SMG Europe, the world leader in venue management and operation, has appointed its senior management team to launch and operate the 13,500 capacity Leeds Arena, the leading edge concert and entertainment facility currently under construction and scheduled to open in September 2013.
A landmark development for the city, the Leeds Arena will act as a catalyst for investment, regeneration, jobs and tourism, with an annual economic impact estimated at more than £25 million. It will generate circa 70,000 additional bed night stays per annum for the city’s hotels.
General manager Ben Williams will lead the team charged with managing the internal fit out of the arena once construction work completes in Spring 2013. He will be supported by assistant general manager Alisa Oliver and operations director John Webster. The team will prepare the Arena for its opening in September 2013.
Together with Martin Farrington, Leeds City Council’s director of city development, the SMG Europe team outlined the shared vision for the Arena and the commercial opportunities available to the region’s businesses, at a launch organised by Marketing Leeds today (25/9/12).
Ben was formerly the commercial and marketing director for the SMG-run Manchester Arena, the second busiest entertainment arena in the world (Pollstar 2011), and his appointment is seen as a major coup for the city.
Ailsa Oliver was part of the pre-opening team for Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena and John Webster most recently opened the Ora Arena & Convention Centre in Istanbul, Turkey for SMG Europe. John and Ailsa bring over 45 years of experience working in the live entertainment industry.
The invited audience were taken through some of the corporate and sponsorship deals that would be available at the 13,500 capacity venue, the only purpose built ‘super theatre’ arena in the UK. Designed by Populous, the world leading arena architectural practice, the Leeds Arena features a unique fan-shaped design which allows perfect sight lines for every seat in the house.
Ben Williams, general manager at the Leeds Arena, said: “The Leeds Arena offers businesses in the region a wealth of opportunities and they will play an important part in its success. We wanted to keep them informed of the progress being made and let them know that we are very much open for business.
“We have recently opened our Leeds office in Tower North Central and we look forward to developing our profile and relationships with key stakeholders and members of the business community in Leeds over the coming months.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for the economy and development, said: “This is a significant step in the development of the Leeds Arena as businesses in the city can really begin to see the economic benefits that it will deliver, and the opportunities for them to get involved.
“The Leeds Arena will be a world-class venue that attracts world-famous acts and it is being delivered on time and on budget.”
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Marketing Leeds, said: “The Leeds Arena will clearly have a major impact on the economy and profile of the city. It will be an asset that helps to attract further investment and help drive significant economic growth.
“It is one of a number of high-profile schemes that start or open their doors in 2013, demonstrating the appeal that Leeds has for investors and developers alike and reinforcing our position as the second fastest growing city in the UK ”
Leeds Arena: key facts
- 13,500 capacity United Kingdom’s first purpose built ‘fan-shape’ arena
- Architects Populous other works includes The London Olympic Stadium, The Emirates, the Wimbledon Roof and Buenos Aires Velociudad
- So far, over 60 businesses based in Leeds have been contracted as part of the Leeds Arena construction, with a further 40 from the Yorkshire region.
- An annual economic impact of £25.5 million generating c70,000 bed night stays per annum for the city’s hotels
- The arena construction will be completed in Spring 2013 ready for internal fit out to operator specifications
- The first acts will perform in summer 2013
For further information relating to commercial and corporate hospitality opportunites associated with the Leeds Arena, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org