|Manchester Evening News Arena|
|Location|| M.E.N. Arena|
|Opened||July 15, 1995|
|Owner||Capital & Regional and GE Real Estate UK|
|Construction cost||£52 million|
|Former names||NYNEX Arena|
|Tenants||Manchester Storm 1995-2002|
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 Manchester, England. 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 Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney, Australia in 2000).
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).
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.
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.
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 Garden and London's Wembley Arena. (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.
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 Garden, New York City, USA||1,230,433|
|O2 Arena, London, UK||1,209,376|
|Wembley Arena, London, UK||901,778|
|Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada||670,255|
|HP Pavilion, San Jose, California, USA||666,587|
|Bell Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada||620,403|
|Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, USA||564,258|
|American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas, USA||539,030|
|Izod Center, 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. In 2009 The MEN Arena was named world's 2nd busiest arena behind London's O2 Arena and in front of Sportpaleis in Belgium and New York's Madison Square Garden.
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.
- Inglis, Simon (2004). Played in Manchester: The architectural heritage of a city at play. English Heritage and Manchester City Council. ISBN 1-87359-278-7.