London Arena

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London Arena
London Docklands Arena
London Arena- C Ford.jpg
The London Arena, seen before demolition
Location East London, England
Capacity 15,000
Opened 1989
Renovated 1998
Closed 2005
Demolished 2006
London Knights (ice hockey)
London Towers (basketball)
Greater London Leopards (basketball)

The London Arena (also known as London Docklands Arena) was an indoor arena and exhibition centre, on the Isle of Dogs, in east London, England. Seating capacity was up to 15,000, depending on the type of event held. It was the home of the London Knights ice hockey team, the London Towers basketball team and later the Greater London Leopards basketball team.


First opened in 1989, the arena had a £10 million refit in 1998, allowing the capacity of the arena to be altered hydraulically. The arena could seat up to 12,500 people. Events ranged from ice hockey and boxing through to music concerts and trade exhibitions.

Spectacor Management Group (SMG), the world's largest private facility management company, took over ownership of the London Arena in 1994. The company managed arenas and stadiums in the US and Europe, including the Louisiana Superdome, the Mile High Stadium in Denver and the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo. During 1998, SMG entered into a partnership agreement with another American based company, Anschutz Sports Holdings, to hold an equal share in the ownership of London Arena.

One of the primary reasons for the refit by joint owners, Anschutz, was to introduce professional ice hockey back to London. Along with this, the brief given to architects, HOK Sport, was to turn the arena into a major multi-entertainment centre. This involved introducing a permanent Olympic-size ice rink, 48 luxury hospitality boxes with views over the arena, two brand new team dressing rooms, a completely refurbished foyer and box office, plus a state-of-the-art SACO SmartVision video scoreboard, the only one of its kind outside the US.

However, the arena continued to struggle to attract visitors and it never managed to become a financial success, in part due to its comparatively isolated geographical position and poor local road transport access, although it was well served by the Crossharbour and London Arena DLR station, which has since been renamed to simply Crossharbour (in 2007).

In 2005 the arena closed permanently. It was superseded as the main arena in east London by The O2 Arena, which is in The O2 entertainment complex (formerly the Millennium Dome).

The arena was demolished in June 2006 and has been replaced by a residential development, including the Baltimore Tower.

Notable events[edit]

It first opened in 1989 and on 18 November, the Arenaball Transatlantic Challenge was played there, an exhibition game between the Detroit Drive and the Chicago Bruisers, with the Drive winning 43–14. The first band to play at the London Arena were Duran Duran. In 1989,[1] the Docklands Arena hosted the Great British Beer Festival.

In 1989, Erasure recorded their live VHS, titled Wild! Live at the London Arena, here on 11 December 1989 during on Wild! Tour from the album Wild!, then the VHS it's published in 1990 and have two editions (European and American Edition) and available in LaserDisc but the American Edition.

Slipknot recorded their live DVD, titled Disasterpieces, here on 15 February 2002. S Club 7 filmed their concert at the arena, during their 2002 "S Club Carnival Tour" and was released on VHS/DVD in early 2003.

The London Arena played host to many WWF wrestling events, now known as WWE including the European Rampage Tour in 1989, 1991 and in 1998 the UK exclusive PPV Capital Carnage. In 2000, the Arena hosted WCW house shows as well as an episode of WCW Monday Nitro which was broadcast on tape delay in the United States and on Bravo in the UK. It was also the venue for the WWE house show 'Tour De Force' on Friday 9 May 2003.

In December 2005, it housed the annual 'Crisis Open Christmas' event (held the previous year in the Dome), organised by the London-based homelessness charity Crisis. This provides food, accommodation, various medical and social services and company to around 1,500 guests and 3,500 volunteers each Christmas.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′48″N 0°00′53″W / 51.49673°N 0.01484°W / 51.49673; -0.01484