Puneet Varma (Editor)

Manchester Arena

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Operator  SMG Europe
Capacity  21,000
Phone  +44 161 950 5000
Broke ground  March 1993 (1993-03)
Opened  15 July 1995
Owner  Mansford
Manchester Arena
Former names  NYNEX Arena (1995–98) Manchester Evening News Arena (1998–2011) Manchester Arena (2011-13; 2015-present) Phones 4u Arena (2013–15)
Location  Trinity Way Victoria Station Manchester, Lancashire, M3 1AR England
Construction cost  £52 million (£95.5 million in 2017 pounds)
Architect  DLA Design, Austin-Smith:Lord and Ellerbe Becket
Address  Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR, UK

Manchester arena seat refurbishment

The Manchester Arena is an indoor arena in Hunts Bank, Manchester, England. Situated immediately north of the city centre, most of the arena is situated above Manchester Victoria station in air rights space.


The arena has the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, and second largest in the European Union with a capacity of 21,000 and is one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, hosting music and sporting events such as boxing and swimming. The arena was a key part of Manchester's bids to host the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000 and was eventually used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Justin bieber baby manchester arena 20 10 16

Arena design

The structure was designed by DLA Ellerbe Beckett, Ove Arup & Partners, and Austin-Smith:Lord. The arena is sited in air rights space over the station and was constructed without disrupting use of the station. The original plans included a glass tower which was not built. It originally hosted a seven screen multiplex cinema (1996–2000), a multi-purpose arena and multi-storey parking. The former multiplex cinema is now used as a call centre.

A large truss measuring 105 metres spans the roof. Reinforced concrete is used to increase sound insulation. The upper parts of the building are clad in purple-grey with green glass. The arena was opened on 15 July 1995.

The arena was one of the first indoor venues in Europe to be built following layout of 360 degree seating, and is the only arena in the UK to have this feature (London's The O2 also has 360 degrees seating, but only on its lower tier, whereas Manchester's arena features it on both tiers). Other European indoor venues built to the same concept include the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Spaladium Arena in Split, Kombank Arena in Belgrade, O2 Arena in Prague, and O2 World in Hamburg.


The arena was constructed as part of the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Construction cost £52 million of which £35.5m was provided by government grants and £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund. Although built as an American style sports arena it has been more successful hosting large music events.

The arena opened in July 1995, sponsored by NYNEX CableComms as the NYNEX Arena, and was renamed the Manchester Evening News Arena in July 1998. In December 2011, the Manchester Evening News ended its thirteen-year sponsorship, and the arena was renamed the Manchester Arena in January 2012. In July 2013, in a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal by mobile phone company Phones 4u, the arena was renamed to the Phones 4u Arena, but this deal ended when Phones 4u closed, renaming the arena back to Manchester Arena, effective 14 January 2015.

On the opening night, 15,000 spectators watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean perform; the crowd was a record for an ice event. Attendance records were set in 1997 when 17,425 people watched Manchester Storm play Sheffield Steelers, a record for an ice hockey match in Europe. When 14,151 people watched Manchester Giants play London Leopards, it set a British record for attendance at a basketball match.

The venue attracts over a million customers each year for concerts and family shows, making it one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, and was named "International Venue Of The Year" in 2002 in the 'Pollstar' awards, and was nominated in the same category in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The arena was named "Busiest Arena Venue In The World", based on ticket sales for concerts in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 ahead of other indoor arenas including the Madison Square Garden and Wembley Arena. The arena was the 'World's Busiest Arena' from 2001 until 2007 based on ticket sales for concerts, attracting five and a half million customers. It was voted 'Europe's Favourite Arena' at the TPi Awards in 2008 by the touring companies that bring the shows to the venue.

In 2008, the arena was world's third busiest arena behind London's The O2 arena and New York's Madison Square Garden. In 2009, it was the world's second busiest arena behind London's The O2 and ahead of Antwerp's Sportpaleis and Madison Square Garden. Although second to London's The O2, Manchester's arena had its busiest year with over 1,500,000 people attending concerts and family shows. The arena hosts over 250 events annually including comedy, live music and tours, sporting events, and occasionally musicals.


As one of the largest venues in the UK, the arena has hosted music concerts since opening in 1995 and is the arena's primary source of visitors.

On March 26, 2000, English boy band Five performed at this venue as part of their Invincible Tour. The show was also filmed for a concert special, called Five Live, that was released on DVD and VHS later that same year. In 2002, Kylie Minogue performed on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 11 and 12 May as part of her KylieFever2002 tour. Minogue also performed part of her Showgirl Tour on 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28 April 2005. In 2007, she performed on 12, 13, 18, 19, 21, 22 and 23 January as the final part of her Homecoming Tour. In 2008, she came back to perform on 11, 12, 14, 15, 17 and 18 July as part of her X world tour. Minogue came back on 1, 2, 4 and 5 April 2011 as part of her Aphrodite World Tour. Britney Spears performed at the arena on 6 November 2011 during her Femme Fatale Tour. Kylie Minogue performed at the arena on 26 September 2014. The performance marked the 30th time Minogue has performed at the arena, a record for the venue as its most performed artist. It is also a record for Minogue, being the venue she has played to most in the world; she has played to 400,000 fans in total in the Manchester Arena. The Manchester Evening News had previously described Minogue as the "undoubted queen of the Manchester Arena".

In July 2010, the arena celebrated its 15th birthday with a multi-artist gig, presented by Real Radio (North West). An audience of nearly 10,000 was entertained by Scouting for Girls, Pixie Lott, The Script, Alexandra Burke, The Hoosiers, The Saturdays, Gabriella Cilmi, Taio Cruz, Craig David, Beverley Knight, Olly Murs, Amy McDonald, The Baseballs and Fyfe Dangerfield. Former steward, Peter Kay was a surprise guest which was hosted by Real Radio breakfast presenters Ditchy and Salty.

American entertainer Beyoncé performed three sold out shows at the arena as part of her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour on 7, 8 and 9 May 2013. She returned on 25 and 26 February 2014 for two more sold out shows. The X Factor winner Sam Bailey was the opening act. Both shows became the fastest concert to sell out the entire arena in history. This was the fifth tour Beyoncé has performed at the arena following concerts for her Dangerously in Love Tour (2003), Destiny Fulfilled...and Lovin' It (2005), The Beyoncé Experience (2007) and the I Am... World Tour (2009).

As of 2015 British pop group Take That, who were formed in Manchester, hold the record for the most number of performances.

Olly Murs will be performing at the arena on March 17 & 18, 2017, as part of the first leg for his new UK tour, Spring & Summer Tour 2017. Both evening performances of the two days are expected to have more than 40,000 people.

On June 25, 2017, Celine Dion will bring her Celine Dion Live 2017 tour here. Her first UK tour in nine years.

On October 17, 2017, Lady Gaga will perform her Joanne World Tour here. This is Gaga's 4th Show after 3 years of not being on tour. This isn't her first show here here after The Monster Ball Tour, Born This Way Ball and ArtRave: The Artpop Ball.


The arena has been the home of three sports teams: the Manchester Storm and Manchester Phoenix ice hockey teams, and the Manchester Giants basketball team with limited success, as it is no longer used by sports teams but is used for one-off sporting events such as boxing and football masters.

Many boxers have had bouts in the arena, such as Amir Khan, Jermaine Johnson, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Mike Tyson, and David Haye. Hatton, from Manchester, became a regular and favourite at the arena.

The arena hosted mixed martial arts events. UFC 70 on 21 April 2007, and UFC 105 on 14 November 2009 for which it set the European record attendance for the largest UFC event outside the USA with 16,000 spectators. The arena also hosted UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz on 26 October 2013. The World Taekwondo Qualification Event for the Beijing Olympic Games was held there on 28–30 September 2007 when 103 countries competed for 24 places at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In April 2008, the arena hosted the FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships, the first time the event has been held in the UK. The arena was transformed with two 25 m swimming pools constructed in 18 days and seating provided for 17,250 spectators.

Monster truck racing events have been staged but the floor space has to be extended and the front section of seating in the lower tier removed.

Since 2008, it has played host to a week of the Premier League Darts.

On Saturday 26 February 2011 it played host to BAMMA 5.

In May 2011, the arena hosted a basketball contest between the Atlanta Dream (WNBA) and the Great Britain women's basketball team, billed as "WNBA Live", the first time a WNBA team had played in Europe. In July 2012, the arena hosted an international between Great Britain men's basketball team and the United States men's basketball team in the buildup to the 2012 Summer Olympics.


The first stand-up comedy performance was Peter Kay's final performance of his Mum wants a bungalow Tour in July 2003. He worked at the arena when it opened in 1996 and the performance was filmed for DVD release as Peter Kay at the Manchester Arena. In 2005, Lee Evans set a world record for performing to the biggest audience in front of a crowd of 10,108. Peter Kay's The Tour That Doesn't Tour Tour...Now On Tour ran for 20 consecutive nights and 20 nights at the end of the tour – a record for the venue. Alan Carr filmed the DVD for Spexy Beast in Manchester.


On 19 July 2011 (with a final dress rehearsal in front of an audience on 16 July 2011) the arena hosted the world premiere of Batman Live, a touring stage show, including theatrical, circus and stage-magic elements, that focuses on the DC Comics superhero Batman.

The arena also hosts the annual convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2014 this was held on 22–24 August.

The arena also hosted Ant & Dec's Takeaway on Tour: Live on August 15–16, 2014. Over the two days, about more than 120,000 people attended both matinee and evening shows.

UFC 204 was held at the arena on October 8, 2016, headlining was a middleweight championship match between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping.

Technical facts

  • Lower tier fixed seated capacity – 10,762
  • Upper tier fixed seated capacity – 8,870
  • Ice hockey and gymnastics – up to 17,643
  • FINA Swimming championships 2008 – 17,250
  • Basketball – up to 20,500
  • Boxing – up to 21,000
  • Side stage – up to 11,150 (fully seated)
  • Conventional end-stage concerts – 13,500–15,800 (fully seated)
  • Conventional end-stage concerts – up to 19,350 (floor standing)
  • In the round concerts – up to 20,400 (fully seated)
  • In the round concerts – up to 21,000 (floor standing)
  • 30 hospitality business suites (seats up to 12 guests)
  • 8 top floor suites known as 'The White house' (each seats between 6 and 15 guests—located in the white sports commentators boxes when not in use)
  • 4 party suites (seats up to 25 guests)
  • The arena claimed to have the world's largest indoor video scoreboard when it opened in 1995. The videowall has been deactivated, but remains in situ mounted in the roof. It has been replaced with an LED Ribbonboard mounted on the video scoreboard's exterior.
  • Transport

    The arena adjoins Manchester Victoria station which is served by Northern, TransPennine Express, and Metrolink.

    The arena car park is operated by National Car Parks, and has 958 standard and 65 disabled spaces.


    Manchester Arena Wikipedia