The global football organisation that counts Manchester City FC among its assets has become an equal partner in the arena venture with US developer Oak View Group.
City Football Group, in which City owner and Emirati politician Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has a controlling stake, has become the latest firm to invest in the 23,500-capacity arena, after popstar Harry Styles took a minority stake last year.
The parties would not disclose the value of CFG’s investment but confirmed that it was now an equal partner in the £350m project with OVG.
“Co-op Live unlocks the potential for the Etihad Campus to grow as an entertainment destination that creates more reasons for the nation and world to visit Manchester,” said Marty Edelman, board director at City Football Group.
The newly-formed joint venture builds on the 2019 pre-planning collaboration that saw CFG, as lead developer of the Etihad Campus, support OVG’s feasibility studies and community consultations.
Co-op Live is the next step of CFG’s ongoing development of and investment in the Etihad Campus, where it aims to create a hub for sport, leisure and entertainment.
“We can’t think of a better partner for this project,” said Tim Leiweke, co-founder and chief executive of OVG.
“We are creating one of the world’s best arenas in Manchester. This venue will push the boundaries of live entertainment and be a significant source of opportunity for the city.”
Edelman added: “As a joint venture partner and investor, we will ensure the Co-op Live becomes part of the fabric of East Manchester and delivers the fullest community and economic impact as Manchester, and the wider region builds back from Covid-19.”
Plans for the arena, located next to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands, were unanimously approved by the city council in September.
Bam Construction is midway through a nine-month package of site remediation work having been awarded the £253m contract to build the venue.
The arena, designed by architect Populous, is to be sponsored by Co-op under a £100m naming rights deal.
As well as Manchester City, CFG, owns Melbourne City FC and Montevideo City Torque, among others. The company was founded in 2013.