MILLIONS of pounds will be ploughed into Sheffield arena to ensure the city does not lose business to Leeds’ new venue, The Star can reveal today.
The Motorpoint Arena is set to undergo a multi-million pound revamp in a bid to hold its position as Yorkshire’s biggest entertainment venue ahead of the opening of the rival in September.
Sheffield International Venues, which runs the arena, is aiming to start work on the major investment programme ‘as soon as possible’.
A new roof is set to be installed in what will be the biggest change to the venue since it opened in 1991.
The second phase of the revamp, due to start later this year, will see the arena’s 12,500 seats replaced.
Energy efficient lighting, replacement of doors and new scratch-resistant glass for Sheffield Steelers home games also form part of the plans.
The plans were put in place amid fears Sheffield could lose money and some big-name acts when the 13,500-capacity Leeds Arena opens.
Elton John has already been lined up to play the first concert in the neighbouring city on his UK tour this year.
SIV bosses refused to specify the exact cost of the project, saying only that it will be multi-million budget.
Steve Brailey, chief executive of SIV, said: “This investment marks an important business decision to invest in a high value asset that brings world-class acts and events to Yorkshire and the Sheffield city region.
“It gives us the opportunity to enhance Yorkshire’s place on the world stage, increasing the national and international profile of the Sheffield city region and importantly will allow us stay as the region’s premier entertainment venue with the onset of Leeds Arena.
“We expect the full cost of the investment to be exceeded by the income from additional business opportunities.”
The arena has played host to some of the biggest stars in the world since Paul Simon became the first artist to perform there just over 20 years ago.
Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Beyoncé, Take That and the Spice Girls have all performed on the stage. Sheffield stars such as the Arctic Monkeys and Pulp have also performed to sell-out crowds in their home city.
Rob O’Shea, general manager at the Motorpoint Arena, said: “We are delighted to be able to make these improvements to the venue and specifically the new seating that will ensure a better customer experience and along with the further planned investment will secure a successful and profitable future for the arena.
“We are committed to attracting world-class entertainment for our loyal audiences, who travel from across the North and the Midlands to see their favourite stars in action and feel that this and further planned initiatives will guarantee a better customer experience.”