Artist News Business News Deals Live Business

Harry Styles invests in new Manchester arena Co-op Live

By | Published on Monday 26 October 2020

Co-op Live

That Harry Styles is investing in that new arena venue that is being built in Manchester because, well, I don’t know why. Who the fuck knows! Maybe Styles reckons now is the time to be investing in live music. Maybe he deeply cares about the Manchester music scene. Maybe it’s the Azoff connection. Maybe he really is that big a fan of the Co-op supermarket.

US-based Oak View Group got planning permission to build a super-duper new arena venue in Manchester last month. It then announced a partnership with the Co-op that will see the new venue operate as Co-op Live.

That partnership, Oak View boss Tim Leiweke insisted last month, “goes way beyond a normal naming rights agreement”, because the customer-owned Co-op has good values, see, and the alliance includes “bold commitments on sustainability and community”.

Styles says that as well as investing some of his pop star dosh into the new venue, he’ll also play an active role in its development. “I’m incredibly proud and excited to be partnering with OVG on their plans for Co-op Live”, he declares. “Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project”.

Confirming the alliance with Styles, Oak View’s Francesca Bodie adds: “At OVG our vision is driven by a unique view that puts fans and artists first in every decision we make. There’s no artist in the world right now better placed than Harry to advise us on delivering a first-class experience for visitors and artists at Co-op Live. We’re focused on building one of the world’s best arenas in Manchester and Harry’s advice and consultation is going to be invaluable as we work to deliver that”.

Yeah, maybe. Oak View was co-founded by US music industry veteran Irving Azoff, whose son Jeffrey manages Styles via their Full Stop Management business. So that’s one connection between the pop star and the new Manchester venue. Styles, meanwhile, grew up in Cheshire, to the south of Manchester, so there’s almost a local connection too.

And there’s even a Co-op connection, apparently, if you’re interested. Styles’ first job while at school was delivering newspapers for the Co-op, see? Can that be true? I don’t know. I do know that Styles’ other job while at school was in a bakery just around the corner from and therefore directly competing with a Co-op supermarket.

But I’m sure all of us would have the most fond memories of working for a supermarket chain. Screw local independent businesses, I say. Although, perhaps Styles has equally fond memories for all his pre-pop star jobs, and will invest in another arena when that bakery finally puts its hand in its pocket and starts supporting live music.

On his new venue management role, Styles concludes: “I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings, to the contribution it will make to the city, and most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester. It’s just another sign that this amazing city continues to grow”.