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News // 13 March 2024

Blandy & Blandy Advises Landmark Arena on Successful Licensing Application

Leading Thames Valley-based law firm Blandy & Blandy has advised a landmark new arena set to host the 2024 MTV EMAs and globally renowned names ranging from Take That and Nicki Minaj to the venue’s opening artist, Peter Kay.

Co-op Live, in Manchester, will become the UK's largest live entertainment arena when it opens its doors on 23 April. The world-class, 23,500-capacity venue is located opposite Manchester City’s stadium, on the Etihad Campus. The new venue is a joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group.

On 1 March it was announced by Manchester City Council’s Licensing Authority that Co-op Live’s Premises Licence was granted allowing Regulated Entertainment of all descriptions; the Sale of Alcohol and Late Night Refreshment to take place in the venue – giving the ‘green light’ to it opening in April. Blandy & Blandy provided a significant level of advice and input over the course of the last 18 months on the Premises Licensing Application, including working with Co-op Live to draft and issue a comprehensive application; liaising with the Responsible Authorities and preparing Co-op Live for the two day Hearing (at which ASM Global/AO Arena, Manchester continued to oppose the grant of the new Licence).  This aspect of the project and the imminent opening of Co-op live has attracted significant media interest, with those covering the project ranging from BBC News and The Times to Rolling Stone and NME.

Sue Dowling, a partner at Blandy & Blandy, specialises in venue licensing and has advised in relation to many of the country’s most notable stadia and arenas, including international and Premier League grounds and major music and live entertainment venues. The firm’s expertise in this area is acknowledged in both of the UK’s leading guides to law firms, Chambers UK and The Legal 500. The latter credits Sue as an “excellent lawyer”, “highly regarded” for her “unrivalled knowledge” and experience in the area of venue licensing.

Discussing the project, Sue said: “It has been a great pleasure to be involved in this premises licensing project from start to finish, with passionate clients determined to bring a first-class arena to Manchester.  After considerable hard work from the whole team (as well as considerable support from those in the community and at the Responsible Authorities), the outcome from Manchester’s Licensing Sub-Committee – a flexible Premises Licence to enable our clients to operate Co-op Live to its maximum potential – was very well-deserved.”

Sonny Mallet, Senior Vice President – Legal & Business Affairs, Oak View Group International, said: “Blandy & Blandy have been instrumental in helping us to secure our Premises Licence, supporting our application from the outset with speed, clarity, experience and professionalism. Our appreciation goes out to Sue Dowling and team for their dedication across the preparation, planning and hearing process. We are delighted to continue to move Co-op Live forward, and to open a venue set to sit among the world’s greats.”

For further information or legal advice, please contact or call 0118 951 6800. 

David Lamont

David Lamont

Director of Marketing and Business Development

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