The Millennium Dome juts above the banks of the Thames on the Greenwich peninsula in southeast London, a flat monochrome landscape that was supposed to have flourished following its construction seven years ago.
The Domes £350 million metamorphosis into an entertainment wonderland called The O2, which opened its doors for the first time last week, is hardly discernible from the outside. Step inside, however, and visitors will be amazed by the transformation.
O2 and the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), in conjunction with NEC, look to have delivered an entertainment experience like no other with the opening of The O2. Its like a theme park, with shelter from the rain, boasting a 23,000-seat arena, 11-screen digital cinema, eateries, bars, nightclub and an O2-branded novelty area.
For the network operator it could just prove to be an extreme yet effective customer retention and acquisition tool in London at least. The hype, which has been fuelled by a five-week, £6.5million advertising campaign across all media, might actually be justified for once.
O2 customers are at the centre of it all, being VIP guests to the venue with first dibs on event tickets up to 10 per cent of ticket sales for all acts at The O2 Arena are made available exclusively to O2 customers for 48 hours ahead of their general release.
For the first group of acts Justin Timberlake, Scissor Sisters, Take That, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Keane, Barbra Streisand and Prince over 100,000 passwords containing specific redemption details were distributed among O2 customers, resulting in nearly 90,000 priority tickets being sold.
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