened, only to be forced to cease trading once again in the Spring of 1990 – this time as a result of an oversight with the track’s betting licence. With that issue resolved, casino and restaurant operator A & S Leisure took over the running of the site in 1991, immediately investing £3 million in refurbishments.
Arena Racing Company
Moving closer to modern times, Charlie Lister landed the track’s first-ever trainers championship title in 2009, with Paul Young following up that success in 2014. In 2018, the track signed a deal with Arena Racing Company, agreeing to stage four meetings per week.
One year later, in 2019, A & S Leisure celebrated this long-term security by building an excellent £6 million conference centre and executive suite facility. With the customer facilities improving at such a rapid rate, the track itself received an upgrade in 2022, with the laying of a brand-new surface and running rail, and the addition of a state-of-the-art drainage system.