The SSE Arena, Wembley

The SSE Arena, Wembley


Built-in 1934 as the Empire Pool, the arena in Wembley has been an iconic music and live entertainment venue for 80 years. It was renamed ‘The SSE Arena, Wembley’ in 2014, following its sponsorship deal.

This gave the much-loved London venue a refresh, bringing the interior back to its original art deco roots. It now showcases its rich history and the many famous artists who have graced its stage. It remains the UK’s most iconic venue, a place where the world’s greatest artists shout ‘Hello Wembley!’ to over a million people a year.


Sporting history

From 1934 until 1990 the Empire Pool / Wembley Arena was the venue for the Wembley Professional Tennis Championships which was a part of the professional Grand Slam from 1927 until 1967.

During the 1948 Summer Olympics, the venue hosted the Olympic boxing, Olympic diving, Olympic swimming, and Olympic water polo events.

From the late 1960s to the late 1970s, the Skol 6-Day cycle race was held here. An indoor velodrome of 166 metres was assembled from sections each September. This was Britain’s first indoor velodrome. Top professional riders from the European 6-Day circuit came to London, including Eddy Merckx, Peter Post, Patrick Sercu and many others. British riders such as World pursuit champion Hugh Porter and British Champion Tony Gowland rode with distinction.

More recently netball, darts, basketball, mixed martial arts and cage fighting have made regular appearances on the calendar.

Music history

The SSE Arena, Wembley is managed by AEG, who also own and manage The 02 and Eventim. Its busy schedule includes Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Adams and The X Factor Finals.

ABBA played six sold-out concerts, from 5 to 10 November 1979 and Tina Turner is the female artist with the most shows at the Arena. Sir Cliff Richard takes this title as the male artist with the most number of shows, whereas Status Quo hold the record for a rock band with 45 performances. American pop superstar Prince also played 35 concerts at the venue between 1986–1998.

The Square of Fame

With the reopening of Wembley Arena in 2006, a “Square of Fame” area was created in front of the arena. Similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, notable Wembley Arena performers are invited to have bronze plaques imprinted with their names and handprints. The first star to have a plaque was Madonna, on 1 August 2006.






+ Events per year


First used for British Olympic Games


Fully refurbished