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Ricoh Arena: An exhibition incubator

by Nicola Macdonald

EN takes a trip to Ricoh Arena to learn more about the venue’s support for new events and utilising its ownership of the Wasps rugby team.

Tell us about the history of the venue

Ricoh Arena first opened its doors in August 2005 and the first events held in the Exhibition Hall were the Pixel Trade Show and Solus Garden & Leisure Show. The first football game was for Coventry City’s clash with Queens Park Rangers followed by a Bryan Adams gig and a Bon Jovi concert in the first year. This heralded the birth of one of the UK’s most versatile event venues. Wasps Rugby Club bought the venue in December 2014, and since then have made major investments to evolve Ricoh Arena into the UK’s leading multi-purpose venue.

What kind of events does Ricoh Arena host?

In 2018, Ricoh Arena hosted over 850 events including sporting events, exhibitions, conferences, meetings and music concerts.

We regularly host several varieties of events in one week. One week we hosted the Society of Cosmetic Surgeons exhibition, the Jaguar Land Rover Imagineering exhibition, the Champions of Champions Snooker tournament and a Catfish & The Bottlemen concert. Then at the weekends it became home games for Coventry City Football Club and Wasps Rugby Club fixtures.

What is the offering for exhibition organisers?

Our 6,000sqm Ericsson Exhibition Hall has no creative boundaries, complete with retractable walls allowing for a smaller space and ultra-fast Wi-Fi, enabling thousands of people to simultaneously stream content.

Around 75 per cent of UK visitors are also within a two-hour drive of our venue so we are the perfect location with excellent transport links and ample parking on-site.

We have a range of leisure and business facilities on-site for hosting exhibitors and visitors, including an on-site, 121-room DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, two restaurants, a bar and a 24-hour casino.

We have a variety of lounges and a public working space called the Ricoh Business Lounge, that is ideal for catching up on emails whilst out of the office.

This coupled with our experienced, friendly and helpful event management team is the reason why 77 per cent of organisers return each year.

What support can you offer event organisers?

Through our in-house event services team, we offer event organisers everything required to run a successful event, ranging from designing and installing stands, through to providing audio-visual equipment and managing visitor registrations.

What is the USP of the venue?

Ricoh Arena is an incubator for new and growing exhibitions by offering support in all areas from adaptable space at no extra charge to exhibition design and build, and marketing. We utilise our ownership by Wasps to reward our organisers and exhibitors with free rugby tickets for all visitors and invitations to Wasps hospitality and music concerts.

Is there anything exciting coming up that you’d like to highlight? 

We have a bumper summer of activity coming up which we will be opening to exhibition clients, who can in turn host their own clients. Catfish & The Bottlemen kick off proceedings in May, before the live entertainment heads into the stadium bowl.

The Spice Girls will be performing back-to-back dates in June before Monster Jam comes to the venue for the first time, followed by the Soundscape Festival featuring headliner David Guetta

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