Co-op Live Announces First Hires In The UK

Co-op Live rendering.
– Co-op Live rendering.
Construction in Manchester, England, begins this week.

Co-op Live, the new 23,500-capacity arena set to open in Manchester in 2023, has announced its first three senior hires: Sara Tomkins (marketing and CSR director), Katie Musham (head of partnerships) and Becci Thomson (head of premium sales and service). 

The announcement by OVG (Pollstar‘s parent company) was made today in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021. The appointments of Tomkins, Musham, and Thomson will be followed by further hires within the sales team as Co-op Live prepares to open its new HQ and experiential showroom in Manchester’s Northern Quarter this May.
Sara Tomkins, who has been appointed as marketing and CSR director at Co-op Live, brings more than 20 years of Manchester community engagement work and global brand-building experience to the team. 
Her previous experience includes stints as chief executive of GreaterSport, destination director for Marketing Manchester and assistant chief executive for marketing, communications and customer services at Manchester City Council.
Katie Musham has over 15-years’ experience in the live music, entertainment, and sport venue industries in the U.K. and Australia, previously holding senior programming, marketing, and partnership roles at iconic venues such as Wembley Arena, The O2, Perth Arena and Sydney’s SCG. 
Musham joins Co-op Live as head of partnerships and will be responsible “for over-delivering on the Co-op partnership, as well as future sponsor partnerships,” according to the announcement.
The venue’s new sales director, Becci Thomson, previously led sales for special events at London’s O2. From April 1, Becci will lead the team marketing over £12 million of premium hospitality inventory at Co-op Live. 
The three women who will be part of Co-op Live's leadership, once the arena opens in 2023.
– The three women who will be part of Co-op Live’s leadership, once the arena opens in 2023.
From left: Sara Tomkins (marketing and CSR director), Katie Musham (head of partnerships) and Becci Thomson (head of premium sales and service).

Co-op Live will become the UK’s biggest arena when it opens in Manchester in 2023 at a capacity of 23,500. Speaking on The Open Forum at this year’s virtual ILMC, Oak View Group co-founder Tim Leiweke confirmed that construction begins this week.
Over the three-year construction phase, Co-op Live is expected to create 3,350 jobs, followed by a further 1,000 once the venue opens in late 2023. 
OVG emphasizes that Co-op Live is an accredited Living Wage Employer, and that everybody working at Co-op Live will be paid at least the Real Living Wage.
Co-op Live promises state of the art entertainment.
– Co-op Live promises state of the art entertainment.
Redering of the arena bowl.

The arena will be the UK’s “first purpose-driven and most socially responsible venue,” according to today’s hiring announcement, which states, that “the venue will embody the shared vision of OVG and naming rights partner, the Co-operative Group, with sustainability and renewable energy built into the design, as well as a commitment to deliver at least £1 million annually for good causes once opened.”

Speaking about this sense of social responsibility during his ILMC panel, Leiweke said, “We better take a hard look at what we’ve done to our earth, we have to be accountable now. That’s why our Seattle building is carbon neutral. That’s why our new Co-op live is going to be carbon neutral in Manchester.
“We as an industry have always been leaders, we’ve always been the ones that have jumped to the right cause, we’ve always been the ones that are unafraid of taking up the mantle of social injustice. I think we have to be the leaders now going forward on saying, ‘lesson learned. We got to fix our earth, and we’ve got to heal our earth or else we’re not going to have an industry, because we’re not going to have a planet’.”
Commenting on the new hires, Jessica Koravos, co-chairperson, OVG International, said: “In Co-op Live we want to deliver a venue that brings the best possible experiences for fans and artists, while also making a positive impact on the local community and the planet around us.
“Our initial senior hires reflect our ambition to assemble an industry-leading team at Co-op Live and also demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group as part of OVG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Ann Jackson, chief people and culture officer, OVG, added: “At OVG, we’re building exceptional teams at all of our venues around the world. I’m delighted to see three outstanding women join the Co-op Live team as our first recruits, and look forward to them helping deliver a new kind of arena that has diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability at its heart.”