OVG secures industry-first financing deal for Co-op Live

Oak View Group (OVG), the world’s largest arena developer, recently closed and funded an innovative debt financing to fund the construction of Co-op Live, the new 23,500 arena set to open in Manchester in late 2023. 

Co-op Live is located on the Etihad Campus and is led by Los Angeles based Oak View Group (OVG), with Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG), the global operator of football and sports-related business, as an equal joint venture partner in the venue. One of the most famous music artists globally, Harry Styles, is an investor in the venue.

The transaction is the first of its kind for a music-first venue, with long term financing provided by Apollo and Barings, through their respective clients and managed funds, supplemented by a shorter-term bank facility from J.P. Morgan. Inner Circle Sports served as Placement Agent on the long-term financing.

Co-op Live’s name comes from an unprecedented naming rights deal previously executed with the Co-op that will see the venue named Co-op Live for at least 15 years. More recently, Diageo was confirmed as the official drinks partner of the arena and Bristol Street Motors will be the official motor retailer of the arena.

Industry first

The £365mm Co-op Live is OVG’s first international venue and is 100% privately financed between the debt facilities provided by Apollo, Barings and J.P. Morgan and funding provided by Co-op Live’s shareholders.

The transaction executed with Apollo and Barings is secured by Co-op Live and the cash flow generated by the arena over 27 years.

This is the world’s first private, long-term, non-recourse financing that will cover most construction costs for a facility without a traditional professional sports anchor tenant.

Co-op Live will leverage OVG’s extensive relationships with the music and entertainment industry to create a world-class calendar of content.

Francesca Bodie, President of Business Development, Oak View Group, said:

We’re proud to have closed this pioneering financing to help fund the development of Co-op Live, which will deliver one of the world’s best arenas to Manchester. It shows the confidence in our business model and ability to deliver on a robust, year-round calendar of unparalleled music and other content.

The OVG team currently has 11 arena projects under development globally, with scores of sold-out shows at Climate Pledge Arena and UBS Arena since opening last year, which showcase its strength in accessing the world’s best content.

OVG’s Moody Center in Austin, Texas, which is on track to open this year, has already sold $15mm in ticket sales for upcoming events with iconic artists such as Willie Nelson, The Eagles, and Justin Bieber.

Becci Thomson, Head of Premium Sales, Co-op Live, joined a panel session on The Future of Premium Seating at the 2021 edition of ALSD International. Becci is also a member of the ALSD International Advisory Board, set up to discuss industry challenges, best practice and lessons learned.

OVG’s close connections to promoters and other content providers have been a key factor in this success and will provide a platform for making Co-op Live, situated on East Manchester’s Etihad Campus, the UK’s number one live entertainment destination.

About Oak View Group 

Oak View Group (OVG) is a global sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff in 2015. OVG is focused on being a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports and live entertainment industry and currently has eight divisions across global offices (Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, and London).

About Co-op Live 

Oak View Group (OVG), City Football Group (CFG), Harry Styles and Co-op are joining forces to create Co-op Live, the biggest and best arena in the UK. Based in Manchester, the project is injecting £365m of private investment into the North West. 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, and is due to open in 2023.

World class, planet friendly and at the heart of the local community, Co-op Live will deliver one of the world’s most pioneering, sustainable, and socially responsible venues, delivering Co-op’s vision of a fairer world into the entertainment industry. The project will create 3,350 constructions jobs and 1,000 roles and apprenticeships on completion of the venue as well as giving over £1m back to national and local good causes.

Co-op Live will be located on the Etihad Campus, and will host live music, sport, comedy, award shows and family entertainment. Co-op Live’s smart ‘bowl’ design means it is big but intimate with cutting edge visual technology, incredible acoustics and 32 bars, restaurants, lounges and club spaces.

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. From locally sourced construction materials to zero waste to landfill, solar panels and rainwater harvesting, Co-op Live will be doing more to use less and leave better.


Imagery, courtesy: Co-op Live / OVG

Sports Venue Business organises and delivers ALSD International, the leading event and 365 community for the Premium Seat & Hospitality sector, focused on optimising revenue through New Builds, Renovations & Service Expansions, on behalf of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD). Click on the banner below to find out more…

The 2022 event is to be hosted at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and will feature the usual high-level conference, an exhibition showcasing industry-leading products & services, networking events and a very special behind-the-scenes tour of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sponsored by Levy UK + Ireland.

#ALSDInternational – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector

#ALSD – Leading the Premium Seat sector for the last 30 years

#sportsvenuebusiness – The leading platform for sector news, views & developments


Share This Article

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.