DUBLIN's Point Depot music venue is to renamed The O2 when it reopens in December after a major refurbishment. And customers of the mobile phone company will be allowed to purchase concert tickets up to two days before they go on general release.
The telco has secured the naming rights to the music venue under a major sponsorship deal. The deal will also allow its 1.6m Irish customers to gain fast-track access to the venue, which will hold up to 13,000 people.
A value on the naming rights deal with Live Nation, the first of its kind in the country, has not been disclosed.
The O2, which is part of the Point Village redevelopment in Dublin's Docklands, will stage up to 150 live events and is expected to cater for two million customers a year. It is designed specifically to stage live music events.
Live Nation, one of the biggest live music promoters in the world, already acts as sole agents for Madonna, Jay Z, U2 and the Rolling Stones.
O2 has already secured the naming rights to the former Millennium Dome in London, and has a venue in Prague with another to open in Berlin.
The stadium is an amphitheatre design and will allow all customers a clear view of the 55-metre stage. Yesterday, Mike Adamson of Live Nation Ireland revealed that Irish fans had been short-changed when attending major events in the 'old' venue as it was too small to stage full productions of all shows.
"It will cater for 9,300 people seated, or 13,000 seated and standing," he said. "It wasn't always possible to get every show touring in Europe into the venue because of restrictions. It is now.
"Some shows couldn't fit. For example, George Michael could only stage three-quarters of his production in the Point. We're up there now with other venues in Europe."
Developer Harry Crosbie added that the old venue had a "grungy" feel "which suited Dublin at the time", but that a "stunning venue" had been created for a more "sophisticated" audience.
However the Consumers' Association of Ireland yesterday advised mobile phone customers to be cautious before switching to O2 for the ticket offer.
"If you sign up just to avail of this offer, without looking at the overall cost, those tickets and gigs could become very expensive indeed," it said