The O2 Arena

The O2 Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the centre of The O2 entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London. It opened in its present form in 2007. It has the second-highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, behind the Manchester Arena, and in 2008 was the world's busiest music arena.[3]

The O2 Arena
The O2 Arena
Location within Royal Borough of Greenwich
Former namesNorth Greenwich Arena (during the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics)
LocationGreenwich Peninsula
London, SE10
Coordinates51.5029°N 0.0032°E / 51.5029; 0.0032
Public transit North Greenwich
OwnerHomes and Communities Agency
OperatorAnsco Arena Limited (AEG Live) Europe
Built2003 to 2007
Opened24 June 2007
ArchitectHOK Sport[1]
Structural engineerBuro Happold
Services engineerM-E Engineers Ltd.[2]
General contractorSir Robert McAlpine
2012 Summer Olympics (2012)
Paralympics (2012)

The arena was built under the former Millennium Dome, a large dome-shaped building built to house an exhibition celebrating the turn of the third millennium; as the structure still stands over the arena, The Dome remains a name in common usage for the venue. The arena, as well as the overall O2 complex, is named after its primary sponsor, the telecommunications company O2, a subsidiary of Spain's Telefónica.


Following the closure of the Millennium Experience at the end of 2000, the Millennium Dome was leased to Meridian Delta Ltd. in December 2001, for redevelopment as an entertainment complex. This included plans for an indoor arena.[4]

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.[5]

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.[1] 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.[6] 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.[7]


On 21 July 2007, British rock band Keane played the arena as part of their Under the Iron Sea Tour, and the performance was later released as their Keane Live DVD.

Beginning in July 2009, Michael Jackson was scheduled to hold a 50-show residency at the arena, titled This Is It.[8][9] However, Jackson died on 25 June, eighteen days before the first scheduled show.[10]

From 2008, the O2 Arena has hosted Capital's Jingle Bell Ball which is an annual mini-festival held over two nights, usually in early December.

Since 2009, the arena has hosted the ATP World Tour Finals, the season-ending finale of men's professional tennis, featuring the top eight players in the world. 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 venue was referred as the North Greenwich Arena due to Olympics regulations regarding corporate sponsorship of event sites.[11]

Ariana Grande was scheduled to perform on 25 and 26 May 2017 as part of her Dangerous Woman Tour, but the event was cancelled after the Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May. The event was not rescheduled. Ariana has since then held five concerts at the arena for her Sweetener World Tour on 17, 19, and 20 August 2019 as well as 15 and 16 October 2019.

Since March 2013, the arena has hosted C2C: Country to Country, Europe's largest country music festival, which annually attracts over 20,000 fans. UK and Irish acts as well as up-and-coming American acts perform sets several times across various pop-up stages in and around the arena, with the main stage accessible only to ticket-holders. The seventh C2C was held on 8–10 March 2019.

Since 2014, the Australia-based charismatic Christian church Hillsong has held the Hillsong Conference London at the arena.[12]

Ticket sales records

Despite 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).

As of 2018, the O2 Arena was still the busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales.[13]

World's Busiest Arenas – 2017[14]
Venue 2017 Ticket sales for concerts/shows
The O2 Arena, London, England, UK 1,443,232
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, USA 1,167,544
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England, UK 1,072,079
SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland, UK 1,028,934
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA 936,794
Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany 931,394
Arena Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico 906,290
Mexico City Arena, Mexico City, Mexico 881,665
The Forum, Inglewood, California, USA 790,728
WiZink Center, Madrid, Spain 784,699

Prizes and awards

  • 2016 Pollstar International Venue of the Year
  • 2016 Billboard Touring Awards: Top Arena
  • 2016 The London Venue Awards: Best Music Venue
  • 2016 The Drum UK Event Awards: Large Venue of the Year
  • 2017 Pollstar International Venue of the Year

See also


  1. "Transforming a tent into the World's favourite venue". Populous. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. O2 Arena - ME Engineers Archived 24 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  3. White, Dominic (15 April 2008). "The Lemon Dome That was Transformed into O2's Concert Crown". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  4. "New life for Millennium Dome". 18 December 2001. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  5. "Dome sleeps 700 over festive week". BBC News. 28 December 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  6. "wins contract at O2 Arena". Audience Systems. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  7. "Dome's hi-tech refit for The O2". BBC News. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  8. Kreps, Daniel (12 March 2009). "Michael Jackson's "This Is It!" Tour Balloons to 50-Show Run Stretching Into 2010". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  9. "Michael Jackson tickets sell out". BBC News. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  10. Sherwin, Adam (26 June 2009). "O2 arena counts cost as curtain closes on the greatest show of all". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  11. "O2 Arena forced into Olympic rebrand following sponsor clash".
  12. Jones, Allie; Mararike, Shingi (5 August 2018). "Hillsong: the gen Z church with a celebrity congregation". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  13. Pollstar (1 May 2018). "Pollstar | 2017 Year End Special Features: Top Tours, Promoters, Venues, Grosses".
  14. "TOP 200 ARENA VENUES 2017" (PDF). 31 December 2017.
Preceded by
Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena
ATP Year-end Championships

Succeeded by
Pala Alpitour
Preceded by
Sinan Erdem Dome
Final Four

Succeeded by
Mediolanum Forum

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