When leading US entertainment company Oak View Group (OVG) entered the UK market, they asked Blakeney to run their media, political, and digital communications.

As well as developing an alliance of like-minded venues across Europe, OVG is working with Blakeney on multiple development projects, chief amongst them Manchester. Manchester has had an arena in the city centre since 1995; but, as the live entertainment market has grown and other major European cities added venues, Manchester has fallen behind.

Blakeney launched the £350m arena project for OVG in February this year, and a planning application was submitted a week later. Throughout the planning process OVG’s project gained significant support from local councillors and politicians, the media, and the industry, as well as de-escalating concerns that could have affected the application.

The application received consent in September, following a unanimous vote for approval by Manchester City Council’s planning committee. The new 23,500-seat arena will be the most sustainable venue in the UK and Europe, supporting the council’s ambition to make Manchester a zero-carbon city by 2038, and ensuring it remains a world-leading music city while bringing significant economic benefits.

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After approval was granted, OVG announced a 15-year partnership with the Co-operative Group, which will see the arena named Co-op Live. The partnership will ensure a minimum of £1million annual donations to charities and good causes in Manchester and around the UK.

The Blakeney team is first class, and they’ve felt like part of our team from day one. From creating a strategy, to advising on political and stakeholder engagement, to delivering media coverage, Blakeney’s work is invaluable, and having them on our team is a strategic advantage.

Sam Piccione - President, OVG International

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“The Blakeney team is first class, and they’ve felt like part of our team from day one. From creating a strategy, to advising on political and stakeholder engagement, to delivering media coverage, Blakeney’s work is invaluable, and having them on our team is a strategic advantage.”

Sam Piccione, President, OVG International