Co Op Live Arena
Main contractor Bam is due to start building the arena in November

Co-op strikes £100m Eastlands naming deal

Dan Whelan

Oak View Group, the developer of the planned 23,500-capacity arena in East Manchester, has agreed a 15-year sponsorship deal with Co-op for the naming rights to the venue, which will be known as Co-op Live. 

The deal, which is believed to be worth just shy of £100m, comes in the week the developer won planning approval for its £350m venue, which would be the second entertainment arena in Manchester alongside the AO Arena operated by ASM Global. 

Under the deal, the cooperative’s charitable arm, the Co-op Foundation, is to distribute around £1m each year to charities across the UK.

“Co-op Live will re-establish Manchester as one of the globe’s most important live music destinations, as well as delivering new events to the city, including awards shows, international sporting events and tournaments, family entertainment shows and emerging formats such as E-Sports,” OVG said in a statement. 

OVG’s chief executive Tim Leiweke added: “Our partnership goes way beyond a normal naming rights agreement. The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue.

“I’ve said from the beginning of the project that this arena will be of Manchester, for Manchester and by Manchester, and this partnership with one of the city’s most iconic brands is a critical part of that.”

Steve Murrells, group chief executive of Co-op, said that the deal aligns with Co-op’s goal “to serve the interests of its members and invest for the long term”. 

He added: “The entertainment arena brings to life the co-operative difference and our vision to co-operate for a fairer world, from its sustainable construction, support for communities, zero food waste and member only exclusive benefits.” 

The sponsorship follows a recent five-year naming deal struck between operator ASM Global and appliances retailer AO. 

OVG Eastlands Arena internal

OVG’s plans were unveiled in April

The Eastlands arena scheme was approved on Thursday despite objections from ASM Global, which claimed that there was no market for a second arena in Manchester, and that granting consent for OVG’s plans would pull footfall away from the city centre and negatively impact local businesses. 

However, these claims were refuted by both OVG and Manchester City Council. Bam Construction is due to start building the arena in November and OVG aims to stage its first events there in 2023. 

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “We are proud that one of the world’s greenest and most socially responsible live entertainment venues will carry our name. 

“The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact, and our multimillion pound investment is a signal of our intent for the future of the region, creating jobs and helping to bring some of the world’s best events to Manchester.”   



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Brilliant sponsorship deal a local ethical company sponsoring our new arena great news.

By Monty

I absolutely despise this design, something of this scale should look interesting considering how mediocre and square all the new buildings in Manchester are. The skyline looks so awfully sqaure and unimaginative, everything seems to be built solely for the purpose of making money and there’s no architectiral value to it. It’s very sad seeing Manchester turning into a concrete jungle with no soul.

By Michael

Very good to get a local company involved in the naming rights. Hope the M&S Bank Arena gets renamed the Atomic Kitten arena :-)

By Liverpool Romances

As a Co op employee, i hope to get discounted tickets to events at this new arena….

By Karen

The city cant handle 2 arenas they said. Yet both have just struck big sponsorship deals in the last few weeks. Making money before a tickets even sold.

By Bob

So now it all makes sense. I wonder why Co-Op didn’t go for the arena next to their estate though.

By Steve

It will be interesting to see the response of shareholders to this announcement espcially after the recent turmoil the Co-op encountered?

By Divvi number.

….and now appearing at the Co-Op….

By ChesneyT

I saw Beyoncé at the Co-Op

By You won't believe it

It should be obvious to anyone now that The NYNEX/MEN/AO is on borrowed time.

A shame but I hope they restore Victoria to its former glory if it does go.

By Observer

The arena looks fantastic on the inside but a complete dog’s dinner on the outside. Not sure it is a good thing for a second arena either but time will tell.

By Chris

Is there anything worse than statements on the side of buildings. It will look like a very large corner shop with that emblazoned on it. Very tacky. As Michael has said, something costing that much should be pleasing to the eye. Perhaps look at the new Goodison Park for inspiration, as to how a large arena should look. The Ethiad looks like a Multi-Storey car park and this will do nothing to enhance the area.

By Elephant

Handy that all the pre-application publicity shots featured co-op’s corporate blue colour illuminating the top of the arena – almost as though the deal was lined up long ago wasn’t it?

By Machiavelli

Hey Machiavelli, are you seriously criticising a development rendering that shows the name of the sponsor after the sponsor was named??? What else can they do wrong? Exist? The whole point of sponsorship is to promote their product. It’s advertising. Whether this was prepared earlier or recently is hardly a scandal. One is good, solid preparation, the other is good timing

By Bob

@bob, I think they were referring to the previous renders which had co-op blue all over before the sponsor was announced and logo added

By Anonymous

I suspect the render was blue as it is next to the Man City ground, nothing more “underhand” than that

By Bradford

@ Bob.

No, I’m not.

By Machiavelli