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Tokyo unveils new 15,000-seat Ariake Arena

The $340m Ariake Arena is one of a number of arenas being built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that will help ease the venue shortage facing promoters in Tokyo

By Anna Grace on 04 Feb 2020

Tokyo unveils new 15,000-seat Ariake Arena

Ariake Arena

image © Edo Village/Wikimedia Commons

The Ariake Arena, a new US$340 million and 15,000-seat venue in the Japanese capital, was inaugurated on Sunday (2 February), with a performance from J-pop band AKB48.

The arena, which will host volleyball and wheelchair basketball at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, will be used to stage entertainment and cultural events after the games.

A concave roof is the main feature of the venue, which includes both a main arena and “sub arena”, minimising the need for lighting and air conditioning. The arena will be accessible to all, in keeping with new priorities of the Japanese live music business.

The new events space will help to address the scarcity of large venues in the world’s most populated city.

“The big story in Japan – the big story in Tokyo, specifically – is the lack of venues,” Live Nation Japan president John Boyle, told IQ last year.

“Tokyo has a population of 37m people, and for a market that big, there’s five or six venues that are bigger than 10,000 capacity. In LA, there’s probably 15 or 20 for a market that is a fraction of the size.”

“The big story in Japan – the big story in Tokyo, specifically – is the lack of venues”

Ariake Arena joins current big show favourites the Tokyo Dome (55,000-cap.), Makuhari Messe convention centre (9,000-cap.) and the Saitama Super Arena (37,000-cap.).

It is one of a number of new venues being created for the Olympics, along with the 68-80,000-capacity New National Stadium, 15,000-capacity Oi Hockey Stadium and the 10,000-capacity Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, which has already played host to Judas Priest, with upcoming concerts from K-pop band NCT 127.

The Olympics has also seen the temporary closing of “some large, pivotal venues”, Takao Kito, director of Japanese promoters’ association ACPC told IQ, which has led to a decline of event numbers.

“When the competition venues are restored to their original condition after the Olympics, and new venues are constructed in the metropolitan area, this issue will be solved,” explained Kito. “Actually, we guess venues will be rather oversupplied because of the upsurge of venues.”

Read the whole of IQ’s Japanese market focus here.

Land of the rise in fun: Why booming Japan is such a tough market to crack

Photo: Edo Village/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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