Changing Glasgow’s scene – The SECC and The SSE Hydro

December 3, 2015

Creative Clyde is famous for its riverside location and over the years, the scenery has changed quite dramatically with the development of Pacific Quay. John Langford, Director of Live Entertainment at The SECC and The SSE Hydro, takes a look at how more than just the view has changed on the other side of the River Clyde…


If you take a view of Finnieston from either side of the River Clyde towards the long standing SECC, you cannot fail to notice that our campus has been radically transformed since the opening of The SSE Hydro. What’s more, its arrival in 2013 has resulted in a positive knock-on effect on the size of the business and breadth of events we are now in a position to deliver.

The feedback we have received from neighbouring businesses is that we’ve also had a major impact on the city, as you can imagine, with the economic impact generated. Nearby restaurants and bars are busy, as well as property and retail developments in the area. Last year, activities across all three venues had an economic impact of just short of a half-billion pounds and that expenditure is generated in the city from conference-goers coming in, exhibitors contracting and bringing their shows to us and visitors coming in to the city and spending money.

Now live entertainment accounts for more than 50 percent of our business and with the additional space now available in the SECC and Armadillo created by the arrival of the arena, we are growing our exhibition and conference business, because we believe there’s actually further opportunity in these sectors.

The SSE Hydro is already noted as one of the top venues in the world, so what makes Glasgow such a focal point for its success?

It is a known fact that Glasgow’s had a long tradition of audiences renowned for being lively and appreciative. The Scottish public generally spends more on live entertainment than any other part of the UK.

Our company has also benefitted as the past financial year has been the most successful in thirty years of its existence.  However, as we reflect on this fantastic achievement we don’t plan to rest on our laurels.  The profits generated during the year will be reinvested in the campus to ensure the existing facilities continue to meet the needs of our customers in an increasingly competitive market.

SECC is the only venue in Europe to have a purpose built exhibition centre, conference centre and arena all on one site and that makes us pretty unique.  Our integrated campus means that we are also in the position to stage large scale events where the entire campus is utilised –a notable example being the massively successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.  We see this as our USP and believe that looking ahead we’ll be able to many more events of this type.

Other notable dates included the Ryder Cup Opening Gala Concert, MTV Europe Music Awards, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 21 performances of the comedy theatre with Still Game, and countless international artists taking to the stage of The SSE Hydro.

There’s a lot to look forward to as we end the year.  To date, we’ve hosted some incredible events across conferences, exhibitions, concerts and major events – it’s presented our staff with hard work and some challenges but a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain invaluable experience and memories.

Here’s to another exciting New Year!

John Langford is the Director of Live Entertainment at The SECC and The SSE Hydro. For more information, check out the SECC website or The SSE Hydro website. Like SECC and The SSE Hydro on Facebook and follow @SECCGlasgow and @TheSSEHydro on Twitter.