France’s CO’Met indoor venue ready for grand opening

Featured image credit: Orléans Métropole

A new indoor arena designed to offer a fresh vision for the French venue market will open in full in the city of Orléans this weekend.

CO’Met, the 4-in-1 multifunctional complex, will see its 10,000-capacity indoor arena open for the first time as it hosts a mini-tournament featuring the French national handball team ahead of the sport’s World Cup. The complex consists of four units, three of which have already opened, and can be reconfigured for a host of events including concerts, sports fixtures, conferences and conventions.

The €150m venue is considered a breakthrough for the French market as it is the first to offer a large, multifunctional space away from the Paris region. Events scheduled for the coming months include an ATP Challenger tournament, games featuring the French basketball and volleyball teams, and ice sports and e-sports fixtures. The venue, which incorporates a sports performance centre, is also considered an ideal preparation venue for athletes and teams ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The congress centre and exhibition halls, which opened last year, are designed to provide the region with an ideal MICE destination to bridge the gap between Paris and the touristic castle valley region around Tours. The fourth unit is the Zenith Venue, which is a 6,700-seat music and cultural hall.

CO’Met is owned by the Orléans Metropolitan Council and operated by GL Events, which also has the rights to three other venues in the city. OVG has also been involved in sales and programming operations. Bouygues Construction was granted the design and construction contract, supported by the architect Jacques Ferrier and Populous.

The CO’Met venue is considered significant in the French market because it offers proof of concept for a model that encompasses several multifunctional venues all linked physically and able to host several events at the same time.

Julien Lepron, who helped develop the arena while serving as arena and elite sports officer at Orléans Métropole, said another important aspect is that the provincial French market outside of Paris has been waiting for an arena guided by North American practices.

“Many minor arenas have been raised with a poor design and operations programme conducting to major economic flaws,” he told TheStadiumBusiness. “This one matches very well that expectation right before the new Paris 24OG and OL/Asvel Lyon Arena coming up.”

Last year, OL Groupe, which operates French Ligue 1 football club Olympique Lyonnais, announced a financing plan for LDLC Arena, its multi-purpose venue that is scheduled to open later this year.

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