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Plans unveiled for £350m, 23,500-cap. Manchester arena

Following months of feasibility studies begun in August 2019, Oak View Group (OVG) has confirmed it plans to bring forward a planning application for a new arena in Manchester, in northern England.

With a capacity of up to 23,500, the venue – to be located on the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands, east Manchester – would be, by some way, the largest indoor arena in the UK, and go head to head with the city-centre Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.), operated by rival ASM Global.

It would also be the most expensive – the £350 million in private investment funding the project is the most ever spent on an arena in the UK or Europe, says OVG. The new arena would support over 1,000 jobs once it is up and running, and 3,500 during the construction phase.

“We came to Manchester knowing that we needed to develop our proposals in a way that would support the needs and priorities of the entire city and deliver a venue that would enable Manchester to thrive in an evolving entertainment market,” says Tim Leiweke, co-founder and chief executive of Oak View Group. “Through extensive community and city centre consultations, we have understood the local priorities and vision that is transforming Eastlands, along with the ambitions that underpin Manchester’s development as a thriving place to live and visit.

“Our new venue … would place Manchester on the global entertainment map for decades to come”

“Our new venue would attract a wider range of the world’s most exciting events and create thousands of skilled jobs, genuine community opportunities, and significant economic benefits. It would place Manchester on the global entertainment map for decades to come.”

Oak View Group, a venue development, advisory and investment company co-founded by former AEG CEO Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, launched its London-based overseas division, OVG International, at ILMC 31 last March. The first OVG International project, Santa Giulia Arena in Milan, was announced in June.

OVG’s European Arenas Association-rivalling International Venue Alliance, meanwhile, counts Dusseldorf’s D.Live, Birmingham’s NEC Group and Ascot Racecourse and Silverstone Circuit among its first members.

The venue will have an interior bowl that "brings artists and fans closer together than ever before"

According to OVG, its proposals focus on “five key elements” that bring its “vision of a world-class, next-generation venue to Manchester”:

Meanwhile, an energy-efficient design featuring ‘low-carbon technologies’ and waste reduction measures would make it one of the most sustainable venues in the UK, in line with Manchester’s Zero Carbon 2038 strategy.

“We appreciate the significance of our proposals for the entire city,” continues Leiweke. “We will present our full analysis of the Manchester opportunity along with our plans and are committed to engaging in dialogue and scrutiny throughout the planning process to ensure a second arena is a win-win for the city.”

OVG plans to submit a planning application in the coming weeks. Subject to successful planning approval, the company envisages the venue would take three years to build, with the first events planned to be held in 2023.

 


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OVG advances plans on new Manchester arena project

Oak View Group (OVG) is launching a second consultation period for a possible new arena at the Etihad Campus, home to Manchester City Football Club, in the east of Manchester, UK.

The US-based venue development and investment group confirmed its interest in building a major new concert venue in Manchester at the end of August, working in partnership with Manchester City FC owner City Football Group. The venue would rival ASM Global’s 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena.

The second round of meetings opens on Thursday 28 November, with the consultation period running until Monday 16 December. OVG held a previous round of four consultation events in October, to share initial ideas and gauge community priorities.

The latest proposals will be shared online, allowing local residents to voice their opinions on a dedicated hotline if they are unable to attend the sessions.

“A world-class arena has to work for the community so continual dialogue to understand priorities and concerns is a vital part of our feasibility process,” comments Mark Donnelly, OVG International’s chief operating officer.

“A clear objective is that a new arena must deliver a range of training and job opportunities for local residents, especially for young people”

“A clear objective is that a new arena must deliver a range of training and job opportunities for local residents, especially for young people. We also know that sustainable transport and venue management plans that minimise any impact to the community on event days are key priorities.

“During this next stage of consultations,” continues Donnelly, “we will provide an update on work underway to address community priorities, and we look forward to further feedback and inputs from East Manchester residents and businesses.”

Co-founded by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, OVG launched its London-based overseas division, OVG International, at ILMC in March. The new Manchester arena would be the company’s first purpose-built venue in the UK, joining the Santa Giulia Arena in Milan as its second international project.

OVG has established a further presence in the UK and Europe through its International Venue Alliance, a network of independent entertainment and sports venues, which counts Silverstone Circuit, Birmingham’s NEC Group venues and Düsseldorf’s D.Live venues as members.

