Coventry arena has 'set foundations for success' one year after Mike Ashley takeover - The Coventry Observer

Coventry arena has 'set foundations for success' one year after Mike Ashley takeover

Coventry Editorial 17th Nov, 2023   0

COVENTRY building society arena chiefs claim the venue has rebuilt and set the foundations for success a year after being bought by the Mike Ashley-owned Frasers Group following its plunge into administration.

The arena was plunged into financial trouble following former Premiership rugby club Wasps entering administration, but on November 17, 2022, ex-Newcastle owner Ashley secured a takeover of the venue.

Fraser Group had previously signed an exclusivity agreement with the firms which ran the arena, which allowed it to continue trading beyond November 1, 2022 despite its financial plight.

Over the last 12 months, the venue has hosted around 750 events and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, including two shows from pop superstar Harry Styles.

It has seen more than 150 per cent growth in the number of staff and Frasers Group has invested millions of pounds in the venue as part of along-term investment plan.

Arena managing director Paul Michael, who started his new job at the arena in July, said: “We have come a long way since the venue was acquired by Frasers Group and we are now focused on the future and achieving our long-term goals.

“We’ve put every part of the business under the microscope and identified where we need to improve, some of those changes have been short-term, while others are built into our long-term strategy.

“Our focus initially was stabilisation and to do this we had to make sure that relationships with our key partners, such as Coventry Building Society and Coventry City, were retained and strengthened.”

In December 2022 Coventry City were handed an eviction notice by Frasers Group, but just over a week later they agreed on a licence agreement and have since signed on to stay at the arena for at least the next five years.

“Frasers Group has been brilliant and we have been able to make key investments to position the venue for growth” Mr Michael added.

“This venue has been hugely successful in the past and now it’s about how we build on that, expand into new markets and ensure we have the agility to take advantage of new business opportunities.”

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