2016 was a strong year for arenas in central and eastern Europe, according to the inaugural European Arena Yearbook, seemingly outperforming the festival sector
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The arenas business in Germany, Switzerland and Austria is in rude health, with many venues reporting a record year for attendance and turnover in 2016
By IQ on 16 Jan 2018
It’s boom time for arenas in Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GSA), with stable, growing economies and consumers willing to pay the highest average ticket prices in Europe meaning the region is attracting more international shows than ever before, reveals IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2017.
“This is a healthy, strong market, offering a lot of product,” says Michael Brill of König-Pilsener Arena (12,700-cap.) in Oberhausen, Germany. “People are much more prepared to spend money on leisure than they were ten years ago, and if you have the right product, you can command very good ticket prices.”
The arenas surveyed in these three countries sold a total of 7,355,076 tickets, worth more than €380 million, in 2016 – although it’s family shows, rather than concerts, doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.
According to the 2017 Yearbook, family events make up 15% of schedules, but when they are booked appear to be the most popular among ticket buyers, drawing 23% of total attendance and average audiences of 8,059 people. This is well over the survey average for this genre (5,157), and above the overall average turnout for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (5,373).
“This is a healthy, strong market, offering a lot of product”
Music events draw the second largest average audiences in this part of Europe. Average attendance is 7,421 compared with a survey average of 7,359, and this genre makes up 32% of the total programme. It attracts 44% of attendance compared with other genres.
Sports is third (33% of programming/24% attendance), followed by comedy (6% of programming) and miscellaneous events.
The arenas sector’s rude health is being borne out in record results at Hamburg’s 16,000-cap. Barclaycard Arena, where general manager Steve Schwenkglenks says that, financially, 2016 was the best year the arena has ever had.
He comments: “2017 looks impressive, too, despite the fact we have now lost both home sports teams. We’ve filled those gaps with new content, such as esports and a major increase in concerts. This year we’ll have 22 artists who’ve never played the arena before.”