Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena is an indoor arena, at Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent. The building is opposite Wembley Stadium.

It was built for the 1934 Empire Games, by Arthur Elvin and originally housed a swimming pool, as reflected by its former name, Empire Pool. The pool itself was last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics. The building is used for music, comedy and family entertainment and for sport. Wembley Arena was renovated, along with Wembley Stadium, as part of the regeneration of the Wembley area. The arena refurbishment cost £35m and the new arena opened to the public on 2 April 2006, with a concert by Depeche Mode. With 12,500 seats it is London's second largest indoor arena after The O2 arena and third largest indoor concert venue after the O2 and Earls Court, an exhibition hall which regularly stages concerts.

Since its opening in 1934, Wembley Arena has become the third largest indoor concert venue and London's second largest indoor arena, having hosted concerts by the world's most famous artists, spanning many different genres of music. When the venue was known as "Empire Pool", it hosted the annual New Musical Express Poll Winners' concert during the early 1960s. Audiences of 10,000 viewed acts like The Beatles (who performed there three times), Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Joe Brown & the Bruvvers, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich and many others, hosted by Jimmy Savile and Pete Murray. The individual performances were then finished by a famous personality joining the respective performer on stage and presenting them their award. The Beatles were presented one of their awards by actor Roger Moore and Joe Brown was joined on stage by Roy Orbison, to present him his. These were filmed and recorded and later broadcast on television. A notable attendance record was set in the early 1970s, by David Cassidy, in his first tour of Great Britain in 1973, when he sold out six performances in one weekend. In 1978, Electric Light Orchestra sold out eight straight concerts (a record at the time) during their Out of the Blue Tour. The first of these shows was recorded, televised and later released as a CD/DVD. ABBA also played six sold-out concerts, in one week in 1979 and one song from these concerts, "The Way Old Friends Do", is on their album, Super Trouper . In April 1994, Barbra Streisand began her Barbra ”“ The Concert Tour, with four performances at the arena. They marked her first performances in the UK after 28 years and were the only shows outside of the US. The opening song on the first night, "As If We Never Said Goodbye", was recorded and transmitted on BBC TV's Top of the Pops. Christina Aguilera performed three shows at the arena during her Stripped World Tour on 2”“3 and 5 November 2003. They were filmed and later released as a DVD, titled Stripped Live in the U.K. . Beyoncé performed, on two consecutive nights, at the arena during her Dangerously in Love Tour on 10”“11 November 2003. Her show on the 10th was filmed and later released as a DVD, titled Beyoncé: Live at Wembley . Pop band Busted sold out the arena a record 11 times in one year, in 2004. P!nk performed two shows at the arena during her I'm Not Dead Tour on ? October and 4 December 2006. They were filmed and later released as a DVD, titled Pink: Live from Wembley Arena . Pearl Jam hold the attendance record for one show, with 12,470 fans at their 2007 gig. Cliff Richard holds the record for the most headline shows by one artist, having played his 61st concert at the arena in October 2009. Tina Turner is the female artist with the most shows at Wembley, with 26 and with 7 at Wembley Stadium. Taylor Swift brought her Fearless Tour to the UK, and her first major UK date was at the arena, with Justin Bieber as her opening act. Swift sold out the arena, telling her fans in the early stages of the concert. Swift was later greeted with a 10-minute ovation from the crowd, after singing " Tim McGraw".

The Masters snooker tournament annually takes place in the Wembley Arena during the month of January since 2006. Indoor sporting events such as boxing, MMA and ice hockey have long been popular at the Arena, notably the World Championship bout between then champion Alan Minter and challenger Marvin Hagler, which the latter won. During the 1948 Summer Olympics, the venue hosted the boxing, diving, swimming, and water polo events. The Wembley Lions and Wembley Monarchs were two ice hockey teams that used the venue regularly during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, while the London Lions used the venue for a season in the 1970s. Wembley also hosted the British Hockey League play-off finals weekend at the end of each season up until the league's disbandment in 1996. The arena also playes host to NHL teams the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers for a pair of challenge matches in 1993. More recently netball, darts, basketball, five-aside football, cage fighting and The Masters of snooker have made regular appearances on the calendar. It hosted the final of the Whyte and Mackay Premier League Darts 2009 where James Wade triumphed against Mervyn King, who beat Phil Taylor in the semi-finals as he failed to successfully defend his 4 titles. The Horse of the Year Show was held there from 1959-2002. For the 2012 Summer Olympics, the venue plans to host badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events.

Other entertainments
The Arena also hosts comedy nights, with comedians such as Eddie Izzard, Russell Howard, Bill Bailey, David Baddiel and Michael McIntyre having appeared. Baddiel's appearance alongside Rob Newman in 1993 is widely regarded as being responsible for bringing alternative comedy into the mainstream. Lee Evans has played Wembley eight times while Ricky Gervais appeared in 2010. Sean Lock was the first comedian to ever play the arena Flight of the Conchords have also sold out Wembley Arena. In addition, Wembley Arena is also famous for its ice shows, including Holiday on Ice, Disney on Ice, Dancing on Ice and the ice pantomimes which ran every Christmas at the Empire Pool from the 1950s to 1978. It also hosts the Strictly Come Dancing tour. World Wrestling Entertainment taped its flagship television shows Raw and SmackDown! at the venue on 21 April 2006 and 22 April 2006 respectively. The company returned in October 2007 with the 'Survivor Series Tour'. WWF Insurrextion 2002, which also emanated from this venue, was the last ever World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view; the company was re-branded World Wrestling Entertainment just two days later on 6 May 2002. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling held the final night of their UK Maximum iMPACT! Tour, on 24 January 2009, inside the Wembley Arena. On this night, the company set an all-time TNA attendance record of 8,100 fans. The bootcamp stage of The X Factor was held at Wembley Arena in June 2010.

Square of Fame
With the reopening of Wembley Arena in 2006, a "Square of Fame" area has been created in front of the arena. Similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, notable Wembley Arena performers are invited to have bronze plaques imprinted with their names and handprints. The first star to have a plaque was Madonna, on 1 August 2006. On 9 November 2006, Cliff Richard added his handprints to the Square. Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, of Status Quo, unveiled a plaque, with one of each of their handprints, on 16 December 2006. On 9 January 2007, Kylie Minogue included her handprints, on the final day of the London leg of her Showgirl Homecoming Tour. Seven time World Snooker Champion Stephen Hendry added his handprints on 21 January 2007. International country superstar Dolly Parton unveiled her plaque, on the final night of her UK tour, on 25 March 2007. Canadian music star Bryan Adams unveiled his plaque, on 10 May 2007, just before his 25th appearance at the venue. Just three days later, former Commodores frontman Lionel Richie was presented with his plaque on 13 May 2007, after another sold out performance at the arena. Members of the Irish boyband Westlife unveiled their plaque on 28 March 2008, after 27 sell out shows, in the space of 10 years. They have sold 250,000 tickets. All four members, Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily were presented with a cast of their hands, which can also be seen in the Square of Fame, putting them as the arena's biggest selling pop band.


6 photos

Building Activity

  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated 46 media, updated a digital reference, removed a media, uploaded 2 media and updated
    Wembley Arena Wembley Arena
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated 9 media and uploaded a media file
    hggx wembley arena logo
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • removed a media and updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator