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All posts tagged arena redevelopment

Lend Lease have been chosen as the managing contractor for the refurbishment of Australia’s top concert venue Rod Laver Arena (RLA).

As well as being the Australian Open’s centre court, Rod Laver Arena was recently rated by Pollstar magazine as the top Australian venue by concert tickets sales with 289,924 tickets sold in the first three quarters of 2015.

The new refurbishment will allow Rod Laver Arena to host more shows and bigger productions with improvements including:

• A new eastern pod to become the main entrance to the Arena
• A more efficient loading bay allowing shows to ‘bump’ in and out faster reducing the down time between concerts
• Enhanced equipment and rigging facilities ensuring RLA can host the biggest shows
• Automated retractable seating that can be set up in a matter of hours instead of the several days required previously
• Improved eateries offering diners a wider variety of options in more convenient locations around the building.

After a detailed and lengthy evaluation process, Lend Lease’s extensive experience on similar large scale, complex projects impressed the evaluation panel and was a significant factor in their selection.

Lend Lease was also able to demonstrate a clear strategy for the refurbishment of RLA whilst keeping the venue open as much as possible during the works.

Brian Morris, CEO of Melbourne & Olympic Parks – who was one of the industry expert speakers at our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event for the second year running – said:

The improvements planned will be the most significant to take place in the history of Rod Laver Arena.

The back-of-house upgrades will allow our promoters and hirers to bring bigger and better shows to the Arena, while the overall event experience will be greatly enhanced for our patrons.

We’re delighted to again work with the award-winning team at Lend Lease.

The refurbishment is part of Stage 2 of the AUD$700+ million Melbourne Park Redevelopment along with the new Administration and Media Building, as well as the new Batman Avenue footbridge, which directly links Melbourne Park with Birrarung Marr.

Works on Rod Laver Arena will begin after the 2016 Australian Open and are expected to be completed in 2019. The venue will continue to host events during the refurbishment process.

RLA_02 RLA_02

The San Antonio Spurs’ NBA preseason home opener was the public’s first look at the USD$110m renovation of the AT&T Center, which was designed by HOK.

Bexar County Judge, Nelson Wolff, said:

This facility surpasses anything that you’ll see in the nation. It’s an extraordinary amount of work that was done in a relatively short amount of time.

About 700 workers spent the summer working on the AT&T Center to get it ready in time for the 2015-16 season.

There are new seats, new artwork and the centrepiece is the new scoreboard, a high-definition system with four 20ft by 30ft screens. Each screen of the scoreboard, video system, made by YESCO Electronics, is the size of 30x 80-inch TVs stacked together and gave fans the perfect view of the Spurs’ 96-92 win.

Fans got to see the Spurs from all new vantage points as well. On the balcony level, two new corner bars with a view of the court made for busy hangout spots.

On the terrace level, 14 new four-seat theatre boxes make for an intimate game-watching experience, with fans in the boxes enjoying their own dining area as well.

Bill Crockett, a regional leader of HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice said:

The highest possible level of teamwork made this successful. This is a great home for Bexar County and Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

This is the latest and greatest, newest state-of-the-art venue in the NBA and in the United States.


Photo credit: Jason Ytuarte for Spurs Sports & Entertainment

Situated on the north bank of the River Seine, the AccorHotels Arena in Bercy, Paris, reopened on October 14, 2015, following an 18-month, complete refurbishment.

One of Europe’s largest concert halls and sports arenas, the AccorHotels Arena (formerly Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy or simply Bercy Arena) will now offer the very latest in visitor facilities, technology offerings, and a fantastic live experience for performers and spectators alike.

As part of the design team lead by DVVD architects and engineers, Populous, in a consulting role, drew on their international arena-design experience, including the 50,000-capacity Philippine Arena in Manila, to design a bowl that would suit multiple configurations, including the ATP Masters Series Paris tennis tournament.

The seating formation of the AccorHotels Arena is designed to be able to attract the biggest names from around the world for 20,300-capacity sellout gigs, as well as suiting smaller, more intimate events of around 7,000 spectators. This versatility will support the arena and local community throughout the year.

