Top facts you didn't know about Arena Birmingham and the Genting Arena

By Rebecca Stanley | Best of | Published: | Last Updated:

Here in the West Midlands, we are lucky to have two of the world’s premier arenas right here on our doorstep - Arena Birmingham, and the Genting Arena on the NEC Campus.

Arena Birmingham

The world’s top stars including, Drake, Adele and Lady Gaga right through to comedians, Cirque du Soleil, international netball and Crufts Best in Show have all taken to their stages in recent years, with loads more coming up.

But how much do you know about these Brummie venues? We've put together ten top facts about the arenas that you may not know:

1. Queen opened Genting Arena - then known as the NEC Arena - in 1980. In October 1991, Arena Birmingham - then known as the NIA - followed, and was officially opened by athlete Linford Christie OBE as one of the world’s top sporting destinations.

2. The arenas’ official box office is The Ticket Factory – the ticketing agency also owned by the NEC Group.


3. Remember the ITV show Gladiators? The classic TV game show was filmed at Arena Birmingham throughout the 90s. It was only in August 2015 that Gladiators Jet, Lightening, Ace, Hunter, Scaracen, and Wolf reunited – the first time they’d seen each other in 15 years, for a Saturday night TV show.

4. Cliff Richard holds the record for the most visits by an artist.

Cliff Richard


5. Artist requests have included a new toilet seat, new showers, hot tubs and a golden Segway for use backstage - but they won’t tell us whose they were!

6. Have you ever fancied being a VIP for the night? Amplify is the arenas’ premium hospitality provider. You can upgrade for most shows by contacting the friendly team for their ‘Freestyle’ package which includes extras such as meals, parking and priority seating.

Kylie Minogue

7. Kylie Minogue had eight costume changes for her Kiss Me Once show on October 7, 2015.


8. In March 2017, Black Sabbath made history by playing their final ever concerts at the Genting Arena.

Ozzy Osbourne

9. Drake’s The Boy meets World Tour in 2017 remains the heaviest show on record, weighing in at 84 tonnes – that’s the equivalent of 12 adult African elephants.

10. In one year, over 276,000 pints of lager are guzzled down, 162,000 bottles of water are drunk and 88,000 portions of chips are munched on across the venues.

Genting Arena

To see what’s on at the venues visit their websites: or

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me:


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