The stadium was completed in 1997 and replaced Derby County's previous stadium, the Baseball Ground. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on July 18, with a friendly against Sampdoria following on August 4. The first competitive league match to be played there was against Wimbledon. The floodlights failed part way through the match and it had to be abandoned. Plans to build the stadium were revealed only 18 months before the beginning of Derby's first season there. The original plan had been for the Baseball Ground to be rebuilt with a 26,000-seat capacity, but in February 1996 it was announced that Derby would be relocating instead.
On April 27, 2007, Derby County released details of a proposed £20m development around the stadium which would create about 250 jobs. Although plans have yet to be submitted to the city council, the Pride Plaza project would include a 165-bed hotel, bars, restaurants and office space. On 9 of November Derby City Council agreed to let the plans go ahead. Two squares and a road on the west side of the stadium would be named after club legends Brian Clough, Steve Bloomer and Lionel Pickering. The club have said no money would be taken away from the team to pay for the development. On top of this the club has announced plans to expand the capacity up to 44,000, with the work due to take place during the 2007–08 close season. provided the club avoided relegation. The plans include adding rows of seats to the north, south and east stands. If completed, this would allow the club to break its current club record home attendance, which stands at 41,826 for a match against Tottenham Hotspur during the 1969–70 season set at The Baseball Ground.