#SBS24 next month in Manchester! Welcome Wembley Stadium, Oxford United, Juventus FC, Sodexo Live!, Croke Park, Sviby, Stadio Algarve, Keppie Design, Everbank Stadium, Kulture City, PAM, Duracell/Procell, Trusts Arena, Worldpay, Suncorp Stadium... Join them
Driving your revenues, sustainability and fan experience: #SBS24 – 15th annual TheStadiumBusiness Summit in Manchester on 17-18-19 June

Design & Development

OVG’s Leiweke lifts lid on London arena plans

Featured image credit: Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

Featured image credit: Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of Oak View Group, has revealed plans to build a new arena in the Hammersmith area of west London.

Talks with local authorities are at an early stage, with no details released on the capacity of any potential arena or when it would be able to open.

Leiweke revealed the plans in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, but admitted it will be around a year before the project “gets real”.

“If you guessed Hammersmith it would be a good guess,” Leiweke said.

“We’re pretty focused on a particular site. We’re excited about the site. But I understand there’s a process and we need to talk to neighbours, we need to talk to the community, we need to talk to the business leaders and to political leaders. We’re going to play by their rules, I’m not going to get ahead of them.”

Leiweke was speaking ahead of the scheduled opening of OVG’s new arena in Manchester, the 23,500-capacity Co-op Live. Earlier today (Monday), it was announced that Co-op Live would not open tomorrow as planned due to issues relating to the venue’s power supply.

Leiweke formed OVG in 2015 and its venue portfolio also includes Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, UBS Arena in New York, and Moody Center in Austin. Co-op Live will be the largest arena in the UK when it opens.

Leiweke previously spent 20 years at AEG, which operates The O2 in London. Plans to build a second major arena in London have previously fallen by the wayside, with Sphere Entertainment recently dropping its proposal for a new venue in the capital.

Sphere Entertainment dropped the plans after Mayor Sadiq Khan rejected the project on the grounds that it would have an “unacceptable negative impact” on local residents.

Sphere Entertainment had been seeking to build a venue with 17,500 seats in the heart of Stratford, east London. The company recently opened a Sphere venue in the US city of Las Vegas, with the arena featuring the world’s largest LED screen.

Leiweke said the collapse of Sphere’s London arena project is a “lost opportunity for all” but he is confident that OVG would be able to develop a new facility in the city.

“I am not deferred in this mission statement, I am not altered in my enthusiasm for the opportunity,” he added. “No disrespect to New York or Los Angeles, but London is the best market in the world, especially for live entertainment. London deserves to have the greatest arena in the world. They don’t yet.”