Oak View Group Taps Milan for First Arena Outside U.S.

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Milan, Italy.

Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff's Oak View Group (OVG) has partnered with Live Nation for its first music and sports arena outside the U.S., set to be built in the Italian city of Milan.

The new privately funded venue, which will be built and run by OVG alongside Live Nation, is to be located in Milan's Santa Giulia area. A 'head of terms' agreement has been signed with property and infrastructure business Risanamento S.p.A and Lendlease to construct the venue, which OVG says will host world-class sports and entertainment events.

Billboard understands that development of the arena will likely commence in 2021 as part of a wider regeneration of the Santa Giulia district with the venue due to open by 2024. Capacity is expected to be around 17,000.

Existing music arenas and large scale venues in or near Milan include the 12,700-capacity Mediolanum Forum (opened in 1990 and managed by the ForumNet Group) and the 80,000-capacity San Siro stadium, which stages concerts from Ed Sheeran and Muse this summer.

The combined Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of three candidates in the running to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games alongside Stockholm. If Milan's bid is successful, OVG say the new Santa Giulia Arena would host the Olympic Ice Hockey tournament.

"We're delighted to announce our first European partnership, bringing a state-of-the-art entertainment facility to Milan," said Oak View Group co-founder and chief executive Tim Leiweke in a statement.

"The new arena will be an exciting addition for the city and an important part of hosting what would be an inspiring 2026 Winter Olympics," Leiweke went on to say, calling OVG and Live Nation "the ideal partners to deliver and run the Santa Giulia Arena." He added that more European partnerships would be announced soon. 

News of OVG's first European arena comes just a few months after the company opened its first international office, based in London. At its launch in March, Leiweke said the international division -- headed by president Sam Piccione III, COO Mark Donnelly and co-chair Jessica Koravos --  would explore arena and stadium development opportunities outside the U.S., specifically targeting Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Major development projects by OVG already underway in the United States include KeyArena in Seattle, a new Belmont arena for the New York Islanders and a new arena facility for The University of Texas in Austin. The company, founded by Leiweke and Azoff in 2015, additionally runs the Arena and Stadium Alliance, an invitation-only partnership of 28 arenas in North America, promoting collaboration and sponsorship opportunities between venues.