Manchester Arena operator ASM Global has signed a five-year naming rights deal with Bolton-based online electricals retailer AO to rebrand the 21,000-capacity venue ahead of reopening for events and the planned redevelopment of the arena.

ASM Global was launched last year following the merger of AEG Facilities and then Manchester Arena operator SMG. It has submitted development plans for the AO Arena to Manchester City Council that include its capacity being expanded to 24,000 and it becoming one of the most environmentally sustainable venues in Europe.

James Allen, general manager of the AO Arena said new show announcements will be made and tickets will go on sale imminently: “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. 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 CEO John Roberts added, “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.”

Separately, the US-based Oak View Group is looking to open a 23,500-capacity arena in the Etihad Campus in East Manchester, close to Manchester City FC’s 55,000-capacity stadium.

OVG chief operating officer of International Mark Donnelly said the venue would create 3,350 jobs during construction, and a further 1,000 once open in 2023.