CAA ICON has been retained by Oak View Group (OVG) to serve as the project management consultancy for Co-op Live in Manchester. 

Construction of the 23,500-capacity indoor arena started in April 2021 and CAA ICON’s managing director of European operations Stephanie Bax has a key role through the opening in 2023.

Oak View Group, the developer behind Co-op Live, has been assembling a world-class team to deliver the new arena. The team includes investors City Football Group and Harry Styles, lead designers and architects Populous, the contractor BAM and naming rights partner Co-op

CAA ICON, the industry’s leading owner’s representative and strategic management consulting firm for the sports and entertainment industries, is the latest announcement about the team that OVG is bringing together to build the £350 million arena.

CAA ICON opened its first office in the UK in March 2020 to support the planning process for Co-op Live. The firm has managed the development of numerous venues around the world, totaling nearly $20 billion of investment, including The O2 in London and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. The new UK footprint will support CAA ICON’s plans to emulate its successful model in the UK and across Europe.

Bax will lead CAA ICON’s project management team for Co-op Live, overseeing the contract, design, and construction activities for the arena. Bax has been representing OVG through the design process and has been integral in the arena development activities leading up to construction. 

Now that construction has commenced, Bax will oversee the CAA ICON team as it represents OVG and City Football Group interests in activities, such as budget and programme management; oversight of procurement and installation of furniture, fixtures, and equipment; and oversight of sponsor related procurement and integration into the venue.

Bax is supported by a team of six regional experts based in London and Milan, providing feasibility and planning, strategic advisory, and project management services for sports, entertainment, and public assembly projects across the UK and Italy.

Bax brings significant experience in successful major project development, including Stadio della Roma and the Moody Center at UT Austin, and management of multiple high-profile projects in North American venues for Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. She said:

We are thrilled to be working once again with OVG, this time to deliver their first international venue. Co-op Live will be a groundbreaking project for the UK music industry and an important economic boost to the City of Manchester in the wake of the pandemic. This will be the first of many new projects in the UK and Europe for CAA ICON and we are committed to bringing our deep sports and entertainment expertise, alongside our tailored project management approach, to these complex projects. 

Sam Piccione III, president international, OVG, said:

In Co-op Live, we’re planning to create a music and entertainment experience like nothing the UK or Europe has ever seen before. We need a team of world-leading experts to deliver that, and Stephanie and the team at CAA ICON are truly second-to-none in their field.