O2 to sponsor London arena for 10 more years after success of enticing more customers to stay

Oliver Gill
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The Millennium Dome was originally conceived by John Major's Conservative government (Source: O2)

O2 hailed its partnership with what was once seen as the UK’s largest white elephant, saying it has been key to halving the number of people leaving the mobile network over the last 10 years.

The mobile network firm, owned by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, initiated the sponsorship in 2007 of what was then called the Millennium Dome, renaming it the O2 arena.

Legendary rockers Bon Jovi were the first act to grace the stage at the venue.

Read more: Fiver not fibre: O2 boss makes the case for 5G

Contract churn

And O2 said today the number of people leaving the network had fallen over the last 10 years, partly as a result of investment in marketing initiatives such as that which it has with the O2 arena.

Contract churn has fallen from 1.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent over the last 10 years, the mobile network provider said.

Chief executive Mark Evans said he was “incredibly proud” of developing the arena “into the internationally renowned music and entertainment venue it is today”. The sponsorship of the venue has been such a success that O2 added that it would extend its association with arena for a further 10 years.

Popular beat combo Busted have played at the O2 arena

O2 also revealed it had added 584,000 net new contracts over the last year with its customer base topping 25.5m people.

Although full-year annual revenues fell by 1.5 per cent to £5.6bn, the firm’s profits grew by 1.7 per cent to £1.4bn.

Read more: Could €1.3bn Telefonica sale pave the way for O2 listing?

“We are committed to making every day better for our customers through experiences that count and we continue to provide them with compelling reasons to join and stay with us,” said Evans.

Who has played at the O2 Arena over the years?

  • 2007: Bon Jovi open the venue
  • 2008: The Spice Girls complete 15 nights as part of their reunion tour. It was the fastest selling shows on record (All sold out in a 38 seconds)
  • 2009: ATP World Tour Finals make London and The O2 their home. Russia’s Davydenko beats Juan Martin del Potro to the title.
  • 2010: The O2 becomes the home of the National Television Awards
  • 2011: The first only NBA season game outside the US is played at The O2. The NBA returns every year.
  • 2012: The O2 is transformed into the North Greenwich Arena for the Olympic Games
  • 2013: One Direction complete 11 shows at the venue as part of their world tour
  • 2014: After almost 30 years Monty Python reform and play 10 nights
  • 2015: O2 unveiled the world’s largest projection of a giant red rose onto the roof of the venue in support of the England Rugby team
  • 2016: Muse break the record for the largest attendance at over 21,000 for their Drones World Tour


Earlier this week, Telefonica agreed a deal to sell a 40 per cent stake in its Spanish infrastructure subsidiary Telxius for €1.3bn (£1.1bn) to private equity firm KKR.

O2’s owner is keen to reduce its £47bn debt pile and it is understood this is one of a number of ways the firm is exploring to raise cash. Another is to reignite plans that were put on ice last October to float O2.

While sources close to the firm could not confirm the precise timing of what would be the UK largest listing of 2017, they did say the firm is readying itself for whenever Telefonica takes the decision to cut O2 adrift.

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