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Design & Development

Co-op calls on OVG to address disruption to fans as Take That gigs move to AO Arena

Featured image credit: Co-op Live

Co-op Live’s naming-rights partner has urged the Manchester venue’s operator, Oak View Group, to address the impact of schedule changes on ticket-holders “as a priority” after it was announced yesterday that five upcoming Take That concerts would now take place at the rival AO Arena.

The Manchester boy band was originally scheduled to perform on five dates next week at Co-op Live, which has endured numerous delays to its grand opening.

“Given the ongoing technical issues around the opening of the Co-Op Live Arena we have taken the difficult decision to move our May shows to the AO Arena where we have enjoyed many great nights over the years,” Take That said in a statement. “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we wanted to give our fans as much notice as possible.

“We’re mindful many of you will already have travel and accommodation plans in place, so we have chosen this option to minimise inconvenience to as many people as possible.”

In a separate statement released to TheStadiumBusiness.com, a Co-op spokesperson echoed concerns about the disruption caused to fans.

“As naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live we are disappointed with these further schedule changes,” the spokesperson said. “We fully appreciate and understand the impact and upset the delays have caused to ticket-holders and our Co-op members.

“Co-op is a sponsor and does not own or run the venue, and we have made it clear to Oak View Group, who are responsible for the building, that the impact on ticket-holders must be addressed as a priority. We are pleased that they will shortly be putting plans in place to do so.

“We also understand that the necessary safety checks following yesterday’s incident are being completed and independently verified so that Co-op members and other ticket-holders can be reassured that the venue has the very highest levels of security and safety measures.”

A scheduled performance by rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was cancelled at the last minute on Wednesday after a nozzle from the ventilation and air conditioning system fell to the ground from the ceiling. Scheduled performances by Olivia Rodrigo tonight and tomorrow have already been pulled at the 23,500-capacity venue, which will be the biggest indoor arena in Europe when it opens.

A statement from Co-op Live yesterday said: “Following the events that led to the cancelled A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie show on 1 May, we have decided to take a short pause to events at Co-op Live to fully ensure the safety and security of fans and artists visiting the venue. This time will allow for an independent inspection of all elements of the arena ceiling.”

Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester said on Thursday: “As with all event venues, the safety of staff and customers is the highest priority even if that means there are delays. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

According to Manchester City Council, the authority’s building control is yet to sign the building off. However, the Manchester Evening News was told that venues can operate without a completion certificate.