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The O2 arena
North Greenwich Arena 1
O2 arena.jpg
Location The O2
Drawdock Road
North Greenwich
London, SE10 0BB
Coordinates 51°30′10.79″N 0°0′11.28″E / 51.5029972°N 0.0031333°E / 51.5029972; 0.0031333Coordinates: 51°30′10.79″N 0°0′11.28″E / 51.5029972°N 0.0031333°E / 51.5029972; 0.0031333
Built Between 2003 and 2007
Opened 24 June 2007
Owner English Partnerships
Operator Ansco Arena Limited (AEG Live Europe)
Surface Versatile
Architect Populous[1] (then HOK Sport)
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Services engineer M-E Engineers
General Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine
Capacity 23,000

The O2 arena, visually typeset in branding as The O2 arena, is a multi-purpose indoor arena located at the centre of The O2, a large entertainment complex on the Greenwich peninsula in South East London, United Kingdom. With a capacity of up to 23,000 depending on the event, it is one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe alongside the MEN Arena in Manchester, the Lanxess Arena in Cologne and the Belgrade Arena in Belgrade. In 2008, The O2 arena took the crown of the World's Busiest Arena from the MEN Arena, a title which it had held since 2001.[2][3]


Background to the arena

Following the closure of the Millennium Experience at the end of 2000, the Millennium Dome was leased to Meridian Delta Ltd. in 2001, for redevelopment as an entertainment complex. This included plans for an indoor arena.

Construction of the arena started in 2003 and finished in 2007. Owing to the impossibility of using cranes inside the dome structure, the arena's roof was constructed on the ground within the dome and then lifted. The arena building's structure was then built around the roof. The arena building, which houses the arena and the arena concourse, is independent from all other buildings in The O2 and houses all the arena's facilities. The whole arena building takes up 40% of the total dome structure.

The seating arrangement throughout the whole arena can be modified, similar to the Manchester Evening News Arena.[4] The ground surface can also be changed between ice rink, basketball court, exhibition space, conference venue, private hire venue and concert venue.

The arena was built to reduce echoing which has previously been a problem in many London music venues.[5] The sound manager for U2, Joe O'Herlihy, worked with acoustic engineers to introduce measures such as sound absorbing material on the arena roof and the bottom of strategically placed seats to reduce echoing.

Despite The O2 arena's being open for only seven months of the year, the venue sold over 1.2 million tickets in 2007, making it the third most popular venue in the world for concerts and family shows narrowly behind the Manchester Evening News Arena (1.25 million) and Madison Square Garden in New York (1.23 million). In 2008, it became the world's busiest venue taking the crown from Manchester's MEN Arena with sales of more than two million.[6]

