Bristol City Council has officially awarded the contract for the operation of Bristol Arena, due to be built close to Bristol Temple Meads station.

The UK’s largest arena operator SMG Europe, in partnership with international live entertainment company Live Nation, has agreed a deal with the council to manage and programme the 12,000 capacity venue for a 25 year lease period.

Bristol Arena is designed for a wide range of different events, with spaces for public exhibitions, fashion shows, conferences and meetings, as well as flexible space for 4,500 theatre-goers, comedy shows and 12,000 live-music fans. The arena will also comfortably host large-scale sporting events including ice hockey, tennis, basketball, boxing, handball and gymnastics.

Helen Holland, Cabinet member for Place said:

“SMG Europe and Live Nation bring the combined expertise of two global businesses experienced in running arenas worldwide and delivering successful programmes of concerts and events. The flexibility of the arena design also offers the opportunity to produce a really exciting and varied programme for the Bristol Arena.

I am very committed to maximising the employment and training opportunities for local people for this important cultural venue for the city and region and I look forward to working with the operator to achieve this.”

John Sharkey, SMG Executive Vice President of European Operations, added:

“We’re delighted to be one step closer to bringing world class entertainment to the South West. The combined experience and expertise of SMG Europe and Live Nation is going to make Bristol Arena one of the most exciting arenas to open in the UK for a long time.”

Graham Walters, Chief Operating Officer for Live Nation, said:

“This unique partnership will further strengthen Bristol’s reputation as a must play destination.”

The news follows the announcement in February that international building contractor Bouygues has been named as preferred contractor to build the arena. Bouygues is working with the council to agree the target cost and programme for the arena build that will go before Bristol City Council’s Cabinet for approval in the Autumn.

The 12,000 capacity arena is set to be located next to Bristol Temple Meads railway station in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The arena is expected to bring millions of pounds of additional spend and over 900 jobs to the region.