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EU arenas report bumper year for live music

Live music continues to be the driving force of Europe's successful arena business, as IQ’s third European Arena Yearbook finds spend and attendance up from last year

By Anna Grace on 07 Nov 2019

EAY 2019: EU arenas report bumper year for live music

Boom time for Europe’s arena business is far from slowing down

image © Adobe Stock

Increased venue construction and sweeping market consolidation are the major themes emerging from IQ’s latest European Arena Yearbook (EAY), as live music further strengthens its position as the driver of European arena success.

The third edition of EAY shows that boom time for Europe’s arena business is far from slowing down, with many venues surpassing the record-breaking results exhibited in EAY 2018 thanks to an increasingly diversified entertainment space and growing demand for live music events in particular.

EAY – a standalone publication replacing IQ’s traditional European Arena Report – is produced by ILMC in partnership with the European Arenas Association (EAA) and the UK’s National Arena Association (NAA). Sixty-one European arenas, which collectively sold 37 million tickets to almost 6,000 events, contributed to latest edition.

A major theme of EAY 2019 is the increasing trend towards consolidation

Live music remains on top, making up 44% of all events taking place at the European arenas surveyed – up from 37% the year before. Concerts also attracted much larger audiences than other events, with an average of 8,116 fans per show, compared to a Europe-wide event average of 6,395.

A major theme of EAY 2019 is the increasing trend towards consolidation. “The merger of AEG Facilities and SMG to form ASM Global is the most significant example of this [consolidation] in the industry since Live Nation predecessor SFX Entertainment started rolling up promoters and venues in the late 90s,” writes IQ/EAY editor Gordon Masson.

Indeed, market consolidation was deemed “very concerning” for some respondents whose venues do not belong to one of the major global players.

As always, this year’s EAY includes six in-depth regional profiles – central and eastern Europe; France and Benelux; Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GSA); the Nordics; southern Europe; and the UK and Ireland.

“Evolution in the business has been astounding”

The south of Europe retains its crown as the busiest market, attracting an average of 10,869 fans per event – up from 8,555 last year and far higher than its closest competitor, central and eastern Europe (7,903). A record year for the Spanish live music business and plans for a mega new arena in Valencia reflect the region’s sense of buoyancy.

New venue developments are taking place all over Europe, in fact, with major new complexes set to break ground in Germany, Russia, Finland, the UK and Italy in coming years. Masson notes that “evolution in the business has been astounding, with each new year seemingly generating more venue construction than the year before.”

Major takeaways from EAY 2019 in numbers:

Stars of the future

In terms of future growth, the Nordics lead the way, with a predicted growth rate of >1% for 2021. The UK and Ireland are the only other region expecting growth, with a drop for all others, not least for central and eastern Europe, with predictions of a decline of almost 4%.

EAY 2019 growth predictions

Creeping concerns

An overriding sense of positivity emerges from the arenas surveyed, but some concerns do creep in. Ticket prices, increasing production costs and the threat from competition are among the top worries for respondents, with the state of the economy and industry consolidation not far behind.

EAY 2019 industry concerns

Ticket prices: the eternal bugbear?

Although ticket prices remain at the top of industry concerns for 2018, deemed as ‘worrying’ or ‘extremely worrying’ by 22% of respondents, the average ticket price across all events fell slightly compared to the previous year (from €44.34 to €43.49). Music events, which continue to be the most expensive, also experienced a dip, from €54.88 to €53.23.

EAY 2019 ticket prices


For more insights, read IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2019 here.

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