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Co-op Live announces multiple sponsorship deals

Co-op Live, the new arena opening in Manchester, UK, in 2023, has announced a raft of official suppliers taking the total number of partners signed so far to seven.

Britvic, Elavon, Unilever and Schneider Electric are the latest brands to join the growing list of partners, led by Co-op as the naming rights partner.

Britvic joins as official soft drink partner with exclusive rights to provide the full range of Pepsi drinks, including 7-Up, Tango, and London Essence Tonics. To help deliver on commitment to keep sustainability at the heart of Co-op Live, the British based soft drinks company will provide sustainable packaging. Britvic will also have two permanent branded locations in the venue for Pepsi Max and London Essence.

Adam Russell, director of Foodservice & Licensed, Britvic, says: “Co-op Live is such an exciting project to partner with, and strengthens our brand association with live music even further. Supporting the venue on its sustainability footprint is important to us and we will be using all of the tools available in our Healthy Planet, Healthy People strategy to implement this brilliantly.”

Co-op Live will use a range of cutting-edge technology to create the best live music experience in the UK, and Elavon will be the official supplier providing the technology that underpins the arena’s status as a cashless venue. Elavon is working with Co-op Live to create an innovative and seamless customer journey that showcases the future of payment processing.

To support the venue’s drive for sustainability as well as providing the increasing number of people enjoying a plant-based diet with great-tasting products, Unilever-owned brand, The Vegetarian Butcher, will be working alongside naming rights partner, Co-op, and providing the tastiest plant-based meat alternatives for venue-goers to enjoy with its unrivalled range of meat-free Butcher’s cuts. In addition, with hygiene and safety continuing to remain a top priority when visiting venues, Unilever brand Lifebuoy, the world’s number one hygiene soap brand, will be supplying its superior hand sanitisation products through the venue’s first-class sanitation and hygiene services.

“It’s proof of the excitement that Co-op Live is bringing that global brands are committing to the project at this early stage”

Hazel Detsiny, VP Away From Home Channel, Unilever UK&I says: “As well as attending an exciting live event that gets the pulse racing, we know that more than ever venue-goers are looking to enjoy it in surroundings that are not just state-of-the-art but sustainable too. Which is why we’re teaming up with Co-op Live to provide venue-goers with the tastiest plant-based options that don’t compromise on flavour or texture with The Vegetarian Butcher, as well as ensuring hygiene remains top-of-mind and easily accessible through our hygiene brand Lifebuoy.”

As part of Co-op Live’s plans to become the UK’s most sustainable and first all-electric venue, Schneider Electric has been signed as an official supplier for the both the hardware and software for the electrical & building management systems, Schneider Electric will also provide digital services and preventative maintenance throughout the venue.

Schneider Electric’s David Williams, VP marketing for the UK and Ireland commented, “Acting socially and environmentally responsibly is key to this project and also at the core of Schneider Electric’s business, so we’re proud to announce this close partnership with both Co-op and Oak View Group International. This partnership will see Schneider ensure the venue is sustainable, resilient, hyper-efficient and people-centric.”

All the sponsors announced today will benefit from a range of marketing and branding opportunities including in campaigns to promote Co-op Live prior to opening and once open. One of the defining aspects of Co-op Live’s pioneering approach to partnerships is that all partners are being encouraged to make an annual donation so together Co-op Live with its fans, artists, and partners can donate over £1m to local and national good causes each year via the Co-op Foundation. Britvic, Elavon, Unilever, and Schneider Electric will all make annual donations to this initiative.

Today’s announcement follows several other significant partnership announcements, led by Co-op as the naming rights partner. At the end of last year, it was revealed that Diageo will be the official drinks partner and that Bristol Street Motors is the official motor retailer. The venue is backed by investors, Oak View Group, City Football Group and international superstar Harry Styles.

Sam Piccione, president of OVG International, says: “It’s proof of the excitement that Co-op Live is bringing to Manchester and the UK live entertainment market that global brands are committing to the project at this early stage of development.

“Building strong relationships with a wide range of partners and suppliers this early in the process of creating Co-op Live is another thing that sets the project apart. As we’ve shown already, it’s enabling us to build in shared values from partnerships right from the start. We thank Britvic, Elavon, Unilever, and Schneider Electric for committing so early as partners to Co-op Live.”

 


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Co-op Live hires Coldplay sustainability consultants

Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live is partnering with Hope Solutions to develop the arena’s net-zero strategy.

Pioneers in reducing live entertainment’s impact on the environment, Hope Solutions has worked with industry sustainability leaders such as Glastonbury and Coldplay – who are embarking on an eco-friendly world tour.

