£2.5m sponsors' boost for new Glasgow arena

GLASGOW'S new £125million music venue has secured more than £2.5m of sponsorship – eight times more than originally expected.

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And the latest deal for The Hydro Arena has seen drinks giant Heineken sign up to provide beer and cider to the venue.

Heineken is the second drinks supplier, following founding sponsors Coca-Cola to join the venture, alongside energy company Scottish Hydro, who secured the naming rights to the venue, and transport sponsor ScotRail.

Now a top SECC boss has said he is confident The Hydro, based beside the SECC, will be the most commercially successful venue in the UK, after The 02 Arena in London.

Peter Duthie, commercial director at the SECC, said: "Building on the achievement of attracting Scottish Hydro as the naming rights partner for 'The Hydro' we're confident that, aside from The O2 in London, The Hydro will be the most commercially successful venue in the UK.

"Annual sponsorship income in excess of £2.5m has already been secured.

"This is more than eight times the original business plan projection, which was based on what had been achieved at that time by other venues in the UK.

"Our strategic partnership with AEG Worldwide has helped to deliver these partnerships with some of the world's best known brands.

"Today's announcement of Heineken as our beer partner, added to Coca-Cola as the soft drinks partner, reflects the level of interest that The Hydro is attracting.

"The recent confirmation of ScotRail as our transport partner will soon be followed by other international brands in the banking, consumer electronics and savoury snacks markets.

"Further potential deals are being discussed in other business sectors, such as communication and cars.

"The current climate is difficult, but in these times the ability to provide direct access to highly targeted audiences is of even greater relevance and a major factor in our emerging success in this area."

The exclusive five-year deal with Heineken means they will supply draught and packaged lager, ale and cider, including Heineken, Foster's, Amstel, John Smith's Extra Smooth, Strongbow and Bulmers, to patrons of the 12,000 seater arena.

Coca-Cola will supply their full range of soft drinks at concerts and events at the arena, while ScotRail hope to encourage music fans to use Finnieston station – only three minutes away – to get to and from concerts.

John Gemmell, Trading Director-North for Heineken, said: "We are proud to partner the SECC in this landmark development for Scotland.

"The partnership will allow us to showcase best-in-class brand activation and the superb opportunity it offers for customer hospitality will significantly enhance our engagement with the trade.

"With more than two million visitors expected per year, the SECC and new Hydro complex will provide outstanding prestige and exposure for our business and our brands."

The Hydro, which is due to open next September, is expected to host around 140 events each year.

Projections suggest the venue has the potential to generate an extra £131m in revenue for Glasgow.

With an audience of one million visitors each year, The Hydro aims to be one of the top five indoor music arenas in the world, ranking alongside such famous venues such as New York's Madison Square Gardens and London's O2 arena.

It has already lined up London comedian and Mock the Week regular Micky Flanagan to play the new venue, on October 10 next year, followed by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, on October 24.

On December 7 – just under a year from now– it will be the turn of JLS to take to the stage.

And The Hydro will also host the MOBO awards in 2013, as well as the gymnastics and netball events for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, the final touches to the ground breaking roof design are in place, after a temporary supporting tower was successfully removed.

The huge domed roof is now self-supporting.

In May, the 330 tonne central section of the roof was lifted into place and in October construction workers held a 'topping out' ceremony to celebrate the last bolt being tightened up.

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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