Co Op Live Arena
The arena was designed by Populous and will be sponsored by Co-op

ASM Global fails in bid to block £350m Eastlands arena project 

Dan Whelan

The AO Arena operator asked that Manchester City Council’s decision to approve Oak View Group’s plans for a 23,500-capacity venue at the Etihad Campus be reviewed, but the request has been rebuffed by the secretary of state.

ASM Global claims there is insufficient demand to sustain two large arenas in Manchester, saying that if the project went ahead it would have an “adverse impact” on the existing arena and the wider city centre.

The firm added that the proposals put forward by US-based developer Oak View Group relied on “flawed research and impossible market projections”. 

However, Robert Jenrick’s decision not to review the case signals the end of ASM Global’s hopes of blocking the proposals, paving the way for contractor Bam Construction to start on site in the new year. 

When approving Oak View Group’s application in September, Manchester councillors voiced their collective support for the project, designed by architect Populous. 

Eight of the nine planning committee members voted in favour of the project, while chair of the committee Cllr Basil Curley abstained.

Shortly after being granted planning consent, Oak View Group secured a £100m naming rights deal for the arena with the Co-op.

ASM Global declined to comment.

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Good! Market forces will decide whether Manchester can support 2 arenas which is how it should be. The current arena has been underinvested in for years so there can be no complaints.

By Bob

Good! Now ASM will have to up their game and finally invest in and modernise the AO Arena. Which has been long overdue.

By jrb

I agree with Bob, hopefully a bit of competition will drive down ticket prices too. Though I do doubt it when the new arena and any AO arena changes will need funding.

By Local Lad

This is great news. They reached correct decision, I think most would agree. ASM Global have some decorating and a little building to do, I have seen CGIs of their new improved arena and it is just that, looks really good. So two arenas it is.

By Robert Fuller

Bad for the city centre, especially the Corn Exhange and the Printworks

By Floyds

If ASM don’t invest and up their game, events will simply choose the new arena. They need to grab this as an opportunity and sell on the benefits of being in the city centre. Fail and that’s land ripe for redevelopment.

By Nve

Good for Manchester especially the east side and the Ethiad.

By Boyd

If ASM fails to stay competitive, maybe we could actually build a transport hub fit for the 21st century in the arena’s place.

By Big Dub

This will come at just the right time. When this Covid nightmare is over people will want to party like it’s 1999.

By Elephant