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Arena fever: New venues in the global pipeline

In this opening chapter from the Global Arenas Guide 2024, IQ details some of the venues scheduled to launch in the near future

By IQ on 10 Jul 2024

The Sage Arena, Newcastle


The following article is an excerpt from the 2024 edition of the Global Arena Guide, the definitive guide to arenas hosting live music and entertainment internationally. The fourth edition of the Guide features in-depth profiles of 69 touring markets, a directory containing key contact information for nearly 600 arenas, information on key new builds and insight into cutting-edge sustainability initiatives. Subscribe now to read the full publication.

The must-have tool for promoters, booking agents and artist is published in print, digitally, and will also be available via a dedicated year-round mini-site.

This year saw a raft of new arenas open their doors, including Co-op Live in the UK; K-Arena and LaLa Arena in Japan; Bangkok’s UOB Live; and the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta. Plenty more are slated to open before the end of the year, and there are even more in the pipeline.

Much is being made of the huge scale of development in the Middle East, which is already well on its way to becoming an unmissable stop on global outings. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has some mind-boggling plans for huge developments before 2030, which many in the industry are watching with great interest.

Asia is booming, particularly Japan, where new basketball rules mean there’s a rush to build home-team venues – which will also host music. And South Korea’s K-Pop global domination is bringing dividends at home, where a number of new arenas are set to open soon – many of them with a strong focus on the genre.

Nigerian artists have also seen success around the world – and they will soon have arenas to perform in locally. Read on for a look at some of the key venues currently being built or due to be built around the world…

 


EUROPE:
The Sage Arena – Newcastle, UK
Scheduled opening date: 2025
This new 12,500-cap arena is being built as part of a huge development project in the northeast city of Newcastle. Owned and operated by ASM Global, it will be one of the largest concert venues in the region and will replace the existing Utilita Arena, which opened in 1995.
The development will be supplied with heat and power from the Gateshead District Energy Scheme, fed by urban solar parks and naturally heated mine water extracted from ancient mine workings 150 metres below the site.

YTL Arena – Bristol, UK
Scheduled opening date: late 2026
At 19,000-capacity, the YTL Arena is set to be the fourth-largest arena in the UK and will be operated predominantly as a music venue, with approximately 70-75% of programming being concerts. Planned to host approximately 140 events a year, it seeks to be carbon neutral from day one.

The venue is being built in the historic hangars where Concorde was designed and built and will have the region’s largest column-less exhibition and convention halls with 11,000m2 of floor area, height clearance of 21 metres, and banqueting capacity for 4,000, together with a flexible hub for entertainment, film, TV, and music rehearsals.

Edinburgh Park Arena – Scotland
Scheduled opening date: 2027
Planning permission for the capital of Scotland’s largest indoor venue was granted to AEG in June 2024. The 8,500-capacity arena will span 18,500sqm and aims to attract an estimated 700,000 visitors per year.

Cardiff Atlantic Wharf Arena – Wales
Scheduled opening date: 2025
The single-tier arena will feature seating and floor space that can be adapted to audience sizes between 3,500 and 15,000. Set to be operated by Live Nation and Oak View Group, it was redesigned last year after inflation saw costs rise from £180m to almost £280m. The arena’s height, width, and length shrank by 6.5m, 9.53m, and 14m, respectively, reducing the venue’s capacity from 17,000 to 15,348, according to Architects’ Journal.

MUCcc – Munich, Germany
Scheduled opening date: TBC
Bavaria’s forthcoming state-of-the-art venue will not only have a capacity of 20,000 but also aims to be the country’s first climate-neutral arena.

Designed by Populous, the arena will be located in a new green space next to LabCampus, the technology and innovation centre at Munich Airport, with the seating to be arranged in a 270° horseshoe shape. This design aims to offer artists and fans unrestricted sightlines across the venue.

Specialist audio firms have been engaged so that the venue will offer “perfect sound” no matter where you’re seated. Special materials will ensure an optimal sound balance and reduce noise reflection.

MSG Arena – Milan, Italy
Scheduled opening date: 2025
Work has started on the new 16,000-capacity Milano Santa Giulia Arena (MSG Arena), which will be one of the largest in Italy and will be run by CTS Eventim. Initially, the arena (part of the Milano Santa Giulia urban development project) will be used for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games, after which, CTS will continue to operate it.

As well as the striking indoor arena, the design includes a piazza with more than 10,000m2 of space for festivals and open-air events.

The project, designed by Sir David Chipperfield and the international design firm Arup, is being positioned to “strengthen Milan’s standing as a global centre of culture, entertainment, and sporting excellence,” while raising “the bar for live entertainment venues.”

