It’s Tuesday – tonight we get to enjoy the first semifinal of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, transmitted live from the Liverpool M&S Bank Arena – which has been rebranded for a few days as the Liverpool Arena to meet with BBC guidelines – other banks and overpriced food stores are available.
The M&S Bank Arena, formerly the Echo Arena, is an iconic and versatile event space. Here are ten things about the Arena that you might not know …
Not the very recent BBC one … In January 2019, the Echo Arena was renamed the M&S Bank Arena as part of a naming rights partnership with M&S Bank. This marked a significant milestone in the arena’s history and reflected the ongoing collaboration between the venue and the financial institution.
Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the M&S Bank Arena on January 12, 2008, during Liverpool’s reign as the European Capital of Culture. The venue was designed by acclaimed architectural firm WilkinsonEyre and was built for £164 million.
The arena boasts a seating capacity of 11,000 for concerts and other performances, while it can accommodate up to 7,500 spectators for sports events. The venue’s flexible design allows for various seating configurations, making it suitable for various events.
For Eurovision, the capacity is close to 6000, allowing for the complex stage, the green rooms and various other technical facilities. There were ‘hospitality boxes’ available, along with some standing tickets.
The arena was built with sustainability in mind and featured a range of energy-efficient technologies. The venue is powered by 100% renewable energy and has achieved the ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system. Moreover, the arena also boasts a 1,600m² green roof that helps regulate temperature and reduce stormwater runoff.
Sir Paul McCartney’s historic concert
On June 1, 2008, Sir Paul McCartney performed a historic concert at the M&S Bank Arena, marking his first solo performance in his home town of Liverpool since 1990. The event was in conjunction with the Liverpool Sound Concert, celebrating the city’s music and cultural heritage.
Will he be there on Saturday – only rumour has it!
The arena has hosted several record-breaking events, including the 2010 UK Snooker Championship, where John Higgins achieved the highest break in the competition’s history. Additionally, in 2011, the arena hosted the World Gymnastics Championships, which featured a record-breaking performance by the USA’s Simone Biles.
Over the years, it’s hosted various sports events, such as boxing, basketball, and tennis. The venue was also the site of the 2012 Olympic basketball warm-up games and the 2013 World Taekwondo Championships. But let’s be honest, Eurovision makes those look like amateur nights at the local pub.
Conference and exhibition facilities
The adjoining Exhibition Centre Liverpool provides an additional 8,100m² of flexible event space, making the arena an ideal choice for business events and trade shows. Or, right now, a super duper press centre and artists’ lounge.
The arena is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive environment for all visitors. The venue offers services and facilities for disabled guests, including accessible parking, lifts, and lowered counters at the bars and merchandise stands. The arena provides induction loops, infrared systems, and British Sign Language interpretation for selected performances.
It has significantly impacted the local economy, attracting millions of visitors to Liverpool and generating substantial revenue for the city. A 2018 report by the University of Liverpool states that the arena has contributed over £1.6 billion to the local economy since its opening.