Plans call for a capacity of 23,500 for the arena, which would be set to open in 2023. (Courtesy Oak View Group)

New $450 million arena envisioned next to Etihad Stadium

Oak View Group has confirmed that it will submit a planning application for a new 350 million pound ($450 million) arena in Manchester in the coming weeks.

Subject to planning approval, the new venue is planned for a capacity of up to 23,500 and would take three years to build, with the first events planned to be held in 2023.

Situated next to Etihad Stadium, the home of the Premier League’s Manchester City soccer club, it would be the biggest indoor arena in Britain, overtaking the nearby Manchester Arena and London’s O2 Arena, which both have a capacity of 21,000 (although Metallica cracked the O2’s attendance record when 22,211 guests saw its 2017 show there, thanks to the band’s in-the-round stage,  according to Pollstar).

ASM Global-managed Manchester Arena is one of the busiest venues in the world. It ranked second behind the O2 in VenuesNow’s Top Stops of the Decade for the 2010s in the 15,001-30,000 Capacity category, with more than 10 million tickets sold.

The arena would be privately funded and, according to the Manchester Evening News would be the most expensive arena ever built in Europe.

OVG, with the support of City Football Group, Manchester City’s owner, has been undertaking feasibility studies and community consultations since August. (OVG is also the parent company of VenuesNow.)

Given the new arena’s proposed location, flexible design and ability to use the broader ecosystem of Etihad Campus, the 200-acre development in east Manchester of which Etihad Stadium is the heart, OVG expects the new arena to attract new and more diverse events.

Some key facts about the new, yet unnamed arena, include an interior bowl “that brings artists and fans closer together than ever before,” accessibility features for fans and performers with additional needs, flexibility to host virtually any event genre, cutting-edge audio and visual technology, and sustainable and convenient transportation to and from the venue.

Oak View Group says the interior bowl will bring “artists and fans closer together than ever before.” (Courtesy Oak View Group)

The latter is ensured not only by public transport links on Etihad Campus and its proximity to national networks but also by investment in improved campuswide cycle facilities and improvements to the main walking and cycling routes into the city center of Manchester.

An energy-efficient design, low carbon technologies and waste reduction measures are supposed to make the arena one of the most sustainable venues in the U.K., in line with Manchester’s Zero Carbon 2038 strategy.

VenuesNow wanted to know if esports was part of the portfolio of event genres that would be held at the new arena, but was told only that more information would be revealed in the next announcement in the coming weeks.

Safety for all visitors will be central to the design of the new venue, with a robust security strategy developed with the Greater Manchester Police; OVG’s own security advisory arm, Prevent Advisors; and the existing campus operations team.

OVG said local residents have identified a controlled residents parking scheme as a priority, which OVG will provide.

It is also committed to a local jobs and skills strategy, which includes an apprenticeship program that will be activated for the construction phase, for which some 3,500 jobs are expected to be created.

Once up and running, the new arena would support over 1,000 jobs.

Tim Leiweke, co-founder and CEO of Oak View Group, said, “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. OVG is also committed to establishing a charitable program for the new arena that will deliver benefits to the community.