Populous Principal, Francois Clement, said:

It is great to be a part of the redevelopment of an arena with such a rich history. The new AccorHotels Arena is going to play a really important part in the story of entertainment in Paris and in Europe, and we can’t wait to see it in action in the coming weeks and months.


Image: Accor-Hotels-Arena-©-Bercy_DVVD-Architectes-et-ingénieurs_Yam-Studio.-1024×385

Naming Rights

ReutersAccorHotels landed the naming rights to Paris’ indoor concert hall and sports arena, Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy (POPB), as part of its strategy to boost brand awareness and thus revenue.

The deal also paves the way for future cooperation between AccorHotels and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), one of the world’s largest music entertainment promoter and co-operator of the Paris arena, AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin told Reuters.

Under the plan, which was cleared by the Paris City Council late September/early October, France’s biggest concert hall – with a capacity of 20,000-seats built 30 years ago on the eastern edge of the city – is now the AccorHotels Arena POPB.

AccorHotels is spending €4.15m per year for the 10-year naming rights deal, with an option to extend it for another 10 years.

The world’s fourth-largest hotel group changed its own name from Accor to AccorHotels back in June and has been accelerating its digital business to fight back against online rivals.

The naming rights deal was awarded by a consortium controlled the City of Paris and by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), owned by Denver billionaire, Philip Anschutz.

Future cooperation between AccorHotels and AEG could focus on offering packages coupling AEG entertainment tickets with reservations in AccorHotels and with AccorHotels loyalty cards.

Rock bands U2 and the Foo Fighters will be among the first acts to play the revamped arena, which now boasts an increased capacity of 20,300-seats (it previously offered 17,000) following the makeover, which was said to cost around €150m.

Naming rights are a relatively new concept in France, where most sports venues are owned by the local authority/municipality. Recent initiatives in the sector have included the new Bordeaux stadium, which was named Matmut Atlantique under a ten-year contract with French insurer Matmut Group worth around €20m, and the Nice stadium, renamed Allianz Riviera Stadium, for roughly the same amount.


In the second installment of this series of special reports on the many sports venue developments either already underway or in the pipeline across the Asia Pacific region, we take a look at the Rod Laver Arena redevelopment and the new Perth Stadium.

Rod Laver Arena redevelopment

Rod Laver Arena (RLA) is the pre-eminent venue at Melbourne Park, hosting a range of events throughout the year and accommodating centre court during the Australian Open. RLA (pictured above) is the third most successful venue in the world by ticket revenue sales, and currently the sixth by attendance levels. (Note: These rankings do not include Australian Open attendance.)

Melbourne & Olympic Parks Precinct have pivotal importance to the city of Melbourne and the part it plays in Australia’s National Sporting Identity.

The redevelopment project of this 15,000-seat venue has a significant importance in maintaining and improving the iconic Rod Laver Arena’s position and prestige as home to one of the world’s most famous Grand Slam Tennis tournaments – The Australian Open – and an ever-increasing number of major events, conferences and performances.

RLA is undergoing this redevlopment in order to retain iconic events such as the Australian Open. As part of a broader Stage 2 Melbourne Park Redevelopment the AUD$338m RLA refurbishment is to meet world’s best standards and ensure its ongoing viability as a Grand Slam and Major Events facility.

Cox Architecture have designed the plans that will improve existing facilities at the RLA and provide new state-of-the-art spaces that will serve Victorians for another 27 years.

The project will be delivered over the course of four years, with the first major construction works commencing in 2016, and all works scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Brian Morris, CEO, Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust, alongside Phil Martin, Strategic Relationship Manager, Cox Architecture, are just two of the 50+ industry-elite speakers confirmed to participate at next month’s Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 event. #StadiaArenaAP

The new Perth Stadium

The multipurpose 60,000-seat new Perth Stadium will be a world-class venue.

The commitment to a ‘fans first’ stadium has resulted in an innovative design, ensuring an exceptional event atmosphere and home ground advantage that can only be experienced by being there.

The design acknowledges Western Australia’s unique sporting, cultural and Aboriginal heritage and the Sports Precinct landscape provides a spectacular vista across the Swan River to the City.

