By Steve Murrells, Co-op CEO and Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO
We’re writing this post hot on the heels of some very big news for our Co-op. Today, we’ve announced that we’re entering into a 15-year partnership with global sports and entertainment company, Oak View Group.
With shared commitments to community, sustainability and co-operation, we’re joining forces to create Co-op Live – the UK’s biggest and most exciting new arena on the Etihad campus in Manchester.
We know the timing must feel odd, especially teamed with the ongoing changes we’re all facing due to coronavirus.
Our number one priority is, and always will be, the wellbeing of every single one of our colleagues.
So, while we’re prioritising you today to get through this pandemic, we also need to seize every opportunity to secure the success of our Co-op in the years ahead.
Together we must look forward. We can’t afford to take our eyes off the future.
Co-op Live will be the first arena with community and co-operation at its heart
Co-op Live will take to the world’s stage in 2023 and shine as one of the most sustainable and socially responsible buildings in Europe.
Through this challenging period, the build will create over 3,000 constructions jobs and provide the regional economy a much-needed boost.
We all look forward to the entertainment industry getting back on its feet following this year’s crisis, and Co-op Live will not only be ready for action, but it will be the first arena with community and co-operation at its heart.
It’ll champion our award-winning products sourced using British meat, Fairtrade ingredients and local suppliers, while tackling food poverty with a zero-food waste scheme.
When it’s up and running, around £1m of the venue’s yearly profits will be distributed to good causes in communities across the UK by the Co-op Foundation.
And we’ll be able to offer all our colleagues and members a whole host of exclusive benefits, including pre-sale tickets up to seven days before general release, discounts on food and drink, hospitality experiences, the chance to win free tickets and exclusive, money can’t buy, backstage VIP experiences. Not to mention priority entry-access to the venue.
You’ll know that we burst onto the music scene a couple of years ago with our pop-up shop, taking our co-op difference on the road to the nation’s favourite festivals.
We’re kicking things up a notch with this partnership. Co-op Live will rival the likes of New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Forum in Los Angeles and London’s 02.
And we’ll lead the venue’s apprenticeship programme, providing direct employment opportunities for students in our secondary and college academies.
Construction is due to start this November. We can’t wait to share more with you as things progress, stay tuned!