Manchester Evening News Arena

Manchester Evening News Arena
Manchester Evening News Arena
M.E.N. Arena, Manchester Arena
Manchester Evening News Arena logo.png
Manchester Evening News Arena - - 1424695.jpg
Former names NYNEX Arena (1995–1998)
M.E.N. Arena (1998–2011)
Manchester Arena (2012-)
Location Manchester city centre,
Greater Manchester,
Coordinates 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 June 15, 1995
Owner Capital & Regional and GE Real Estate UK
Surface Various
Construction cost £52 million
(£74.5 million in 2011 dollars[1])
Capacity up to 21,000

The Manchester Evening News Arena (the M.E.N. Arena or the Manchester Arena) is an indoor arena situated in Manchester, England. It is adjacent to Manchester Victoria station near Corporation Street. It is sponsored by the Manchester Evening News.

The MEN arena is the largest indoor arena in Europe with a capacity of 21,000, ahead of the 20,000 O2 Arena in London and is one of the world's busiest indoor arenas hosting music and sporting events such as boxing and swimming.[2] It is Manchester's primary, all-year round concert venue ahead of Manchester Central, the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

Opening in 1995, 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 in 2000) and was eventually used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Manchester Evening News will end its thirteen-year naming sponsorship at the end of 2011, when the venue will revert to the name of Manchester Arena[3] as a new sponsor naming partner is sought.



The Manchester Evening News Arena was constructed as part of Manchester's unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics.[4] Construction cost £52 million of which £35.5m was provided by government grants and £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund. Manchester aimed to build an arena capable of hosting large music events to replace older venues such as the Free Trade Hall and the GMEX Centre.[5]

On the opening night, 15,000 spectators watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean perform; the crowd was a record for an ice event.[6] 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.[6]

The arena was opened in 1995, and initially sponsored by NYNEX CableComms (a British cable television provider, part of 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 merged with Cable & Wireless Communications in 1997.

Arena design

The structure was designed by DLA Ellerbe Beckett, Ove Group, and Austin-Smith:Lord. A large truss measuring 105 metres spans the roof. The arena is clad in reinforced concrete to increase sound insulation.[7] The arena was opened on 15 June 1995.

The arena was one of the first indoor venues in Europe to be built following the traditionally American sports arena layout of 360 degree seating,[8] and is the only arena in the UK to have this feature (London's O2 Arena also has 360 degrees seating, but only on its lower tier, whereas the M.E.N. 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, Belgrade Arena in Belgrade, O2 Arena in Prague, and O2 World Hamburg in Hamburg.


'World's Busiest Arena' - 2007[9]
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
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC, USA 527,694
Facing the stage from the opposite end of the arena

The M.E.N. Arena has attracted a huge number of customers since opening its doors on 15 June 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' from 2001 until 2007 based solely on ticket sales for concerts, attracting five and a half million customers to concerts. The M.E.N. Arena was voted 'Europe's Favourite Arena' at the TIP Awards for 2008 voted for by the numerous touring companies that bring the shows to the venue.

In 2008, the M.E.N. Arena was named world's third busiest arena behind London's O2 Arena and New York's Madison Square Garden. In 2009, the MEN Arena was named world's second busiest arena behind London's O2 Arena and in front of Antwerp's Sportpaleis in Belgium and New York's Madison Square Garden. Although coming second place to London's O2 Arena the M.E.N. Arena had its busiest year in its history with over 1,500,000 people attending concerts and family shows at the venue. The arena hosts over 250 events annually including comedy acts, live music and tours, sporting events, and occasionally musicals.



Janet Jackson was scheduled to perform during her All for You Tour on 5 December 2001, but the show was cancelled, due to the 11 September 2001 attacks. Kylie Minogue did a special webcast of her KylieFever2002 tour back in 2002 on MSN for fans around the world to view.

The venue was used to record Westlife's Greatest Hits Tour DVD on 14 April 2003. P!nk's performance, during her Try This Tour on 26 March 2004, was filmed & later released as a DVD, titled Pink: Live in Europe. McFly recorded their Wonderland Tour at the arena in 2005. The DVD was one of their 3 number one music DVD's. Rihanna's performance, during the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour on 6 December 2007, was filmed & later released as a DVD, titled Good Girl Gone Bad Live. The Spice Girls performed 3 shows during the Return of the Spice GirlsTour on 23/24/26 January 2008, the three last European shows of the whole tour. On 13–14 June 2008, Boyzone filmed their reunion tour, Back Again ... No Matter What DVD here.

