Co-op Live’s sustainability push continues with transport deal

Featured Image: Co-op Live/Transport for Greater Manchester

Co-op Live has struck a deal with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to include travel on Metrolink and city centre shuttle buses for event ticket-holders for the venue’s opening season.

The partnership was announced today (Thursday) ahead of Co-op Live’s first events between April 20 and June 30. In a move to promote sustainability, event ticket-holders will be able to use Metrolink from four hours before and after the event.

Co-op Live, which is a joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group, has long held the ambition of being the UK’s most sustainable entertainment venue. In 2021, plans were revealed to make the venue the country’s first all-electric arena.

It has previously pledged to support Manchester City Council’s target of becoming net zero carbon by 2038, and will donate at least £1m (€1.2m/$1.3m) annually to the Co-op Foundation to support local and national initiatives.

Together with TfGM, Co-op Live will also introduce a city centre shuttle bus service. The schedule and number of routes on offer will vary depending on the profile of the event. There will be a maximum of 10 buses per show.

“We are dedicated to ensuring easy and accessible transport links to and from Co-op Live and are delighted to be working with Transport for Greater Manchester to offer this inclusive service for our fans for opening season,” said Gary Roden, executive director and general manager of Co-op Live.

“Coupled with the planning application submitted for a new ‘CityLink’ walking route from the city centre to the Etihad Campus, we are further demonstrating our commitment to the environment by encouraging more sustainable transport choices, and providing additional neighbour-friendly options to support increased footfall across East Manchester.”

“Co-op Live is an exciting addition to Manchester’s already buzzing music and entertainment scene and this travel offer will mean people off to enjoy a night out watching the biggest acts in music, comedy and entertainment can do so knowing they will be able to get there and back without any hassle,” added Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

“As we build the Bee Network we want to make it easier for people to make all kinds of journeys and this pioneering partnership between TfGM and Co-op Live is showing that in action.

“This is a big step to ensuring everyone can enjoy the city’s unrivalled nightlife knowing safe, reliable and sustainable travel is all part of the package and I can’t wait to get down there myself when the new arena opens in April.”

A large portion of an event’s carbon footprint can be classed as Scope 3, meaning emissions are generated by aspects such as fan travel. By incentivising the use of public transport, the venue will naturally hope to reduce these emissions, while also providing a safe route to events.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Co-op Live to bring the people of Greater Manchester this groundbreaking travel offer ahead of the UK’s biggest arena opening its doors in our city centre,” said Fran Wilkinson, customer and growth director, TfGM.

“It’s vitally important that there are no barriers to people enjoying everything our city region has to offer and initiatives like this – together with our plans for a new walking route from the city centre to the Etihad Campus – demonstrate our commitment to a thriving night-time economy.

“This new offer will provide safe, reliable and sustainable transport to and from Co-op Live and I hope everyone gets on board as they head off to enjoy a show.”

In February, it was revealed that comedian Peter Kay will open the new 23,500-capacity arena as part of his ‘Better Late Than Never’ tour.

Co-op Live is set to open as planned in April, after OVG and ASM Global, operator of the existing AO Arena, secured a premises licence. Manchester City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee approved the venue’s application earlier this month.