[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Derided Dome is reborn as the O2
The 02 Arena -  photo by Simon Kreitem
The auditorium is the 02 Arena's centrepiece
The Millennium Dome, once dubbed New Labour's white elephant, reopens as an entertainment venue this weekend.

Re-named the O2, the complex in Greenwich, south-east London, has undergone a 350m refit after years of argument over its future use.

The centrepiece is a 20,000-seater auditorium designed to host concerts and sporting events.

The O2 was originally built to hold a year-long exhibition to celebrate the new millennium.

We're not guaranteed success but I think we've got a better chance than most
David Campbell
AEG

But the project was dogged by controversy and cynicism, especially as it attracted just over half of its projected number of visitors.

After a failed joint venture, US-based Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), took sole responsibility for the venue.

It was due to reopen in 2004 but deadlines were missed and the saga dragged on.

More recently, the arena missed out on the chance to host a super-casino as the licence was handed to Manchester instead.

Its chances of success will be helped by the fact that AEG is the world's largest owner of sports teams and sports events.

Part of US billionaire Philip Anschutz's business empire, it owns five ice hockey teams in the US and Europe, three US football teams.

"We're not guaranteed success but I think we've got a better chance than most," said David Campbell, chief executive of AEG Europe.

He said the word "dome" had been left out intentionally from the new name so as to make a clean break with the past.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Inside the revamped O2 Arena



SEE ALSO
Dome's hi-tech refit for The O2
21 Jun 07 |  Technology
White elephant 'not forgotten'
12 Apr 06 |  London

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific