Co-op Live Arena opening deferred to April ’24


Co-op Live arena will open in April 2024 Image: Populous

A new opening date for the Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, England (UK), the £365m indoor arena being built by the Premier League club Manchester City F.C.’s home ground – the 53,400-capacity Etihad Stadium in Manchester – has been announced.

‘Manchester EveningNews’ stated that the megastructure will now open its doors for the first time in April next year. The project was originally expected to have been completed by December this year.

The 23,500-capacity Co-op Live Arena is an indoor arena currently under construction in Manchester, England (UK). Due to open in April 2024, it is planned to have the largest maximum capacity of any indoor arena in the United Kingdom, greater than the existing 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, which is about two miles away.

‘Manchester EveningNews’ further stated that test events are planned to be staged in April with an exact date for the first act open to the paying public due to be announced in the coming months.

The Arena is being built by BAM Construct UK and is being led by a joint venture between the City Football Group and the Los Angeles (US)-based Oak View Group (OVG). Pop star Harry Styles (English singer-songwriter) was also announced as an investor in October 2020.

Hertfordshire (UK)-based BAM Construct UK is a leading construction, facilities management and property developer that is customer-focused and a leader in sustainability.

Manchester (UK)-based the City Football Group Limited is a British-based holding company that administers association football clubs. The group is owned by three organizations of which 81 percent is majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, 18 percent by the American firm Silver Lake and one percent by the Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.

The OVG Oak View Group, LLC is an American Global Advisory, Development and Investment Company for the Sports and Live Entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles (US), it was formed on November 16th, 2015 by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Earlier this year, it was reported that Simon Moran’s gigs promoter SJM Holdings, which is the holding company of both SJM Concerts (one of the largest concert promoters in the United Kingdom) and the rugby league club Warrington Wolves (England), also has shares in the joint venture.

The Gaiety Investments UK, the business run by Irish concerts promoter Denis Desmond, is an investor as well.

A Co-op Live spokesman said, “The Co-op Live Arena will be opening its doors to fans in April. Its huge kudos to BAM, and the dozens of local subcontractors working on the project, that we are well within our original timeframe and on-budget given the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, supply chain shortages and an energy crisis. We’re proud to be on the home stretch to delivering Co-op Live and we can’t wait to invite fans in to experience the biggest and most sustainable arena in the United Kingdom.”

It had also previously been expected that the Co-op Live Arena would start announcing the first shows in September 2022, with tickets going on sale a few months later.

When complete, the Co-op Live will feature a ‘smart bowl’ which took inspiration from conversations with Bruce Springsteen (American singer-songwriter) and Harry Styles.

The bowl will feature no corporate branding and will be lined by suites at the edges of Level Two which will include soundproof black curtains to maximize the impact of the shows’ sound and lighting.

The Arena will also include the largest floor space of any indoor venue, a “significantly lower” ceiling and tiered seating.

The Co-op Live Arena will feature 32 bars, restaurants and lounges, including a locally sourced and sustainable food and drink.

The venue was given the go-ahead in 2020 and has a 15-year naming rights deal with Co-op.

Manchester (UK)-based the Co-operative Group Limited, trading as Co-op, is a British consumer co-operative with a group of retail businesses including food retail and wholesale, insurance, legal services, and funerals. The Co-operative Group has over 65,000 employees across the United Kingdom.

The Co-op Live has a target to be net carbon neutral by 2038, be a 100 percent electric building, have almost 9,000 sqm of solar panels, and produce no food waste.

It also aims to have no single use plastic on site, send no waste to landfill and use all the rainwater it collects.

The impact on the environment is a major plus point of the whole project and one that bosses will be hoping will help entice the largest acts from across the world to choose Co-op Live over other rival venues.

They will be hoping that the most environmentally-conscious acts such as Coldplay (British rock band) will pick Co-op Live because of its Green credentials instead of looking at other venues in the City.

In order to meet its net-zero carbon ambitions, bosses hired a sustainability consultancy used by the Glastonbury Festival (England music festival) and Coldplay.

When it opens, Manchester will get its second indoor arena but the marketplace is already a crowded one as gigs can be staged at the likes of the 50,000-capacity Emirates Old Trafford in Stretford, England, and the Premier League club Manchester United F.C.’s home arena – the 74,310-capacity Old Trafford Stadium also in Stretford, England.

But the biggest competitor is sure to be the AO Arena which will be around 30 years old by the time the Co-op Live opens its doors.

In an attempt to respond to its new competition, the Arena announced a £50m revamp from last Summer that will see the venue undergo a complete “reimagination”.

Bosses have previously said that the venue will generate £1.5bn for the local economy, create 3,500 construction jobs during the build and a further 1,000 jobs and apprenticeships when it opens.

As part of its pledge to give £1m to the national and local good causes every year, a portion will be reserved to help Manchester’s music scene.

Those figures will be supported by an expected 120 events a year at the start which could be raised up to 200 in the following years.

About 80 percent of the events will be music but bosses have previously hinted that bids could be submitted to host National Basketball Association (NBA), tennis or boxing matches as well as a range of family-friendly acts.

Earlier this year, the first look inside what has been billed as the “most exclusive VIP experience” at the Co-op Live Arena was revealed.

The Bentley Record Room will be located next to the performers’ Green Room.

The space will include low carbon Beluga leather seating and Bentley Home furniture, created in partnership with the Luxury Living Group.

The Co-op Live Arena has a total of 28 suites with the likes of Betfred, Bruntwood and Mark Stott’s Vita Group among those to have snapped them up.

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