Oak View Group confirms plans for world-class arena

28 February 2020

  • State-of-the-art venue would enable Manchester to host a broader range of music, sports and entertainment events, benefit the entire city, and support East Manchester's ongoing regeneration
  • Employment, training, transportation and community partnerships at the core of a commitment to respond to local priorities, deliver thousands of jobs for the city and boost the visitor economy
  • Versatile venue with a capacity of up to 23,500 would be UK's largest arena and set new standards for live entertainment and sustainability - in line with Manchester's Zero Carbon 2038 strategy
  • Community engagement continues as proposals are refined before an application is submitted 20th February 2020, Manchester, UK.

Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, has confirmed it will be bringing forward a planning application for a new arena in Manchester – a city world-famous for its music, entertainment, and sporting heritage.

The new state-of-the-art arena would increase event numbers and attendances in the city and attract new and more diverse events owing to its location, flexible design and ability to utilise the broader Etihad Campus ecosystem. Jobs, skills, education and community initiatives, and a sustainable transport strategy will ensure the entire city benefits from a second arena.

Since August 2019, OVG, with the support of City Football Group, have been undertaking feasibility studies, along with extensive community consultations. This ongoing process is refining proposals that will respond to local priorities and support the growth of East Manchester as a thriving community and world-leading sporting and leisure destination.

Tim Leiweke, co-founder and Chief Executive of Oak View Group, said: “We came to Manchester knowing that we needed to develop our proposals in a way that support the needs and priorities of the entire city and deliver a venue that would enable Manchester to thrive in an evolving entertainment market.

"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 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. "We appreciate the significance of our proposals for the entire city. 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 winwin for the city."

OVG's proposals focus on five key elements to bring the vision of a world-class, next generation venue to Manchester.

  • Community – local people have been involved in shaping the new arena from the very beginning, and OVG has a strong commitment to local employment, training schemes, and working with local partners to provide community activity space outside regular events
  • Proximity – the venue will have an interior bowl that brings artists and fans closer together than ever before, and transportation to and from the venue will be both convenient and sustainable.
  • Inclusivity – design features for audiences and performers with additional needs have been built in from the start, with the project aspiring for Attitude is Everything Gold Status1
  • Flexibility – whilst focused and designed for music, the venue is a fully flexible and versatile entertainment space for different types of events with the potential to attract a wide range of impressive world-renowned live events to the city, such as ATP tennis, NBA and NHL international games and major awards events;
  • Experience – alongside the development of cutting-edge audio and visual technology, OVG will work with several world-leading content partners to bring unrivalled experiences and the world’s biggest and most exciting events to Manchester.

A local jobs and skills strategy, including an apprenticeship programme, will be activated for the construction phase and to recruit for opening. The new arena would support over 1,000 jobs once it is up-and-running, and 3,500 during the construction phase. OVG is also committed to establishing a charitable programme for the new arena, which will deliver ongoing benefits to the local community. An energy-efficient design, 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. The site's public transport links and proximity to national networks will be supported by investment in improved campus-wide cycle facilities and improvements to the main walking and cycling routes into the City Centre.

OVG has committed to the implementation of a controlled residents parking scheme, which has been identified as one of the priorities by residents. Consultations will continue to achieve a plan that meets the needs of residents. Safety for all visitors will be central to the design of the new venue, with a robust security strategy developed with Greater Manchester Police, Prevent Advisors (OVG's own pioneering security advisory service), and the existing Campus operations team.

This £365 million investment in Manchester would be entirely privately funded and constructed on the Etihad Campus. It would make Manchester home to the largest arena in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. OVG plans to submit a planning application in the coming weeks.