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Co-op Live, the UK's biggest indoor arena

Bringing a new arena to life through artistry and innovation




Construction of Co-op Live, located on the Etihad Campus, begun in November 2020 and is one of the largest projects in the North West. The construction of the venue is already delivering on creating thousands of jobs and in May 2021 it was announced that £150m of construction orders were placed with local firms. The venue is expected to open in 2023 when Co-op Live will generate a further 1,000 operational jobs.

Co-op Live is going to be the most advanced, sustainable, and socially responsible live entertainment arena in the UK. Unlike almost all other large arenas, the venue was designed with music at the forefront and will include smart “bowl” design and cutting-edge technology that elevates the artist and fan experience.

With a capacity of up to 23,500, Co-op Live will also house an impressive 28 suites,12 lounges & club spaces, 32 bars and restaurants, and over 2,000 premium seats and VIP experiences.


Oak View Group (OVG) and equal joint venture partners City Football Group, along with investor Harry Styles and naming rights partner the Co-op, are joining forces to develop the UK’s biggest and most exciting new arena in Manchester – with the project injecting £350m of private investment into the local area.

Co-op Live will be one of the world’s premier music and entertainment venues, rivalling New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Forum in LA and The O2 in London. Plans for the arena were given the green light by Manchester City Council in September 2020.

Realising the ambition behind this development and the extensive engagement process that would be required to effectively communicate the event experience and facilities to current and future stakeholders – Soluis was able to devise a proposal that offered the required levels of quality as well as the flexibility of choice to adapt to any conceivable engagement scenario. Having delivered numerous experiential media solutions for high profile venues around the world, and having worked with renowned arena designers, Populous, previously on the virtual reality tours for the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Soluis knew they could provide a uniquely scalable solution.

The initial phase of delivery required several workstreams – where the main focus was in the design of the video presentations and the creation of detailed virtual environments of each of the main hospitality areas. The virtual environments were produced using the latest version of Unreal Engine by Epic Games, creators of the hugely successful Fortnite gaming platform.

Watch the Behind the Scenes video from Unreal Engine here:


By developing a fully interactive virtual representation of the main arena and surrounding hospitality areas, it was possible to generate and evaluate numerous potential shots for the animation sequences. This early previsualisation of each interior area created a more constructive dialogue on how the design and hospitality facilities were best represented. Over the course of 8 weeks, the virtual arena was developed to include fully detailed interiors with accurate materials and lighting.

For the primary marketing effort 9 key hospitality and entertainment areas were visualised in detail with cinematic video presentations created for each.

The virtual media has enabled the project team at OVG to more easily communicate with the wide and growing group of stakeholders. This has been successful in conveying the design and atmosphere of each entertainment space, as well as their proximity to the main performances.

Each of the virtual cinematic tours is being used to good effect in the marketing suite, where the media is displayed on large screens that maximise the impact of discussions with visitors. This media has been utilised extensively by the various commercial partners involved with the activities being undertaken to secure sponsorship and customers for events & corporate hospitality.