Musical events

  • Anschutz opened The O2 arena on 23 June 2007 with a free event for all of the building's employees billed as the O2 premiere featuring Peter Kay, Tom Jones, Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx, with the show hosted by Dermot O'Leary. Snow Patrol then played a concert to an audience made up of sponsors, local residents, local business employees and winners of an online competition.
  • Bon Jovi played the first open-to-all concert at the arena on 24 June 2007.
  • The O2 arena became synonymous with major acts hosting significant residencies at the venue. This precedent was started by Prince's 21 nights at the venue in the summer of 2007, and has since been followed by the Spice Girls performing 17 shows later that year and Kylie Minogue performing 7 shows in 2008. This was followed by Britney Spears who sold out all 8 nights in June 2009, Michael Jackson selling out 50 dates from July 2009 – March 2010, the latter replaced partly by a 12 night Bon Jovi residency in June 2010 - coinciding with their 'The Circle' tour promoted by the Anschutz group.
  • Barbra Streisand played three sold-out concerts on the 18, 22 and 25 July 2007.
  • Keane played a concert on 21 July 2007 which was filmed and released on DVD (Keane Live).
  • Sir Elton John played his first Red Piano Show concert outside of Las Vegas on 5 September 2007 here, with another two shows in December 2008, and one on 31 December to see in the New Year.
  • Kanye West performed on 22 November 2007 as part of his Glow In The Dark Tour, after growing speculation that he was due to cancel the rest of his tour prior to the passing of his mother. He returned in 2008 as part of the same tour on the 11 and 12 November 2008.
  • Cirque du Soleil musical show Delirium ended its tour at the arena on 20 April 2008.
  • Kylie Minogue played 7 sold out shows at the arena on 26,27,29 and 30 July and 1,2 and 4 August 2008,as a part of her high-grossing KylieX2008 tour.
  • On the 8th August 2008 Tiësto became the first DJ to perform at The O2 arena in London as part of his In Search of Sunrise 7 summer tour. The event lasted for 5 hours with a 200 m2 LED wall.[7]
  • Stevie Wonder began the European leg of his Wonder Summer's Night Tour on 8 September, 2008.
  • Coldplay played from 14–16 December 2008.
  • Tina Turner brought her Tina: Live in Concert Tour to The O2 arena on 3, 4, 7, 8 March and 3 May, 2009. This was the first time Tina played the United Kingdom for nine years. The concerts were a huge success with every date sold out and grossing well over $10 million.
  • Fall Out Boy continued their Believers Never Die: Part Deux World Tour on the 6 March 2009.
  • Metallica played a special charity show at The O2 arena to celebrate the release of their ninth studio album entitled Death Magnetic. They currently hold the attendance record at the arena. On the 28 March 2009, 19,017 fans attended the band's third show at the O2 in six months.[8]
  • P!nk played 5 sell-out dates on her Funhouse Tour (the third highest grossing solo tour of 2009)[9]. 3 dates were played on May 1st, 2nd and 4th — closing the first leg of her tour. She returned again in December 2009 to play 2 more sold out shows on the fourth leg of the Funhouse Tour on December 8th and 10th. The tour involved aerial acrobatics, an elaborate Funhouse inspired set, multiple costume changes, puppetry and live vocals and instruments. She, in addition to playing over 20 of her own songs, covered Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and performed her own Sober whilst suspended from a trapeze and performing stunts, live.
  • Bob Dylan has also played to a sold out 02 Arena in May 2009.
  • Beyoncé Knowles made her debut at the O2 on 25 May 2009, on the UK leg of her I Am… Tour, and due to demand for more tickets, Knowles extended her UK tour. Knowles has played a total of 7 times in 2009, which puts her in 2nd place of the most shows at O2 in 2009 after Britney Spears, who played 8 shows. Beyoncé filmed her live concert DVD at The O2 Arena on November 14th, 15th, and 16th.
  • Britney Spears played at the arena for eight dates starting on 3 June 2009, as part of her tour, The Circus Starring: Britney Spears. Due to excessive popular demand, 6 shows were added from the original 2, making a total of 8.
  • The Pet Shop Boys played the arena on 19 June 2009, and are set to return on 21 December.
  • Michael Jackson, who died in June 2009, was scheduled to play 50 concerts from July 2009 to March 2010, making it the longest residency at the arena.[10] All 50 dates sold out within a few hours of their release, for both the pre-sale and general sale phases.[11]
  • Kings Of Leon, Concerts on July 2009 basis of DVD release "Kings of Leon:Live at the O2"
  • Pearl Jam played the last date of their European tour on 18 August 2009, debuting the song "Supersonic" from new album Backspacer. During the show, before Pearl Jam performed "Rats", Eddie Vedder played the intro to "Ben" as a tribute to Michael Jackson.
  • Sir Cliff Richard And The Shadows performed 3 sold out concerts at the Arena on 25th, 26th, 28th September 2009 as part of their Final Reunion Tour celebrating 50 years of the band. The audience figures over the 3 nights totaled 45,698 and took $4,449,852 at the box office. The #1 DVD of the concert was also recorded at the venue.
  • Green Day played two shows at the arena on the 23rd and 24th of October 2009 as part of their first UK tour in four years - the 21st Century Breakdown Tour.
  • Backstreet Boys performed on 10 November 2009 as part of their This Is Us world tour. They also performed there to a sold out audience in May 2008 as part of the Unbreakable world tour.
  • Miley Cyrus has played 5 dates at the arena beginning on 13 December 2009 and finish at 29 December 2009, for the European leg of her Wonder World Tour. Originally, Cyrus was only set to play 2 shows, however 3 extra dates were added due to demand for tickets.
  • Lady GaGa performed two dates at the O2 on the 26th and 27th February 2010 as part of her The Monster Ball Tour. Originally only scheduled to play on the 26th, another date was added on the 27th due to high demand and the first concert selling out within hours. Another date has been added for 30th May following the huge success of the 2 shows.
  • Dave Matthews Band performed at The O2 arena on March 6th, 2010 as a part of their European 2010 Tour.
  • Black Eyed Peas will perform 4 dates on May 5th, 6th, 27th and 28th as part of their 2010 The E.N.D World Tour, with Cheryl Cole as their support act, the first time she will have toured as a solo artist
  • Peter Gabriel will perform on 27th and 28th March as part of his "New Blood Tour".
  • Rihanna will perform on 10th and 11th May as part of her Rated R Tour. After the first date was announced for 10th, it sold out within minutes, so an extra date was added for the 11th.
  • Alicia Keys will perform for the second time at the arena in May 2010.
  • Comedian Eddie Kadi will perform on September 4th 2010, the latest instalment in his successful series "An Audience with Eddie Kadi"

