London’s Millennium Dome—the exhibition structure built to usher in the new millennium but unused since 2000—will reopen in 2007 as a music and sports arena stretching 1.2 million square feet and offering seating for 23,000.
L.A.-based Anschutz Entertainment Group (www.aegworldwide.com), which provides live entertainment, sporting events and facilities including L.A.’s Staples Center, announced last month that it will work with British mobile communications company O2 (www.o2.co.uk) to refashion the Dome into “The O2.” When complete, the six-floor venue will seat 23,000.
The deal—which principals say is worth $11 million (6 million pounds) per year from 2007—will result in an indoor arena that will host “at least 120” music, entertainment and sports events in its first year, developers say. Within the facility will be the O2 Music Club, with a capacity of 2,000, an ice rink, a bubble-shaped exhibitions space, and an “entertainment district” with a variety of bars, restaurants, and retail and leisure facilities.
PICK YOUR PARTY
With a wide range of guest capacities, the venue will offer many options for special events, ranging from 50 (a party suite in the arena with tickets to a concert and catering) to 500 in the British Music Experience building to 1,800 in the banqueting hall above the "exhibition bubble" (which will house the King Tutenkhamun exhibition) to 2,200 in the music club to 20,000 in the arena.
The venue has already been chosen to hold the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships, a move that has been viewed as a good sign in London’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.