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The Manchester Evening News Arena or M.E.N. Arena (commonly referred to as just The M.E.N. or simply Manchester Arena) is a large indoor arena in Manchestermarker, Englandmarker. It is currently sponsored by the Manchester Evening News and has a capacity of 3,000 to a maximum capacity of 23,000 depending on the event being staged, making it one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe. It was opened in 1995, and was initially sponsored by NYNEX (a British cable television provider, as opposed to the NYNEX Corporation, a telephone service provider in the United States) as the NYNEX Arena. The Arena took its current name in 1998 after the NYNEX brand name had disappeared as a result of a merger with Mercury Communications in 1997.

The M.E.N. Arena is one of the world's busiest indoor arenas and concert venue. The arena was built to coincide with Manchester's two bids to host the Olympic games in 1996 and 2000 (which were won by Atlantamarker in 1996 and Sydneymarker in 2000).

The Arena is regularly host to many of the world's top musical acts, including; Arctic Monkeys, The Backstreet Boys, Counting Crows, Jack Johnson, McFly, Westlife, Take That, The Killers,The Corrs, Iron Maiden, Morrissey, Madonna, Spice Girls, Girls Aloud, Britney Spears, Ciara, Lionel Ritchie, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Minogue, Pink, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, The Pussycat Dolls, Tina Turner, Cascada, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, The Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, The Pet Shop Boys, U2, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Enrique Iglesias, My Chemical Romance, Justin Timberlake, Muse, Mariah Carey, Queen, Barbra Streisand, Coldplay, Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Kelly Clarkson, Nickelback, Eric Clapton, Deep Purple, Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa and many others.

The M.E.N. Arena was one of the first indoor venues in Europe to be built following the traditionally American sports arena layout of 360 degree seating, and is the only arena in the UK to have this feature (London's O2 Arena also has 360 degrees seating, but only in one tier, whereas the M.E.N. arena features it on both tiers). Other European indoor venues built to the same concept include the Kölnarenamarker in Cologne, Zagreb Arenamarker in Zagrebmarker, Spaladium Arenamarker in Splitmarker, Belgrade Arenamarker in Belgrademarker, O2 arenamarker in Praguemarker, Color Line Arenamarker in Hamburgmarker, and similarly The O2 arenamarker in London.

The M.E.N.'s seating capacity is one of Europe's most dynamic for an indoor venue. It is often chosen by touring acts because its design and layout makes the venue ideal for any type of performance. One day the arena could host an ice rink, the next day a concert, the next day a basketball match. The seating is split into an upper tier (bowl) and a lower tier, separated by 35 hospitality suites.

History

The Manchester Evening News arena was constructed as part of Manchester's unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics Games. It cost £52 million to build with £35.5M from government grants and £2.5M from the European Economic Development Fund. The structure was designed by DLA Ellerbe Beckett, Ove Group, and Austin-Smith:Lord. The arena was opened on 15 July 1995. On the opening night, 15,000 spectators watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean perform; the crowd was a record for an ice event. 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 new British record for attendance at a basketball match.

Arena success

The M.E.N. Arena has attracted a huge number of customers since opening its doors in 1995, as it is Europe's largest concert venue. The opening event held there was a performance by Torvill and Dean, as part of their farewell tour. The venue attracts over a million customers each year for concerts and family shows alone, making the venue one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, in regard to this the M.E.N. Arena was named "International Venue Of The Year" in 2002 by concert industry insiders in the 'Pollstar' awards, and was nominated in the same category in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The M.E.N. Arena was also named "Busiest Arena Venue In The World", based on ticket sales for concerts in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 beating competition from other indoor arena's including New York's Madison Square Gardenmarker and London's Wembley Arenamarker. (2007 figures) The Arena has also been named the 'World's Busiest Arena' of the last 5 years (2001-2007) based solely on ticket sales for concerts, attracting five and a half million customers to concerts. The MEN Arena was voted Europe's Favorite Arena' at the TIP Awards for 2008 voted for by the numerous touring companies that bring the shows to the venue.

Despite its success, the venue is criticized by some locals. It is seen by some as a soulless concrete bowl, with heavily overpriced merchandise, food and drink, However this could be said to be the same as any major entertainment arena. The upper tier of the arena is also very steep due to the arena being constructed in the heart of the city center, and the view from the rear blocks (207-210) is poor depending on the event that is being held; Yet the tickets in these blocks are often priced at the same rate as those with a much better view.

