ASM Global appointed to deliver Utilita Arena Sheffield revamp

Featured image credit: Sheffield City Council

Venue management and live experiences company ASM Global has further expanded its UK arena portfolio by agreeing a deal to operate Utilita Arena Sheffield.

The award of the contract, which takes effect from January 2025, follows a procurement process launched in June in a bid to attract the best in leisure and entertainment provision to run Sheffield’s venues. Sheffield City Council had announced a £117m (€136.8m/$148.3m) investment package for the Yorkshire city’s leisure and entertainment facilities, including improvements to the arena.

Utilita Arena is a 12,700-capacity venue, which first opened in 1991. Under its new management with ASM, the venue will see significant investment into guest experience at every level, including hospitality and premium. There will also be improvements made around the venue to “refresh the space for all to enjoy”.

Utilita Arena has become the first UK arena to come to the market for tender in some time, with the appointment of ASM marking a change in how the venue will be operated. The facility is currently operated by Sheffield City Trust, with all senior management team and arena staff set to move to ASM under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations. 

Utilita Arena will now join ASM Global’s suite of UK venues, which includes AO Arena, first direct Arena, OVO Arena Wembley, Utilita Arena Newcastle, P&J Live Aberdeen, Olympia London and York Barbican.

Alongside the Council’s earmarked funding, ASM has committed to significant investment to the revamp of the arena.

Chris Bray, president of ASM Global Europe, said: “Sheffield is a city with a rich cultural heritage. It’s known and loved for producing some of the UK’s most exciting musical talent who’ve gone on to put Sheffield on the map on a global scale.

“With a history of being an events city, we are delighted to be working with the Council to continue to bring major events to Sheffield. Our goal is to ensure the venue is a must-play for world-class artists, and that the content is diverse, exciting and world-leading.

“We have exciting plans for reimagining the customer experience, too, and are looking forward to getting better acquainted with the city very soon.”

Councillor Richard Williams, chair of the Communities, Parks and Leisure Committee at Sheffield City Council, added: “This is a major step forward in our ambitious plan for the city and entertainment facilities.

“Though we are incredibly proud of the Arena and our current partnership with Sheffield City Trust, this new investment will allow us to compete on a global scale.”