Oak View Group’s plans for a new world-class arena in Manchester have been given the green light by the council’s planning committee.

Manchester is world-famous for its incredible contribution to music, entertainment, and sporting heritage, and we want to build on that legacy with our proposals for a new venue. Our vision is to create the best arena in Europe, bringing the world’s top events to East Manchester.


Following enabling works since the beginning of the year, construction of Co-op Live started at the beginning of May, kickstarting a wave of economic activity and job creation across Greater Manchester.

Co-op Live is being built by Salford-based BAM construction, who have revealed that almost £150m of the construction orders have already been placed with local firms. 

We are committed to local procurement and a range of businesses across Greater Manchester and the wider North West region are being used to help create the venue, with a dozen firms from the region already engaged in the project. 

If you have any queries, concerns, or would like further information please contact our contractor, Stuart Prosser from BAM on Tel: 0161 877 9274 or email:


Our plans for a new arena would bring significant benefits to East Manchester and the surrounding areas.

  • The venue would support around 3,350 jobs during its three year construction period, and up to 1,000 jobs across a wide range of sectors once opened.
  •  A local jobs and skills strategy, including an apprenticeship programme, will be activated for the construction phase and to recruit for opening.
  • OVG is committed to ensuring as many jobs as possible go to local people and will prioritise hiring people who live within walking distance.
  • Those working on-site, during construction and when the arena is opened, will be paid at least the Manchester Living Wage, which is significantly more than the statutory minimum.
  • Alongside direct jobs, the construction of the arena would help support a further 6,500 jobs across 800 companies in the construction sector.
  • A new world-class live venue would also provide a significant boost to Manchester’s visitor economy, which currently supports over 41,000 jobs.


Aerial view of Etihad Campus

At the heart of every Oak View Group project is a focus on making the new venue a key part of the local community.

  • So we’ll be placing a huge emphasis on ensuring employment, skills, and training opportunities go to people in East Manchester and the wider city – and championing the use of the arena’s spaces for community and educational events once it’s built.
  • Through extensive community and city centre consultations we have understood local priorities and the vision to transform Eastlands, and our ambition is to create a state-of-the-art venue that not only provides a truly outstanding experience for audiences but is also rooted in the local community and provides genuine benefits for local people.
  • The site’s public transport links and proximity to national networks will be supported by investment in improved campus-wide cycle facilities and improvements to the main walking and cycling routes into the City Centre.
  • We have committed to the implementation of a controlled residents’ parking scheme, which has been identified as one of the priorities by residents.
  • We envisage launching a unique charitable programme with the arena and its partners and performers contributing. The fund will support national and local causes and will be a force for good.


Despite a growing market in the UK for live entertainment, including music, family shows and sport, Manchester has fallen behind other major cities and destinations. Detailed analysis undertaken as part of the planning and design process by Ekosgen and PWC show that the industry growth and Manchester’s economic and cultural strength will support two successful arenas. 

  • Analysis indicates new arenas drive overall growth in the market, and there are several examples across the UK of two arenas in close proximity operating on a commercially viable basis.
  • The Market Assessment analysis shows a second arena will generate very significant additional economic benefits for the economy with city centre businesses benefiting hugely, where the majority of hotels, serviced accommodation, food, beverage and retail businesses are based.
  • In the most conservative scenario, a second arena would contribute over £1bn GVA to the Manchester economy and lead to a 58% increase in GVA from visitor expenditure compared to the current position, while the most ambitious scenario would result in an 80% increase.
  • Ekosgen’s research found a new arena would result in around 1 million additional arena ticket sales annually within the city and an associated potential increase of between 68-95% in terms of jobs and economic impact (GVA) compared to the current position.

Subsequently, new independent research, commissioned from Amion Consulting and The Audience Agency, has fully corroborated the findings of Ekosgen and PWC.

  • Additional research identified the potential for a total 2.05m additional annual arena visits by 2035, solely within the 90-minute catchment areas
  • The research demonstrated that the central growth forecast of additional annual attendance of 1.27m by 2035 can be more than supported through three market development opportunities:
    1. Reducing leakage of visits to venues outside of the catchment (c.0.42m additional visits p.a.)
    2. Unlocking latent demand within the catchment (c.0.73m additional visits p.a.)
    3. Increasing the frequency of visits by those in the catchment who already attend arenas (c.0.9m additional visits p.a.)
  • This has been stress tested with worst-case scenario modelling, by for example assuming every arena in the 90-minute caption provides the same event programme, and even on this basis, the analysis shows demand is higher than the growth scenario needed to sustain two arenas
  • The new research also included a consumer demand survey; 30% of those surveyed said they would probably stay overnight in Manchester after an arena event
  • 70% of those surveyed said they would spend money on food and drinks in the city before events, with 49% showing interest in doing so after an event.
  • The analysis shows that this means the city centre will capture £95m out of the total audience expenditure of £165m by visitors to two arenas each year from opening in late 2023.


We’re proud to be championing a new kind of venue – one that has sustainability at its core both in terms of design and potential future operations. The venue brings local economic and social value whilst playing its full part in helping the Council to deliver its ambitions to be zero carbon by 2038. Our venue will be the most sustainable venue in the UK and Europe. 


  • The iconic architecture will be matched by our commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and intelligent building and lighting design.
  • The Etihad Campus is currently well served by public transport and sustainable transport modes. Plans to enhance the canal side and improve the pedestrian environment and quality of green spaces, where visitors can walk, sit and relax (both on event days and non-event days), will act to significantly improve the quality of the walking and cycling routes around the venue, and will encourage active, environmentally friendly travel to and from the arena.
  • Inclusivity is at the heart of the design, with proposals addressing barriers that form physical constraints but also barriers experienced by people who are neurodivergent, experience mental ill health, who are deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing and people who are blind or partially sighted – we will lead the way in offering fully inclusive facilities.


  • We will remove avoidable single-use plastic and implement responsible waste management practises, including a target of sending zero waste to landfill.
  • We will aim to use renewable energy where possible.
  • Safety for all visitors will be central to the design of the new venue, with a robust security strategy developed with Greater Manchester Police, Prevent Advisors (OVG’s own pioneering security advisory service), and the existing Campus operations team.


Our plans were given the go-ahead by Manchester City Council on 24 September 2020. As part of our application we consulted widely with the local community, businesses and other stakeholders. Feedback from the local community in particular was absolutely vital in helping to shape our proposals.

For more information on aspects of our scheme please click on the factsheets and reports below.