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O2 Arena Posts Solid 2008 Profits, Faces Olympics Branding Turmoil

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A year after opening, London's O2 Arena posted a solid pre-tax profit of £15.6m in 2008, up from from a £9.7m loss in 2007, AEG reported.

The profit was driven in part by strong ticket sales. More than 2 million tickets to 140 different shows were sold in 2008, for a solid schedule that featured major touring artists such as Celine Dion and Elton John.

Attention to controlling costs also contributed to the rosy profits for the venue in 2008 and total costs at the arena only increased by 1.5% from the previous year. Overall revenue at the arena, derived from ticket sales and rental costs, nearly doubled in 2008 to £53 million.

Not everything is going so well at the 02 however and AEG has been forced to re-brand the arena for the 2012 Olympics due to a conflict of interests. The arena is set to serve as a venue for Basketball and Gymnastics during the 2012 Olympic games but the arena's O2 branding is causing tsuris for a major sponsor of the Olympic Games, UK telecom BT.

BT's rival, telecom giant O2 (Telefónica Europe,) is currently paying an estimated £6 million a year for naming rights at the arena.

AEG resisted suggestions to return the are to its original 'Millennium Dome' moniker, citing concerns that the name had a "white elephant" connotation with consumers and is currently using the name NGA1 (North Greenwich Arena) as a placeholder in all Olympics documentation Event Magazine reported. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers