ASM Global appointed to manage Sheffield’s Utilita Arena

ASM Global has been appointed to operate Utilita Arena Sheffield, as of January 2025. The announcement follows a rigorous procurement process, which was launched in a bid to attract the best in leisure and entertainment provision to run Sheffield’s venues, following Sheffield City Council announcing major investment into the city’s leisure and entertainment venues, including improvements to Sheffield’s arena.

Utilita Arena is a 12,700-capacity venue, which first opened in 1991. Under its new management with ASM Global, the venue will see significant investment into guest experience at every level, including hospitality and premium. There will also be improvements made around the venue to refresh the space for all to enjoy – with more detail to be announced in due course. It marks the first UK arena to come to the market for tender in some time, and ASM Global now further expands its UK footprint and cements its position as a market leader through its selection as preferred bidder. The senior management team and all Utilita Arena staff will move to ASM Global under TUPE regulations.

ASM Global is the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences, venue management and event strategy. The company’s programming team delivers world-class content to venues around the UK and Europe – ranging from major sporting events including the Davis Cup, Arena Cross, and international boxing matches, as well as tours from artists of international acclaim including Elton John, Beyonce, and many more.

Utilita Arena Sheffield joins ASM Global’s network of more than 350 venues around the world, which collectively host 20,000 events and welcome 164 million guests every year. The news evolves ASM Global’s suite of venues, which includes AO Arena, first direct Arena, OVO Arena Wembley, Utilita Arena Newcastle, P&J Live Aberdeen, Olympia London, York Barbican, Whitley Bay Playhouse and more. With an unrivalled network and best-in-class operations, the company will further enhance the arena’s competitive position in-market.

Chris Bray, President of ASM Global Europe said:

Sheffield is a city with a rich cultural heritage. It’s known and loved for producing some of the UK’s most exciting musical talent who’ve gone on to put Sheffield on the map on a global scale. With a history of being an events city, we are delighted to be working with the council to continue to bring major events to Sheffield. Our goal is to ensure the venue is a must-play for world-class artists, and that the content is diverse, exciting and world-leading. We have exciting plans for reimagining the customer experience, too, and are looking forward to getting better acquainted with the city very soon.

first direct Arena Leeds’ Lisa Turton and Utilita Arena Newcastle’s Caroline James are two of some 20-plus global sports & entertainment industry experts sitting on the SVB LIVE Expert Council, helping to shape and elevate the live experience.

Councillor Richard Williams, Chair of the Communities, Parks and Leisure Committee at Sheffield City Council said:

I am really pleased to welcome ASM Global onboard as the new operators of Sheffield Arena, this is a major step forward in our ambitious plan for the city and entertainment facilities. Though we are incredibly proud of the Arena and our current partnership with Sheffield City Trust, this new investment will allow us to compete on a global scale.

Councillor Tom Hunt, Leader of Sheffield City Council said:

As the world’s leading venue management company and producer of live event experiences ASM Global run over 350 venues worldwide and we are thrilled that they have chosen to work with us in Sheffield to bring the benefits of global scale to operate Sheffield’s Utilita Arena. Coming on the back of Sheffield hosting the MOBO Awards and with the city’s rich musical history and our reputation for hosting major events, it’s evident that music runs through our blood and this partnership with ASM Global and Utilita Arena Sheffield is another example of our ambition for this city.

The venue is home to Sheffield ice hockey team, the Steelers. This year alone it has hosted the MOBO Awards, and has Peter Kay, Bill Bailey, Take That, Girls Aloud, Bryan Adams, Matchroom Boxing, Premier League Darts, Liam Gallagher and more still to come. Alongside the Council’s earmarked investment, ASM Global has committed to significant investment to the revamp of the already popular Arena. Next steps for the projects include finalising tenders for the City Hall and leisure services.

Sports Venue Business (SVB) has unveiled a raft of new offerings for 2024 under the SVB LIVE banner, including Global Networking Events and a Webinar Series, culminating in an Annual Conference & Exhibition – to be held at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, on October 9th and 10th – with an Expert Group helping to shape the conversation. We have also launched the exclusive, subscription-only ‘SVB Global Report’, outlining New Builds, Renovations & Major Refurbishments.

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