Inside the UK’s new biggest indoor £365,000,000 arena developed by Harry Styles

The new venue will become the UK’s biggest indoor arena (Picture: Getty)

Manchester’s new Co-Op Live will become the UK’s biggest indoor arena when it opens its doors this weekend.

The brand new venue, a £365 million operation built near to Manchester City’s Etihad football stadium, has a capacity of 23,500 as it looks to give the North a venue on the level of The O2 in London.

The arena has had investment from local lad and pop megastar Harry Styles, even as a minor financial partner, and he’s even been involved giving advice on certain design elements.

This evening (Saturday, April 20) the venue will house a test event with local lad Rick Astley before Peter Kay officially opens the venue on Tuesday.

From there, Manchester can look forward to a stacked lineup of top stars set to take to the stage.

The venue has been built by City Football Group, which is owned by billionaire Sheikh Mansour, who is an UAE royal and the country’s deputy prime minister.

Harry Styles has played a key role in the arena’s development (Picture: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA)

Rick Astley will perform a test event this evening (Picture:Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Oakview Music Group have also played a big role, with the organisation co-founded by music mogul Irving Azoff, whose business partner and son Jeff manages the likes of U2 and Harry Styles himself.

Further backers include SJM and Gaiety, and the venue wants to build on securing this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards with other massive events.

Co-op Live executive director and general manager Gary Roden told the BBC: ‘There’s no reason why the Brits can’t come up north.’

It’s an innovative space, with modern suites and even an in-house gym for artists, while Harry himself advised on no advertising boards to let performers focus on enjoying the moment.

Peter Kay will officially open the venue next week (Picture: Rex)

‘That costs us money not to have advertising in here,’ Gary added. ‘But that’s a decision that we’ve made in order to maximise the connection between artist and fan.’

The shape of the venue is also unique, with the floor – which has the capacity for 9,200 standing punters – being shorter but wider than more arenas around the world.

Manchester’s longstanding AO Arena – which has been in operation under a range of names for almost 30 years – has launched its own £50 million renovation to raise its own capacity by 2,000 to 23,000.

Who is set to perform at Co-Op Live?

After Rick Astley’s test run and legendary comic Peter Kay’s two night stint next week, the arena has already secured a huge lineup.

The Black Keys, Olivia Rodrigo, Keane, Take That, Elbow and Eric Clapton are all set for big shows, while Barry Manilow has signed on for an exclusive arena show next month.

Olivia Rodrigo and other international names are booked in 2024 (Picture: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for MTV)

It’s a diverse listing, with metal icons Slipknot also set to perform later this year(Picture: Venla Shalin/Redferns)

Eagles, who are managed by Co-Op Live investor Irving Azoff, will perform a farewell residency at the Manchester venue in June, followed by shows from Pet Shop Boys, The Smashing Pumpkins, James, Liam Gallagher, The Killers, Pearl Jam and Megan Thee Stallion.

Stevie Nicks, Kings of Leon, Justin Timberlake, Niall Horan, The Jonas Brothers, Charlie XCX, Slipknot, Sleep Token, Simply Red and Jason Manford also appear on a diverse bill.

How to buy tickets for events at Co-Op Live

Tickets for most shows announced from now until September are available to book on the Co-Op Live website, which takes you to Ticketmaster.

There look to still tickets available for most shows, with the full listings available here.

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