Co-op Live secures licence ahead of April opening

Featured image credit: Oak View Group

Co-op Live is set to open as planned next month after the new Manchester arena secured a premises licence.

Manchester City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee has today (Friday) approved Co-op Live’s application, recognising that the venue will be a “significant benefit to the local community, Manchester and the wider region”.

The announcement came after Oak View Group (OVG) and ASM Global, the respective operators of Co-op Live and AO Arena, last week resumed battle over the development of the new venue for the English city.

A two-day hearing into the licence application for Co-op Live came to a close on February 22, with proceedings proving to be another verbal sparring match between OVG and ASM. The development of a second major arena for Manchester had seen the two rival companies at loggerheads throughout the planning phase.

The Council is due to publish the full terms of the licence, but TheStadiumBusiness.com understands there are no significant changes to what was discussed during the hearing. In terms of opening times, conditions stipulate that Co-op Live can operate ancillary spaces until 1am GMT (1:30am close) from Sunday to Thursday, until 2am (2:30am close) on Friday and Saturday, and until 2am (2:30am close) on a Sunday before a Bank Holiday. All auditorium bowl activity must end by 11:30pm daily.

Co-op Live is permitted to apply for extended hours for a maximum of 25 events per year. Twelve can be for 24 hours opening, and 13 for opening until 4am. Each application for extended hours is subject to case-by-case approval by the Licensing Authority.

Gary Roden, executive director and general manager of Co-op Live, said today: “We are grateful to local councillors and residents for their engagement during the process and will remain committed to being the best possible neighbour to the local community up to opening and beyond.

“Manchester deserves the best, and with the opening of Co-op Live just weeks away we’re excited to begin this new chapter in the city’s enviable cultural story. 

“This £365m (€426.4m/$460.9m) investment will transform the fan experience of live entertainment, bring international superstars to Manchester, set a new benchmark for large arenas around the world and deliver a significant economic boost to the entire North West region.”

It was announced last week that comedian Peter Kay will be the first act to play at the new 23,500-capacity venue on April 23. Another major event was secured for the event yesterday with the announcement that the 2024 MTV EMAs will be held at Co-op Live on November 10.

Co-op Live will be the largest arena in the UK when it opens. The venue had been due to stage its first event in 2023, but last June the opening date was pushed back until April 2024. Co-op Live is a joint venture between OVG and City Football Group, parent company of Manchester City. It will form part of the Etihad Campus, which houses City’s Etihad Stadium.