Design & Development

AO Arena announces capacity increase to 23,000

Featured image credit: AO Arena

Manchester’s AO Arena has today (Monday) announced that its redevelopment project will increase the capacity of the venue to 23,000, with standing-floor capacity increasing by 100% to 6,200.

Last month, AO Arena hosted a topping out ceremony to mark the completion of its £50m (€58m/$63m) renovation project. The redevelopment has included a complete back-of-house update to enhance the artist experience, with a new green room fitted as well as upgraded dressing rooms and crew facilities.

Final completion of the project is scheduled for March, and AO Arena has announced its capacity upgrade ahead of a rival arena opening in the city in April. Co-op Live, which will form part of the Etihad Campus, will have a capacity of 23,500, making it the largest indoor arena in the UK.

The AO Arena capacity increase is supported by a brand-new lower concourse, which is designed to enhance the experience of the venue’s standing-floor fans. The arena’s previous capacity was 21,000.

Chris Bray, president of arena operator ASM Global Europe, said: “As part of AO Arena’s redevelopment we have dramatically expanded the standing-floor space which means it will compete with any other venue in the UK.

“Its unique bowl configuration means that AO Arena proudly remains the biggest sporting indoor arena, and we are excited to continue to host the world’s biggest and most exciting events here in the heart of Manchester.”

The renovation project also includes The Mezz, a new bar and restaurant space, as well as improvements to the arena’s acoustics and sound, heating and ventilation systems, and a new control room to improve security.

Last month’s topping out ceremony also saw online electricals retailer AO renew its sponsorship of the venue until 2030. AO has sponsored the arena since September 2020.

Co-op Live had been scheduled to stage its first event in 2023 but the opening date was pushed back until April 2024. The arena is being built at a cost of £365m as part of a joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group.