We have a name for the recently green-lit Manchester arena: Co-op Live, as Oak View Group (OVG) partners with Co-op, the largest consumer co-operative in the United Kingdom.
The Co-op has become a major player in the UK’s music scene, with pop-up shops at events like the Glastonbury Festival. It’s also synonymous with Manchester, opening its first offices there in 1863.
The £350-million arena (over $448 million in American dollars) will be built at Manchester’s Etihad campus, which currently includes Etihad Stadium, home of Premier League’s Manchester City F.C. The arena would target large concerts that OVG officials believe are currently passing over Manchester, though it would also be positioned to draw a wide range of sporting events that could include basketball, hockey, MMA, and more.
Around £1m a year will go to good causes across the UK–distributed by the Co-op Foundation–and the arena will be one of the most sustainable and socially responsible buildings of its type in Europe. It will be at the forefront of Manchester’s zero carbon agenda and help to tackle food poverty via a zero-food waste initiative. The Co-op is a strong supporter of apprenticeships and will back the arena’s apprenticeship programme and provide direct employment opportunities for its six secondary and college academies across Greater Manchester.
Once Co-op Live is open, the Co-op will offer its members a whole host of exclusive benefits including: pre-sale tickets up to seven days before general release; discounts on food and beverage; hospitality experiences, the chance to win free tickets and exclusive, money can’t buy, backstage VIP experiences plus priority entry-access to the venue. The arena will also sell Co-op’s award-winning and ethically sourced food range.
“Co-op is set up with a clear goal to serve the interests of its members and invest for the long-term,” said Steve Murrells, Group CEO, Co-op, via press release. “The entertainment arena brings to life the co-operative difference and our vision to co-operate for a fairer world, from its sustainable construction, support for communities, zero food waste and member only exclusive benefits. It will not only enthral audiences, but every time people watch a live act they’ll be doing good in local communities across the UK.”
“We’re delighted with this partnership and join together with the Co-op team to buildthe new world-class arena that Manchester deserves. Our shared vision with Co-op is what makes this partnership so special,” said Tim Leiweke, Chief Executive Officer, Oak View Group, via press statement. “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.”
Following final confirmation from national planning authorities, OVG plans to begin work on Co-op Live as early as November, generating 3,350 jobs during a three-year construction phase. The arena will create a further 1,000 jobs when the arena opens in 2023.
Renderings courtesy Oak View Group.