Birmingham’s iconic National Indoor Arena (NIA) is to be renamed the Barclaycard Arena when it re-opens in December, following its substantial two-year GBP£26m refurbishment, as part of the five-year partnership Barclaycard – the UK’s leading payments business – and the NEC Group signed in 2011.
As part of the venue’s substantial eighteen month redevelopment, all areas have been upgraded, with the changes made being in direct response to feedback from visitors over the years – creating a world-class music and entertainment venue that provides a best-in-class customer experience.
Barclaycard’s involvement builds on its wider involvement in the music and entertainment industry, which includes current partnerships with the Mercury Prize, British Summer Time Hyde Park and previously, the Wireless Festival.
Since opening in 1991, the NIA has become one of the busiest large scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in Europe, staging everything from sports events to concerts, entertainment spectaculars, business conferences and exhibitions, benefitting from its position at the heart of the UK’s second city.
Attracting up to a million visitors a year, and accommodating more World and European Championship sports events than any other arena in Europe, the multi-purpose venue has undergone an extensive redevelopment over the past two years to vastly improve the customer experience and ensuring that the venue remains a world-class venue.
The most dramatic element is the brand new glass facade overlooking the Brindleyplace canal side development, which creates a dynamic arrival for visitors and creates a focal point in the centre of Birmingham. Nearly 6,000m² of new show space has also been added, new food and drink options installed, and state-of-the-art seating that combines extra legroom with the removal of the previous restricting barriers.
The revamped venue will also offer the latest contactless payment technology throughout to help speed up the queues at bars and catering outlets on event days. Contactless payment was introduced into the UK by Barclaycard and is seeing huge growth in the West Midlands as both consumers and businesses realise the benefits of its ease, speed and convenience.
Barclaycard customers will get extended benefits at the venue, including access to exclusive lounges from where they can soak up the pre-show atmosphere; fast track entry; pre-sale tickets to events and shows; and ‘Fee-Free Friday’ where tickets bought through The Ticket Factory using a Barclaycard on a Friday have no admin fees.
This extends opportunities already opened up by the partnership, across the wider Barclays group, such as access for Premier customers to an exclusive Barclays Premier lounge inside the venue.
The venue redevelopment also forms a central part of Birmingham City Council’s ‘Big City’ Plan – a 20 year vision to make Birmingham a truly world-class city centre and firmly position it as the UK’s second city.
Global sensation Michael Bublé, who has sold over 35 million records worldwide, will officially open the Barclaycard Arena on Tuesday 2nd December. He will play two nights at the Arena, for which Barclaycard customers can access a 48-hour presale on tickets from 9am on Wednesday 1st October.
Katherine Whitton, Chief Marketing Officer at Barclaycard, said:
The partnership we entered into with the NEC Group in 2011 was all about us joining forces to make the NIA fit for the 21st Century, creating one of the best entertainment venues in the UK, and supporting a city where a significant number of our customers and merchants are situated.
Following its refurbishment, the Barclaycard Arena has been entirely re-invented, with state-of-the-art facilities, a much-increased capacity, brand new retail and merchant spaces and the latest contactless payments technology to vastly improve the customer experience and make it easier for those attending to enjoy the entertainment.
Birmingham is a thriving city at the heart of the UK and this project is both about recognising the important role it plays in the country’s economy and supporting it in becoming a national destination for music and entertainment.
Paul Thandi, Chief Executive at the NEC Group, added:
The renaming of the NIA to the Barclaycard Arena continues to build and strengthen our partnership with Barclaycard. The new name reflects the enhanced and improved experience that the refurbishment will provide visitors, artists and promoters.
The Arena has a rich 21-year history in Birmingham, welcoming world-renowned singers, athletes, comedians and performers who all help to shine a light on what our city has to offer. The renaming is another historic moment in this and allows us to continue to be a world class venue leading in providing the ultimate live experience.
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