The O2 Arena has welcomed thousands of worldwide known names, from Madonna, Sir Elton John, and Drake to Taylor Swift.

Every week a new act hits the stage whether, a singer, comic, dancer or even tennis star and basketball legend, the O2 has it all.

But, did you know that the O2 Arena didn't always go by that name and it was even nearly demolished?

In fact, for just five years it went under a completely different name before it became the O2 Arena.

A Brief History on the O2 Arena

In 1996, architect Richard Rogers came up with the design of The Millennium Dome set to be built on the Greenwich Peninsula.

The Dome was set to celebrate the dawn of a new millennium, the year 2000.

Over the next four years and a total cost of £439 million, the Millennium Dome was finally completed and ready to help ring in the new year.

On New Year's Eve 1999, Queen Elizabeth II and many other dignitaries arrived at the Dome to welcome in the new millennium, marking the Dome officially open.

The following day, on January 1 2000, the Millennium Experience opened to the public allowing people to explore the Dome's 14 themed zones, but was later deemed a financial failure with just 6.5 million visitors over a a year.

In 2001, the Dome was left mostly empty and reportedly cost taxpayers £1 million a month to maintain, seeing calls to demolish the structure.

There was even a suggestion to move the Dome to Swindon and become a research centre for the Science Museum.

However, in a saving grace for the Millennium Dome, the land around it was bought by Meridian Delta who helped make it the entertainment venue it is known as today.

Meridian Delta sub-leased the Dome to AEG, a huge American-based entertainment company.

From the years between 2002 and 2005, the Dome was rarely open to the public with it's last use under the Dome name as a homeless shelter over Christmas.

But in May 2005, it was time to say goodbye to the Millennium Dome and welcome the O2 Arena.


What was the O2 originally called and why did it change?

On May 31 2005, telecom company O2 paid £6 million a year to become the venue's namesake, seeing it become what is now known as The O2 Arena.

To help officially open the O2 to the public as an entertainment venue, the band Bon Jovi performed a sell-out concert as Jon said: "Welcome to your brand new house. This is called the O2 - and the way I'm judging the crowd out here, who the hell needs Wembley Stadium?".

However, the arena could change its name again soon.

Why the O2 Arena could change its name

In 2027, the O2's deal over naming rights is set to run out, meaning that the O2 Arena could once again change its name.

So who knows, in ten years we could be calling in the BT Arena.