New images and details released of AO Arena’s £50m transformation in Manchester

The Mezz looks particularly fancy.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 6th February 2024

The AO Arena has announced several details of its enormous transformation project, including increasing its capacity to 23k.

The venue in Manchester city centre is currently the largest indoor arena in the UK and Europe, and has undergone a £50m redevelopment.

When the project is completed, fans will be able to make use of new features like a brand-new lower concourse, a standing floor that has had a 100% capacity increase, and a brand new food and drink offering too.

Despite its new 23,000-fan capacity, the AO Arena promises that fans will feel even closer to their favourite artists.

The 30-year-old venue has gone through a complete re-imagination and reconstruction while continuing to host huge gigs and sporting events throughout.


AO Arena and ASM Global say that the entire visitor experience will be improved, for gig-goers and performers and venue staff alike.

That includes new entrances with state-of-the-art technology that will make getting in and out of the arena the quickest of any venue in Europe.


The concourse spaces will be digitised, helping concert-goers to find their way around the arena.

There’ll be brand new bars throughout the AO Arena, and the new The Mezz restaurant and bar, where the menu will be created by Michelin-star chef Simon Rogan and Tom Barnes, who opens Skof in Manchester this year.

The AO Arena’s redevelopment project also includes improved acoustics, sound and sightlines, and the venue already had ones that were regarded as the best in Europe.


Backstage, there are all-new back of house facilities for artists and touring crews.

Chris Bray, president of ASM Global Europe said: “As part of AO Arena’s redevelopment we have dramatically expanded the standing floor space which means it will compete with any other venue in the UK.

“Its unique bowl configuration means that AO Arena proudly remains the biggest sporting indoor arena, and we are excited to continue to host the world’s biggest and most exciting events here in the heart of Manchester.”

At a topping out ceremony last month, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham described the venue as ‘the beating heart of Manchester’.

Aitch also visited that day, saying: “When the AO Arena asked me to be part of tonight I thought, how can I say no? It’s always been a huge part of the culture here in Manchester and you know I’m all about anything that gives back to the community.


“The AO has been pushing the music scene forward for over 27 years and over one million people walk through these legendary doors every year, and we have them right on our doorstep.”

Last year, the AO Arena raised tens of thousands of pounds and gave hundreds of hours to local community projects.

It also had record attendances for LTA Tennis, England Netball, KSI vs Fury and Elton John’s Farewell Tour.

This year, there’ll be more events like Peter Kay Live, The 1975, Bill Bailey, Niall Horan, Ne-Yo and more.

The AO Arena’s redevelopment will be revealed in full in March 2024. See all of its upcoming events here.

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Featured image: Supplied