In 2007 the Arena was named 'World's Busiest Arena' for concerts for a record 5th time, the top ten venues in 2007 were:
Venue 2007 Ticket sales for concerts/shows
Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester, UK 1,245,196
Madison Square Gardenmarker, New York City, USA 1,230,433
O2 Arenamarker, London, UK 1,209,376
Wembley Arenamarker, London, UK 901,778
Air Canada Centremarker, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 670,255
HP Pavilionmarker, San Jose, California, USA 666,587
Bell Centremarker, Montréal, Québec, Canada 620,403
Philips Arenamarker, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 564,258
American Airlines Centermarker, Dallas, Texas, USA 539,030
Izod Centermarker, East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA 527,694


Today, it plays host to many worldwide performing artists including some of the biggest stars in the world of music. Over 250 events take place at the arena annually including comedy acts, live music and tours, sporting events, and occasionally musicals. In 2008 The MEN Arena was named world's 3rd busiest arena behind London's O2 Arena and New York's Madison Square Garden.

Sports

The M.E.N. Arena has been the home of three sports teams: the Manchester Storm and Manchester Phoenix ice hockey teams, and the Manchester Giants basketball team. However, with limited success, as the arena is not currently the home of any sports teams. However the arena is regularly used for one-off sports events such as boxing and football masters.

Boxers such as Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Mike Tyson, Jeff Lacy, Kostya Tszyu and other world champions have fought there. Hatton (a Manchester native) became a regular and favourite of the M.E.N. Arena until his split with Frank Warren, who has exclusive rights there for boxing shows. Amir Khan has also fought at the venue.

World Wrestling Entertainment has hosted multiple events at the Arena over the years. It first hosted WWF Mayhem in Manchester in 1998 drawing over 19,600 people (a European record for an indoor WWF/WWE event). The arena also hosted WWF No Mercy in 1999. On October 26, 2002 it hosted the SmackDown! UK-only pay-per-view WWE Rebellion, as it did in 2001. Also on October 11, 2004, it hosted the first ever RAW that was filmed in Europe, and was followed the next day by a taping of WWE SmackDown!. RAW and SmackDown! returned to the M.E.N. Arena on 13 November and 14 November 2006 and returned for live tapings of RAW and Smackdown on 10 and 11 November 2008 respectively. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), made their first appearance at the arena in January 2009.

The M.E.N. Arena has also hosted mixed martial arts events. UFC 70 on April 21, 2007, and UFC 105 on November 14, 2009. The World Taekwondo Qualification Event for the Beijing Olympic Games was held at the Arena on September 28-20, 2007; at this event 103 countries competed for 24 places at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Also in April 2008 the arena hosted the FINA shortcourse swimming championships, the first time it has been held in the UK. For this the arena was transformed into a 17,250-seat swimming event venue. Two 25 m swimming pools were constructed into the floor of the arena and the pools were completed within 18 days.

The arena was also used by Manchester United when they won the Champions League in 1999. The arena was the final destination of their bus tour which saw United parading the trophy to around 750,000 fans across Manchester, including 19,500 fans in the arena itself. The 2008 UEFA Champions League Final was also shown in the arena on a big screen in front of 7000 spectators.

Monster truck racing events have also been staged at the arena in the past. To allow for the arena floor space to be extended for such events, the front section of seating in the lower tier (from around row H forward) can be removed.

Technical facts

  • Lower bowl fixed seated capacity – 10,762
  • Upper bowl fixed seated capacity – 8,870
  • Large theatre setup - 7,600
  • Small theatre setup - 3,500
  • Ice hockey and gymnastics - up to 17,643
  • FINA Swimming championships 2008 - 17,250
  • Basketball - up to 20,500
  • WWE - 14,500 to 18,500
  • Boxing - up to 21,000 (fully seated – although has been quoted by the media that up to 23,000 people attended the recent Amir Khan boxing fight)
  • Side stage - up to 10,650 (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 'The White house' (seats up to 15 guests—located in the white sports commentators boxes)
  • 4 party suites (seats up to 25 guests)
  • The arena has its own 1,500 capacity car park
  • The arena is the European flagship venue of SMG
  • Like Madison Square Garden in New York City, Philips Arenamarker in Atlanta, and TD Banknorth Gardenmarker in Boston, The M.E.N. Arena is situated beside/above a main railway station (Victoria Stationmarker). This means that people can get a train to the venue instead of driving.
  • The M.E.N. Arena claims to have the world's largest indoor video scoreboard. This might have been the case when the venue first opened but now there are many arenas, namely in the USA, that have installed larger scoreboards. The videowall has since been removed and replaced with an LED Ribbonboard.