Under the new partnership, Hope Solutions will establish a framework for measuring, tracking, reporting and reducing carbon impacts at Co-op Live.

The firm will also establish a planet-friendly rider that can help shape discussions with suppliers, artists, and promoters.

It was recently announced that the £365 million, 23,500-cap venue – a JV between OVG, Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG) and Harry Styles – will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in late 2023.

The firm will also establish a planet-friendly rider that can help shape discussions with suppliers, artists, and promoters

The venue takes note of OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena, in Seattle, which is the world’s most environmentally friendly venue.

OVG recently affirmed its commitment to addressing the climate crisis at its first-ever leadership conference in Los Angeles.

Francesca Bodie, president of business development, Oak View Group commented: “Climate change is the fight of our lives, and our industry has an important role to play because we have the power to inspire. We were proud to open the first carbon-neutral arena, Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, last year, and the appointment of Hope Solutions will help bring our planet-friendly vision to life at Co-op Live, which will be the UK’s best and most sustainable arena.”

Mark Donnelly, COO, Co-op Live, added: “Co-op Live will be the UK’s first all-electric and one of the world’s most planet-friendly arenas when it opens in 2023. This partnership with industry-leading climate experts Hope Solutions will enable us to deliver on our net-zero carbon ambitions. The creation of an eco-friendly rider for artists visiting Co-op Live will ensure we’re ready to accommodate everyone’s needs as we begin to book some of the world’s best artists later this year.”

Luke Howell, Hope Solutions, said: “This project represents a real turning point in sustainable culture – being able to deliver world-class entertainment in a low carbon and environmentally positive manner is real progress and we are really looking forward to supporting the Co-op Live team in delivering this. Being sustainable and achieving net-zero doesn’t have to impact on the creative integrity and audience experience, in fact it can absolutely enhance it so both people and planet benefit as this venue will prove.”

The OVG team currently has 11 arena projects under development globally, with Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and UBS Arena in New York both opening last year.

Sustainability in live music is at the heart of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI). Find tickets and more information here.

 


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OVG secures ‘industry-first’ Co-op Live deal

Oak View Group (OVG) has secured an “industry-first” debt financing to fund the construction of east Manchester’s new Co-op Live arena.

The £365 million, 23,500-cap venue – a JV between OVG and Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG), will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in late 2023. Harry Styles has also signed up as an investor.

It has now been announced that OVG and CFG have closed and funded a 27-year senior secured note and five-year senior secured credit facility for the project. The private non-recourse financing is said to be a first for a music-focused live entertainment facility without a professional sports anchor tenant.

“It shows the confidence in our business model and ability to deliver on a robust, year-round calendar of unparalleled music and other content”

Long term financing is provided by Apollo and Barings, supplemented by a five-year bank loan from JP Morgan. The deal is secured by Co-op Live and the cash flow generated by the arena over 27 years. The balance of funding towards construction is provided by Co-op Live’s shareholders.

“We’re proud to have closed this pioneering financing to help fund the development of Co-op Live, which will deliver one of the world’s best arenas to Manchester,” says Francesca Bodie, OVG’s president of business development. “It shows the confidence in our business model and ability to deliver on a robust, year-round calendar of unparalleled music and other content.”

The OVG team currently has 11 arena projects under development globally, with Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and UBS Arena in New York both opening last year.

 


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OVG reveals new founding partner for Co-op Live arena

Oak View Group (OVG) has announced Bristol Street Motors as a founding partner of the Co-op Live arena, opening in Manchester in 2023.

The partnership will see Bristol Street Motors as the Official Motor Retailer and auto partner for the venue, with exclusive naming rights to a 4,000-capacity space inside Co-op Live now known as ‘The Street’.

‘The Street’ will be the largest point of entry into the venue, boasting a 22 metre-long bar and vibrant food market where fans can meet before and after concerts.

“Within an arena that will deliver a world-class experience, The Street will be an inviting, fun and interactive place to meet up, aligning exactly with what we strive to provide customers within our dealerships across the country,” says Liz Cope, CMO of Bristol Street Motors.

‘The Street’ will be the largest point of entry into the venue, boasting a 22 metre-long bar and vibrant food market

“From showcasing some amazing cars to creating many exciting areas for the public to enjoy, we’re very excited to meet at The Street in 2023 and hope others will be too.”

Under the partnership, Bristol Street Motors will also provide a number of co-branded electric vehicles for use by artists, guests, and executive staff, in line with Co-op Live’s vision to become the UK’s first all-electric arena.

