As Sheffield Arena embarks on the 'most important event' in its 30 year history we take a look back at the venue's past
Sheffield Arena is now being used as a Covid vaccination centre and top bosses at the venue say this is the most important thing the space has been used for.
The Arena will be open seven-days a week and will be run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals on behalf of the NHS national vaccination programme.
Andrew Snelling, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Trust, said: “Throughout the pandemic, Sheffield City Trust has worked closely with the National Health Service to provide a range of support. We’re very proud of the role Sheffield Arena has played as part of the City’s response; from providing extra storage for equipment to providing a drive-through blood testing facility used by over 50,000 cars.“As an organisation, our core values are promoting and enhancing the health and wellbeing of communities, so we’re happy to support Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the NHS and the Government, in being able to provide whatever is required to deliver this vaccination programme.”
Speaking on social media a Fly DSA Arena spokesperson said: “On Monday, January 25, the Arena opened as a NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Centre - the most important event in our 30-year history.”
And what a history the arena has had, it’s construction cost £34m and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on May 30, 1991 as Sheffield Arena with the very first concert taking place that evening which was Paul Simon playing as part of his "Born at the Right Time" tour.
The arena then took on the role of Gymnastics Hall for the 1991 World Student Games and since the venue opened in 1991 the arena has averaged 122 shows a year with over 650,000 customers passing through the doors each year.
The arena was renamed Hallam FM Arena in 2002, but returned to its original name from 1 November 2007 and on 9 August 2010, Sheffield Arena was officially renamed Motorpoint Arena Sheffield, after the Derby based car sales company invested £1 million to rename the venue.
In August 2015 the arena was once again rebranded as Sheffield Arena, however in September 2017 nearby Doncaster Sheffield Airport began sponsoring the arena giving it a rebrand, FlyDSA Arena.
The ever changing name has not stopped the arena pulling in the big names over the years and since doors opened the venue has welcomed musicians and comedians as well being a stop on the tours for TV shows such as The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice visit the arena every year as part of their tours.
The arena is also the home to the city's Ice Hockey League team, the Sheffield Steelers, who began to play there in 1991 and over the years have recorded crowds of over 10,000 in the building with extra seating being installed at the venue.
Husband and wife, Colin, 78, and Rita, 79, Moss from Barnsley were be among the first people to get their COVID-19 vaccination at the new NHS Vaccination Centre within Sheffield Arena this week and speking about the momentous day Rita added: “Colin and I feel really lucky to be getting our vaccines. I take my hat off to everyone who has helped us get to this point.”