Birmingham celebrates 25 years of arena

04 October 2016 Becky Humphries

This month marks the 25th Anniversary of the opening of Birmingham's city centre arena. Previously known as the National Indoor Arena (NIA) and most recently the Barclaycard Arena, it has seen 16.5 million fans walk through its doors in its history.

Placehold Image
Linford Christie OBE officially opens the Arena in 1991

Opened by Olympic Gold Medallist and former World 100m Champion, Linford Christie OBE, on 4 October, the multi-purpose venue was conceived to be the premier destination for indoor sporting events in the UK, and has gone on to host the most World Championship events in Europe, and more than 30 different sports events in its time including International Netball, IBF Boxing, Grand Prix Athletics, and is now considered the home of the Yonex All England Badminton Championships.  The 15,800 capacity venue now also welcomes a wide variety of music, comedy, theatre and family entertainment events, with the £26million redevelopment in 2014 considerably improving both the artist and fan experience and ensuring the venue is a ‘must play’ on the touring circuit.

Phil Mead, who had been Managing Director for the venue since January 2007 said: “It has been a phenomenal 25 years, thanks to the dedication of our Arena’s team and our valued customers who have been the key drivers of our success.   

“The Arena has served the Midlands well, successfully placing Birmingham on the map and certifying our position on many touring routes, as one of the UK’s most reputable and well-known arenas.  Our location, teamed with our fantastic facilities and roster of world class events, has made us one of the country’s leading entertainment venues of which I am extremely proud to be a part of.

"25 years is only the beginning though; with new event content in development and more contract wins, we are looking forward to many more prosperous years ahead.  In addition, we hope that come our 35th Anniversary, we’ll have played host to the 2026 Commonwealth Games, and further cemented our position on the world stage as a premier league arena.”

Placehold Image
The Arena- then and now