In pictures: Michael Bublé launches Barclaycard Arena

Birmingham's National Indoor Arena revealed its new identity last night (2 December) with a sell-out performance from singer Michael Bublé in front of almost 14,000 fans.

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The venue, which has relaunched as the Barclaycard Arena, has received a £26m investment as part of a partnership with the financial brand. The arena features new state-of-the-art facilities, increased capacity, new retail and merchant spaces and contactless payment technology.

Celebrity guests including Jessica Wright from The Only Way Is Essex, X Factor contestants Jay James, Paul Akister and Lola Saunders, Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford and Rugby World Cup legend Austin Healy at last night’s performance from Bublé.

New facilities at the venue showcased for the first time yesterday include new seating, an increased capacity with nearly 6,000 square metres of new pre- and post-show space and a variety of hospitality choices. This includes The Vista Rooms, an exclusive, free lounge for Barclaycard customers.

A new glass façade overlooking the city’s Brindleyplace canal side development has also been incorporated into the venue, featuring an LCD ‘wonderwall’, copper fins and a boardwalk, which will be home to a number of retail units.

A range of benefits have been introduced for Barclaycard customers as part of the partnership with the venue, including fast track entry, pre-sale tickets to events and shows and a ‘Fee-Free Friday’ initiative whereby customers will not be charged admin fees for tickets brought through Barclaycard on a Friday.

Phil Mead, managing director of NEC Group Arenas’ business, said the launch of the Barclaycard Arena is a momentous occasion for the arena, Birmingham and the wider area. "The redevelopment has ensured that the venue continues to be world class and provide an ultimate live event experience for visitors. The arena has a rich heritage of attracting the very best global entertainment and we look forward to continuing to do so in what we see as a venue which has been innovatively designed to deliver an outstanding experience for our visitors, performers and promoters."

Katherine Whitton, chief marketing officer at Barclaycard, added: "Our sponsorship of the arena continues the strong connection we have as a brand with music and entertainment and has given us the opportunity to create a best-in-class customer experience.

"The arena has been entirely redeveloped with customers at its heart. It offers state-of-the-art facilities including top of the range seating and an unrivalled new food offering, alongside a host of added extras for Barclaycard customers such as access to an exclusive lounge, pre-sale tickets and fast-track entry."

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