Leeds Arena will be ‘one of world’s best’

WORLD famous musicians of the calibre of Bruce Springsteen and Madonna are set to help the new Leeds Arena become one of the top 10 concert venues in the world, the managing director of its management company has told an audience of business leaders.

John Sutherland of SMG Europe told the audience at the annual Leeds Chamber of Commerce lunch that the arena would provide Leeds with “a truly international venue” to help it become a “truly international city”.

Mr Sutherland said SMG Europe, which has created world class venues including the Louisiana Superdome, had no plans “for turning back on this project” but warned the 400-strong audience at The Queens Hotel that it was “now or never” for its construction.

SMG Europe will manage and operate the 12,500 seat venue in Claypit Lane which is set to be completed in three years’ time.

“Will it (Leeds Arena) be a success?,” Mr Sutherland asked the audience. “Absolutely it will be a success.

“SMG is the most experienced operator of arenas in the United Kingdom. We know our markets and do our research. 

“The number of concerts and projected ticket sales we have forecast will put the Leeds Arena at the forefront of major international venues.

“We are fully expecting it to be in the top 10 in the world within two to three years of opening.”

What do you think of John Sutherland’s comments? Is the Leeds Arena now a definite reality? Leave your comments below.

He said major musical acts, as well as top drawer comedians, theatre productions and world class sporting events would line up at the arena.

Gary Lumby, president of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, told the audience the arena development was an “exciting prospect for Leeds”.

Mr Lumby said: “The arena will play a pivotal role in the future success of the city and city-region and independent research shows that it would bring in an astonishing £27m per annum in economic advantages to the city-region, as well as creating a significant number of jobs.

Mr Sutherland also explained how Leeds Arena’s fan shaped design would offer audiences better experiences than at other venues.

“Bringing around three quarters of a million people a year into Leeds city centre will have a significant impact,” he added. “The financial ripple effect of the arena will be felt by everyone from retailers, hoteliers, bars, restaurants – even limo drivers. It’s going to put Leeds back on the international stage.”

In an upbeat address, Mr Lumby said that although he believed the recovery out of the recession may be slow, there was potential for the next 10 years to be the city’s best.

He said the Chamber was modernising its approach to help achieve this vision.

Reflecting on the last 12 months, Mr Lumby urged the business community to be “optimistic not pessimistic” and pointed to Leeds Arena, Leeds Bradford Airport’s expansion, the Leeds City College merger and Ashes Week as major positives for the area.

Mr Lumby said the Chamber’s aim was “Making Businesses Better” and said its new changes would include a corporate social responsibility strategy, a new website and ambassadorial opportunities for members.

What do you think of John Sutherland’s comments? Is the Leeds Arena now a definite reality? Leave your comments below.