Enormous full cost of Co-op Live as Elbow gig finally opens arena after 3 weeks of chaos – and costs will rise further

BOSSES have revealed that Manchester’s Co-op Live Arena will likely cost £85million more than expected after a series of delays hit the venue’s opening.

The arena was reportedly supposed to cost £365million but is now said to reach a whopping £450milion.

Tim Leiweke chief executive of the Oak View Group, admitted that arena costs will reach £450million

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Tim Leiweke chief executive of the Oak View Group, admitted that arena costs will reach £450millionCredit: Ryan Jenkinson
The Co-op Live arena is the UK's biggest indoor arena with a capacity of 23,500

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The Co-op Live arena is the UK’s biggest indoor arena with a capacity of 23,500Credit: MEN Media
Guy Garvey of Elbow playing Co-op Live in Manchester on their Audio Vertigo tour on Tuesday evening

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Guy Garvey of Elbow playing Co-op Live in Manchester on their Audio Vertigo tour on Tuesday eveningCredit: Alamy

The venue officially opened last night with a homecoming gig from Bury band, Elbow.

However, the site faced a string of high-profile setbacks as fans who queued outside were turned away just minutes before doors were supposed to open.

Tim Leiweke is the chief executive of the Oak View Group (OVG), the American operator behind the venue who co-owns it with City Football Group.

He told Manchester Evening News, the extra costs were “painful” but that “they’ve taken it on the chin”.

He said: “Are we spending more than anyone anticipated originally? Yes, but it will be worth it.

Tim added: “This job cost them more than anyone ever expected.”

“We’ve been building this arena for five years, this is the longest construction I’ve ever seen on any arena ever built, it’s a complicated beast.”

The Co-op Live arena is the UK’s biggest indoor arena with a capacity of 23,500.

The venue aims to attract big-name acts away from London, as well as award shows and sporting events.

OVG, City Football Group and their contractor (BAM) are set to spend close to £450million on the arena, according to Tim.

However, the venue’s boss failed to comment on whether they’ll face any financial penalties because of the delays.

The boss also denied reports that they were warned in February that the site wasn’t going to be ready.

Fans expecting to see A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie were turned away after part of the air-conditioning unit fell during the sound check earlier this month.

However, Tim insists that concert-goers can be confident that the arena is safe and claims the previous fault was an isolated incident due to a dodgy valve.

The arena boss apologised to fans for the constant delay but explained that he couldn’t open the doors until they had double-checked the equipment and infrastructure.

Tim remains optimistic that the last three weeks of chaos will be forgotten after the arena finally opened its doors last night.

A Co-op Live spokesperson told The Sun: “Given the delays, we are expecting that the costs have now exceeded the original £365m however it will take a little while to fully quantify the final costs.

“We are very pleased to have opened Co-op Live for a celebratory performance by Elbow on 14 May 2024.

“Following an initial delay in building readiness and an inspection identifying an isolated manufacturing default to our HVAC units, we are now fully focussed on delivering one of the world’s best live entertainment experiences in the UK’s largest live entertainment arena.”

Co-Op Live Arena Timeline

2020

The venue is given planning permission.

Oak View Group say the project will cost £350million and will create 3,500 jobs during construction and an additional 1,000, once the arena is opened.

That same year, former One Direction member Harry Styles was announced as an investor for the arena, which is next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

2023

The Jonas Brothers are announced and scheduled to perform on June 17 2024.

They are followed by more acts confirmed over the year for the venue, which is set to open in April 2024.

February 29 2024

The 2024 MTV European Music Awards (EMAs) will take place at the arena on November 10.

April 20

Headaches for Co-op Arena became clear after capacity for a test event was reduced with just hours’ notice.

April 22

More drama ensued when comedian Peter Kay’s show was postponed with less than 48 hours notice.

The comedian took to social media and said he was “truly gutted” for his fans.

A spokesman for the arena said that “consistent total power supply to our fully electric sustainable venue” was two days behind and there needs to be more time to test it “thoroughly”.

April 25

Gary Roden, the general manager, resigned after a host of issues.

Rebecca Kane Burton, an ex-boss of London’s O2 Arena, was then announced as interim general manager.

April 26

Peter Kay and The Black Keys both had to reschedule dates because the venue wasn’t “ready”.

He later went on X, formerly known as Twitter, to share his disappointment but added that the safety of the fans was more “important”.

The comedian moved his performance to May 23 and May 25, whereas The Black Keys were now set to perform on May 15.

The arena reassured fans that rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and singer Olivia Rodrigo’s shows would be going ahead as planned on May 3 and May 4.

May 1

Both A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Olivia Rodrigo dates are postponed. 

This was just over an hour before A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was set to perform, with the venue saying that there was a problem during the soundcheck.

A component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system used to direct air had separated from the ductwork.

This forced the contractors and third-party inspectors to test each nozzle to ensure no more faults.

Two hours after cancelling A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, the venue said that Rodrigo’s gigs would not go ahead on May 3 and 4.

A statement on X said: “Ticket holders can either hold on to their tickets or obtain a refund at point of purchase.”

May 14

The venue finally opened its doors with concert-goers arriving at the arena last night to see Bury rock band, Elbow.

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