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MEN Arena

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MEN Arena

Phones 4u Arena
Manchester Arena
The interior during a music concert
Former names NYNEX Arena (1995–1998)
Manchester Evening News Arena (1998–2011)
Manchester Arena (2011–)
Location Manchester city centre,
Greater Manchester,

53°29′17″N 2°14′38″W / 53.48806°N 2.24389°W / 53.48806; -2.24389Coordinates: 53°29′17″N 2°14′38″W / 53.48806°N 2.24389°W / 53.48806; -2.24389

Opened 15 July 1995
Owner Capital & Regional and GE Real Estate UK
Operator SMG
Surface Various
Construction cost £52 million
(£84.6 million in 2014 pounds[1])
Capacity 21,000
2002 Commonwealth Games
2008 FINA World Swimming Championships

The Manchester Arena, also known as the Phones 4 U Arena for sponsorship reasons, is an indoor arena in Manchester, England. The arena is situated on Hunts Bank and is connected to Manchester Victoria station. The Arena is among the largest indoor arenas in the European Union with a capacity of 21,000 and is one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, hosting music and sporting events such as boxing and swimming.[2] The arena was a key part of Manchester's bids to host the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000 and was eventually used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Arena design

The structure was designed by DLA Ellerbe Beckett, Ove Arup & Partners, and Austin-Smith:Lord and described by Clare Hartwell as "a huge soulless sports and entertainment complex, grafted onto the back of Victoria Station". The arena is sited in air rights space over the station and was constructed without disrupting use of the station. The original plans included a glass tower which was not built. It originally hosted a 7 screen multiplex cinema (1996–2000), a multi-purpose arena and multi-storey parking.The former multiplex cinema is now used as a call centre.[3]

A large truss measuring 105 metres spans the roof. Reinforced concrete is used to increase sound insulation. The upper parts of the building are clad in purple-grey with green glass.[4] The arena was opened on 15 July 1995.[5]

The arena was one of the first indoor venues in Europe to be built following the traditional American sports arena layout of 360 degree seating,[6] and is the only arena in the UK to have this feature (London's The O2 Arena also has 360 degrees seating, but only on its lower tier, whereas the Phones 4u Arena features it on both tiers). Other European indoor venues built to the same concept include the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Spaladium Arena in Split, Kombank Arena in Belgrade, O2 Arena in Prague, and O2 World in Hamburg.


The Phones 4u Arena was constructed as part of the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics.[7] Construction cost £52 million of which £35.5m was provided by government grants and £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund. Although built as an American style sports arena it has been more successful hosting large music events.[8]

The arena opened in 1995 sponsored by NYNEX CableComms as the NYNEX Arena and was renamed the Manchester Evening News Arena in 1998. The Manchester Evening News ended its 13 year sponsorship at the end of 2011 and the arena was renamed the Manchester Arena in 2012.[9] In July 2013 in a multi-million pound sponsorship deal by mobile phone company Phones 4u the arena was renamed to the Phones 4u Arena.[10]

On the opening night, 15,000 spectators watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean perform; the crowd was a record for an ice event.[11] Attendance records were set in 1997 when 17,425 people watched Manchester Storm play Sheffield Steelers, a record for an ice hockey match in Europe. When 14,151 people watched Manchester Giants play London Leopards, it set a British record for attendance at a basketball match.[11]

The venue attracts over a million customers each year for concerts and family shows, making it one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, and was named "International Venue Of The Year" in 2002 in the 'Pollstar' awards, and was nominated in the same category in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The arena was named "Busiest Arena Venue In The World", based on ticket sales for concerts in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 ahead of other indoor arenas including the Madison Square Garden and Wembley Arena. The arena was the 'World's Busiest Arena' from 2001 until 2007 based on ticket sales for concerts, attracting five and a half million customers. It was voted 'Europe's Favourite Arena' at the TIP Awards in 2008 by the touring companies that bring the shows to the venue.

In 2008, the arena was world's third busiest arena behind London's O2 Arena and New York's Madison Square Garden. In 2009, it was the world's second busiest arena behind London's O2 Arena and ahead of Antwerp's Sportpaleis and Madison Square Garden. Although second to London's O2 Arena the Phones 4u Arena had its busiest year with over 1,500,000 people attending concerts and family shows. The arena hosts over 250 events annually including comedy, live music and tours, sporting events, and occasionally musicals.[12]

World's Busiest Arenas – 2011[13]
Venue 2011 Ticket sales for concerts/shows
O2 Arena, London, UK 1.9 million
Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany 1.9 million
Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, UK 1.2 million
Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium 714,000
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia 706,000
The O2, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland 670,000
Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris, France 659,000
Staples Center, Los Angeles, USA 633,000
Madison Square Garden, New York, USA 616,000
O2 World, Hamburg, Germany 602,000
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada 582,000
LG Arena, Birmingham, UK 561,000
O2 World Berlin, Berlin, Germany 461,000



The arena has hosted music concerts since opening in 1995 and is the arena's primary source of visitors.

