SMG Named Preferred Bidder For New Bristol Arena

Posted on 03 Dec 2014

Bristol Arena has moved a significant step closer with the announcement that the UK’s largest arena operator SMG, in partnership with Live Nation, has been named as preferred bidder to operate the 12,000 capacity venue.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting earlier this week.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “Interest from bidders in operating the 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena has been highly competitive. SMG and Live Nation will bring the combined expertise of two global businesses experienced in running arenas worldwide and delivering exciting programmes of concerts and events. Their bid represents a good deal for the city and gives yet further confidence of a firm footing on which to move forward towards a 2017 arena opening when we can look forward to welcoming world-class performers to the region.”

SMG President & CEO Wes Westley said: “Both SMG and Live Nation are delighted to be named the preferred bidder for Bristol Arena. We think the Arena will be a fantastic venue for future entertainment and community events. This unique partnering of global giants Live Nation and SMG will ensure that the Arena is operated at a world class level with top events for Bristolians and the South West. We look forward to establishing long term relationships with the council, stakeholders and the community creating exciting times ahead.”   

John Sharkey, SMG Executive Vice President, European Operations, added: “This is a very exciting opportunity for SMG’s European team to bring their expertise to the South West.  We have unparalleled experience of managing established arenas, including Manchester and Newcastle which both celebrate their 20th anniversaries next year, alongside launching venues in new cities, such as Leeds’ first direct Arena. Working closely with Live Nation we are confident that with our combined experience we will establish Bristol Arena as a world class live entertainment venue.”

Once negotiations reach final close the operator will be contracted to input into the Arena’s design, programme a wide range of varied events, and maintain and manage the Arena for the duration of the 25 year lease which is being awarded.

The £90 million 12,000 capacity arena is set to be located on the former diesel depot site next to Bristol Temple Meads railway station in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The arena is expected to bring millions of pounds of additional spend and over 900 jobs to the region.