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LLDC seeking new operator for Copper Box Arena

Featured image credit: LLDC

London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has launched a tender process to secure a new operator for the Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The Copper Box was developed for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when it staged handball and modern pentathlon events, as well as goalball.

The Arena has now become the Park’s most versatile venue, with a maximum seating capacity of 7,500 and the ability to stage elite sport and esports as well as other live entertainment events.  The Arena is home to the London Lions basketball teams and London Pulse netball team, and includes a 80 station gym, café and ancillary facilities.  

The LLDC, which operates the Park, is seeking to lease the Arena under a new operating arrangement that will seek to build on the venue’s first successful decade. 

Major events at the Arena since 2012 have included Fed Cup tennis, Street League Skateboarding, the Table Tennis World Cup, England netball internationals, esports tournaments such as Call of Duty and Rocket League, the netball Superleague Grand Final, championship boxing, and the Invictus Games. In November, the Arena hosted England’s opening matches of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.

Edward Fane, head of venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, said: “Ten years on from London 2012, the Copper Box Arena is a thriving venue for national and international events as well as community sport, health and fitness. 

“This exciting high value contract is critically important to the long-term legacy of the London 2012 Games and we are seeking a significant partnership for the next eight years to bring more high profile events to the Park and build on the Arena’s hugely successful first decade.”

LLDC said it is looking to appoint a service provider that will operate and maintain the Arena, continuing the high level of public use and attracting major national and international events. Interested companies are required to complete a Selection Questionnaire (SQ) by midday GMT on February 8.     

The award of the contract will be made in another year of evolution for the Park, with the opening of the new East Bank cultural development, starting in summer 2023. LLDC operates Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park through a variety of service contracts that have been let from the Park’s inception; some prior to London 2012 and some as the Park has evolved into its current form post-Games. 

The Copper Box Arena is currently operated by GLL. The charitable social enterprise in March agreed a 10-year deal with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority to operate and manage its sporting venues, a number of which were used during London 2012.

GLL is the UK’s largest operator of leisure and sports facilities, and from April 1 took on responsibility for Lee Valley VeloPark, Lee Valley White Water Centre, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, Lee Valley Athletics Centre and Lee Valley Riding Centre. The contract also included the new Lee Valley Ice Centre.