The new Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct is being constructed on the Burswood Peninsula, east of the Perth CBD. The Stadium will accommodate 60,000 seats with the ability to increase the seating capacity to 70,000 within the existing stadium structure, if required. The unique bronze façade uses anodised aluminium, which reflects WA’s unique geology by day and, using state of the art LED lighting, home team colours by night. The lightweight fabric roof covers 85% of seats and responds to Perth’s climatic conditions.

The project is being developed by Westadium, a consortium led by Brookfield Financial and John Laing. The design team comprises of Cox Architecture, Hassell, HKS and Arup.


The new Perth Stadium & Sports Precinct.


 Our Q3 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine will feature an exclusive piece discussing how the new Perth Stadium is utilising BIM technology to deliver on its promise of a state-of-the-art, fans’ first stadium.

In addition, not only will Cox Architecture design Principals be in attendance at our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 event, but also Arup’s Chris Dite, Associate Director, Sport Venue Design, who is one of the event’s 50+ industry-elite speakers.


If you haven't already registered to attend Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015, then make sure to do so online today at:

If you haven’t already registered to attend Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015, then make sure to do so online today at:

New look Rod Laver Arena unveiled

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After almost 30 years as one of the world’s favourite sports and entertainment venues, Rod Laver Arena is getting a bold new makeover that will ensure it continues to host the best events in Australia.

The multi-million dollar refurbishment, part of the AUD$700m+ Melbourne Park Redevelopment project, will significantly enhance every aspect of the customer experience and rejuvenate the external design of the iconic venue. A suite of new developments are aimed directly at improving the event experience for patrons, including:

  • A striking new eastern annex which will be become the main public entrance to the arena and provide new public amenities
  • New food and beverage outlets that will cater for a wide variety of dining options, including outlets on the floor level providing patrons with easier access to food and drinks during shows
  • Upgraded bathroom facilities with more toilets, including a Changing Places toilet to cater for patrons with disabilities
  • Increased disability access including universal access to the seating bowl

Patrons, promoters and hirers are set to be big winners from significant back-of-house improvements that will allow bigger and better shows to come to the arena:

  • A larger, more efficient loading bay that will allow concerts to be set up faster and increase the number of shows
  • Increased rigging capacity and back-of-house improvements to accommodate promoters and hirers bringing the largest blockbuster shows to the arena

Four building contractors have been selected to tender for the works: Brookfield Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd, Built Pty Ltd, Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd and Lend Lease Building Contractors Pty Ltd.

The construction contract is expected to be awarded by October 2015, with work scheduled to start in February 2016, following the Australian Open.

Rod Laver Arena will remain operational throughout the refurbishment. The upgraded areas and new extensions to the arena will be opened progressively over the four years of construction with completion expected in 2020.

The Rod Laver Arena upgrade is part of the AUD$338m second stage of the Melbourne Park Redevelopment, which will further enhance Melbourne’s world-class sporting precinct.

Other elements of Stage 2 include:

  • A pedestrian bridge over Batman Avenue creating a new gateway from the heart of Melbourne to Melbourne Park
  • A new eight-storey Media Building that will provide media and broadcast facilities for the Australian Open and house staff from Melbourne & Olympic Parks and Tennis Australia (currently under construction)

Stage 2 of the project is expected to create 1,300 FTE construction jobs from 2015-2020 and boost the Victorian economy by AUD$164m from construction. Melbourne Park currently hosts over 200 events a year, providing $421 million in economic benefit to the State and creating 3,140 FTE jobs.

The refurbishment amounts to the first major construction work to take place at Rod Laver Arena since it first opened to the Victorian public in 1988.

In that time, the Arena has established itself as a much-loved venue both in Australia and internationally. Its remarkable versatility has been evidenced in the array of events it has held over the years – from rodeos and dirt bike demonstrations, gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, swimming, family shows, concerts and of course the Australian Open tennis.

Brian Morris, CEO Melbourne & Olympic Parks, commented:

Around one million people visit Rod Laver Arena every year to view the Australian Open and attend functions and concerts. We are delighted to unveil today’s refurbishment plans, which will provide a completely new look and feel for our flagship arena.These plans modernise Rod Laver Arena and will ensure we can continue to provide world-class events in a safe and comfortable environment. It’s a tremendous outcome for all our customers – hirers, promoters, sponsors and all visitors to the Melbourne & Olympic Parks precinct.

