ASM Global, the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences, venue management and event strategy, has announced a $63 million plan beginning this summer to transform the AO Arena in Manchester. This plan is set to dramatically enhance the venue’s premier position for live entertainment experiences through state-of-the-art infrastructure expansion and innovative guest features as the iconic arena looks to the future.
AO Arena in Manchester, located in the heart of the city, is one of the busiest indoor arenas in the world. Through its near 30-year history, the venue has firmly established itself as a beloved and iconic Manchester landmark, a must-play for artists, and a fan-favourite destination for world-class live entertainment. Officials from the AO Arena will be releasing more detailed plans in coming months.
Chris Bray, EVP Europe at ASM Global, said, “AO Arena is one of the world’s iconic venues and a much-loved part of Manchester’s rich culture and history. It has been delivering world-class entertainment experiences for over two decades. As we approach our 30th anniversary, this ambitious endeavor 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. 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 include new arena entrances welcoming guests to the venue and new premium seating, which will transform the venue to an elevated experience.
AO Arena’s back-of-house campus dramatic upgrade will include a complete overhaul of the backstage experience for artists, production and crew. This includes 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.
Plans have already been jump started by the venue’s rapid scheduling of major sell-out 2022 events, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg, George Ezra and more.
Jen Mitchell, General Manager at the AO Arena, said, “This is a really exciting time for AO Arena. Not only are we able to welcome guests back after a challenging two years with a program 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 enhance the experience 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.”
Unveiled in 1995, the arena was the first indoor venue in the U.K. to be built with a layout of 360-degree seating. Attracting over 1 million visitors yearly, the 21,000-capacity arena is a winner of the Stadium Business Awards’ prestigious ‘Venue of the Year’ award. The venue has hosted everything from the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships and international boxing bouts by Mike Tyson, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, David Haye, Joe Calzaghe and local champions Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan and Anthony Crolla.