Sheffield’s revamped Motorpoint Arena opens on Sunday - September 8,2013 - and it really has the X Factor, say bosses.
Tickets for the top TV talent show’s live tour have just gone on sale.
And a multi-million pound makeover aims to ensure the venue itself has the extra factor as it takes on the new £80 million Leeds Arena.
The spend already means the Motorpoint retains its crown as the biggest indoor concert venue in Yorkshire.
New, additional seating, improved toilet facilities, and other tweaks has increased the capacity to 13,600 – 100 more than Leeds Arena.
It also boasts improved food and drink outlets, complete with new menus and locally-sourced fresh food.
Sheffield Steelers ice hockey fans, who will be the first to see the changes when doors reopen for their game against Nottingham tomorrow, will also get a clearer view of the action – thanks to new scratch-proof safety glass around the rink.
Motorpoint bosses also say their location, next to the M1 just outside the city centre, with links to the Supertram network, will also be an advantage to visitors from out of the area.
Bosses are confident the changes will ensure the 22-year-old venue, bringing in an estimated £20 million a year to Sheffield’s economy, will not lose business or bigger names to the Leeds.
General manager Rob O’Shea said of Sheffield’s flagship concert and events venue: “Since the last customer left the Arena following the sell-out Michael Buble show on June 28, it has been all hands on deck to ensure this summer’s multi-million pound refurbishment was on time.
“I am proud to report that all the building works are complete – the building is looking fantastic and we are ready and excited to host our first event with the Steelers v Nottingham ice hockey fixture on Sunday.”
Boyband JLS, TV spin-off show Dancing On Ice, and comics Russell Howard and Lee Evans have Leeds and Sheffield dates on their upcoming tours, allaying fears acts may opt for Leeds as their only Yorkshire stop.
Marketing manager Simon Bailey added: “We have all become used to the fact that all the world’s biggest entertainers come to our city and that’s not a bad thing.
“Following the refurbishment, we will be providing facilities that would be the pride of any of city.”
“There is always a honeymoon period attached to the opening of a new venue as event promoters and audiences try out what is new in the market.
“Our arena has had been through this process before as arenas have opened in Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool and Nottingham.”
The Arena has hosted more than 2,700 events that have been seen by over 14.5 million people, averaging 122 performances each year, bringing over 650,000 customers through the door annually for 22 years.
Some of the legendary superstars to grace the stage in Sheffield over the last 22 years include Stevie Wonder, Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Take That, Diana Ross, Oasis, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Beyonce, Lady GaGa, One Direction and Michael Buble... the list goes on.
Then there’s been the sporting greats, from trophy-winning Sheffield Steelers to boxing world title fights and darts heroes like Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.
Not only musical and sporting stars have graced the Arena. Some of the most unusual events at the venue have seen Cybermen marching through the audience at Doctor Who The Live Tour; 20 life-sized dinosaurs, the largest of which the Brachiosaurus, was 36 feet tall and 56ft from nose to tail and weighed in at 1.6 tons roaming the Arena floor in Walking With Dinosaurs; Seeing the Arena transformed into Gotham City for Batman Live; one of the most watched operatic productions in the world Madam Butterfly was staged on walkways which crisscrossed a Japanese water garden covering the whole 100 metres of the arena floor.
The forthcoming season already has a strong line-up.
Simon added: “As the House Of Steel, home of the Steelers, we have over 25 ice hockey fixtures. Sainsbury’s school games opening and closing ceremonies plus three days of wheelchair basketball competition.
“The first touring act to perform since the refurbishment will be Micky Flanagan at the end of the month, before returning for a second show in November.
“October sees Arena debuts for Bruno Mars and Jessie J with the return of local boxer Kell Brook.
“Arctic Monkeys perform a sell-out home town gig in November followed by the venue’s most popular touring show that has played the Arena every year since it opened in 1991 – Disney On Ice.
“December will see six Mrs Brown shows, JLS with their Greatest Hits final ever tour, Diversity, Big Re-Union Christmas Party and Black Sabbath.
“Already on sale for 2014 we have Indoor Motorcycle Trials, ArenaCross, Russell Howard, 10th Anniversary of X Factor Live Tour, CBeebies, Torvill & Dean’s Dancing on Ice The Final Tour – the 30th Anniversary of the Bolero and Lee Evans. “Even after 22 years we still are hosting firsts for the Arena.
“Next year will see us hosting the first ever comedy show in the round when Jack Whitehall brings his Gets Around tour in March and then in April we are hosting our first ever female comedian when Miranda Hart plays two nights.”
Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour 2014, featuring judges Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, will play Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on January 28 and 29. Seats go on sale on Monday, September 9, at 9am.
Tickets for all shows are available in person at the Arena box office, by phone on 0114 2565656 or online at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk.
* Tell us about the greatest concert, sporting or other event you’ve ever been to at the arena in Sheffield for a chance to win a bit of its history... an original seat signed by one of the many superstars who have played there. Full details - click here.
The Arena also has 1,500 chairs to give away to local registered charities and good causes on a first-come-served basis.
Those who would like to be considered should email details of their charity/good cause and the number of seats required, to email@example.com with details.