UK beverages giant Diageo has entered into a partnership with Co-op Live, the new 23,500-capacity arena currently being built in the English city of Manchester.

Diageo will serve as the arena’s official drinks partner when it opens in 2023. Its Guinness brand becomes the official beer partner of Co-op Live, with the deal also incorporating Diageo’s full portfolio of spirits such as Johnnie Walker scotch, Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and Captain Morgan rum.

The partnership will be supported by an array of activations throughout the arena, including on digital platforms and in innovative approaches to customer experience, such as shortest queue alerts and click-and-collect functionality.

The two companies have also committed to working together on future sustainability and recycling programmes, in line with Co-op Live’s commitments to minimise single-use plastic and Diageo’s ambition that 100% of its packaging will be widely recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2030.

As a founding partner of Co-op Live, Diageo will create custom brand experiences for attendees at the arena, which will be the largest indoor venue in the UK when it opens.

The arena, which will form part of the Etihad Campus in Manchester, is being delivered by Oak View Group. In May, City Football Group, which owns Manchester City, became OVG’s equal joint venture partner and investor in Co-op Live. Pop star Harry Styles has also invested in the arena.

Sam Piccione III, president of OVG International, said: “It was key for us to find a partner in this important category who would work with us to further deliver on making Co-op Live an entertainment and lifestyle destination and in Diageo we found the perfect company.

“The team at Diageo is best in class when it comes to creating experiences and we can’t wait for our fans to enjoy an ice-cold Guinness, iconic spirit, or draught cocktail at their favourite concert.

“As live events return and we look forward to the future, now is the perfect time to announce this partnership and further evidence of the investment Co-op Live is bringing to Manchester.”

Anita Robinson, marketing director at Diageo Great Britain, added: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Co-op Live to be the official drinks and responsible drinking partner for what is set to be the UK’s biggest arena.

“This is the first sponsorship we have undertaken in Great Britain where our full portfolio of drinks is part of the offer and we look forward to bringing our brands to life through experiences and activations for all occasions, from pre-show drinks to late night celebrations.”

Co-op Live is expected to host around 120 events and bring in 1.3 million visitors annually. UK consumer co-operative Co-op acquired naming rights to the arena days after planning permission was granted.

Image: Co-op Live