Venue's $89M refurbishment almost complete.

Live Nation has nailed down a 15-year deal to manage and promote shows at the newly-refurbished Wembley Arena in London. The pact is important strategically for Live Nation, with a rival international promoter set to open the 23,000-capacity 02 arena in 2007 at London’s Millenium Dome site.

Live Nation subsidiary, Hamsard, brokered the deal with developer Wembley London Limited, a subsidiary of Quintain Estates and Development PLC, and it coincides with the Arena's extensive $89 million refurbishment. The overhaul increases the seated capacity from 11,500 to 12,700, rising to 13,500 unseated.

Wembley Arena has been closed for refurbishment since January 2005, and is scheduled to re-open in April with two shows by Depeche Mode. An adjacent temporary 10,000-capacity venue, the Wembley Arena Pavilion, was constructed to cater for acts which would have played the Arena during the closure.

Historically, Wembley has been one of London’s top-grossing venues. Madonna rang up four sellouts at Wembley in her 2004 ReInvention tour that grossed nearly $10 million. Wembley was the top-grossing arena in the 10,000-15,000 capacity range in the world in 2004, grossing $26.8 million from 35 concerts, according to Billboard Boxscore.