Maligned venue to be refurbished for 2007 opening.
The troubled Millennium Dome is to be resurrected with a new name and re-positioned as London's biggest indoor live-music destination.
Following a deal unveiled today (May 25) between Anschutz Entertainment Group and British wireless operator O2, the venue will be converted into a 23,000-capacity music, entertainment and sports arena. Due to re-open in 2007 as "the O2,” the venue will also house with a 2,000-capacity club.
Music concerts will be the predominant draw, an AEG spokesman says. "The O2 will offer high-calibre music events on a similar scale to those hosted at other AEG-owned venues such as the Staples Center in Los Angeles with major acts such as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake and Madonna," AEG says in a statement.
The venue's capacity will surpass that of rival 18,500-seater Earl's Court and the 11,500-seater Wembley Arena, which is currently being refurbished for a 2006 re-opening.
AEG and O2 will also jointly develop mobile content such as music downloads based on concerts filmed at the new venue.
Future initiatives targeted at O2 customers include developing mobile ticketing for "the O2" events, and handset-accessible event guides.
O2 recently boosted its music profile with its headline sponsorship of the multi-stage Wireless Festival, which will be held at London's Hyde Park during the last month of June. The telecoms giant claims a database of 14 million U.K. customers.
The Dome, in the Greenwich area of London, was launched as an amusement center in January 2000 to celebrate the Millennium. It turned into a loss-making fiasco that has cost British taxpayers more than £800 million ($1.16 billion). The British government in May 2002 handed AEG responsibility for developing and operating the site.