Michael Buble’s charity show brought the curtain down on the end of an era at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena - work has begun on a multi-million pound facelift.
All 12,500 seats are being ripped out and replaced, just hours after a sold-out show by the It’s A Beautiful Day hitmaker.
The ergonomically designed seating will be the same as that used in London’s O2 Arena.
Toilets are being rebuilt, energy efficient lighting installed and external concourse doors will be replaced at the award-wining Sheffield venue.
The Motorpoint is also getting a new roof for the first time since it opened in May 1991.
The Arena is the home of the Sheffield Steelers and thousands of ice hockey fans who attend games will see a new look. New scratch resistant plexiglass will be fitted around the ice to vastly improve viewing for those sitting on the lower tier seats.
Work is taking place around the clock to complete the makeover in just eight weeks - in time for a crunch ice hockey match between Sheffield Steelers and rivals Nottingham Panthers, on Sunday, September 8.
Arena bosses have chosen an historically quiet time to carry out the refurbishment work.
They say the aim is to give the ageing building a “fresher, more modern approach” as it faces increased competition, including a new arena opening this summer a in Leeds.
The Arena’s profitability contributes to SIV running both elite and community sporting venues across the city.
Chart-topping pop star Buble was the last act to perform before the seats came out this week. He opened the doors to his final dress rehearsal for a 12,000-seat ‘instant ‘ sell out, raising money for Hallam FM’s Cash For Kids and Sheffield Children’s Hospital last Friday night.
Steve Brailey, chief executive of SIV, which operates the building, said: “The profile that shows that play the Arena bring, week in and week out, are exactly why we are investing in the building’s infrastructure to ensure we continue to provide a quality customer experience and a profitable venue.
“It will allow us to enhance the customer’s experience and further highlight the Arena as one of the premier entertainment and leisure venues in the UK, capable of attracting and hosting a wide and diverse range of events, including concerts, sporting events, exhibitions and conferences.
General Manager Rob O’Shea said: “This has been an amazing week, firstly we got the news that Michael Buble wanted to perform his dress rehearsal in front of a live audience, then the show sold out as soon as it was put on sale and this was followed by an amazing performance that I am sure that those who were lucky enough to get tickets will never forget.
“Then as soon as the last customer was out of the venue work began on the refurbishment. Just another long but incredibly rewarding week in the life of the Arena.
“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.”
Shows already confirmed for the 2013/14 season are Micky Flanagan, Bruno Mars, Jessie J, Disney On Ice, Mrs Brown, JLS, Diversity, The Big Reunion Christmas Tour, Black Sabbath, Russell Howard, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Hart, Torvill & Dean’s Dancing On Ice Final Tour & once again home to Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey team, with more to be announced.
The Arena is operated by Sheffield International Venues (SIV) and managed on their behalf by Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s leading live entertainment and eCommerce company, comprised of four market leaders - www.ticketmaster.com, Live Nation Concerts, Front Line Management Group and Live Nation Network.
For more details about forthcoming events at the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena - visit the official website at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk.