US venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group (OVG) has today (Wednesday) confirmed that it is working with City Football Group (CFG) on the potential development of a new arena on land close to the Etihad Stadium, home of English Premier League football club Manchester City.

The announcement comes after months of reports concerning the potential development of a venue that would rival Manchester Arena, which is located in the heart of the city centre. Following the opening of its UK office in March, OVG said that it was examining opportunities to bring the world’s best arenas to the world’s greatest cities.

It has now said it is working in association with CFG, parent company of Manchester City, in exploring the opportunity for a new arena at the Etihad Campus in East Manchester. Feasibility studies include engagement with local residents and businesses to understand community priorities.

CFG is working with OVG as part of its commitment to continuing the growth of the Eastlands area and the Etihad Campus as a thriving community and world-leading sporting and leisure destination.

Tim Leiweke, co-founder and chief executive of Oak View Group, said: “Manchester is an amazing city with a proud music and sporting history, and one that we believe would see substantial benefits from a new arena. East Manchester, in particular, has a strong track record in entertainment and hosting major events.

“Over the last two decades, Manchester has consistently ranked in the top five global cities for arena events. A new world-class arena would create thousands of skilled jobs, apprenticeship and training programmes, and generate significant additional revenue for businesses in the city.

“Understanding the priorities of the community will be a critical part of any proposal, and we are delighted to be working closely with City Football Group as we begin this initial phase of consultation.”

OVG has stressed that any project in the city would be entirely privately-financed and would not seek any public subsidy. News of a possible second major arena for Manchester first emerged in December and the project has since been faced with multiple questions.

Manchester City Council last month added the proposed new arena as a future possibility under its development masterplan for the area. In June, the Council hit back at a report on the proposed new 20,000-capacity facility which claimed Manchester cannot sustain two large-scale arenas.

The independent study from accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton UK concluded that the second venue would have a “devastating impact” on businesses close to the existing Manchester Arena and could put 2,200 jobs at risk.

The Council said it saw a “range of possible destination uses” for the land at Etihad Campus. Earlier in June, John Sharkey, executive vice-president of European operations at SMG, which runs the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, said that the city can’t sustain another arena of this size.

Contacted by TheStadiumBusiness today, an OVG spokesman said there is no set timeline for the plans.

Image: Visit Manchester