Sports events



During the 2012 Summer Olympic Games it is scheduled to be the venue for the artistic gymnastics, for which it will have a spectator capacity of 16,500, and for basketball finals, for which it will have a capacity of 20,000.[12] Due to IOC sponsorship regulations, it will officially be known as North Greenwich Arena during the games. The rest of the basketball competition will take place at one of the arenas in the Olympic Park,[13] a 6,000 seat temporary venue called North Greenwich Arena 2 was to be built nearby to stage the badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events, but these will now take place elsewhere.[14]


The first sporting event to take place was the Commonwealth Boxing Lightweight Championships featuring Amir Khan on 14 July 2007. In March 2008, the arena hosted a match between David Haye and Enzo Maccarinelli, and in November 2008 Haye fought Monte Barrett.


An NBA exhibition match between the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves took place at the arena on 10 October 2007. The game sold out more than three months beforehand. The arena also hosted the Miami Heat and New Jersey Nets (NBA) pre-season games before the 2008-09 season.[15] Just like the previous NBA exhibition game, Tickets for the game sold out three months beforehand.[16]

The Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz played an exhibition match on 6 October 2009 in London as part of NBA Europe Live. The Chicago Bulls won the match 102-101 in front of a crowd of 18,689.


It was used for the 2009 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.[17]


The arena has also hosted two National Hockey League contests, which started the 2007-08 NHL season, on 29 and 30 September, both involving the Anschutz-owned Los Angeles Kings and their regional rivals from Southern California, the Anaheim Ducks.[18]


The arena hosted the first ever Turbo Tennis Tournament on 15 September 2007 which was won by Andy Murray. From 2009 until 2012 it has been selected as the venue for the ATP World Tour Finals.[19]


The arena has hosted a number of mixed martial arts events under the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion, including UFC 75 on September 8, 2007, UFC 85 on June 7, 2008, and UFC 95 on February 21, 2009.

Professional Wrestling

WWE Raw at The O2 arena.

WWE have used The O2 arena to host its television shows Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW. This included the taping of Monday Night Raw and an episode of the now defunct Heat, broadcast on 14 April 2008, with Smackdown! and ECW being taped the following night.

The WWE brought their TV tapings back to The O2 arena in April 2009, following a WWE Friday Night SmackDown house show at the arena in the previous November. WWE Raw was slated to be taped 20 April 2009, with Smackdown! and ECW the following night. The main events included Triple H vs Randy Orton for the Raw taping, and Triple H vs Randy Orton in the first WWE Championship steel cage match in London for the Smackdown taping.

