Located right in the heart of Glasgow next to the banks of the River Clyde, the OVO Hydro is a multi-purpose indoor arena located within the Scottish Event Campus in the city. It is currently the largest indoor entertainment venue in the whole of Scotland.
The arena was named The Hydro after its main sponsor of the time, which was Scottish Hydro Electric. The arena was then referred to as The SSE Hydro until October 2021, when it was announced that the name was to change to “OVO Hydro”, after the arena had secured a new sponsor in OVO Energy, with a focus on making the venue more sustainable.
The arena was opened on 30 September 2013, with a concert by Rod Stewart. Just three years later, the arena had a total of 751,487 ticket sales, thereby making it the eighth-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales.
There is a railway station just over the road specifically to handle the number of visitors to the Hydro, as well as other important facilities in the area, such as the Nuffield Health Glasgow Central Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, Radisson Red, Hilton Garden Inn and of course the wider Scottish Event campus.
Planning for The Hydro began as far back as 2001, to be the second major redevelopment of the Queens Dock in the city. By 2003, a full project plan had been revealed for a dedicated entertainment arena, holding 12,000 seated audience members and 1,000 standing, for a reported cost of £125,000. Despite lengthy delays and a fire in June 2013 that looked like it was going to engulf the building, the Hydro finally opened at the end of September 2013.
In 2020 the Hydro featured in the Will Ferrell film ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’, with the venue acting as the host of the fictional 2020 competition (that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). An entire false semi-final and grand final was set up inside the Hydro, with a sizeable crowd of extras in place of Eurovision fans that would have attended the event.
The OVO Hydro was also host to the biggest televised debate seen in Scotland’s history, towards the end of the Scottish independence referendum campaign. Named ‘Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate’, it was held on the evening of Thursday 11 September 2014, just 7 days before the vote was cast.