AO Arena Manchester Re-Imagines Itself In $62 Million Phased Development

AO Arena Manchester
Rendering of what AO Arena’s bowl will look like after the planned developments

ASM Global announced a £50 million ($62 million) plan beginning this summer to transform AO Arena in Manchester, England.

The plan is to “dramatically enhance the venue’s premier position for live entertainment experiences even further, through state-the-art infrastructure expansion, and innovative guest features as the iconic arena looks to the future,” according to the announcement.

See: ASM Global UK Venues Aiming For A Greener Arena Certification

The first phase will be to “enhance and increase our standing floor capacity,” Chris Bray, EVP Europe at ASM Global, said, “to share this historic arena with even more of our guests, and we will also be adding new hospitality lounges and investing in delivering an upgraded concourse experience. Our performers will be immersed in an all-new back of house artists campus, unparalleled anywhere.”

Additional major developments such as new arena entrances, specially tailored premium experiences, custom-designed lounges, and new premium seating will transform the venue “to an unparalleled and elevated experience,” according to the announcement.

AO Arena’s back of house will be upgraded with a complete overhaul of the backstage experience for artists, production and crew, including new artist dressing rooms and production areas, a green room with meet and greet facilities, an overhaul of crew catering, as well as first-class connectivity and technology.

Plans have already been jump started by the venue’s rapid scheduling of major sell-out 2022 events, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg, George Ezra and more.

Arena officials will be releasing more detailed on the development in coming months.

The 21,000 capacity AO Arena, located in the heart of Manchester, is looking back on nearly 30 years of live entertainment history. Initially unveiled in 1995, the arena was “the first indoor venue in the UK to be built with a layout of 360-degree seating,” by its own admission.

The arena attracts over one million visitors per year, and is a former winner of a Stadium Business Awards in the prestigious Venue of the Year category.

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, as well as Manchester’s own Take That, Oasis, Elbow, New Order, or The Courteeners, are just a fraction of the many greats that have performed at AO Arena over the years.

Outside of concerts, the venue also hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships, and international boxing bouts by Mike Tyson, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, David Haye, Joe Calzaghe and local champions Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan and Anthony Crolla.

See: ASM Global Appoints Jen Mitchell As General Manager Of AO Arena Manchester

Chris Bray said, “AO Arena is one of the world’s iconic venues and a much-loved part of Manchester’s rich culture and history. It has been delivering world class entertainment experiences for over two decades. As we approach our 30th anniversary, this ambitious endeavor will not only reinforce its position as a leading destination for live entertainment but will extend its market leadership for ‘live’ and fan experiences for the next 30 years, and we’re proud to be further investing into the heart of Manchester.”

AO Arena GM Jen Mitchell commented, “This is a really exciting time for the AO Arena. Not only are we able to welcome guests back after a challenging two years, with a programme packed full of world-class acts and entertainment; now we can reveal the first phase of ASM Global’s plans for the arena’s redevelopment. This will not only elevate the experience for guests and fans, but for everyone who sets foot in the venue, including artists, production, crew and our staff who work so hard to make the magic happen right here in Manchester.”

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