SSE Hydro

SSE Hydro
The Hydro
Former names Scotland's National Arena (planning)
Scottish Hydro Arena (construction)
Address Exhibition Way
G3 8YW
Location Glasgow, Scotland
Coordinates 55°51′37″N 4°17′06″W / 55.860297°N 4.284926°W / 55.860297; -4.284926Coordinates: 55°51′37″N 4°17′06″W / 55.860297°N 4.284926°W / 55.860297; -4.284926
Public transit Exhibition Centre railway station
Owner SEC Ltd
Operator AEG Live
Capacity 13,000
Broke ground February 2011
Built 2011–13
Opened 30 September 2013 (2013-09-30)
Construction cost £125 million
Architect Foster and Partners
Project manager Turner & Townsend
Structural engineer Arup Group Limited
General contractor Lend Lease

The SSE Hydro is a multi-purpose indoor arena located within the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. The arena was initially named The Hydro after its main sponsor, energy company Scottish & Southern Energy subsidiary Scottish Hydro. The company then re-branded itself and its subsidiary companies as SSE, however the Hydro name was retained despite it no longer being a trading name. The arena was designed by the London-based architects Foster + Partners and officially opened on 30 September 2013, with a concert by Rod Stewart.[1]

Within 3 years of opening, the SSE Hydro became the eighth-busiest venue worldwide. The arena handled 751,487 ticket sales making it the eighth-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales. It also hosted the UFC's first event in Scotland – an event which was impossible to hold in any other arena in the country. [2]


The SECC identified the need for a new arena in which sports and other public events could be held. Previously, such events were held in Concert Hall 4, in the SECC main building. However, the SECC audience capacity is limited, seating just over 10,000. Therefore, it is unable to accommodate the high attendance typically associated with large-scale performance events, such as rock concerts and children’s shows. The new SSE Hydro arena is located adjacent to the SEC Centre and the SEC Armadillo and hosts international musical stars, global entertainment and sporting events; with a capacity of 13,000 and aims to attract one million visitors each year.[1]

World's Busiest Arenas – 2017[3]
Venue 2017 Ticket sales for concerts/shows
The O2 Arena, London, England, UK 1,443,232
Madison Square Garden, New York, USA 1,167,544
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England, UK 1,072,079
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland, UK 1,028,934
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, USA 936,794
Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany 931,394
Arena Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico 906,290
Mexico City Arena, Mexico City, Mexico 881,665
The Forum, Inglewood, U.S. 790,728
WiZink Center, Madrid, Spain 784,699


Planning for the SSE Hydro began some time in 2001 as the second redevelopment of the Queens Dock in Glasgow. By 2003, a plan had been unveiled for a £125 million entertainment arena, holding 12,000 seated audience members and 1,000 standing. London-based architects Foster and Partners were appointed as the design team for the Hydro by 2004 with Glasgow-based Elphinsone additionally appointed as the preferred developer for the site. The design of the arena was finally released to the press by 2005, and the SECC gained full planning consent for the arena by 2006. Construction for the arena finally began in February 2011 by construction company Lend Lease. By November 2011, building work for the roof of the arena had begun, which was completed by April 2013. The arena's signature translucent outer cushions were installed in May 2013, along with the seating inside of the arena, marking construction of the arena completed, taking two years to complete.[4]


At approximately 3:20 pm on 8 June 2013,[5] flames were reported to be coming from the domed roof of the partially completed building.[6] Forty fire fighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the blaze.[7] It was determined that the fire was caused by ongoing welding work on the building's roof.[8][9] On 18 June, the venue's operator revealed that despite additional challenges, work on the venue was still on track.[10]



On 14 December 2014 the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award ceremony was held at the venue.[11] During the 2014 Commonwealth Games the SSE Hydro was home to the netball and gymnastic events.[12] On 18 July 2015 the UFC held their inaugural Scottish event UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites at the Hydro.[13] From 23 October to 1 November 2015 the SSE Hydro hosted the Artistic gymnastics world championships.[14] The SSE Hydro also hosted the first ever episode of Monday Night Raw to take place in Scotland.


The SSE Hydro was host to the largest televised debate seen in Scotland's history, Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate, held on 11 September 2014 towards the end of the Scottish independence referendum, 2014 campaign. The Mentorn/BBC Scotland organised debate, in which every secondary school in Scotland was invited to take part, involved around 7,500 first time voters and was broadcast on BBC One during the evening of 11 September 2014[15] and was presented by James Cook.[16]


    1. 1 2 "Timeline". SSE Hydro Official Website. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
    2. "Pollstar 2016 top 200 arena ticket sales" (PDF).
    3. "TOP 200 ARENA VENUES 2017" (PDF). 31 December 2017.
    4. "Timeline". Retrieved 2016-02-10.
    5. "Fire hits city's £125m Hydro venue". Paisley Daily Express. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
    6. "Glasgow Hydro fire: Crews tackle blaze in domed roof". BBC News. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
    7. "Firefighters tackle blaze at Hydro concert venue on the River Clyde". STV. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
    8. "Welder's torch blamed for starting huge fire at Glasgow's new £125m Hydro arena". Daily Record. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
    9. "Glasgow Hydro fire: Blaze caused by welding sparks". BBC News. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
    10. "Glasgow Hydro venue construction 'remains on target' despite fire". The Courier. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
    11. "BBC Sports Personality 2014: Shortlisted named for award". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
    12. "SSE Hydro confirmed as host venue for Games Netball Final". Glasgow 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
    13. "UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites". UFC. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
    14. "The SSE Hydro – 2015 World Gymnastics Championships". Retrieved 2016-02-10.
    15. Taylor, Marianne; Fraser, Graham; Sayers, Louise; Currie, Martin (11 September 2014). "Referendum Live – as it happened". BBC News (Scotland), n.d. BBC. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
    16. "Scottish independence: Plans announced for Scotland's 'biggest ever debate'". BBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
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