 


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Spice Girls confirm Spice World UK stadium tour

Seven years after the Spice Girls’ last live show, and 11 years after their 2007–2008 reunion tour, the world’s most successful girl group are hitting the road once again, today announcing six UK stadium shows in 2019.

Promoted by SJM Concerts, Live Nation and Solo, the Spice World UK tour will initially visit Etihad Stadium in Manchester (1 June 2019), Ricoh Arena in Coventry (3 June), Stadium of Light in Sunderland (6 June), BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (8 June), Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol (10 June) and Wembley Stadium in London (15 June).

Owing to Victoria Beckham/Posh Spice’s “business commitments”, the band – managed by Modest! Management and XIX Entertainment – will tour as a four-piece comprising Melanie Brown (‘Scary Spice’), Melanie Chisholm (‘Sporty Spice’), Emma Bunton (‘Baby Spice’) and Geri Horner (née Halliwell, ‘Ginger Spice’). Support will come courtesy of Jess Glynne.

“We are beyond excited to be reuniting next year for a stadium tour,” say the four in a joint statement. “Bringing girl power and our message of friendship and love back to the stage feels more relevant than ever. We hope everyone can join us for one big Spice Girls party.”

“Bringing girl power and our message of friendship and love back to the stage feels more relevant than ever”

“Being in the Spice Girls was a hugely important part of my life, and I wish my girls so much love and fun as they go back on tour,” adds Beckham. “I know they will put on an amazing show, and the fantastic fans past and present are going to have a wonderful time.”

Formed in 1994 by Heart Management’s Bob and Chris Herbert, and signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment, the Spice Girls’ breakthrough came with 1996 debut single, ‘Wannabe’, which topped the charts in 37 countries. Their first album, Spice, sold more than 31 million copies worldwide, and the band went on to become the biggest British pop success since the Beatles, selling more than 85m records globally.

They last toured in 2007 and 2008, with the Return of the Spice Girls tour grossing US$107.2m from ticket sales and merchandising, though they returned for a well-received one-off performance for the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony.

Tickets for Spice World 2019 are on sale this Saturday (10 November) from Ticketmaster and SJM’s Gigs and Tours, with Twickets as the official resale partner.

 


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Ex-Etihad Stadium boss Paul Sergeant bows new venture

Australian venue veteran Paul Sergeant has announced the formation of Paul Sergeant Events (PSE), a Melbourne-based event management company specialising in securing and promoting niche events in Australia.

Sergeant – a former head of several major Australian and international venues, including Wembley Stadium, Qudos Bank Arena (formerly Allphones Arena), Suncorp Stadium and, most recently, Etihad Stadium – says his mission statement for PSE is to support the “array of quality, niche event content around the world that is seeking to expand beyond its own boundaries, but doesn’t necessarily have the resources or knowledge to take on a move into Australia”.

The new company will also provide advisory services to the rights-owners of fringe sports events and venues in Austria, who “often require a helping hand to support their growth”.

At PSE, Sergeant (pictured), who stepped down as CEO of Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium last year, is joined by CFO Chris Charleson, head of commercial Sarah Brady and head of operations Glen Rainsbury. “I’ve always worked on the basis that you need to know where the talented people are, and these people are among the best in the industry here in Australia,” he explains. “Chris, Sarah and Glen are highly respected across the sport and entertainment business internationally. They know what they’re doing, have immense experience and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and make things happen.”

Charleston is a former COO/CFO of ticketing market leader Ticketek, while Brady headed up consumer business departments at sports clubs including the Brisbane Lions, South Sydney Rabbitohs and GWS Giants. Rainsbury, meanwhile, has held sales and operation roles at Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the Gabba cricket ground, as well as the Royal Horticultural Society and the Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows in London.

“These are exciting times for a new business”

Most recently, they formed the core management team at the 53,359-capacity Etihad Stadium. “During the three and a half years we worked together, we secured and successfully delivered a vast array of massive international events,” continues Sergeant, “including the world record breaking UFC 193, Australian Speedway Grand Prix, Edinburgh Military Tattoo and concerts by Coldplay, Adele, Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift and many others.

“In addition to delivering major events, we were also integral to many varied improvements and developments at the venue. Because of our experience, catering, technology and playing surface improvements were among the many areas that made significant progress under our watch – and this expertise is now available for others to tap into.”

