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|Former names||North Greenwich Arena (during the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics)|
|Public transit||North Greenwich|
|Operator||Ansco Arena Limited (AEG Live) Europe|
|Built||2003 to 2007|
|Opened||24 June 2007|
|Structural engineer||Buro Happold|
|Services engineer||M-E Engineers Ltd.|
|General contractor||Sir Robert McAlpine|
|AEG Live (2007–present)|
The O2 Arena, referred to as North Greenwich Arena in the context of the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Paralympics, is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in the centre of The O2 entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula in south-east London. It is named after its primary sponsor, the telecommunications company O2.
The O2 Arena is the world's largest building by measure of floor space, and has the second-highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, behind the Manchester Arena, but took the crown of the world's busiest music arena from New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2008. The closest underground station to the venue is the North Greenwich station on the Jubilee line.
Following the closure of the Millennium Experience at the end of 2000, the Millennium Dome was leased to Meridian Delta Ltd. in 2001, for redevelopment as an entertainment complex. This included plans for an indoor arena.
Construction of the arena started in 2003 and finished in 2007. After the interior of the dome had been largely cleared and before building work inside began, in December 2004, the dome was used as the main venue for the annual Crisis Open Christmas organised by the London-based homelessness charity Crisis.
Owing to the impossibility of using cranes inside the dome structure, the arena's roof was constructed on the ground within the dome and then lifted. The arena building's structure was then built around the roof. The arena building, which houses the arena and the arena concourse, is independent from all other buildings in the O2 and houses all the arena's facilities. The arena building itself takes up 40% of the total dome structure.
The seating arrangement throughout the whole arena can be modified, similar to the Manchester Arena. The ground surface can also be changed between ice rink, basketball court, exhibition space, conference venue, private hire venue and concert venue.
The arena was built to reduce echoing, a common problem among London music venues.
Despite The O2 Arena being open for only 200 days per year (the equivalent of seven months), the venue sold over 1.2 million tickets in 2007, making it the third most popular venue in the world for concerts and family shows narrowly behind the Manchester Arena (1.25 million) and Madison Square Garden in New York City (1.23 million). By 2008 it had become the world's busiest venue with sales of more than two million, taking the crown from MEN Arena.
Since 2009 the arena has hosted the prestigious ATP World Tour Finals, the season ending finale of men's professional tennis featuring the top 8 players in the world. In 2015 it was announced that the tournament would extend its deal to hold the tournament until 2018. The venue has hosted the event for the second longest tenure, behind only Madison Square Garden (1977–89).
During the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, The O2 Arena was referred as the North Greenwich Arena due to Olympics regulations regarding corporate sponsorship of event sites.
In 2014, the O2 arena hit controversy when guests were prevented from bringing food on site because they represented a terror threat. However, staff reportedly said that the food was banned because the food outlets were not making enough money.
As of 2015, the O2 Arena is the busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales, handling 1,819,487 tickets.
|Venue||2016 Ticket sales for concerts/shows|
|The O2 Arena, London, UK||1,064,912|
|Madison Square Garden, NY, USA||731,574|
|Mexico City Arena, Mexico City, Mexico||701,001|
|AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France||621,629|
|Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA||582,877|
|Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK||528,489|
|Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada||503,936|
|Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada||450,536|
|The Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA||445,923|
|Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany||437,667|
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