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The O2 operator says it welcomes the competition from MSG Sphere London – but questions whether it "should be located in east London so close to existing venues"
By Jon Chapple on 19 Mar 2018
AEG, operator of The O2 Arena, has responded to last month’s news that rival Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is to build a venue of its own in east London, saying while it isn’t opposed to the plans in “principle”, its planned location – some five miles away from The O2 – is a cause for concern.
In a statement released by AEG today – the first by the company since the MSG announcement – a spokesperson says: “AEG understands competition in the live music industry and does not oppose the principle of a new music venue in London.
“However, there is a question mark over whether such a venue should be located in east London so close to existing venues at the Olympic Park – such as the London Stadium and Copper Box – as well as AEG’s own nearby venue, The O2 arena.”
The new London venue will be based on MSG’s striking Sphere concept, which aims “to make concertgoers part of the experience” through individually targeted sound and ultra-HD screens that stretch across venue’s walls and ceilings, enveloping attendees in an immersive visual experience.
“It is imperative that MSG’s proposals do not add to congestion in the are
MSG Sphere London will be located next to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, near the site of the 2012 Olympic games. The O2, meanwhile, is located in north Greenwich, around five miles upriver.
Both stations – Stratford and North Greenwich – are on the London underground’s Jubilee line, and AEG says it is “is imperative that MSG’s proposals do not add to congestion in the area, especially on the Jubilee line, which is critical for the movement of guests to and from The O2 Arena”.
“AEG always strives to ensure that its guests have the best possible experience when they visit our venues,” the spokesperson concludes, “and we will work with local stakeholders to ensure MSG’s plans do not affect this.”
The O2 has been the world’s top arena by ticket sales since 2008 – a position formerly held by MSG’s Madison Square Garden in New York. It was once against no1 in 2017, selling more than 1.4m tickets.
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