(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
O2, a leading provider of mobile services to consumers and businesses in the UK, has joined forces Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to help transform the former Millennium Dome in London and the surrounding area into the UK's most technically advanced music, sport and entertainment destination. The venue has been renamed "The O2."
The partnership between O2 and AEG, a multi-year deal worth 6 million pounds sterling per year (over $11.3 million per-year U.S.) from 2007, the largest-ever deal of its kind, has three core elements:
- The two companies will work together to bring exclusive music and
entertainment content to O2 phones and devices.
- Every O2 customer will be able to enjoy VIP privileges at The O2.
- Mobile technology and interactivity will be integral to every element
of the experience.
The centrepiece of the multi-billion pound development, set to open in early 2007, will be an indoor arena for up to 23,000 fans that will host at least 120 world-class music, entertainment and sport events in its first year of opening. Within the facility there will be the O2 Music Club with a capacity of over 2,000, an ice rink called the O2 Ice Pad, and a "bubble" shaped world-class exhibition space and a vibrant "entertainment district" featuring a variety of bars, restaurants, retail and leisure facilities.
The vision for The O2 builds on the unique strengths of the two partners. O2 brings its expertise in mobile — and in particular its extensive involvement with music, sport and entertainment — plus its 14 million UK and 9 million European customers. AEG bring its track record for creating successful entertainment destinations and events.
AEG and O2 will work together to create a range of mobile entertainment content available exclusively on O2 phones and devices like the XDA. This will include the period between now and the opening of The O2 in 2007, using content from AEG hosted and promoted events worldwide. This will continue thereafter using content from events at The O2.
All O2 customers will be able to enjoy special VIP status at The O2. While it will be a national venue with broad appeal, O2 customers can enjoy unique benefits that significantly enhance the experience. On opening, for example, there will be a unique event available only to O2 customers. Other benefits will include:
- priority access to tickets for all events;
- a members only "Ice" Bar and VIP hospitality lounge with entry only
for O2 customers;
- fast track entry;
- a host of opportunities for ticket and hospitality upgrades at every
live event; and
- a "Blue Room" where selected customers can relax before and after
O2 and AEG will integrate state of the art entertainment and mobile technology to create a range of interactive services, including:
- easy to use mobile ticketing;
- "Refresh" Bubbles where O2 customers can relax, recharge their phones,
try new mobile entertainment services, and have a drink or a massage
- a unique O2 'Experience" store; and
- event guides, downloads, and exclusive music and entertainment
information. These will be accessible via the O2 Active and/or i-mode
mobile internet portals on O2 handsets.
"Turning great sponsorships into interactive partnerships has been a big part of O2's success over our first three years." Russ Shaw, marketing director of O2 UK . "Whether it's Big Brother, Arsenal, the England Rugby Union team, the O2 FHM Cup, the O2 Wireless Festival or the wide range of other music events we're involved with, we've used mobile interactivity to enhance these experiences for people. Now we are evolving that model into something even bolder and more imaginative by putting our customers at the very heart of The O2, I don't believe there is another partnership like this anywhere in the world."
"In our estimation, London, along with New York, are clearly the most important live entertainment markets in the world," said Timothy J. Leiweke, president and CEO, AEG. "Yet, unlike nearly every major city in Europe and the United States, London does not have a world-class arena to attract the best concerts, sporting competitions and special events for the region … Now it will!"
"In addition to being developers, our organization's additional focus and priority is organizing and producing major sports and entertainment programming," Leiweke added. "In the coming weeks and months, we will be finalizing and announcing important and much sought-after events for The O2. From world championship tournaments and competitions in such sports as gymnastics, figure skating, boxing, tennis, basketball, hockey and volleyball to the most important award shows and concerts starring the hottest touring artists, this arena will provide to London the best indoor entertainment anywhere in the world."
"In addition to creating the very best venues, AEG's passion is the promotion and production of music, sport and entertainment programming," said David Campbell, newly appointed president and CEO of AEG Europe. "Unlike other arenas, The O2 will be designed for music, offering great acoustics for the performers and modern facilities for the fans. In addition, the way we have developed the space allows us to attract world-class sporting competitions and special events — some that never would have considered London before now. We are currently finalizing our first raft of events for The O2, which we look forward to announcing in the coming weeks and months."
The project builds on O2's successful investments in music, entertainment and sport, including the ongoing sponsorship of the England national Rugby Union team, Arsenal FC and the O2 FHM Cup in sport. In music, this includes O2's music download service, the Hero2Hero concerts, a long running partnership with Capital Radio Party in the Park events, O2 Q Icons exhibition, English National Opera, Queernation and Melas and now the first ever London music festival — O2 Wireless festival — which will be held in June 2005 and feature New Order, Basement Jaxx, Keane and Kasabian amongst others. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen