O2 renews sponsorship of string of music venues in £70m deal

The 10-year deal is thought to be worth about £7m a year

O2 has renewed its sponsorship of music venues across Britain in cities including Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool in a deal worth around £70m.

The agreement sees the mobile phone operator retain the O2 Academy naming rights to the music venues in 13 cities, The Guardian reported.

The 10-year deal, struck with Live Nation and Academy Music Group which own the venues, is thought to be worth about £7m a year.

Nina Bibby, chief marketing officer at O2, told The Guardian: “The Academy venues are local venues, part of the communities in which they are located,” she said.

“They support grass roots music communities. It is amazing to me when you look at how the music industry has evolved over the last decade, live music is now so important to artists, the venues are to their communities and to music fans. This isn’t just some badging exercise paying some money to be a naming partner. It is so much more than a sponsorship.”

In February, the telecoms firm spent £125m to keep the naming rights to the London venue The 02, until at least 2027.

The company, which is owned by Spanish telecoms company Telefonica, is expected to bid in broadcasting regulator Ofcom’s upcoming multi-billion pound auction for mobile spectrum that will enable 5G services in the next decade.

O2 is seeking to return to the stock market with an £11bn initial public offering potentially later this year.

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