AO Arena Manchester indoor venue building, Northwest English entertainment centre renovation news

AO Arena Manchester indoor venue

31 May 2022

ASM Global and HOK Unveil Plans for Reimagined AO Arena in Manchester, UK

Design: HOK

Location: Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester, England

Multi-million-pound investment will transform and elevate beloved venue for live entertainment

AO Arena Manchester indoor venue building
image : HOK

AO Arena Manchester building news

MANCHESTER, 31st of May 2022 — ASM Global and HOK have announced an ambitious plan to transform the iconic AO Arena in Manchester. Set to begin this summer, the £50-million renovation will enhance the venue’s position as a premier destination for live entertainment through innovative new guest amenities and significant infrastructure improvements.

“AO Arena is embedded in the urban fabric of Manchester and has long been a beloved spot for fans and artists alike,” said John Rhodes, director of Sports + Entertainment at HOK, and the renovation’s lead designer. “This extensive transformation will incorporate the latest and most impressive spectator offerings, from hospitality lounges to reimagined concourses and elevated premium offerings, while simultaneously upgrading back-of-house spaces to ensure the arena continues to attract the most impressive artists long into the future.”

“AO Arena is an iconic venue and a much-loved part of Manchester’s rich culture and history. It has delivered world-class entertainment experiences for more than two decades,” said Chris Bray, executive vice-president, Europe at ASM Global, the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences, venue management and event strategy, “As we approach our 30th anniversary, this ambitious endeavor will reinforce AO Arena’s position as a leading destination for live entertainment and extend its market leadership for live experiences for the next 30 years. We’re proud to be further investing in the heart of Manchester.”

The renovation’s first phase will expand standing-floor capacity, add new hospitality lounges and upgrade the concourse experience. Additional renovations will include brand-new arena entrances, diverse and tailored premium offerings, custom lounges and new VIP seating. These elevated amenities will contribute to revenue generation while differentiating the spectator experience. Backstage improvements will include new artist dressing rooms and production areas, a world-class green room with meet-and-greet facilities, new crew catering spaces, and best-in-class connectivity and technology.

AO Arena has already scheduled major sell-out events in 2022, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg, George Ezra and more. The construction schedule will work around these events.

“This is a really exciting time for the AO Arena. Not only are we able to welcome guests back after a challenging two years with a programme packed full of world-class acts and entertainment, but we can also reveal the first phase of ASM Global’s plans for the arena’s redevelopment,” said Jen Mitchell, general manager of AO Arena. “This will not only elevate the experience for guests and fans but for everyone who sets foot in the venue, including artists, production, crew and our staff who work so hard to make the magic happen at each and every event.”

Opened in 1995, the arena was the first indoor venue in the UK to be built with 360-degree seating. Attracting more than 1 million visitors annually, the 21,000-capacity arena is a former winner of ‘Venue of the Year’ from Stadium Business Awards. Musical acts that have performed in the venue include: The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin legends Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Pavarotti, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and homegrown Manchester artists Take That, Oasis, Elbow, New Order and The Courteeners. The venue also has hosted sporting events including the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships and international boxing bouts by Mike Tyson, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, David Haye, Joe Calzaghe and local champions Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan and Anthony Crolla.

Officials from AO Arena will release more detailed plans in the coming months.


With offices around the globe, HOK designs buildings and spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. HOK designers are rooted in technical excellence, driven by imagination and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities. HOK’s Sports + Entertainment practice specialises in the design of arenas, stadiums, ballparks, training facilities and entertainment centres.

The group plans and designs world-class facilities that are centrepieces of successful, vibrant entertainment districts, communities and campuses. Current and recent projects include Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi; Casal España Arena in Valencia, Spain; Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the State Farm Arena renovation in Atlanta; the renovation of Footprint Arena in Phoenix; a new Major League Soccer stadium in St. Louis; Rogers Place and the Ice District in Edmonton; Little Caesars Arena in Detroit; and the renovation of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

ASM Global
ASM Global is the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences. It is the global leader in venue and event strategy and management—delivering locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to achieve maximum results for venue owners. The company’s elite venue network spans five continents, with a portfolio of more than 350 of the world’s most prestigious arenas, stadiums, convention and exhibition centers, and performing arts venues.

HOK Architects

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Address: Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR, England, UK
Phone: 0161 950 5229
Capacity: 21,000
Opened: 15 July 1995

Location: Manchester, Northwest England, United Kingdom

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