The arena has previously announced partnerships with Co-op (naming rights partner), Diageo (official drinks partner) and Guinness (official beer partner). The venue is backed by investors, OVG, City Football Group and international superstar Harry Styles.

The 23,500-capacity Co-op Live, based at the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands, is to be the UK’s biggest arena.

 


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Co-op Live to become UK’s first all-electric arena

Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in 2023.

Against the backdrop of the COP26 climate summit, OVG says the venue has been designed “with sustainability at its core”, and will use electricity for everything from air-source heat pumps for heating and domestic hot water through to cooling and catering, without any gas supply serving the site.

The company adds that the current design achieves over 50% reduction in energy usage compared to a similar arenas, largely due to moving away from using gas boilers. Rooftop solar panels will be used to power day-to-day activity, with green electricity from the grid topping up capacity for events. The avoidance of on-site fuel burning, meanwhile, will significantly improve air quality.

“Climate change is the single largest problem facing the planet today and we take our responsibility in creating a greener world seriously,” says Mark Donnelly, COO, OVG International.

The design will enable a 23% reduction in carbon emissions and, by building electric-based infrastructure from the very beginning, the arena will be on track towards achieving net zero carbon by Manchester City Council’s 2038 target.

We are building a planet-friendly venue as well as one capable of hosting the world’s best events

“In Co-op Live, we are building a planet-friendly venue as well as one capable of hosting the world’s best events,” adds Donnelly. “I’m proud that it’s going to be the UK’s first all-electric arena and we’re also implementing a range of other features including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and extensive green spaces to make sure it’s the UK’s most sustainable.”

It was confirmed last year that Harry Styles has made an investment in the the 23,500-capacity venue, which will be built on the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands.

Co-op Live will be the UK’s biggest arena and is around one year into its build phase. The project will inject £350 million of private investment into the local area.

Similar to how Battersea Power Station has been reinvented in London, OVG predicts that Co-op Live will serve as “an iconic landmark for the transformation and reimagination of post-industrial urban landscapes in the north”, upon completion.

 


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City Football Group invests in UK’s Co-op Live arena

City Football Group (CFG), a global operator of football and sports-related business, has become Oak View Group’s (OVG) equal joint venture partner and investor in Co-op Live.

The Manchester venue has also attracted investment from pop star Harry Styles who acquired a minority stake in October 2020.

The arena, which at 23,500 capacity will be the UK’s largest, was given planning approval in September and is set to open on the Etihad Campus in 2023.

CFG, the lead developer of the Etihad Campus, will coordinate with OVG on jobs, sustainability and “advancing the campus as a global sport, leisure and entertainment destination”.

Tim Leiweke, co-founder and CEO at OVG, commented: “We are thrilled that CFG has chosen to invest in Co-op Live, and we can’t think of a better partner for this project. We are creating one of the world’s best arenas in Manchester. This venue will push the boundaries of live entertainment and be a significant source of opportunity for the city. We also know that this is precisely the right time to make such a substantial financial investment in Manchester, helping it build back from the terrible impact of Covid-19.

“With CFG as a JV partner, [we can create] a magical intersection of sports and entertainment that will be the envy of the world”

“The Etihad Campus was always a clear choice due to its proximity to the city centre and the opportunity to be part of a growing visitor destination with excellent existing transport links. With CFG as a JV partner, we can push the boundaries on how Co-op Live delivers for artists, every single fan, the UK’s music industry and the city by creating a magical intersection of sports, community and entertainment that will be the envy of the world.”

Marty Edelman, board director at CFG, commented: “Co-op Live unlocks the potential for the Etihad Campus to grow as an entertainment destination that creates more reasons for the nation and world to visit Manchester.

“The chairman and the board’s priority has always been to ensure Co-op Live seamlessly integrates with the campus and compliments Manchester’s city centre offer. As a joint venture partner and investor, we will ensure the Co-op Live becomes part of the fabric of East Manchester and delivers the fullest community and economic impact as Manchester, and the wider region builds back from Covid.”

 


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Co-op Live Manchester makes senior hires

Co-op Live, the upcoming arena in Manchester, UK, has made its first three senior hires.

The appointments, announced today for International Women’s Day (8 March), are Sara Tomkins, who is the venue’s new marketing and CSR (corporate social responsibility) director; Katie Musham, who has been appointed head of partnerships; and Becci Thomson, who been named Co-op Live’s sales director.

The 23,500-capacity Co-op Live, which is being developed by Tim Leiweke-led Oak View Group (OVG), will become the UK’s largest arena when it opens in 2023. Construction is due to begin this spring.

