ASM Global’s AO Arena (cap. 21,000) in Manchester marked the completion of its £50m redevelopment with a topping-out ceremony featuring Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and indie rock band Blossoms.

The venue’s redevelopment includes a transformed arrival experience, new concourse spaces, revamped food and beverage, a new VIP entrance, and soon-to-open The Mezz restaurant and bar concept. The arena last week announced a new culinary partnership with Simon Rogan MBE of UMBEL Restaurants and Tom Barnes of Skof.

The arena also confirmed the extension of its naming rights partnership with retail company AO into 2030.

Burnham described the venue as “the beating heart of Manchester”, while he and members of Stockport band Blossoms placed their hands in cement on the concourse to mark the occasion.

Blossoms said, “When the AO Arena opened again after Covid, we were the first band to play a gig here. We’re excited to celebrate the official topping out of the re-developments and look forward to seeing what the future AO Arena has to offer.”

Venue upgrades

For artists and crew, the venue has seen a complete back-of-house update to enhance the artist experience including a new artist green room, as well as upgraded artist dressing rooms and crew facilities.

The venue now also has a new lower concourse bar area, with a capacity of 6,000, designed to support the increased standing floor capacity within the arena bowl.

There have also been new heating and ventilation systems installed, along with the addition of a new control room to improve security.

AO Arena GM Jen Mitchell said, “We are delighted to have extended our partnership with AO, a partner who shares our sincere commitment to improving our local communities. Together, we look forward to continuing our work shaping the thriving creative and cultural scene in Manchester.”