AO Arena steps in to host Take That as chaos grips £365m new rival venue

AO Arena

Manchester’s AO Arena has stepped in to host Take That and other artists as the new Co-op Live arena continues to be plagued by safety issues.

The three remaining members of Take That will now be performing their shows at the city centre arena in a move that has compounded the deepening embarrassment of the new £365m venue opened by American investor Oak View Group (OVG).

The music venue announced the move on social media, saying: “Welcome back, Take That! The band synonymous with the city of Manchester returns to AO Arena for 5 nights on Tuesday 7th May, Thursday 9th May, Friday 10th May, Saturday 11th May & Sunday 12th May.”

In an Instagram post Take That said: “Given the ongoing technical issues around the opening of Co-op Live we have taken the difficult decision to move our May shows to the AO Arena where we have enjoyed many great nights over the years.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we wanted to give our fans as much notice as possible.”

The race is now on for AO Arena’s owners ASM to pull out all the stops and manage the ticket rescheduling in time for the shows this week.

As well as satisfying customers who have bought tickets for shows, a large part of the success of major event venues is in building confidence with artists and their management.

In another audacious move, the AO Arena will also host American rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie this weekend after his show was cancelled at the last minute on Wednesday night, 1 May 2024, after part of an air conditioning unit fell from the ceiling during the sound check.

On social media the artist said: “Yesterday’s cancelled Manchester show has been rescheduled for this Saturday at AO Arena! We won’t give up that easy let’s go!”

In preparation for the arrival of Oak View Group’s new site next to the Etihad stadium, the management of the AO Arena have invested in corporate facilities and spent a reported £50m on a major upgrade.

ASM’s Chris Bray said last year: “I’ve been around the city here for two years since moving into this role and seen nothing but growth in this city in that time and it’s an amazing, vibrant place. Competition is good, it raises our game and it’s great for all of the fans who are coming through the doors as well, so we’re both really well placed for that.”

Tim Leiweke, Chairman and CEO, Oak View Group issued an immediate apology for the ongoing chaos surrounding the disastrous opening of the new venue, he said: “The safety and security of all visiting and working on Co-op Live is our utmost priority, and we could not and will not run any event until it is absolutely safe to do so. Today was a very unexpected situation but without a doubt the right decision. I deeply apologise for the impact that this has had on ticket holders and fans.”

Last week’s disastrous opening week saw Gary Roden, the general manager of Manchester’s £365m new Co-Op Live Arena take the rap for the unfolding disaster, and dramatically resigned after the opening of the venue was delayed.

Sponsor the Co-op Group has also demanded the venue managers come up with a clear plan to safely open the venue.

Co-op Live has been built by City Football Group in partnership with Oak View Group, co-founded by US music mogul Irving Azoff.