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Coventry Building Society Arena marks one year under new ownership

A year after going into administration and being bought by new owners a leading figure at Coventry Building Society Arena says the venue has rebuilt and set the foundations for success.

Paul Michael, Managing Director at Coventry Building Society Arena, says that since being acquired by Frasers Group in November 2022 the venue has pursued a major investment plan and been able to introduce initiatives for sustainability and community engagement.

Coventry Building Society Arena marks one year under new ownership

Over the last 12 months, the venue has hosted around 750 events and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, with major events being held including back-to-back sell-out stadium bowl performances from Harry Styles.

Visitors will have already seen improvements around the arena on their visits, whether that is fan experience on matchdays with the enhanced concourse, improvements to the guest experience in the on-site Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, or technology being installed such as the new ANPR parking system.

The venue has been actively driving forward new strategies for sustainability, improved accessibility and increasing the work it does in the local community.

Latest figures show that the Arena is now recycling more than 97.5 per cent of its waste.

It has seen more than 150 per cent growth in number of staff, with total headcount now standing at 150 permanent employees and over 900 casual staff.

Coventry Building Society Arena has restructured its senior team to help drive the venue into its new era, which was headlined by the appointment of experienced Operations Director Claire Harkness in August.

The appointment of Harkness was central to one of the Arena’s core goals over the next year – to strengthen its live events portfolio and become a night time leisure destination.

Frasers Group has already invested millions of pounds in the venue and is pursuing a long-term multi-million investment plan.

Paul Michael, who became Managing Director of the venue in July, says that the strategic priority initially for the venue was stabilisation, but now it is focused on growth, breaking into new markets, enhancing its reputation internationally and investment to enhance visitor experience.

“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,” he said.

“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 FC, were retained and strengthened.

“From there we set about rebuilding and growing our team, which was essential to getting the venue back to where we should be. This included establishing a new senior team, investing in training and development for existing staff, and supporting the new Step into Hospitality scheme from our partners Destination Coventry and PET-Xi.

“We made the major decision to bring our catering operation in-house, sealed a new partnership with Budweiser Brewing Group and started working with sustainability experts Skoot. We are also working with more local suppliers now than ever before.

“Frasers Group has been brilliant and we have been able to make key investments to position the venue for growth. We are focused on growing our conference and exhibitions portfolio, strengthening our live music and events offer, and boosting our international footprint.

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

“We are committed to working with local suppliers, but our aim is to build our reputation and draw international business, which will bring benefits to our business and the wider visitor economy in Coventry.”

Pictured: The executive team at Coventry Building Society Arena, from left to right - Jenni Ford, Mark O’Shea, Paul Michael, Claire Harkness, Claire Collins and Jack Wright.

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