Manchester Arena is to be renamed AO Arena as part of a five-year deal with Bolton-based online electricals retailer AO.
The deal has been announced as the venue's operator ASM Global submits a planning application for phase one of its redevelopment plans.
The plans, which have been submitted to Manchester City Council, aim to deliver a transformed visitor experience, improve the sustainability of the existing venue to become one of the lowest carbon venues in Europe, enhance its existing access to onsite transport links and act as hub for its communities.
We look forward to being able to press play and welcome fans back to the AO Arena
James Allen, AO Arena
James Allen, general manager of the AO Arena, said: “We are thrilled to have secured this partnership and we look forward to a dynamic relationship with this exciting brand. Marking our 25th anniversary with redevelopment plans and our new partnership with AO highlights our commitment to the future of this venue in the heart of Manchester. And after such a long period of pause, we look forward to being able to press play and welcome fans back to the AO Arena.”
AO and ASM Global will be working together to turn the venue AO green and ready to safely re-open with a fresh new look and a line-up of talent, many of whom re-scheduled 2020 tour dates to 2021.
AO Founder and CEO, John Roberts said: “The arena holds a special place in the hearts of so many people in Manchester so we’re hugely proud to add the AO smile, especially after such an emotional and difficult period. Our home is firmly in the North West, something we’ve never forgotten while building the business into a global destination for electricals.
“We hope today’s redevelopment plans for the AO Arena which, combined with soon-to-be-announced good news about the events coming in 2021, will create hope and excitement about the future of entertainment in our great city.
“Through this sponsorship, we can deliver our famous AO smile to millions of visitors every year and we can’t wait to welcome them to the AO Arena. Thousands of our customers will also be able to enjoy amazing events with tickets, exclusive access and money-can’t-buy experiences."
The venue was known as the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena from 1998 to 2012 before being renamed Manchester Arena in 2012 and Phones 4u Arena the following year. It reverted to the Manchester Arena name in 2015.