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Manchester Evening News Arena

Information and visiting-experience by Jonathan Smith ((jonsmith@blueyonder.co.uk)
Article, translation and spelling-errors by Bernt Poelling-Vocke (bernty@gmx.com)

The Manchester Evening News Arena, home of the Manchester Storm who hit the ice for the very first time in 1995/1996 and were immedeatly included in the then-new Superleague in 1996, seats 17.250 fans and doesnīt have to shy away from any comparisons to other top-venues across the continent or even across the Atlantic Ocean. 32 VIP-suites are also available in the arena in order to accomodate corporate visitors.

The team was an immediate success at the box-office and still ranks among the better-visited teams in Europe, being ranked #16 in 2000/2001, even though attendance has been on the decline for quiet a while. On February 23th in 1997 the team even set a new attendance-record for a hockey-game in Europe with itīs first sellout in a game versus the Sheffield Steelers, a record that held up until the Koelner Haie moved into the Koelnarena in Cologne, Germany, where up to 18.600 spectators can enjoy a game.

With more than 11.4 million people living within 60 minutes of the arena the fan-potential is also enormous, but with a poorly managed league it still remains hard to lure fans inside the Manchester Evening News Arena on a regular basis.

Just like the Fleet Center in Boston or the Madison Square Garden in New York Manchesterīs arena is situated right adjacent or on top of the local train station (Victoria Train Station), so that getting to- and from the arena would be quiet a simple task for all the fans who donīt show up at the moment. Right next to the building one can also find a 10-floors-parking garage that can swallow up to 1500 vehicles, within 500 walking meters more than 7000 additional cars can find a temporary home.

Due to the fact that the arena has been put right into downtown Manchester the constructors didnīt have a whole lot of real estate to work with, if youīre scared of heights I would strongly recommend tickets in the lower bowl as the construction of the arena itself is very (very very) steep. The acoustics are also far from perfect in the upper bowl, especially in the last few rows you might have troubles understanding the announcer and the view on the rather low jumbotron is also far from perfect. On the other side there shouldnīt be a reason to sit way up in the upper level with current attendance-figures being well below a sellout-level.

As for the presentation of the game one can state that the game is the most-americanized (by comparison to other british venues) in Manchester, which isnīt meant negative at all. Penaltiesmascot.jpg (16863 Byte) or goals are always accompaginied with video-clips on the jumbotron, for example when the home team gets a penalty you will find The Terminator saying "Iīll be back...". The team has also filmed itīs own introduction which runs on the jumbotron just before the players hit the ice. The lights inside the arena are also turned off during this and atmospheric music is used in order to pump up the crowd. The NHL-typical Mascot is also around, even though I will never become a fan of those mascots...


Tipps for visitors:

As you probably concluded already there might be about 11.4 million people right around the arena but only a small share of them decides to invest money into Storm-tickets on a regular basis. Consequently getting tickets shouldnīt be a problem at all, at least as long as you donīt want to bring 15.000 friends along. Tickets range from 10 to 12 british pounds so that an evening at the Manchester Evening News Arena shouldnīt rip a hole into your wallet as well. And when youīre travelling with family&friends who donīt really care about hockey you can leave them at a movie-theatre which is also part of the complex and enjoy the hockey-game in peace.

Your culinary wishes wonīt get fulfilled at the Manchester Evening News Arena as the arena-food is awful, which of course can be said about almost all sport-venues around the world. There is also a McDonalds inside the arena which doesnīt have to be the worst choice, at least it tops the arena-hotdogs. With the arena being located right downtown Manchester I would of course recommend a nice restaurant prior or after the game right around the corner.

Even though it might sound childish I would also recommend you to leave your car in the 10-stories-parking-garage right next to the arena. As one can imagine the parking-garage takes forever to empty after a game, but the honking-concerts by the fans after the game are worth the price of admission on their own. You will always enjoy the home- and road-fans honking their teamīs chants against each other. Just honk along...

If you plan to bring 15.000 friends along I would also order tickets in advance (Ticketmaster, 0161-9308000), otherwise donīt worry about tickets and obtain them right at the box-office (which also saves you ridiculous Ticketmaster-charges).


Seating-chart of the arena:

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Adress of the team:

Storm Entertainment Ltd.
Manchester Storm
PO Box 286, Salford M5 4NY

Telphone: 0161 737 0444
Fax: 0161 736 1222


Getting to the arena 

By Car: The Manchester Evening News Arena is situated on the A56, 3 miles from junction 17 on the M62

A 1,500 capacity on-site multi-storey car park and approximately 7,000 spaces within a 500m distance serve the Arena.

By Bus: For details on the bus services to the Arena contact the North Manchester Bus Services on 0161 6272828 or South Manchester Bus Routes on 0161 273 3377.

By Train: There is a fast and frequent rail service direct to Manchester Victoria, which is immediately adjacent to the arena. Piccadilly Station (3/4 mile from the Arena) is well serviced with taxis directly outside the main entrance and the Metrolink, which takes passengers to Victoria Station. For details regarding timetables, telephone 0345 484950. If travelling by Metrolink, telephone 0161 2052000 for timetable details.

From the South (e.g. from Belfast City Airport) With the City Airport on the right and travelling towards Belfast along the Sydenham Bypass traffic lights are approached. Turn right into Dee Street and then shortly after take a left onto Sydenham Road. Travel on, straight through the traffic lights with the Arena on the right hand side and the car park on the left.

From the West Follow the M1 signposted Belfast and continue onto the A12 Westlink. At the traffic lights at the end head towards the right and follow the signs for the M3 Bangor. Take the first exit marked Queens Island and turn left at the traffic lights at Sydenham Road. The Arena is on the right with car parking opposite.


Links to the team:

official homepage of the Manchester Storm: www.manchesterstorm.co.uk
official homepage of the arena: www.men-arena.com