by Matt Alderton | April 11, 2018
Prague is one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Unfortunately, its lack of substantial meeting venues means it historically has been closed to very large groups. Finally, that's about to change, according to the Prague Convention Bureau, which reported today that Bestsport -- operator of Prague's sports and entertainment arena, O2 Arena (pictured) -- will build a new "multifunctional congress and cultural center" adjacent to its existing facility.

Opened in 2004, O2 Arena originally was supposed to have a smaller "training" arena next to it. The so-called "small arena" was never finished, however, and instead has been used as a storage area. That site will now become home to the new congress center. Dubbed O2    Universum, it will be directly connected to O2 Arena and will have four floors totaling approximately 540,000 square feet. Scheduled to open in mid-2019, it will have 21 halls of different sizes, the largest of which will be able to accommodate up to 4,500 people.

"The planned completion of the O2 Universum multifunctional cultural and congress center is excellent news for Prague," said Roman Muška, managing director of the Prague Convention Bureau. "O2 Universum will increase the current capacity of the O2 Arena with congress facilities with the capacity of up to 10,000 people to a total of 28,000 persons. Starting mid-2019, the Czech metropolis will be able to welcome congresses and conferences with approximately 15,000 attendees, which has not yet been possible. Thanks to the location of O2 Universum, situated only 10 minutes from the city center and 30 minutes from Prague airport, delegates will be able to enjoy all the conveniences Prague offers … We look forward to introducing the new venue to prospective clients."

Added Bestsport Chairman and CEO Robert Schaffer, "O2 Universum will be the place for international congresses which has not existed in the Czech Republic before ... The name 'universum' perfectly reflects the essence and main characteristics of the object -- we offer both clients and visitors universal space [that is] seemingly unlimited, compact, yet very extensive."