“Of course, none of this success is possible without the support of a wide network of others. We have had the benefit of working with a vast number of staff, freelance operators and other specialist organisations. We’re well networked across the globe and know who to turn to when we need to when it comes to delivering successful projects anywhere across Australia and New Zealand.”

While Sergeant’s main focus will be in the new business, he retains his role as a board member of PMY Group.

“These are exciting times for a new business,” he concludes, “and we anticipate making announcements about several projects in the coming months.”

 


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1m tickets sold for Sheeran UK dates…but 10k cancelled

A remarkable one in 65 Britons are seeing Ed Sheeran’s 2018 stadium shows, with in excess of one million tickets having been sold since 8 July, promoters Kilimanjaro Live, DHP Family and AEG Presents have announced.

Sheeran’s third world tour, ÷ (Divide), returns to Europe next summer, with the British superstar playing four nights at Etihad Stadium (60,000-cap.) in Manchester from 24 to 27 May, three at Hampden Park (90,000-cap.) in Glasgow from 1 to 3 June, three at St James’ Park (~52,000-cap.) in Newcastle from 8 to 10 June, four at Wembley Stadium (90,000-cap.) in London from 14 to 17 June and four at Principality Stadium (74,500-cap.) in Cardiff from 21 to 14 June.

According to the promoters, more than 90% of tickets were bought at face value by Ed Sheeran fans, with just 10% finding their way into the hands of touts. The three warned buyers that tickets re-listed anywhere but on the official resale site, Twickets, would be “instantly” cancelled.

Sheeran is a vocal opponent of for-profit secondary ticketing, and his manager, Stuart Camp, has given evidence to a parliamentary hearing on ‘ticket abuse’.

Despite this warning, reads a joint statement from Kili, DHP and AEG, “it has has become clear that one such company, Viagogo, have ignored the promoters’ requests, and there is an increasing number of customers who are realising they have been duped by Viagogo’s false advertising and have unfortunately become victims of massive hidden overcharging for tickets. […]

“Up to 10,000 tickets have now been cancelled and are being returned back into the marketplace for individual fans to purchase at face value”

“The promoters have been monitoring the sales transactions in close conjunction with the National Trading Standards cyber crime team and have identified many multiple purchases which are in contravention of the terms and conditions for the sale of the Ed Sheeran tickets. As a result, up to 10,000 tickets have now been cancelled and are being returned back into the marketplace for individual fans to purchase at face value.”

The official primary ticket agencies for the UK tour are See Tickets and Ticketmaster.

In addition to cancelling the tickets, the promoters have reported all secondary ticket listings that violate the newly updated Consumer Rights Act – which requires a ‘unique ticket number’ to be displayed when a ticket is listed for resale – to the CMA to aid its ongoing investigation into suspected breaches of the law among ticket resale sites.

Any customers who are concerned they may have been “defrauded” by Viagogo have been directed to Claire Turnham’s ‘self-help guide’ for obtaining a refund, hosted on the FanFair Alliance website.

Sheeran’s next ÷ tour show is at the Videotron Centre (20,396-cap.) in Quebec tomorrow. An Asian leg kicks off in Taipei on 22 October.

 


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High flying Etihad Stadium

Celebrating 15 year of success, Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium has become one of the world’s most iconic, must-play venues for A-listers. But, as Eamonn Forde discovers, the stadium’s flexible configurations make it a viable choice for many other acts…

The turn of the millennium saw the opening of a new stadium in Melbourne that, 15 years on, remains the state-of-the-art leader in the country and a key component in the city’s claim to be both the music and sporting capital of Australia.

The building of the stadium was a catalyst for change in the city, revitalising an old part of town.

Construction started in 1997, under the working title of the Victoria Stadium. It may have gone through different naming partner relationships (Colonial Stadium, Telstra Dome), but the Etihad Stadium Stadium, as it is known today, is the gold standard for major sporting and entertainment events in not just Australia but the southern hemisphere.

The building of the stadium was a catalyst for change in the city, revitalising an old part of town. “The important point here was that the stadium was a new build and it was down in the area known as the Docklands, which was really a rundown area,” explains Paul Sergeant, the CEO of Melbourne Stadiums Limited, who took over running the Etihad in October 2012. “When this place was built, it stood out like a sore thumb. It was here on its own. You wouldn’t recognise [the area] now.”

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