In 2002, Kylie Minogue performed on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 11 and 12 of May as part of her Fever tour.

The venue was used to record Westlife's Greatest Hits Tour DVD on 14 April 2003. Pink's performance, during her Try This Tour on 26 March 2004, was filmed and released on DVD as Pink: Live in Europe. McFly's Wonderland Tour was recorded there in 2005. Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad Tour was filmed on 6 December 2007 and released as the Good Girl Gone Bad Live DVD. The Spice Girls performed three shows during the Return of the Spice Girls Tour on 23/24/26 January 2008, the three last European shows of the tour. On 13–14 June 2008, Boyzone filmed their reunion tour, Back Again ... No Matter What DVD here. Morrissey filmed Who Put the M in Manchester on his 45th birthday on 22 May 2004.

Simply Red performed on 21, 22 and 23 January 1996 on Life Tour

Steps announced their split on Boxing day in 2001 at their final concert for 11 years before reforming in 2011 and returning to the arena for the first time on April 10, 2012 and then again on April 26, 2012 as part of Steps The Ultimate Tour, the band members were apprehensive upon arriving for the first tour date here after what had happened here 11 years ago. Janet Jackson was scheduled to perform her All for You Tour on 5 December 2001, but the show was cancelled. Kylie Minogue performed a webcast of her KylieFever2002 tour on MSN for fans around the world.

The Rolling Stones made their most recent appearance in Manchester at the arena on September 5, 2003, as part of the Licks Tour.

Cher performed one show on May 17, 2004 during the European leg of her marathon Living Proof: The Farewell Tour.

Kylie Minogue performed part of her Showgirl Tour on the 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28 of April 2005. In 2007, she performed on the 12, 13, 18, 19, 21, 22 and 23 of January as the final part of her Homecoming Tour. In 2008, she came back to perform on the 11, 12, 14, 15, 17 and 18 of July as part of her X world tour.

Madonna performed her Sticky & Sweet Tour on July 7, 2009. Madonna was due to perform two back-to-back shows but the July 8 show was cancelled.

On 15 July 2010, the arena celebrated its 15th birthday with a multi-artist gig, presented by Real Radio (North West).[14] An audience of nearly 10,000 was entertained by Scouting for Girls, Pixie Lott, The Script, Alexandra Burke, The Hoosiers, The Saturdays, Gabriella Cilmi, Taio Cruz, Craig David, Beverley Knight, Olly Murs, Amy McDonald, The Baseballs and Fyfe Dangerfield. Former steward, Peter Kay was a surprise guest which was hosted by Real Radio breakfast presenters Ditchy and Salty.

Lady Gaga has performed three dates at the Phones 4u Arena for her second world tour The Monster Ball Tour, and returned for one of her three UK dates as part of her third worldwide tour, The Born This Way Ball, with the 21,000 capacity venue selling out in under 10 minutes.

Kylie Minogue came back on 1, 2, 4 and 5 of April 2011 as part of her Aphrodite World Tour. Britney Spears performed at the arena on November 6, 2011 during her Femme Fatale Tour.

In November 2011, the arena hosted Children in Need Rocks Manchester which was broadcast live on BBC One as part of Children in Need 2011 and raised over 2,500,000 million pounds through ticketing and donations. In December 2011, The Saturdays performed at the arena as a headlining act for the first ever time, as part of their All Fired Up Tour. The Manchester date was chosen to be filmed for a future DVD release.

British electronic band Depeche Mode performed at the arena four times. The first was on October 2, 1998 during the Singles Tour, the second was on October 20, 2001 during the Exciter Tour, the third was on March 30, 2006 during the Touring the Angel and the fourth was on December 18, 2009 during the Tour of the Universe in front of a sold out crowd of 14,726 people. The 2009 show was recorded for the live albums project Recording the Universe.

American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at the arena six times. The first and the second were on March 11 and 12, 2003 during the By the Way World Tour, the third and the fourth were on July 11 and 12, 2006 during the Stadium Arcadium World Tour and the fifth and the sixth were on November 14 and 15, 2011 as part of the ongoing I'm With You World Tour in front of a total crowd of 26,356 people (13,268 per night). The performances of Monarchy of Roses and If You Have to Ask from the two 2011 shows were recorded for the live EP 2011 Live EP.

British pop band Duran Duran performed at the arena four times. The first and the second were on April 17 and 21, 2004 during the The Reunion Tour, the third was on December 18, 2005 during the Astronaut Tour and the fourth was on December 16, 2011 during the All You Need Is Now Tour. The 2011 show was filmed and recorded for the live video and album A Diamond in the Mind: Live 2011.

