The versatility of the Ricoh Arena has been recognised nationally after the venue was shortlisted in the inaugural Conference and Hospitality Awards 2015.
The finalists in 12 categories were announced at the Conference and Hospitality Show at Elland Road in Leeds which was attended by the Ricoh Arena’s head of sales Angela Perkins.
The Ricoh Arena has been nominated in the Best Unusual Event Space category alongside Alton Towers Resort, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham Hippodrome, Bolton Whites Hotel and Manchester Metropolitan University.
The Ricoh Arena nominated Freeman Hall 3, Hall 5 and Bar 87 which was transformed from a canteen used in the building of the venue into an additional events space for business, entertainment and sports events.
In 2014, there were 133 events held in the downstairs indoor halls and over the last few years the space has hosted events ranging from sell-out entertainment shows Psychic Sally Morgan and Peppa Pig to car launches by Jaguar and Fiat to White Collar Boxing and British Gymnastics’ trampolining and tumbling competition.
It was also the place where season-ticket holders of Premiership rugby club Wasps, the venue’s new owners, were introduced to the Ricoh Arena.
Andy Gibb, managing director of the Ricoh Arena, said Freeman Hall 3, Hall 5 and Bar 87 had become an integral part of its conference and hospitality business.
“Originally the space was planned for the UK’s first Super Casino but when that plan was changed, it became a canteen for contractors Laing O’Rourke during the building of the Ricoh Arena,” he said.
“We pride ourselves on providing organisers with a versatile space for their events so that they can put their individual stamp on it.
“Hall 5 has become a 650-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art AV, retractable seating and an in-built wireless translation service as well as a second exhibition space and break-out room for conferences and exhibitions.
“Freeman Hall 3 links to the upstairs Jaguar Exhibition Hall which increases the space available to organisers and means we now have 20,000 sqm of flexible event space.
“We have also converted G Casino’s poker room into Bar 87 which is a great breakout space for meetings, exhibitions and conferences and we have built a dedicated entrance and reception area which is next to a car-park with 500 spaces.
“This all adds to our offering for conference and hospitality events and has become one of the most popular areas of our business.
“These new awards were open to hotels or venues outside the M25 and were judged by top industry professionals and decision-makers at agencies.
“It is fantastic to be among the finalists and it underlines the Ricoh Arena’s versatility in providing unusual event spaces as well as traditional conference and hospitality suites.”
The winners will be announced at The Queens Hotel in Leeds on Thursday, April 30.