Brian Morris is one of the many top industry professionals confirmed to speak at our ‘live’ event, Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015, which will be hosted at the Singapore Sports Hub once again this September, 28-30. To secure your place at this must-attend event, contact Sam Wibrew via email at: or visit the website at:

Project team

Stage 1



Stage 2



Work on the redevelopment of Rod Laver Arena is scheduled to start in February 2016, following the Australian Open. The venue will remain operational throughout the refurbishment. The upgraded areas and new extensions to the Arena will be opened progressively over the four years of construction, with completion expected in 2020.

Work on the redevelopment of Rod Laver Arena is scheduled to start in February 2016, following the Australian Open.
The venue will remain operational throughout the refurbishment. The upgraded areas and new extensions to the Arena will be opened progressively over the four years of construction, with completion expected in 2020.

Construction has started at the AUD$122m (USD$94m) Carrara Sports Precinct that is being built for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ (GC2018), taking place in Queensland, Australia.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones, joined Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, to mark the beginning of the project’s initial phase, the redevelopment of Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

Palaszczuk said:

The Centre is a major piece of infrastructure for the Gold Coast and will accommodate a wide range of court sports, including basketball, netball, indoor soccer and badminton… [it] is a major piece of infrastructure for the Gold Coast and will accommodate a wide range of court sports.

As a GC2018 host venue, the project is expected to generate 400 jobs during its design and construction phases.

Jones advised:

The Commonwealth Games infrastructure programme is an important investment in the region that will not only generate 1,000 jobs during design and construction, but also ensure the local community, local business and local industry reap long-term benefits from the event.

Ahead of GC2018, AUD$320m (USD$245m) will be invested in venue infrastructure, including AUD$154m (USD$118m) in Commonwealth Government funding.

Carrara Sports Precinct: Redevelopment

Revitalisation of the Carrara Sports Precinct will provide new and upgraded facilities for a range of elite and community sporting groups on the Gold Coast. The vision for the precinct is to create a vibrant and engaging venue space that will attract community and sporting events long after the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ (GC2018).

A range of enhancements will occur throughout the Carrara Sports Precinct that are designed to create new world-class sporting facilities that will serve a range of community sporting needs and attract major sporting competitions to the precinct in the future. All permanent enhancements will be delivered by early 2017 in preparation for when it will become the signature venue precinct for GC2018, hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Athletics, Badminton, Weightlifting and Wrestling competitions.

The AUD$121m Carrara Sports Precinct redevelopment will cater for elite and community sporting groups, as well as provide a range of amenities for public use. The redevelopment will be delivered as four key projects including the new Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, upgrades to the Carrara Indoor Stadium, upgrades to Carrara Outdoor Stadium, and general precinct upgrades such as improvements to existing sports fields.

The redevelopment will be delivered as four key projects throughout the precinct and construction will take place from early 2015 to early 2017.

Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre

This new multi-purpose community facility will comprise of two mixed-use indoor halls connected by a pedestrian plaza. The new centre will support a range of sport and community facilities including function rooms, change rooms and administrative facilities. The mixed-use sports courts are designed to accommodate a wide range of court sports including basketball, netball, indoor soccer and badminton.

The Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre will provide world-class competition and training facilities on the Gold Coast capable of hosting international sporting events such as the badminton and wrestling competition during GC2018.

Carrara Stadium upgrade

Carrara Stadium is a world-class facility and will benefit from permanent lighting and technology upgrades ahead of GC2018. Construction is scheduled to commence in late 2016.

Carrara Indoor Stadium upgrade

Refurbishment of this multi-purpose indoor venue will extend community usage of this facility for the next 20 years and beyond. The project will deliver upgraded spectator seating, technology upgrades, new internal and external cladding, and a new roof. Construction is scheduled to take place from late 2016 to early 2017.

Southern Sports Fields

Three new multi-sports fields will accommodate a range of community uses including soccer, football and school carnivals. Other facilities will include outdoor lighting, car parking, access roads, public amenities and a shared clubhouse facility. Construction is scheduled to take place from early 2015 to late 2015.