Irish rock band U2 performed at the arena on August 11 and 12, 2001 during the Elevation Tour in front of a total crowd of 38,742 people (19,371 per night).

Jay-Z and Kanye West performed two sold out shows, on the 11 and 12 June 2012, during their Watch the Throne Tour at the arena.

American entertainer Beyoncé performed 3 sold out shows at the Phones 4u Arena as part of her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour on May 7, 8 and 9, 2013. This was the 5th time Beyoncé has visited the Arena following concerts for her Dangerously in Love Tour(2003), Destiny Fulfilled...and Lovin' It(2005), The Beyoncé Experience (2007) and the I Am... World Tour (2009)

American singer/songwriter, P!nk returned to the Phones 4u Arena on April 14 and 15th to perform 2 sold out shows as a part of The Truth About Love Tour. This will be P!nk's 8th and 9th time playing the arena following her concerts for her Try This Tour(2004), I'm Not Dead Tour,(2006) and the Funhouse Tour (2009).

Roger Waters performed his The Wall Live show at the arena in May 2011. Performing the Pink Floyd album The Wall and is due to perform it again at the Phones 4u Arena in September 2013.

Rihanna performed at the arena during her Diamonds World Tour on June 12 and 13 and July 15 and 16 2013.


The Phones 4u Arena has been the home of three sports teams: the Manchester Storm and Manchester Phoenix ice hockey teams, and the Manchester Giants basketball team with limited success, as it is no longer used by sports teams but is used for one-off sporting events such as boxing and football masters.

Many boxers have had bouts in the arena, such as Amir Khan, Jermaine Johnson, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Mike Tyson, and David Haye. Hatton, from Manchester, became a regular and favourite at the arena.

The Phones 4u Arena hosted mixed martial arts events. UFC 70 on 21 April 2007, and UFC 105 on 14 November 2009 for which it set the European record attendance for the largest UFC event outside the USA with 16,000 spectators. The World Taekwondo Qualification Event for the Beijing Olympic Games was held at there on 28–30 September 2007 when 103 countries competed for 24 places at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In April 2008, the arena hosted the FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships, the first time the event has been held in the UK. The arena was transformed with two 25 m swimming pools constructed in 18 days and seating provided for 17,250 spectators.[15]

Monster truck racing events have been staged but the floor space has to be extended and the front section of seating in the lower tier removed.[16] A meeting of Premier League Darts from the PDC Professional Darts Corporation takes place once a year and has done since 2008.

In May 2011, the arena hosted a basketball contest between the Atlanta Dream (WNBA) and the Great Britain women's basketball team, billed as "WNBA Live", the first time a WNBA team had played in Europe. In July 2012, the Phones 4u Arena hosted an international between Great Britain men's basketball team and the United States men's basketball team in the build up to the 2012 Summer Olympics.


The first stand-up comedy performance was Peter Kay's final performance of his Mum wants a bungalow Tour in July 2003. He worked at the arena when it opened in 1996 and the performance was filmed for DVD release as Peter Kay at the Manchester Arena.[17] In 2005, Lee Evans set a world record for performing to the biggest audience in front of a crowd of 10,108.[18] Peter Kay's The Tour That Doesn't Tour Tour...Now On Tour ran for 20 consecutive nights and 20 nights at the end of the tour – a record for the venue.[19] Alan Carr filmed the DVD for Spexy Beast in Manchester.


The Phones 4u Arena also hosts the annual convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2013 this will be held on the 5th, 6 & 7 July.

Technical facts

  • Lower tier fixed seated capacity – 10,762
  • Upper tier fixed seated capacity – 8,870
  • Ice hockey and gymnastics – up to 17,643
  • FINA Swimming championships 2008 – 17,250
  • Basketball – up to 20,500
  • Boxing – up to 21,000
  • Side stage – up to 11,150 (fully seated)
  • Conventional end-stage concerts – 13,500–15,800 (fully seated)
  • Conventional end-stage concerts – up to 19,350 (floor standing)
  • In the round concerts – up to 20,400 (fully seated)
  • In the round concerts – up to 21,000 (floor standing)
  • 30 hospitality business suites (seats up to 12 guests)
  • 8 top floor suites known as 'The White house' (each seats between 6 and 15 guests—located in the white sports commentators boxes when not in use)
  • 4 party suites (seats up to 25 guests)
  • The arena claimed to have the world's largest indoor video scoreboard when it opened in 1995. The videowall has been deactivated, but remains in situ mounted in the roof. It has been replaced with an LED Ribbonboard mounted on the video scoreboard's exterior.


Public transport access
Manchester Metrolink Manchester Metrolink Victoria
National Rail National Rail

The arena adjoins Manchester Victoria railway station where there is also a Metrolink tram stop. It has a large car park nearby and smaller car parks are located around the city centre.



External links

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