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EAY 2017: France, Benelux sales rebound after difficult start

Many arenas in France and Benelux are on course for their best year yet, after terrorist attacks led to a slump in ticket sales in early 2016

By IQ on 08 Jan 2018

Armin van Buuren is one of thousands of artists who has thrilled fans at the Sportpaleis since its opening in 1933, Belgium, Benelux

Armin van Buuren is one of thousands of artists who has thrilled fans at the Sportpaleis

Venues in France and the Benelux countries are turning a corner after a difficult start to 2016, when the terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium hurt the usually booming arenas business.

That’s according to IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2017, which reveals that the industry is now bouncing back from a challenging start to the year – when ticket and hospitality sales both suffered amid considerable consumer nervousness – with results for the latter half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 expected to largely exceed previous years.

The arenas surveyed, which include the leading venues in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, hosted 425 events in 2016, selling just under 3.7m tickets.

Unlike in central and eastern Europe, where sport is strongest, music dominates the programmes of French and Benelux arenas, responsible for 2.1m tickets in 2016 – 56% of total sales and making up 47% of total events hosted.

“The current season is seeing a real revival in ticket sales. We believe it could be a reaction to the effects of the attacks”

There was an average of 71 performances per venue.

Come the end of the current season (to August 2017), director-general Julien Collette says AccorHotels Arena (20,000-cap.) in Paris will have increased its ticket sales to 1.5m, up from 1.1m in 2015–16 – while the outlook is similarly positive in Belgium, where the Sportpaleis Group, which operates Sportpaleis (23,000-cap.), Lotto Arena (8,050-cap.), Forest National (8,000-cap.) and Ethias Arena (18,000-cap.), similarly reporting strong growth.

“Last season, we suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks,” says Sportpaleis’s Jan Van Esbroeck. “However, the current season is seeing a real revival in ticket sales. We believe it could be some kind of reaction to the effects of the attacks. We are set to have a better-than-average season by the end of the year.”

In Luxembourg, meanwhile, Rockhal (6,500-cap.) had its best year to date, says CEO Olivier Toth.


Read the full feature in the digital edition of the European Arena Yearbook 2017:

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