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Operations

Co-op Live to open up with integrated travel offer

Featured image credit: Co-op Live

Featured image credit: Co-op Live

Co-op Live has teamed up with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to aid travel to the new arena during its opening season of events, with travel on Metrolink and new city centre shuttle buses set to be included in all arena event tickets during the first two months of operation.

The venture will run from April 20 to June 30. As part of Co-op Live’s commitment to sustainable travel, and funded by the venue, fans will be able to use Metrolink from four hours before and up to four hours after, depending on the timing of each show, with a valid arena event ticket.

The introduction of trams every six minutes, all-day from Monday to Saturday, and later trams on a Friday and Saturday, promises increased capacity between the city centre and the Etihad Campus tram stop, with Co-op Live being developed on land adjacent to Etihad Stadium, home of Premier League football club Manchester City.

The initiative aims to complement the development of the ‘CityLink’ walking route – a significant upgrade to the existing link between Holt Town tram stop and the Etihad Campus. A joint project between Co-op Live, Manchester City FC, TfGM and Manchester City Council, it has been designed to create a vibrant pre-event experience with proposed features including interactive lighting installations and busking spots for performances by local musical talent.

Co-op Live and TfGM will also be introducing a city centre shuttle bus service. The number of shuttle buses available will vary by event profile, with a maximum of 10 buses per show.

The announcement today comes after it was recently revealed that Co-op Live will open as planned next month following the award of a premises licence. Manchester City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee 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, resumed battle over the development of the new 23,500-capacity venue for the English city during the licensing process.

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. Co-op Live’s operating hours had been questioned in relation to transport plans and impact on local residents during the arena’s planning and development process.

Gary Roden, executive director and general manager of Co-op Live, said today: “We are dedicated to ensuring easy and accessible transport links to and from Co-op Live and are delighted to be working with Transport for Greater Manchester to offer this inclusive service for our fans for opening season.

“Coupled with the planning application submitted for a new ‘CityLink’ walking route from the city centre to the Etihad Campus, we are further demonstrating our commitment to the environment by encouraging more sustainable transport choices, and providing additional neighbour-friendly options to support increased footfall across East Manchester.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, added: “Co-op Live is an exciting addition to Manchester’s already buzzing music and entertainment scene and this travel offer will mean people off to enjoy a night out watching the biggest acts in music, comedy and entertainment can do so knowing they will be able to get there and back without any hassle.

“As we build the Bee Network we want to make it easier for people to make all kinds of journeys and this pioneering partnership between TfGM and Co-op Live is showing that in action.

“This is a big step to ensuring everyone can enjoy the city’s unrivalled nightlife knowing safe, reliable and sustainable travel is all part of the package and I can’t wait to get down there myself when the new arena opens in April.”

Davis Cup Finals head back to AO Arena

In other news, AO Arena has retained hosting rights to the Davis Cup Finals, it has been announced today.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has declared that China will host a Davis Cup Finals event for the first time, after confirming the venues for the 2024 Group Stage.

Bologna, Italy (Unipol Arena) and Valencia, Spain (Pabellon Fuente de San Luis) will host for the third consecutive year, while Manchester’s AO Arena will host for the second year in a row. China’s event will take place at the Hengqin International Tennis Center in Zhuhai.

The Finals Group Stage takes place on September 10-15, with 16 teams vying for a place in the 2024 Davis Cup Final 8 in Malaga, Spain, which will be held from November 19-24.

The 2024 Davis Cup Final 8 is being hosted in Malaga as part of a wider partnership between the ITF and the Region of Andalucia. The region will also host the 2024 Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville in November, as well as the junior editions of both competitions.