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European arenas see strong music growth in 2016

Bolstered by four new members, concert attendance grew 11% at NAA and EAA's 52 venues in 2016, with family and sports events (especially on ice) also faring strongly

By Jon Chapple on 29 Mar 2017

Kombank Arena, Belgrade, Serbia, EAA

EAA member Kombank Arena in Belgrade

image © Petar Milošević

Members of the European Arenas Association (EAA) and the British National Arenas Association (NAA) saw strong growth in music attendance last year, welcoming more than 16 million concertgoers to their combined 52 venues.

Total attendance for concerts at NAA’s 22 arenas was 7.05m, while EAA’s 36 welcomed 9.26m people to music events in 2016, for a combined total of 16.3m. (Six arenas are members of both associations, bringing the total member venues to 58.)

That compares to 14.7m in 2015 – 7.74m for NAA and 6.93m for EAA – showing growth of more than 11%, although it should be noted two venues have joined both associations since last year’s research reports.

Music was, once again, the best-performing sector across both organisations

Total attendance, however, declined 8.2%, to 23.3m from last year’s 26.7m.

Music was, once again, the best-performing sector, with sporting events in second place for the second year running, accounting for 36% of all performances and 28% of attendance at EAA venues.

Family events also fared strongly, with 26% of performances and 19% attendance at NAA arenas.

NAA/EAA’s Anne-Marie Harwood, also market research manager for the SEC in Scotland, spoke on the strength of sports and family shows at the recent ILMC Venue Summit. Ice-hockey matches and Disney on Ice were consistently top draws, she explained, with with the top-three music tours (Adele, Muse and Justin Bieber) being attended by roughly 450,000 people each – compared to 2015’s biggest tour, Take That, which drew crowds of more than half a million in the UK alone.


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