Trivia

  • British comedian Peter Kay worked as a steward at the arena before becoming famous. This was spoofed in "That Peter Kay Thing". Kay also entered the stadium from the back, passing through the crowd, dressed in a distinctive yellow steward's jacket, on the last night of his sell-out "Mum Wants A Bungalow" UK tour.
  • The arena was the venue of the last Spice Girls concert in Britain, during their reunion tour.
  • Celine Dion kicked off the European leg of her Taking Chances Tour at the arena on May 2&3 2008.
  • Def Leppard and Whitesnake played the arena on their 2008 'Lets Get Rocked...In The Still of The Night' UK Tour. It was the largest arena played on the tour.
  • The arena has been featured as the venue of several live concerts on DVD including Kylie Minogue's Fever Tour-Live in Manchester, Pink's Live in Europe, Rihanna-Live, McFly, Take That, S club 7 among others.
  • Americanmarker R&B singer-songwriter, Beyonce will return to the arena for a seventh time in November 2009 as part of her sell out I Am… Tour.
  • The venue was the first European venue of Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention Tour. Madonna returned to the M.E.N Arena to perform a show on July 7 2009 as part of her high-grossing Sticky and Sweet World Tour. Tickets for the Manchester show were among the highest priced tickets charged for a show at the M.E.N; ranging from £65.00 to £175.00, and sold out in a matter of minutes.
  • Kylie Minogue has performed at the venue more times than anyone else. 29 times as of July 2008.
  • Pink has announced the largest amount of dates being performed at the Arena by one artist in 2009. Making a total of five so far.
  • Britney Spears brought her sold out The Circus Starring Britney Spears Tour to the M.E.N arena on June 17 2009. This date was added due to immense demand for her UK stint at The O2 Arenamarker.
  • Jonas Brothers will perform their first concert at the Arena on November 22, 2009 on their World tour
  • Miley Cyrus will perform at the Arena on December 27 and December 28, 2009 on her "Wonderworld" tour.
  • Taylor Swift has announced to extend her "Fearless Tour" to the MEN arena on November 24, 2009 on her world tour.
  • Whitney Houston will kick off her I Look To You Tour at the arena on April 8 2010
  • Metallica played at the Arena during the European Leg of their World Magnetic Tour on February 26, 2009.
  • Peter Kay will play 20 dates at the arena in April and May 2009 - the longest run in the venue's history.


Visitor Transport Information

The venue is built on top of Victoria train station. This therefore provides good access to the arena from train lines calling here. A Metrolink tram stop is also located in the train station. This provides services to Bury in one direction and the city centre, onwards to Altrincham and Eccles, in the other. NB Those travelling from Eccles will have to change either at Cornbrook or St Peter's Square.

Visitors traveling by train to Manchester Piccadily can either walk to the arena or catch a Metrolink tram from Piccadily to Victoria. A number of bus routes always run to the area of the arena.

The arena has its own large car park nearby but by its nature endures delays upon departure after the event, as everyone tries to exit at the same time. Other smaller car parks are located around the city centre. On street parking can be found in the area and on the various streets around the main Deangate street area. Parking regulations allow for people to park in pay and display on-street parking bays and single yellow lines for free after 6pm, which is great for concert goers. Visitors should be careful not to park on double yellow lines or other restricted marked areas though in the city. Some people may not think that traffic wardens will be around at night, this is not the case in Manchester though where people have been known to ticketed at any time of the night if illegally parked.

References

  1. Retrieved on 28 March 2008.
  2. Inglis (2004), p. 101.
  3. Retrieved on 31 August 2008.
  4. Retrieved on 31 August 2008.

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External links




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