Construction commences on the Co-op Live

Following extensive enabling works since the beginning of the year, construction got underway on the Co-op Live this week, as Oak View Group together with its partners start to create “the best live music experience in the UK”. With a 23,500 capacity, it’s going to be the country’s biggest indoor arena, and it will also be the UK’s most sustainable, with a target of net zero by 2038.

OVG, the developers behind Co-op Live, revealed that not only is the project now underway but that local firms are reaping a £150m windfall. Manchester-based SES, who are providing a huge order of mechanical and electrical works, are just one example of the businesses to benefit.

Contractors BAM Construct UK estimate that more than 2,000 people will work on site over the course of its three-year construction.

The construction project is one of the biggest to commence nationally since the onset of COVID-19 and will provide a much needed boost for the local construction industry at a critical time for economic recovery.

OVG has also forecast that Co-op Live will create a further 1,000 jobs when operational.

Tim Leiweke, Chief Executive, OVG, said:

The beginning of the contraction of Co-op Live is an exciting step in our plans to deliver one of Europe’s best and most sustainable arenas for Manchester.

Becci Thomson, Head of Premium Sales at Co-op Live is one of the 50+ industry expert speakers confirmed to share insights at this September’s long-anticipated ALSD International conference and exhibition being hosted at Anfield, with Populous, the global architecture giant responsible for the venue design, an Event Sponsor.

Sustainable credentials

Sustainability is at the heart of Co-op Live and to follow are some of the environmentally conscious features of the venue’s design and future operation:


Co-op Live has one and a half football pitches worth of solar panels on its roof. But renewable energy and low carbon technologies are just a part of the project’s wider commitment to sustainability.


100% rainwater harvesting is set to flush all of the toilets.


A green biodiversity ring is being created around the arena. That means planting a variety of trees, plants and wildflowers to provide a better habitat for local wildlife.


Co-op Live has got smart building tech in place to keep air fresh and clean, including ventilation and air filtration systems. All part of its commitment to guest wellbeing, intelligent building controls and low carbon technologies.

The venue will support Manchester City Council’s net zero carbon by 2038 goal and is targeting BREEAM ‘excellent’ accreditation. With a goal to become one of the most #sustainable arenas in the UK, Co-op Live will use responsibly sourced and recycled materials, as well as low carbon technologies.

The Populous-designed arena, located on the Etihad Campus, will have a maximum capacity of 23,500, making it the largest in the UK. Images, courtesy: Co-op Live / OVG / Populous

Partner power

OVG has a 15-year partnership in place with the Co-op on the development of one of the most sustainable and socially responsible arenas in Europe. The exciting proposals are set to deliver a £350m private investment, thousands of jobs, and help continue the regeneration of the Eastlands area, with a projected boost to the local economy of £1.5bn over the next 20 years.

The partnership will generate around £1m in donations to good causes, distributed via the Co-op Foundation. The arena will support Manchester’s net zero carbon agenda and help to tackle food poverty via a zero-food waste initiative.

Once open, Co-op will offer its members a host of exclusive benefits, including access to pre-sale tickets, discounts on food and beverage, and the chance to win free tickets and exclusive, money can’t buy, backstage VIP experiences.

Elevated experience

OVG has entered into a partnership with leading international sports and entertainment consulting firm Elevate Sports Ventures to support on strategy, marketing, sales and service for the venue’s premium hospitality offerings. The arena, which will host around 120 events and bring in 1.3m visitors annually, is set to open in 2023.

The partnership sees Elevate support a new venue project in the UK market for the first time. The best-in-class sports and entertainment agency plans to emulate its highly successful premium hospitality model developed in U.S. professional sports, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, motorsports and more.

Shawn Doss, Elevate Sports Ventures’ Founder & Vice President of Sales & Marketing, is another industry expert confirmed to speak at ALSD International.

The world’s biggest artists will perform to crowds of up to 23,500 in the venue bowl and Co-op Live will redefine the arena experience with a range of intimate spaces such as the Atrium, The Record Room, Co-op Backstage Bar, the Hangouts, Night Market and others

Elevate will be responsible for selling all 27 suites, nine lounges and club spaces, comprising 2,500 premium seats, VIP spaces and facilities, and delivers industry-leading best practices in analytics and business intelligence in the areas of direct-to-consumer, digital marketing, ticket and premium pricing, sales and services.

Co-op Live will be a next generation arena that is purpose-built for live music and is designed to deliver world-leading fan experiences before, during, and after events. It was announced last October that global artist, Harry Styles, has made an investment in Co-op Live. Styles will be actively involved, advising on delivering the world’s best fan experience, premium and hospitality areas, and artist spaces.

The world’s biggest artists will perform to crowds of up to 23,500 in the venue bowl and Co-op Live will redefine the arena experience with a range of intimate spaces such as the Atrium, The Record Room, Co-op Backstage Bar, the Hangouts, Night Market and others.

Sam Piccione III, President, OVG International, said:

We are putting fans and artists first in everything we do at Co-op Live, and the venue will have a premium fan offering for everyone unmatched by any other arena in Europe.

About Co-op Live

Oak View Group (OVG) and the Co-op are joining forces to develop the UK’s biggest and most exciting new arena in Manchester – with the project injecting £350m of private investment into the local area. Co-op Live will be one of the world’s premier music and entertainment venues, rivalling New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Forum in LA and The O2 in London.

Plans for the arena were given the green light by Manchester City Council on 24 September. The move will create 3,350 constructions jobs and 1,000 roles and apprenticeships on completion of the venue. The arena will be located on the Etihad Campus and continues the regeneration of the Eastlands area started by the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

The construction project, the single-largest in the city, will give the regional economy a much-needed boost following the devastating impacts of the Covid pandemic and will boost the local economy by over £1.5bn over the next 20 years.

ALSD International provides year-round insights and key learnings around increasing revenue through New Builds, Renovations, Service Expansions, Premium Seating, Hospitality, F&B, Technology and Reopening, Rebuilding & Recovery. For more information, click on the banner below…

The next edition of ALSD International is being hosted by Liverpool Football Club September 6-7 and will feature a high-level conference, exhibition and networking events, as well as technical tours of Anfield, Everton’s Goodison Park and M&S Bank Arena on the ACCL campus. 

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