Arena aims to become country’s top venue

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BOSSES at the First Direct Arena in Leeds have pledged to ensure that it becomes the country’s best music venue after already attracting a host of world-famous names to perform.

Hundreds of thousands of concert-goers have flocked to the new £60m arena since rock icon Bruce Springsteen first took to the stage in July.

The First Direct Arena has played host to major international artists including Rocket Man Sir Elton John, rockstar Rod Stewart and operatic sensation Andrea Bocelli.

Boybands Boyzone, Wet Wet Wet and JLS have also taken centre stage at the arena in the run-up to Christmas.

And more than 11,000 people from across the world flocked to the 13,000-seater arena to celebrate the country’s top sporting stars at the 60th BBC Sports Personality of the Year this month.

But bosses at the arena are now hoping to build on the venue’s success this year.

The general manager of First Direct Arena, Ben Williams, said: “What a year it’s been, a spectacular beginning for us.

“We have a strong ambition to be the best arena in the UK.

“We were delighted to show the world on live television, what a very special place the First Direct Arena is.

“I know from my team and everyone we speak to about First Direct Arena, that 2013 is a year we will never forget.”

The arena is expected to bring an extra one million visitors to the area per year and it is also believed to generate an additional £25m for the Leeds City Region’s economy a year.

Pop star Miley Cyrus is set to play at the arena in May next year.

The one-time child star has stirred repeated controversy with revealing on-stage outfits and provocative dance routines.

US rock legends Pearl Jam will also headline next year in one of only two UK concerts that they are playing on a nine-country European tour.

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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