Birmingham’s iconic National Indoor Arena (NIA) made entertainment history as it was officially launched as the Barclaycard Arena by global music sensation Michael Bublé, following a GBP£26m redevelopment.
The venue’s substantial redevelopment, as part of a partnership with Barclaycard – the UK’s leading payments business – and the NEC Group, has seen all areas upgraded to create a world-class music and entertainment venue that provides a best-in-class customer experience; with architecture, urbanism and design practice, Broadway Malyan, having delivered the architecture, landscape architecture and interior design services for the revamp.
To mark the historic evening, global superstar Michael Bublé opened the Arena with a sell-out performance in front of a crowd of almost 14,000 fans and celebrity guests including TOWIE’s Jessica Wright, this year’s X Factor Contestants Jay James, Paul Akister and Lola Saunders, as well as Olympic Gold medallist Greg Rutherford and Rugby World Cup legend Austin Healey.
The lucky guests who attended the December 2 show were the first to experience the Arena’s brand new state-of-the-art facilities including comfier seating, a much-increased capacity, nearly 6,000m²of new pre/post show space, excellent hospitality choices – including The Vista Rooms, an exclusive, free lounge for Barclaycard customers – and brand new retail and merchant outlets.
The most dramatic element of the refurbishment is a brand new glass façade overlooking the Brindleyplace canal side development, which includes an LCD ‘wonderwall’ (as pictured above), distinctive copper fins, iconic Sky Needles and a boardwalk that will be home to the quality retail units – creating a dynamic scene on arrival for visitors and a focal point in the centre of Birmingham.
In addition to the Vista Rooms, Barclaycard customers will get extended benefits at the venue, including fast track entry; pre-sale tickets to events and shows; and ‘Fee-Free Friday’ where tickets brought through 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 revamped venue will also offer the latest contactless payment technology throughout to provide fast and efficient service to enhance the overall experience. Contactless was introduced into the UK by Barclaycard and has recently seen very strong growth in the West Midlands.
Barclaycard’s involvement builds on its wider involvement in the music and entertainment industry, which includes current partnerships with British Summer Time Hyde Park and previously, the Wireless Festival.
Michael Bublé played an additional second show to another full house on December 3.
Phil Mead, Managing Director of NEC Group Arenas’ business, commented:
The launch of the Barclaycard Arena is a momentous occasion for the arena, the city of Birmingham and the wider area. The redevelopment has ensured that the venue continues to be world class and provide an ultimate live event experience for visitors.
The Arena has a rich heritage of attracting the very best global entertainment and we look forward to continuing to do so in what we see as a venue which has been innovatively designed to deliver an outstanding experience for our visitors, performers and promoters.
Katherine Whitton, Chief Marketing Officer at Barclaycard, added:
Our sponsorship of the Arena continues the strong connection we have as a brand with music and entertainment and has given us the opportunity to create a best-in-class customer experience.
The Arena has been entirely redeveloped with customers at its heart. It offers state of the art facilities including top of the range seating and an unrivalled new food offering, alongside a host of added extras for Barclaycard customers such as access to an exclusive lounge, pre-sale tickets and fast-track entry.
We’re very proud to put our name to the Barclaycard Arena and we’d like to thank the people of Birmingham for welcoming us to their city.