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Co-Op Live team say they are ‘finding a way to make it right’

“We know you’ve incurred significant disruption, and are finding a way to help make it right”

By Nick Reilly

A general view of Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom, on April 23, 2024. (Photo by Ioannis Alexopoulos/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The team behind Manchester’s ill-fated Co-Op Live venue have told fans that they are now “finding a way to help make it right” as a slew of show cancellations and technical issues continue to delay the venue’s official opening.

The venue – the UK’s largest arena at a capacity of 23,500 – was supposed to open with two gigs from Peter Kay on April 23 and 24. But when technical issues arose at a test event featuring Rick Astley on April 22, his gigs were pushed back to the end of April – before being postponed for a second time.

Things got even worse when The Black Keys were forced to postpone shows at the venue, before a gig from US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was cancelled due to a “venue-related technical issue” after doors for the venue had already opened.

In the wake of that cancellation, Olivia Rodrigo’s planned gigs at the venue have been axed, while shows from Take That have been relocated to the rival AO Arena.

Co-Op said that the postponements would allow time “for an independent inspection of all elements of the arena ceiling”, before addressing fans in a fresh statement.

Stressing that they are “finding a way to help make it right”, a new statement says: “We are aware our actions have frustrated and angered ticket holders,” read a statement from the arena last night (May 2). “We know you’ve incurred significant disruption, and are finding a way to help make it right. We are taking the pause to think about the best ways to do that.”

It added: “Our naming rights partner, the Co-op Group, has also expressed the importance of ensuring that the significant impact on ticketholders is recognised and addressed, with more detail to follow soon.”

Their views were echoed by Chairman and CEO of operators Oak View Group, Tim Leiweke, last night.

“We understand that there is work to be done to rebuild your trust in us,” Leiweke began. “This starts now and at the request of the naming rights partner, The Co-op Group, we will be addressing the impact on affected ticket holders, details of which will be shared soon.”

Last month saw venue boss Gary Roden step down from his role after he was criticised for comments he made about grassroots venues, criticising a planned £1 ticket levy on arena gigs to help support struggling small venues.