Register your interest as a supplier for this project


Architect: BVN Donovan Hill

Managing Contractor: Hansen Yuncken

Deliverables: New indoor sport facility and and upgrades to facilities throughout the precinct

Status: Construction phase

GC2018 sports: Opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, badminton, wrestling and weightlifting

Location: Carrara


Wasps announce planned improvements at the Ricoh Arena

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Wasps have announced a series of planned upgrades at the Ricoh Arena over the coming months, which will improve access, customer experience and increase footfall.

Located within two hours of 75% of the country, access to Wasps’ new home will be further enhanced in June 2015 when a railway station opens on-site at the Ricoh Arena with direct links to Coventry and Nuneaton railway stations.

The Club have also announced that Hilton Worldwide have agreed terms for the conversion of the Ricoh Arena Hotel into a DoubleTree by Hilton. The Franchisee agreement will be signed upon finalisation of the refurbishment plan and Hilton Worldwide Board Approval. It is the intention that work will start on the conversion in the second quarter of this year with the new hotel brand launching in early Autumn.

Further improvements will include upgrades to existing bars and restaurants. When finished, the Ricoh Arena will offer five great bars, three restaurants on-site and over 20 other food and beverage outlets to customers visiting the Arena.

As well as being home to Wasps, the Ricoh Arena is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose venues for business, sport and entertainment. In addition to the 121-bedroom hotel onsite, the Arena also houses a Grosvenor Casino, 20,000sqm of flexible event space, 80 versatile suites, two restaurants, a Costa Coffee Lounge and the Jaguar Exhibition Hall, which can accommodate up to 12,000 for events, concerts and sporting occasions such as Davis Cup tennis, alongside the 32,600 seater stadium for rugby and football, which increases to a capacity of 40,500 for concerts within the stadium bowl.

David Armstrong, Group Chief Executive Officer of Wasps, said:

We are thrilled that another global brand has recognised the powerful potential created by the combination of the Wasps brand and the award-winning venue of the Ricoh Arena – one of the UK’s leading conference, exhibition and entertainment centres. Working with a high profile hotel partner is a key element in Wasps and the Ricoh Arena’s strategy to position itself as the UK’s leading multi-purpose venue.
Following Wasps’ transformational move to Coventry, we have not only seen the club’s match day attendances triple and hospitality increase by over 500%, but also ACL’s Conference & Exhibition business turnover increase by 50% in the first four months since Wasps purchased the Ricoh Arena. We are proud to have established a wide range of blue-chip partnerships since our move, including partnerships with two Fortune 500 companies in our Main Club Partner Land Rover and official partner EMC, with more exciting additions to our partner family to be announced in due course.

About the Ricoh Arena:

The Ricoh Arena is an award-winning venue which has a mix of state-of the-art conference, banqueting, exhibition, hotel, music and sports facilities. Visited by over 1 million people each year, it is a firm favourite in the UK for music promoters as well as business and sports event organisers. The facilities include:

  • 32,609 seater stadium
  • 121-bedroom hotel
  • One of the UK’s largest casinos
  • 20,000sqm of flexible event space across 80 rooms which can conference up to 7,000 delegates
  • Leading concert venue of 40,500 capacity – hosting concerts such as Bon Jovi, Oasis, Bruce Springsteen and Take That
  • 6,000 sqm Jaguar Exhibition Hall – accommodating 12,000 standing and hosting conferences such as Costa Coffee and indoor concerts such as Florence and the Machine, The Enemy, Britain’s Got Talent, Radio 1 Extra and the UKs biggest gaming festival – Multiplay
  • 650 retractable seated auditorium
  • Two on-site restaurants
  • 20+ retail, food and beverage outlets
  • 2,000 car parking spaces


Winners of RDS Arena redevelopment competition announced

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A consortium of architecture firms, Dublin-based Newenham Mulligan Architects and London-based Grimshaw Architects, has won the international design competition for the multimillion-euro redevelopment of the RDS Arena.

The RDS, with Leinster Rugby, will work to complete the design of a world-class RDS Arena that will host professional rugby matches, equestrian sports, music concerts and other appropriate sporting opportunities as they arise.

Managed by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), the competition saw five designs anonymously shortlisted, with the winner chosen by a five person expert jury.

