Sheffield Arena set for stellar year as competition hots up

Sheffield Arena set for stellar year as competition hots up

Sheffield Arena general manager Rob O'Shea has said business remains at the venue strong, despite increased local competition.

The 13,600-capacity arena opened in 1991, but has a local rival since 2013 when the 13,000-capacity First Direct Arena in Leeds, around 30 miles away, entered the fray.

"We have certainly felt the impact economically," O'Shea (pictured) told Music Week. "Any new arena of any size affects the whole market, but at the same time it stimulates the market and requires you to up your game to keep and grow your own business."

The added competition has not stopped Sheffield securing a string of top acts. "I would say that the arena market is currently in a relatively stable position with enough product to support the marketplace," added O'Shea.

"2017 is looking like a stronger year in Sheffield with more sell-out high profile shows. 2016 featured Ellie Goulding, Little Mix, 5 Seconds Of Summer, The Vamps, Bryan Adams, Busted, Lionel Richie. Andrea Bocelli, Nickelback, Justin Bieber, Bring Me The Horizon, Rod Stewart, The Human League and Madness. In 2017, we already have a number of sell-out shows: Drake, two Olly Murs shows, The Who, Bruno Mars, Iron Maiden, two Take That shows, Kings Of Leon, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Green Day and three Little Mix shows."

Previously run by Live Nation, Sheffield Arena has been run by in-house management company Sheffield International Venues (SIV) since 2015. SIV also operates venues including Sheffield City Hall and Scarborough Spa.

"The arena in Sheffield provides a flexible venue for acts whether they are performing to a reduced 3,500-capacity or the full 13,600," said O'Shea. "The floor standing capacity of 5,200 caters for those shows that want to have the biggest possible percentage of audience standing to create the best atmosphere for shows and fans alike."

The arena - which was No.13 in Pollstar's global arena rankings, based on ticket sales, in 2016 - has worked without a naming rights partner for the past two years, since its agreement with Motorpoint came to an end

"The fact we don’t currently have a sponsor is neither a positive or negative," noted O'Shea. "The most important factors are that the venue realises the commercial value of what it brings to the table and that you have partner that will add other value to the business. It is not just about sticking name on the front of the venue; it has to be a mutually beneficial ongoing partnership."

  • O'Shea was interviewed for Music Week's 2017 Arenas Report, which subscribers can access here.
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