Sheffield Readies For Turf War

Sheffield Arena is spending £3.5 million ($5.4 million) on a refurb that will make it better equipped to meet the challenge from the new Leeds Arena, the SMG-operated venue opening in September.

The Sheffield venue, which is run by Live Nation, will have a new roof and all 12,500 seats will be replaced.

The refurb also includes the installation of additional toilets, new lighting and revamped catering outlets.

The building was to close after its sold-out Michael Bublé show June 28 and reopen in time for the Sheffield versus Notthingham ice hockey game Sept. 8, around the time that its Leeds rival is due to open, 33 miles down the road.

Sheffield International Venues, which owns the arena, said the work would “refresh” the building ahead of the opening of the Leeds venue.

SIV chief exec Steve Brailey told BBC News that more than 700,000 people visited the Sheffield Arena last year.
“With the improvements currently under way, it is hoped this figure will rise and we will not lose customers to local rival Leeds Arena,” he said.

A year ago Brailey reacted to the news of the new Leeds Arena by promising SIV and Sheffield Council would work together to make Sheffield the more accessible venue.

“We’re five minutes from the M1 [motorway], we’ve got our own tram stop, we’ve got dedicated car parking, and so it’s relatively easy to get into and out of Sheffield Arena,” he said.

He said the Leeds arena will be a “nightmare” to get to.