OVO Hydro

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The OVO Hydro
The Hydro
SSE Hydro logo.png
The SSE Hydro (geograph 5420681).jpg
Former namesScotland's National Arena (planning)
Scottish Hydro Arena (construction)
The SSE Hydro (September 30, 2013 – October 2021)
AddressExhibition Way
G3 8YW
LocationGlasgow, Scotland
Coordinates55°51′37″N 4°17′06″W / 55.860297°N 4.284926°W / 55.860297; -4.284926Coordinates: 55°51′37″N 4°17′06″W / 55.860297°N 4.284926°W / 55.860297; -4.284926
Public transitExhibition Centre railway station
OwnerSEC Limited
OperatorAEG Live / ASM Global
Capacity12,306 (all seated)
14,300 (with standing)
Broke groundFebruary 2011
Opened30 September 2013 (2013-09-30)
Construction cost£125 million
ArchitectFoster + Partners
Project managerTurner & Townsend
Structural engineerArup
General contractorLendlease

The OVO Hydro is a multi-purpose indoor arena located within the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, and is the largest entertainment venue in Scotland.[1]

The arena was initially named The Hydro after its main sponsor Scottish Hydro Electric.[2] The arena was known as The SSE Hydro until October 2021, when it was announced that the name was to change to "OVO Hydro", after its new sponsor OVO Energy, with a focus on making the venue more sustainable.[3] The arena was officially opened on 30 September 2013, with a concert by Rod Stewart.[4]

The OVO Hydro arena is located adjacent to the SEC Centre and the SEC Armadillo and hosts international musical stars, global entertainment and sporting events; with a maximum capacity of 14,300 and aims to attract one million visitors each year.[4]


Development and planning[edit]

Translucent cushions being installed, July 2013.

Planning for The Hydro began some time in 2001 as the second redevelopment of the Queens Dock in Glasgow.[5] In May 2003, a plan had been unveiled for an entertainment arena,[6] holding 12,300 seated audience members and 2,000 standing.

London-based architects Foster + Partners were appointed as the design team for the Hydro in May 2004,[7][8] with Glasgow-based Elphinsone additionally appointed as the preferred developer for the site.[9] The design of the arena was finally released to the press in October 2005,[10] and the SECC gained full planning consent for the arena by 2006.[11]


Construction for the arena finally began in February 2011 by construction company Lend Lease. By November 2011, building work for the roof of the arena had begun, which was completed by April 2013. The arena's signature translucent outer cushions were installed in May 2013, along with the seating inside of the arena, marking construction of the arena completed, taking two years to complete.[5]

2013 roof fire[edit]

At approximately 15:20 on Sunday 8 June 2013,[12] flames were reported to be coming from the domed roof of the partially completed building.[13] 40 firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the blaze.[14] It was determined that the fire was caused by ongoing welding work on the building's roof.[15][16] On 18 June, the venue's operator revealed that despite additional challenges, work on the venue was still on track for completion.[17]


SEC Armadillo (left) and OVO Hydro lit green for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference



On 14 December 2014, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award ceremony was held at the venue.[18] During the 2014 Commonwealth Games the SSE Hydro was home to the netball and gymnastic events.[19] On 18 July 2015, the UFC held their inaugural Scottish event UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites at the Hydro.[20] From 23 October to 1 November 2015, the SSE Hydro hosted the Artistic gymnastics world championships.[21]

In 2016, the venue hosted a heavyweight boxing fight between Dillian Whyte and Ian Lewison. Later it has hosted four boxing fights headlined by Scottish light welterweight boxer Josh Taylor. It also hosted two rounds of the 2018–19 World Boxing Super Series.

Filming location[edit]

The OVO Hydro was used as the venue for the fictional 2020 Eurovision Song Contest being held in Edinburgh in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The semi-final and the Grand Final actually took place in the Expo Tel Aviv where they borrowed the whole arena, crowd and stage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 held in Tel Aviv, Israel.


The OVO Hydro was host to the largest televised debate seen in Scotland's history, Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate, held on the evening of Thursday 11 September 2014; towards the end of the Scottish independence referendum campaign. The Mentorn/BBC Scotland organised debate, in which every secondary school in Scotland was invited to take part, involved around 7,500 first time voters and was broadcast on BBC One during the evening of 11 September 2014[22] and was presented by James Cook.[23]

Ticket sales records[edit]

In 2016, the arena handled 751,487 ticket sales; making it the eighth-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales. It also hosted the UFC's first event in Scotland.[24]

In 2019, the Hydro was the second busiest venue in the world behind Madison Square Garden in New York City.[25] The venue attracts over 1 million visitors per year, making it a regular feature in the top ten arenas globally.[26]

World's Busiest Arenas – 2018[27]
Venue Ticket sales
Madison Square Garden Arena, New York, USA 1,155,480
The Forum, Inglewood, USA 1,119,313
WiZink Center, Madrid, Spain 1,118,706
The OVO Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland 1,040,956
AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France 938,771
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, USA 845,651
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England 822,155
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, USA 816,980
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, U.S. 807,370
Sydney Super Dome, Sydney, Australia 790,798


  1. ^ OVO Hydro (14 October 2021). "ABOUT OVO HYDRO". Retrieved 14 October 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Scottish Hydro Arena – new name for SECC National Arena, Glasgow". www.clydewaterfront.com. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  3. ^ OVO Hydro (14 October 2021). "THE OVO HYDRO IS THE NEW NAME FOR SCOTLAND'S HOME OF LIVE ENTERTAINMENT". Retrieved 14 October 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b "Timeline". SSE Hydro Official Website. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Timeline". thessehydro.com. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Plan for (pounds) 50m arena in SECC car park Banqueting centre could attract events such as Baftas". HeraldScotland. 26 May 2003. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Foster and Partners appointed to design Scotlands National Arena | Foster + Partners". www.fosterandpartners.com. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Armadillo creators to design riverside arena (pounds) 50m plan for 12,500-seat centre". HeraldScotland. 29 April 2004. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  9. ^ "SECC Urban Village - QD2 Housing, Elphinstone -". www.glasgowarchitecture.co.uk. 25 September 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  10. ^ "SECC unveils new £62m arena plan". 27 October 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2022 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Arena approval helps games lobby". 11 July 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2022 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Fire hits city's £125m Hydro venue". paisleydailyexpress.co.uk. Paisley Daily Express. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Glasgow Hydro fire: Crews tackle blaze in domed roof". bbc.co.uk. BBC News. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Firefighters tackle blaze at Hydro concert venue on the River Clyde". news.stv.tv. STV. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Welder's torch blamed for starting huge fire at Glasgow's new £125m Hydro arena". dailyrecord.co.uk. Daily Record. 9 June 2013. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Glasgow Hydro fire: Blaze caused by welding sparks". bbc.co.uk. BBC News. 10 June 2013. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Glasgow Hydro venue construction 'remains on target' despite fire". thecourier.co.uk. The Courier. 18 June 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  18. ^ "BBC Sports Personality 2014: Shortlisted named for award". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 7 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  19. ^ "SSE Hydro confirmed as host venue for Games Netball Final". Glasgow 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  20. ^ "UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites". UFC. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  21. ^ "The SSE Hydro – 2015 World Gymnastics Championships". www.2015worldgymnastics.com. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  22. ^ Taylor, Marianne; Fraser, Graham; Sayers, Louise; Currie, Martin (11 September 2014). "Referendum Live – as it happened". BBC News (Scotland), n.d. BBC. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  23. ^ "Scottish independence: Plans announced for Scotland's 'biggest ever debate'". BBC News. 22 June 2014. Archived from the original on 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  24. ^ "Pollstar 2016 top 200 arena ticket sales" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Glasgow's SSE Hydro named world's second busiest arena venue". 19 December 2019.
  26. ^ Hydro, O. V. O. "About | OVO Hydro". www.ovohydro.com.
  27. ^ "TOP 200 ARENA VENUES 2018" (PDF). 12 December 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.

External links[edit]