Public embarrassment that became a moneyspinner

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The Independent Online

It started life being dismissed as a New Labour vanity project and when it failed to entice the six million Britons who had been expected to go through its turnstiles, it was almost pushed into bankruptcy. But 12 years on, the reputation of Greenwich's Dome – or the O2 Arena, as it is now known, thanks to a £6m-a-year naming deal with Telefónica – has been transformed.

So much so that when news emerged yesterday that the US billionaire Philip Anschutz, 72, was putting his Anschutz Entertainment Group – which owns the O2 – up for sale, experts said its assets could fetch as much as $7bn (£4.25bn), making it one of the biggest sports and entertainment deals on record.