First partner for AEG-operated London venue.

Live-entertainment U.S. company Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has nabbed investment bank Credit Suisse to be its first sponsorship partner for The O2, the London-based entertainment venue formerly known as the Millennium Dome.

Credit Suisse will be AEG's exclusive banking and financial services partner at The O2, which is scheduled for a July 2007 opening and will be positioned as Europe's leading music and entertainment destination.

The financial-services company is the first sector-exclusive "founding partner" that AEG is seeking from about 12 different sector categories. The other industries being considered for an exclusive "founding partner" include airlines, automotive, beer, credit card, soft drinks and utilities.

"We've yet to announce the full details of the partnership, but suffice to say the agreement will benefit Credit Suisse clients and staff as well," AEG Europe's London-based president/CEO David Campbell tells Billboard.biz.

Like the other founding partners, Credit Suisse will contribute financial and marketing resources to the £500 million ($880 million) AEG will spend to convert the once struggling Millennium Dome into The O2. It will have a capacity of more than 23,000.

The Dome was renamed The O2 after the British wireless carrier of the same name agreed to pay more than $10 million a year for the naming rights.

In May 2002, the British government handed Los-Angeles-based AEG the responsibility for developing and operating The O2's site on London's Greenwich Peninsula.

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