Who owns Co-op Live? Harry Styles, Oak View Group and City Football Group involvement explained

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The venue has had a nightmare start with Olivia Rodrigo’s gigs the latest to be cancelled.

Co-op Live has endured a nightmare start to life as Manchester’s big new arena. The £365million venue has been forced to cancel its first six scheduled shows, including two from Peter Kay and another two from singer Olivia Rodrigo over the first weekend of May. 

The A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig on May 1 was cancelled as fans were queuing up outside the venue after a piece of an air conditioning unit fell from the ceiling. Rodrigo’s two shows were cancelled shortly after, prompting title sponsors Co-op to call for an explanation from the owners of the venue

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Several groups have ownership of Co-op Live, and they have been left red-faced in recent weeks as the much-anticipated arena opening continues to be on hold. City Football Group and Oak View Group are joint owners of the new venue, and their involvement has turned the dream of a venue into a reality - but the nightmare start continues to rumble on, executive director and general manager Gary Roden having already resigned.

Who are Oak View Group?

The homepage website of Oak View Group has a statement, part of which reads “we are committed to elevating expectations in venues across the world”. This is something that is the vision for Co-op Live, from a group which was founded in 2015 by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company's chief executive officer (CEO). 

Oak View specialise in large indoor arenas, with projects located in cities around the world with many in the USA. Co-op Live is the first UK venue OVG have become a part of. The group has also been selected as the partner to construct a new arena in Cardiff.  

In recent days, Leiweke has outlined plans for another new venue in the UK - this time down in London. Speaking to the Telegraph, the CEO suggested it could be up to a year before plans are finalised and that they are keen to work with their neighbours, with a further implication that the planned site for this London venue is around Hammersmith. 

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Co-op Live has not been able to open on time with a catalogue of issues contributing to a nightmare first weekCo-op Live has not been able to open on time with a catalogue of issues contributing to a nightmare first week
Co-op Live has not been able to open on time with a catalogue of issues contributing to a nightmare first week | William Lailey / SWNS

Who are City Football Group? 

City Football Group is a global operator of football and sports-related business. They have several football clubs around the world, including Manchester City - who now have new neighbours in Co-op Live. 

The group was established in 2013 and now has sports businesses in cities around the world including New York, Mumbai and Melbourne. In 2021 they were announced as the equal joint venture partners with OVG for Co-op Live. 

At the time of this announcement in 2021, Marty Edelman, Board Director at City Football Group, gave a hopeful take. He said: “Co-op Live unlocks the potential for the Etihad Campus to grow as an entertainment destination that creates more reasons for the nation and world to visit Manchester.”

How is Harry Styles involved with Co-op Live? 

Singer Harry Styles has some financial involvement with Co-op Live and has done since the start. The former One Direction singer who has continued his rise through music stardom with a stellar solo career is an investor in the arena. 

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Styles is a shareholder in the arena, and this has led some fans to call on him to perform in the new arena once it finally opens. On Co-op Live, he has previously said: “I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings, to the contribution it will make to the city, and most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester.”

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