SECC unveils plans for world-class arena

NEW images of Scotland's answer to Madison Square Garden in New York and London's Wembley Arena have been unveiled for the first time, with organisers predicting its 12,000-seater capacity will attract the biggest music stars in the world.

• An artist's impression shows off the SECC's plans for a new venue capable of hosting top international stars, such as Beyonc and Madonna, who have previously shunned Scotland

The newly-christened Scottish Hydro Arena, in Glasgow, is expected to be among the five busiest indoor venues in the world.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The development, which is being built alongside the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), will inject 131 million into the local economy and stage stars the calibre of Beyonc and Stevie Wonder, who have previously had to skip Scotland.

Set to open in 2013, the 125m arena will host the Mobo awards and is to be the venue for gymnastics events during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

It is anticipated that it will play host to 140 events a year.

John Sharkey, chief executive of the SECC, said that its current facilities were limiting what it was able to do.

"At the moment, Hall Four, the biggest hall, is pretty-much full to capacity," he said.

"We use that for major conferences and exhibitions and our live concerts. We don't really have a lot of flexibility for growth. So the idea is to transfer all the leisure entertainment into the new arena and then back-fill Hall Four with conferences and exhibitions and just continue to provide that economic powerhouse in terms of bed nights and business spending and retail spending in Glasgow."

He said the combined concert and exhibition role of the SECC had forced it to turn down some of the biggest names in music.

"In the past, we've been unable to do dates for Beyonc, Stevie Wonder and Barbra Streisand just because of availability," said Mr Sharkey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We've not been able to do dates for bands like AC/DC because we didn't have the capacity. It will finally allow us to do something that up until now we've not been able to do, and that's offer live entertainment 365 days a year."

Mr Sharkey added that it would allow Glasgow, which has Unesco City of Music status, to bid for major events such as the MTV Europe Music Awards and the ATP tour tennis events.

Geoff Ellis, head of music promoter DF Concerts which is responsible for T in the Park, said: "We've been waiting for this for a long time. It's important for music in Glasgow, but it's more important I think for Scotland because it's bringing in more concerts and bigger concerts throughout the year, not just during the windows when Hall Four at the SECC is available."The economic impact will be huge on the city, but culturally it will be huge right across the spectrum."

He said that previously acts such as Eminem and Madonna could not be brought over because of lack of capacity and dates, while the likes of Katy Perry and Tinie Tempah had been forced to play several dates because of the limitations of space at the SECC.

Scottish Hydro is investing 1.5m a year into the building over the next ten years.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish & Southern Energy, which own the power company, said that as part of the sponsorship deal they would be looking to offer customers packages involving tickets to events at the arena.