Speaking about the winning design, Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the RDS said:

The jury was unanimous in their selection of the Newenham Mulligan/Grimshaw entry. Their winning concept represents an exciting design response to a complex brief. Entries had to accommodate professional rugby, world-class equestrianism and music concerts, in an already very busy events venue. These three elements were exceptionally well incorporated by the winning consortium who stood out for their understanding of the multi-faceted nature of the development and their vision for the RDS Arena.

Focusing on funding for the redevelopment, Duffy said:

Having secured our design team, the RDS’ focus is now on securing the necessary funding for this development. We have budgeted for an overall capital investment of at least €20m for the redevelopment. A number of potential funding streams are currently being explored, including naming rights.

Leinster Rugby will continue to play their home games as normal during the redevelopment of the RDS Arena, which is expected to begin in 2016.

Welcoming the announcement, Mick Dawson, Chief Executive, Leinster Rugby said:

This is a very exciting time for Leinster Rugby. We continue to make strides on the pitch with a home Champions Cup Quarter-Final against Bath to prepare for and we are naturally delighted to be making strides off the pitch and moving to the next stage of this project. Leinster Rugby has a loyal supporter base and the redeveloped capacity of 25,000 in a purpose-built venue will provide greater opportunities for our supporters and commercial operations.

Gate revenue is a significant feature of our current business model, and we are sure that this redevelopment will help with this, as well as allowing us to explore additional commercial revenue streams. At the moment we have a section of terrace for supporters and though the final plans are not yet complete, we hope to have a terraced section in the new stadium to accommodate people who prefer this. Though the majority of supporters will be seated.

Commenting on the significance for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, Dawson added:

A newly developed RDS Arena certainly has the potential to significantly add to the World Cup bid, and we hope to speak to the IRFU in due course.

Images courtesy: RDS/Leinster Rugby

Images courtesy: RDS/Leinster Rugby

Northview Rugbyside-onimage

Elonex to become official digital screen partner of Barclaycard Arena

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The Barclaycard Arena, formerly the NIA, has secured the global technology firm Elonex as its official digital screen partner.

As part of the new agreement, Birmingham-based Elonex have installed 111 state-of-the-art screens throughout the revamped venue, ensuring the redevelopment will include the most cutting-edge technology.

The purpose of the screens is to enhance the customer experience at the Barclaycard Arena. The screens will engage with audiences digitally and broadcast informative and entertaining content.

Elonex have also installed an unmissable 26m² digital screen in to the new glass façade overlooking the canal at the new Barclaycard Arena. The screen is set to be unveiled early in January 2015 and will deliver a high impact display to welcome visitors.

Nick Smith, Chief Executive of Elonex, said:

We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the Barclaycard Arena, particularly at such an exciting time for the venue. The redevelopment which has taken place is outstanding, and the addition of the high impact Elonex digital screens will serve to enhance the overall visitor experience. The digital screens are designed to engage and interact with customers in order to add to the enjoyment of visiting the new venue, and we’re sure they will prove extremely popular. This new partnership further adds to the Elonex digital network which spreads across the Midlands in the form of digital roadside billboards and digital screens in major shopping centres and sports stadiums, and we’re very much looking forward to playing our part in the Barclaycard Arena becoming world renowned for delivering excellence.

Phil Mead, Managing Director of Arenas at the NEC Group, said:

The redeveloped Arena has been purpose-built to provide an improved and enhanced experience to meet the changing expectations from audiences and performers alike. The partnership with Elonex, who are leaders in the world of digital technologies, will support and contribute to us providing this experience. The innovative improvements will reinforce our market position and raise our status as a world-class venue.


About the Barclaycard Arena

The Barclaycard Arena, formerly the NIA, was officially launched on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 following a GBP£26 redevelopment.

All areas of the venue have been upgraded in the redevelopment – from front of house through to backstage, adding 5,926m² of pre/post show space into the 13,437m² of redevelopment.

The architects for the redevelopment are Broadway Malyan, with BAM Construction Ltd appointed as contractor.

