Manchester No Name Arena

Manchester Arena has officially dropped Phones 4U from its name and – if only for the short term – the major UK venue will be without a naming rights sponsor.

Phones 4U, a leading phones retailer, tanked at the end of September, after mobile networks EE and Vodafone pulled out of their connection deals. The company could sell phones but had no wireless network to connect buyers.

Insolvency specialist PwC sold off many of the company’s 600 or so outlets, with 362 stores closing and nearly 2,000 jobs lost. EE bought 58 of the Phones 4U outlets for a reported £2.5 million (then $4.01 million), saving 359 jobs, while Vodafone acquired 140 shops and saved 887 jobs.

4U had signed a five-year, multimillion naming rights deal with what had formerly been the Manchester Evening News Arena. Given that the 21,000 maximum capacity arena is one of the world’s busiest, it’s unlikely it’s having trouble attracting a naming rights sponsor.

“When Phones 4u went into administration suddenly in September 2014, we received a number of enquiries about sponsorship opportunities for the arena”, explained an SMG Europe representative.

The diary for 2015, the venue’s 20th anniversary, already has sold-out shows from Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac, One Direction, Lionel Richie, and Take That.