Tomkins brings more than 20 years of brand-building in Manchester to the role, having formerly served as chief executive of GreaterSport, destination director for Marketing Manchester and assistant chief executive for marketing, communications and customer services at Manchester City Council.

“Our initial senior hires … demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group”

Musham has over 15 years’ experience working in venues in the UK and Australia, with previous roles at Wembley Arena, the O2 London, Perth Arena and Sydney’s SCG, while Thomson formerly led sales for special events at the O2 in London.

Jessica Koravos, co-chairperson of OVG International, says: “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.”

“At OVG, we’re building exceptional teams at all of our venues around the world,” says Ann Jackson, chief people and culture officer of OVG. “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.”

 


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Harry Styles invests in Manchester’s Co-op Live arena

Harry Styles has made an investment in Co-op Live, the forthcoming arena in his hometown of Manchester, UK, operator Oak View Group (OVG) has announced.

The arena, which at 23,500 capacity will be the UK’s largest, was given planning approval in September and is set to open in 2023. Styles’s investment, for an undisclosed amount, adds to the estimated £350m in private investment the arena will bring to the city.

According to OVG, the former One Direction star will take “more than a capital interest” in Co-op Live and will be actively involved in the development of the project, working alongside the OVG team “with a particular focus on fans, unique premium and hospitality areas, and artist spaces”.

“I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project”

“I’m incredibly proud and excited to be partnering with OVG on their plans for Co-op Live,” comments Styles (pictured). Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project. It very much feels like coming home.

“I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings to the contribution it will make to the city, and, most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester. It’s just another sign that this amazing city continues to grow.”

Francesca Bodie, OVG’s president of business development, says: “At OVG, our vision is driven by a unique view that puts fans and artists first in every decision we make. There’s no artist in the world right now better placed than Harry to advise us on delivering a first-class experience for visitors and artists at Co-op Live.”

 


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OVG’s new Manchester arena to be called Co-op Live

Oak View Group (OVG) is joining forces with the Co-op to develop its new east Manchester arena, which was given the green light yesterday.

The 23,500-capacity venue, which will be built on the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands, will be named Co-op Live during the 15-year partnership – which IQ understands is worth £100m.

The partnership will enable Co-op to offer its members a number of exclusive benefits including pre-sale tickets; discounts on food and beverage; the chance to win free tickets and exclusive backstage VIP experiences, plus priority entry-access to the venue.

The Co-op Foundation will also be responsible for distributing the arena’s annual contribution of £1 million to good causes, which will involve helping to tackle food poverty via a zero-food waste initiative and working towards Manchester’s zero-carbon agenda.

Jo Whitfield, CEO, Co-op Food, said: “Ethics are at the heart of the Co-op and we’re proud that one of the world’s greenest and most socially responsible live entertainment venues will carry our name. It will give millions of pounds back to local communities and good causes and we’ll make access to entertainment easier for our members with exclusive and pre-sale tickets.”

She added: “The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact and our multi-million-pound investment is a signal of our intent for the future of the region, creating jobs and helping to bring some of the world’s best events to Manchester.”​

“The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue, including bold commitments on sustainability and community”

Tim Leiweke, CEO at Oak View Group, says: “We’re delighted with this partnership and join together with the Co-op team to build the new world-class arena that Manchester deserves. Our shared vision with Co-op is what makes this partnership so special.

“Our partnership goes way beyond a normal naming rights agreement. The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue, including bold commitments on sustainability and community.

“I’ve said from the beginning of this project that this arena will be of Manchester, for Manchester and by Manchester, and this partnership with one of the city’s most iconic brands is a critical part of that. We can’t wait to work together to bring amazing live event experiences, in one of the world’s best arenas, to Manchester.”

Sam Piccione III, President, OVG International, said: “We started discussions with Co-op over a year ago, and knew from the very first meeting that they were the right partner for our new venue in Manchester.

“We’ve worked hard together throughout the challenging recent months to bring the right deal together. Co-op is both one of the UK’s most recognisable brands and deeply embedded in the local community, so it’s a privilege to partner with them for the next 15 years.”

Manchester City Council yesterday gave OVG the go-ahead to build Co-op Live, which will rival New York’s Madison Square Garden (20,789), The Forum in LA (17,505) and The O2 in London (21,000).

The project will inject £350m of private investment into the local area and will create 3,350 constructions jobs, starting from November this year, and 1,000 roles and apprenticeships. The Co-op will back the arena’s apprenticeship programme and provide direct employment opportunities for its six secondary and college academies across Greater Manchester.

 


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