Harry Styles has made a major investment in Co-op Live, a live-entertainment venue that’s being constructed in Manchester, England.
Harry Styles and his team unveiled the high-profile backing today, in a formal release shared with Digital Music News. Co-op Live – billed as “the first arena to be built with an equal focus on artists and fans,” from a sound and experience perspective – comes from live concert advisory and investment firm Oak View Group. Former AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke and former Ticketmaster head Irving Azoff founded the Los Angeles-headquartered business (and Pollstar parent company) in 2015.
Co-op Live is set to open sometime in 2023 (on the Manchester City F.C.-owned Etihad Campus), and will then become the largest operating indoor arena in the United Kingdom and Western Europe.
For reference, the Manchester Arena can accommodate about 21,000 guests at once, to 20,000 for London’s O2 Arena. Co-op Live will boast a 23,500-person capacity (including “the largest standing floor capacity in the UK”) and an interior bowl. (Serbia’s 16-year-old, 24,200-person capacity Stark Arena remains the largest indoor arena in all of Europe.)
Lastly, in terms of noteworthy technical elements outlined in the release, Co-op Live will provide “fair financial opportunities for artists while offering fans access to tickets at a wide, and accessible, range of prices.” And in addition to backing the project financially, One Direction member and The X Factor competitor Harry Styles will “be actively involved in the development,” particularly in terms of molding fan experiences and developing “artist spaces.”
While Harry Styles hasn’t yet acknowledged his Co-op Live role on social media, the 26-year-old revealed an official video for his “Golden” track just hours ago. The video, which Styles captured in Italy, had already garnered nearly three million views at the time of this writing.
Despite the far-reaching impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown measures have had on the live-event space, multiple companies are making long-term investments in venues. Most significantly, Universal Music Group announced a “music-based experiential” hotel line, UMUSIC, earlier this month.
With three locations already specified and more UMUSIC hotels “to come,” it appears that the Big Three label is looking to develop a one-stop means of accommodating fans, showcasing artists, and circumventing ticketing and venue fees. To be sure, one of the establishment’s rendered images shows a massive stage and performance area set out directly before rooms’ balconies.