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Poland’s Arena Gliwice tops one million visitors

The 17,178-cap venue, which opened in 2018, reached the milestone in December 2022 despite two years of Covid restrictions

By James Hanley on 18 Jan 2023


Poland’s Arena Gliwice is celebrating surpassing one million visitors less than five years after opening.

The 17,178-cap venue, which enjoyed a record year for ticket sales in 2021, opened in May 2018 and reached the visitor milestone last month despite two years of Covid restrictions.

The arena has previously welcomed acts including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Evanescence, Nightwish, James Blunt and Slayer.

“We owe this milestone primarily to our team,” sales and marketing director Konrad Kozioł tells IQ. “Arena Gliwice is run by experienced managers who were involved in the organisation of such large-scale events as the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship and the 2016 European Men’s Handball Championship.

“Some members of our team have previously worked for other major arenas across the country, so they were able to bring their industry expertise to this new venue when it opened in 2018. Others were recruited locally and given all the training they needed to be able to put on high-profile events.

“Another major factor was our ongoing cooperation with the municipal authorities in the city of Gliwice, who have been very supportive in helping the venue take off.”

“We also want to use this year to work on organising our own events, which we would be responsible for from start to finish – that’s one of our major goals”

The arena’s 2023 calendar is dominated by sporting events, but will also host concerts by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Gojira, Led Zeppelin Symphonic and Andre Rieu.

“We also want to use this year to work on organising our own events, which we would be responsible for from start to finish – that’s one of our major goals,” says Kozioł, who joined the board of the European Arenas Association last autumn.

He lists the venue’s highlights from its first half-decade in business as the 2019 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, the 2022 FIVB Volleyball World Championships and the 2021 Poland vs Israel basketball European qualifier, which broke the Polish national basketball team’s attendance record, with more than 12,000 tickets sold.

“Something that’s unique about Arena Gliwice is the comprehensive support we offer all event organisers,” adds Kozioł. “Customer experience is also one of our main priorities – we always do our best to ensure that our guests feel taken care of from the moment they arrive. Finally, we’re the only venue of this kind in Poland to manage F&B operations ourselves. This allows us to tailor the menu to correspond to the atmosphere of every event – for Andre Rieu’s concert, for instance, we served cheesecake instead of the usual hot dogs.”

“In 2021, the number of people who participated in events at Arena Gliwice was 66% higher than in 2019 – our best pre-Covid year”

Kozioł also shares his pride at the way the arena’s management handled the Covid-19 pandemic and speaks of the biggest challenges moving forward.

“Following the announcement of the first lockdown in mid-March, it took us less than a month to set up a professional television studio from which we streamed over 1,000 hours of content between April and November,” he says. “The cost of electricity in Poland has already gone up by 100% and we have to be prepared for further price rises, but it’s really hard to predict how the economic situation might develop given the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Another challenge we’re facing has to do with bookings – we have become a recognisable venue on the Polish market and our calendar is filling up by the day, so it gets harder and harder to fit more events in.”

Wrapping up, Kozioł says the country’s live music sector is currently witnessing an “explosion” of events on the market, which can be construed as both a positive and a negative.

“Customers have more choice than ever before, but with their financial resources under strain, they can’t attend them all, which forces them to prioritise,” he adds. “This makes it harder to sell out and creates the need to maximise marketing efforts. At the same time, ticket sales are at an all-time high. In 2021, the number of people who participated in events at Arena Gliwice was 66% higher than in 2019 – our best pre-Covid year.”

 


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