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Manchester’s AO Arena to undergo £50m revamp

ASM Global has announced a £50 million plan to transform Manchester’s AO Arena.

The three-year phased development, which will begin this summer, will dramatically enhance the 21,000-cap venue, expanding its infrastructure while adding innovative guest features. Further details will be released in the coming months.

The 27-year-old arena has a string of sell-out concerts lined up for 2022, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg and George Ezra.

“The first phase will enhance and increase our standing floor capacity”

“AO Arena is one of the world’s iconic venues and a much-loved part of Manchester’s rich culture and history,” says Chris Bray, EVP Europe at ASM Global. “It has been delivering world class entertainment experiences for over two decades. As we approach our 30th anniversary, this ambitious endeavour 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.

“The first phase will enhance and increase our standing floor capacity 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 will include brand-new arena entrances, specially tailored premium experiences, custom designed lounges, and new premium seating.

“This will not only elevate the experience for guests and fans, but for everyone who sets foot in the venue”

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

“This is a really exciting time for the AO Arena,” adds recently appointed general manager Jen Mitchell. “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.”

AO Arena is set to face competition in the city from Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live, which is scheduled to open in 2023.

 


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ASM Global hires Jen Mitchell as GM of AO Arena

ASM Global has appointed Jen Mitchell as general manager of the AO Arena (cap. 21,000) in Manchester, UK.

Mitchell will replace current GM James Allen, who is leaving ASM Global in April to set up his own venture.

Mitchell joins from the ASM-operated First Direct Arena (13,781) in Leeds, where she has spent the past five years working as GM, leading the team through an array of industry challenges and venue enhancements.

With 23+ years working in the venue and entertainment industry, Mitchell’s career includes working with venues and festivals from 400 seats to 80,000, with teams ranging from 30 to 800 staff.

Mitchell has worked in Qatar, Australia, and several venues and organisations around the UK, including the opening of Kings Place, London, which famously held 100 concerts in its opening five days.

“Jen has vast experience and a proven track record in delivering excellent results throughout her career”

Commenting on Mitchell’s appointment, Marie Lindqvist, SVP operations Europe at ASM Global, says: “Jen has vast experience and a proven track record in delivering excellent results throughout her career, including her time at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. Jen comes with great business acumen and is skilled in developing high-performing teams. So, we’re delighted that Jen is remaining a part of the ASM Global team and are pleased to announce her appointment as the new GM of the AO Arena, Manchester.”

Mitchell added: “I am thrilled to be joining the team at the iconic AO Arena and to be able to continue my career within the ASM Global family. There are exciting times ahead, and I look forward to being part of the journey as the venue continues to grow and bring world-class entertainment to our valued partners and customers.”

Jen Mitchell will commence her new role from April 2022, as the AO Arena, Manchester looks ahead to a busy and exciting year, with major live music events taking place including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber and more.

 


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