The record for the fastest sell-out at the arena is held by Madonna when she brought her Sticky & Sweet Tour to Manchester on July 7, 2009. All 13,457 tickets that were on sale sold out in under a minute. Originally, Madonna was to perform two back-to-back shows at the arena, but the July 8 show was cancelled.

On 15 July 2010, the M.E.N. Arena celebrated its 15th birthday with a multi-artist gig, presented by Real Radio (North West). An audience of nearly 10,000 was entertained by headline acts 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 M.E.N Arena steward Peter Kay was a surprise guest on the night which was hosted by Real Radio breakfast presenters Ditchy and Salty.


A WWE event at the arena
The arena in ice skating configuration

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 the venue is often promoted as a 'world class concert facility', However the arena is regularly used for one-off sports events such as boxing and football masters.

Many popular boxers have had bouts in the arena, such as Amir Khan, Jermaine Johnson, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Mike Tyson, and more recently David Haye. Hatton (a Manchester native) became a regular and favourite of the M.E.N. Arena.

WWE 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 No Mercy in 1999. On 26 October 2002 it hosted the SmackDown! UK-only pay-per-view WWE Rebellion, as it did in 2001. Also on 11 October 2004, it hosted a RAW taping, and was followed the next day by a taping of WWE SmackDown!. RAW and SmackDown! returned to the M.E.N. Arena on 13 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 and again in January 2010.

The M.E.N. Arena has also hosted mixed martial arts events. UFC 70 on 21 April 2007, and UFC 105 on 14 November 2009 for which set the European record for largest UFC event outside the USA with 16,000 people in attendance. The World Taekwondo Qualification Event for the Beijing Olympic Games was held at the Arena on 28–30 September 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 Short Course World Swimming Championships, the first time it has been held in the UK. For this occasion, 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.[10]

The arena was also used by Manchester United when they won the Champions League Final in 1999. The 2008 UEFA Champions League Final was also shown in the arena on a big screen in front of 7000 spectators.[citation needed]

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.[11]

A meeting of Premier League Darts from the PDC Professional Darts Corporation takes place once a year at the arena, and has done since 2008.

In May 2011, the arena hosted a basketball game between the Atlanta Dream (WNBA) and the Great Britain Women's Basketball team, billed as "WNBA Live". This was the first time a WNBA team had played in Europe.

In July 2012 the MEN Arena will host international basketball as Great Britain play USA in the build up to the Olympics.

Technical facts

Panorama of the MEN Arena facing the main stage
  • Lower tier fixed seated capacity – 10,762
  • Upper tier 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
  • Professional Wrestling – 14,000 to 18,500
  • 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)[citation needed]
  • 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 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 Arena in Atlanta, and TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, The M.E.N. Arena is situated beside/above a main railway station (Victoria Station). This means that people can get a train to the venue instead of driving.
  • The M.E.N. Arena did claim to have the world's largest indoor video scoreboard when the venue opened in 1995. The videowall has since been deactivated, although it remains in situ mounted in the arena roof. It has been replaced with an LED Ribbonboard, which is mounted on the video scoreboards exterior.

Visitor transport information

The venue adjoins 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 travelling by train to Manchester Piccadilly can either walk to the arena or catch a Metrolink tram from Piccadilly 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 Deansgate street area.


  1. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Lawrence H. Officer (2010) "What Were the UK Earnings and Prices Then?" MeasuringWorth.
  2. ^ "Manchester Evening News arena".  Retrieved on 28 March 2008.
  3. ^ "MEN Media ends naming rights at Manchester Evening News Arena". Manchester Evening News. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  4. ^ Parkinson-Bailey, John J. (25 May 2000). Manchester: An Architectural History (Hardcover ed.). Manchester University Press (. p. 250. ISBN 0-7190-5606-3. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Taylor, Paul (13 July 2010). "The Arena put Manchester on top of the world". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  6. ^ a b Inglis (2004), p. 101.
  7. ^ Hartwell, Clare. Pevsner - Manchester. p. 237. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Paul (13 July 2010). "The Arena put Manchester on top of the world". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Will Pavia (5 January 2008). "From unwanted empty shell to the world's busiest venue". Manchester Evening News.  Retrieved on 31 August 2008.
  10. ^ "City arena becomes swimming venue". BBC Online. 18 March 2008.  Retrieved on 31 August 2008.
  11. ^ "Monster Jam". Manchester Evening News Arena. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 


  • Inglis, Simon (2004). Played in Manchester: The architectural heritage of a city at play. English Heritage and Manchester City Council. ISBN 1-873592-78-7. 

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