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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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