Co-op Live, the new 23,500-capacity arena in Manchester, has officially opened for bookings during its pre-opening and opening season events at the end of 2023 and into 2024. Co-op Live’s name comes from a naming rights deal with the Co-op and the venue is also backed by joint venture partners Oak View Group and City Football Group, and international megastar Harry Styles as an investor.

Announcements of the first wave of events are planned for summer this year and the new world-class venue has already attracted enormous interest for dates in 2023, with many more event enquiries in the works for 2024. First dates are expected to book quickly as discussions progress with leading music and events promoters with a myriad of different artists and music genres keen to experience the only purpose-built music venue in the UK.

The arrival of Co-op Live will cement Manchester as one the world’s largest live entertainment markets, bringing an additional 120 events and 1.3million visitors annually into the city’s already thriving calendar. These extra events would mean Manchester will rival London as the music capital of the UK on annual attendances at events in major music arenas.

Co-op Live has been designed to be a music-first venue but boasts a uniquely flexible venue layout that will help draw in the biggest and best shows to Manchester. Capable of adapting capacity and seating arrangement for all types of events, the arena will add to the internationally recognised live entertainment scene in the city and the UK more widely. From music concerts on world tours to home-grown Manchester talent, to international sporting events from globally renowned brands to the best in comedy and family entertainment shows, Co-op Live is engaging promoters and event owners and will appeal to everyone.

The world-class arena has been uniquely designed to transform the live music experience for both artists and fans. Unlike traditional venues, Co-op Live will have an intimate bowl design which has no branding when artists take to the stage, offering a unique blank canvas. The ceiling height has been lowered to 24m to improve acoustics and create intimacy and because Co-op Live was built for music and not sport, the seating configuration brings fans 15m closer to the action than ever before, when compared to other UK arenas. Despite being the UK’s largest arena at 23,500, with a large standing floor at 7,500, it will still feel intimate and has been designed to feel like the UK’s largest nightclub.

It will also feature first-class facilities including 14 dressing rooms and backstage offices and a 330-tonne rigging capacity to accommodate the biggest shows. In line with its ambition to be the UK’s most sustainable arena, Co-op Live will support efforts by artists to make touring more eco-friendly. The venue itself will have rooftop solar panels, rainwater harvesting; heat source and smart building solutions; 100% electric, sustainable transport solutions; sustainable food sourcing and zero waste to landfill. There will be complete step free access, hearing loops, accessible toilets throughout and a dog spending room alongside a multi pray faith room and sensory room to ensure everyone feels at home.

Co-op Live is also pioneering gigs that give back with over £1m to be donated to local and national good causes per year.

Jessica Koravos, Co-Chairperson, OVG International, said: “Manchester is one of the hottest destinations in the UK for live events and Co-op Live will be the ultimate stage. The design of the venue works for the planet, for the fans and the artists. We are redefining live with the biggest capacity, paired with our low ceiling, seats closer to the action, largest standing floor and our unique black box bowl that creates a nightclub intimacy to connect the energy on stage with the crowd like nowhere else in the UK.”

Koravos is working alongside Co-op Live’s Katie Musham who has been supporting Co-op Live since 2020 as Head of Partnerships and is transitioning to Director of Strategic Programming where she will develop strategic content partnerships that will deliver high profile content, exclusive events and residencies for Co-op Live as well as working closely with promoters, Musham added: “It’s been a privilege to work with inspiring partners and I am now really excited to officially open bookings for Co-op Live and to start programming an outstanding calendar. We’re already seeing phenomenal demand for dates from a wide range of promoters across music, sports, and family entertainment shows, and welcome enquiries to discuss opportunities. We can’t wait to announce the first events later this year when anticipation for the first unforgettable nights at Co-op Live will really ramp up.”

With bookings now open, the team behind Co-op Live has appointed Dave Hough as Programming Manager, acting as the venue’s booker focusing on arena touring content. Hough arrives from ASM Global where he led programming for seven UK venues, with a combined event count of over 900 annual dates. He is due to start at Co-op Live from May and will work closely with the rest of the team to build a world class calendar of events at the new arena.

OVG’s Vice President, Delivery and Operations, Steve Gotkine, is overseeing operations related to the arena, and has been working with the design team to ensure the venue will provide best in class facilities for promoters and artists alike.

It was announced last year that Oak View Group has agreed a deal with Ticketmaster to provide ticketing services at all its venues including Co-op Live.


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