WWE returned to the O2 arena on 11 November 2009 for the DX Invasion Tour, featuring John Cena defending his WWE title against Chris Jericho.

Resident sports team

Rumors of a sports team taking a tenancy have circulated from time to time. The London Towers basketball team was one possibility, but it folded as a professional team in 2006. There were also whisperings in 2002 of the London Knights ice hockey team relocating to The O2 following the closure of the Docklands Arena but the team went out of business in 2003. The combination of the arena's great revenue-generating capacity as an entertainment arena and the commercial fragility of basketball and ice hockey in the United Kingdom makes it unlikely that there will be a sporting tenant in the foreseeable future.

Other events

There are other events held inside the arena, which are not either musical or sports events. These include Disney On Ice and High School Musical On Ice. Other such events include Viva La Diva, Strictly Come Dancing live tour, Dancing on Ice tour and a New Year's Eve Event.

In May 2008 Chris Rock became the first comedian to play the arena, breaking a Guinness World Record for the largest audience for a comedy show,[20] though this was never an official record and has since been broken by German comedian Mario Barth.[21] Lee Evans, Steve Coogan and The Mighty Boosh all appeared at the arena in 2008, followed by Canadian stand-up Russell Peters in February 2009. High profile stand-ups Al Murray, Michael McIntyre and Eddie Izzard have all performed in 2009. Russell Brand performed at the O2 Arena in April 2009; as well as performing stand up comedy, he recorded several scenes for his new movie Get Him to the Greek, using the audience for his stand-up as a live crowd for a rock concert.[22]

In June 2008, the London auditions for the fifth series of The X Factor were filmed at the arena, as well as the Bootcamp segments been in the indigO2.

The arena also hosted The Simpsons Movie, High School Musical 2 and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian premières, and also an advance screening of Die Hard 4.

The O2 arena held the Scout event Live 07 in 2007 to celebration of the centenary of the Scout movement.

In September 2009, Hillsong Church London's 10-year anniversary church service was hosted at The O2. The venue was filled to capacity, causing over 4,000 attendees having to be turned away at the doors.

December 2009 saw a Christmas spectacular in association with Raymond Gubbay, introduced by Mylene Klass, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Choral Society, tenor Jon Christos and soprano's Alison Jiear and Stephanie Corley.

It has also hosted performances of Ben Hur Live and Walking with Dinosaurs The Arena Spectacular.

The O2 Arena hosted Andrew Reynolds Entrepreneurs Bootcamp[23] – the largest conference event held to date at the venue. Andrew Reynolds Bootcamp broke a UK record with its innovative High Definition projection screen – not only the largest ever used at the O2 – but the largest indoor screen in the UK. Measuring around 34.5 meters by 12 meters, the huge screen formed the central part of a huge stage set for the Entrepreneurs event.

See also


  1. ^ . 
  2. ^ Take a seat inside the new Dome| Music | This is London
  3. ^ The lemon Dome that was transformed into O2's concert crown
  4. ^ Audience Systems - Audience Systems wins contract at O2 Arena
  5. ^ BBC NEWS | Technology | Dome's hi-tech refit for The O2
  6. ^ The lemon Dome that was transformed into O2's concert crown - Telegraph
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "North Greenwich Arena 1". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  13. ^ "Basketball Arena". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  14. ^ "North Greenwich Arena 2". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  16. ^ "NBA Preseason Game in London Sells Out". Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  17. ^ "". Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  18. ^ "NHL Takes Its' Act on the Road — To England". Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  19. ^ ",,2094-2415720,00.html".,,2094-2415720,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  20. ^ "Review of Chris Rock at the O2 Arena in The Independent". 
  21. ^ "Largest Comedy Audience record broken". 
  22. ^ "Forthcoming events at the O2 arena (Official Site)". 
  23. ^ "Andrew Reynolds Entrepreneurs Bootcamp at the O2". 

External links

Preceded by
Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena
ATP Year-end Championships

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Wukesong Indoor Stadium
Olympic Basketball tournament
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Olympic Training Center
Rio de Janeiro


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