The Arena is one of the busiest, large-scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in the world and its capacity can range from a maximum of 15,892 to 2,466 for more intimate events. The redevelopment has introduced improved facilities for all visitors to the venue, including improved dressing room facilities for artists, giving a ‘five star hotel feel’. The outside has been transformed to give a real sense of anticipation to an unforgettable event, and the customer experience has been improved throughout, from hospitality, to food and drink and improved toilet facilities. The increased capacity will ensure that more people will be able to see the world-class events that will be hosted at the .

Birmingham’s revamped National Indoor Arena (NIA) to become the ‘Barclaycard Arena’

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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.

Image courtesy:


NIA’s redevelopment entering final phase

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The NIA Birmingham’s £26m redevelopment is “on-time and on-budget” with some elements of the build “delivered early” according to Managing Director, Phil Mead.


Phil said:

As the arena enters its last intensive build phase, we are looking forward to seeing the results of everyone’s hard work finally coming together. We have been a live venue up until now, so complete shutdown until September allows for the essential work to accelerate and take us to completion on-time in December 2014.


The three month long dark phase sees the arena closed to the public and all but essential staff remain as critical work takes place, which includes the installation and completion of:

•              A new concourse and ground floor

•              Walls from the existing NIA to the new façade

•              Mechanical and electrical services continuing build of new food and beverage areas, box office, new retail spaces and a new plant room

•              A new feature staircase which will be visible from the amazing glass-fronted façade

•              Old dressing rooms will be demolished to make way for new technical storage

•              All of the arena seats will be removed to be replaced with modern, comfortable seating

•              Beautiful copper cladding to the distinctive ‘fins’ on the outside of the new frontage will become visible

•              Continuing work on the 10m x 50m LED feature light wall


Phil added:

The NIA is located at the heart of one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in Europe. With its impressive light wall experience designed to welcome visitors in and illuminated 30 metre ‘sky needles’ providing a focal point on the Birmingham horizon. The NIA will become the impressive arena come ‘super-theatre’ it needs to be to continue to attract the very best in global entertainment and sport and provide visitors with utterly memorable experiences.


The redevelopment, which has been project managed by Novus, will see capacity increase from 14,150 to 15,992 adding an additional 6,000 metres of retail space and an extension of the concourse areas by over three times at some points from 7 to 21 metres. In addition, there will be a huge increase in toilet facilities, new dressing rooms, new  hospitality lounges and a seven-day a week retail offer.


The NIA re-opens to the public on September 15, 2014, with The Saturdays in concert.

Barcelona’s once in a century decision over venues

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Agusti Benedito told delegates to the Stadia & Arena conference in Istanbul that his candidacy for President of the Barcelona club was intimately bound up with venue development. It is not a straightforward contest between spending and not spending money. Talking about the basketball, handball and volleyball, he said:

Barca obviously deserves an arena similar to an O2 London. There is no excuse not to have a new arena. The current board of directors has pledged this. If I become President, Palau Blaugrana arena will take centre stage.

Benedito believes any decision made about the Camp Nou stadium is illegitimate unless the 170,000 socis (owners/club members) cast their vote. Which makes the next presidential election the right time to get a mandate for a properly researched and costed development plan. So that the stadium debate and vote can take place soon, Benedito says that the club’s regulations allow for an election before the current President’s term runs out in 2016.

The regular Barca fan, like me, says he or she desires the best possible stadium but is flexible on the economic situation. That’s why we need to be sure and to get the fans’ opinions.

The Camp Nou has to be improved but not at any cost.

Barcelona’s large complex, which currently houses Camp Nou, Palau Blaugrana (blue red, the colours of Barcelona) and the Mini Estadi, offers the opportunity to develop a masterplan to introduce new sporting and non-sporting elements such as restaurants, museum and hotel. There appear to be opportunities for commercial partnerships to finance renovation of the sporting facilities.

Benedito is clear that a new arena, with its smaller investment requirement, should be built now. He believes the socis agree. On the stadium, there are still the two options of remodelling and rebuilding and Benedito, on balance, thinks remodelling is preferable. He is also clear that:

It will be up to the socis to decide the future of the stadium, the most important decision in 50 years.


Agusti Benedito (left) addresses delegates at the Stadia & Arena conference on the topic of the Barcelona club's venue development plans.

Agusti Benedito (left) addresses delegates at the Stadia & Arena conference on the topic of the Barcelona club’s venue development plans.