Roig Arena – Valencia, Spain
Scheduled opening date: 2025
The 18,600-capacity venue will be the home of Valencia Basket Club as well as hosting concerts and other entertainment. It is being funded by and named after Spanish entrepreneur Juan Roig, the billionaire owner of the Spanish Mercadona supermarket chain. Costing €280m, it will be the largest capacity arena in the country.

Víctor Sendra, MD of Roig Arena, tells us: “There is no venue like it in Spain. We are completely changing the mentality.”
It will boast state-of-the-art design, including flexible facilities for crew to ensure load-in and load-out are as swift as possible. It will also have pioneering acoustic capabilities that are adaptable to different use cases.

Ratapiha Arena – Turku, Finland
Scheduled opening date: 2027
Ticketmaster has been appointed the ticketing company for the new 10,000-capacity, €100m ice hockey arena, which is being built in the southwestern city of Turku. The venue will be operated by Turku Live, which is the current operator and restaurant company of the city’s existing venue, Gatorade Center.

 


USA
Intuit Dome – Inglewood, California
Scheduled opening date: August 2024
Bruno Mars is set to open the 18,000-cap Intuit Dome in August, as the LA Clippers basketball team finally has a permanent home of its own (it previously shared the Crypto. com Arena with the LA Lakers). Other artists booked to appear include Mexican star Marco Antonio Solís, Peso Pluma, Twenty One Pilots, and Slipknot. The venue, which cost about $2bn to build, boasts an impressive 1,160 toilets, meaning people can get back to their seats more quickly – in fact, modelling shows the maximum amount of time it takes to travel the route from a seat to the toilet, to the snack bar and return is 123 seconds, according to the LA Times. (This obviously doesn’t include time spent at each site).

 


LATIN AMERICA
Arena São Paulo – Brazil
Scheduled opening date: 2024
Oak View Group, Live Nation, and GL events have partnered to build a 20,000-capacity venue, which will host concerts,
sport, family entertainment, and more.

Arena Guadalajara – Mexico
Scheduled opening date: September 2024
With a capacity of 20,000, this new venue has a façade inspired by Guadalajara’s “colourful landscape and local materials, such as the Huentitán Golden Quarry and the Tequilero Blue Agave.” It will be run by Mexican live entertainment firm Zignia Live, which as well as promoting international concerts, owns ticketing company Superboletos and operates the super-busy 17,599-capacity Arena Monterrey and 22,300-cap CDMX Arena in Mexico City.

Arena Primavera – Medellín, Colombia
Scheduled opening date: 2026
Medellín is Colombia’s second city and home to stars such as Karol G, J Balvin, MALUMA, and Freid/Ferxxo, and will be getting a 16,000-capacity arena in two years.

Arena Primavera (Spring Arena) sits on a 14-acre site, an eight-minute walk from two Metro stations, and will include a new entertainment district, a green corridor, new roads, and additional facilities. It is projected to host 600,000 spectators across 75 events each year. The venue will add to the nation’s Coliseo Live (24,000) and the Movistar Arena (12,000), in Bogotá.

“We are convinced of the potential of the entertainment market in Medellín and Antioquia, which has become a
musical and cultural reference for the country, a must-stop for national and international artists,” says Hernando Sánchez, general manager of CLK Group, which is behind the development. The company is a consortium of ticketing market leader Tuboleta, Movistar Arena, promoter TBL Live, specialised food company Venues Snacks, and Thunder Production.

The five-story arena will feature a changing LED facade, 22 suites, 20 boxes, 450 parking spaces, bicycle locations, and water- and energy-saving systems.

 


ASIA
IG Arena – Nagoya, Japan
Scheduled opening date: 2025
Situated near the beautiful Nagoya Castle in Aichi Prefecture, IG Arena is set become one of the landmark arenas in Japan when it opens in July 2025. The 17,000-cap venue, strategically located between Tokyo and Osaka will also boast a 30m height, making it one of the largest entertainment facilities in Japan. It is projected to host 200 events a year, says CEO Edwin Omura, of AEG, which will operate the arena. “The ‘hybrid oval bowl’ design which combines both an oval and horseshoe-bowl will allow promoters to bring in multiple types of music, sports and family-type events,” he tells us. “It provides flexibility and usability to accommodate different stage layouts and various sporting events. It is also a great advantage for fans as well, allowing them to enjoy various types of entertainment and sporting events at IG Arena.” It will be the site of the 2026 Asian Games and Asian Para Games, which will be co-hosted by the Aichi Prefecture and the City of Nagoya.

Bangkok Arena – Thailand
Scheduled opening date: 2026
Due to open in 2026, Bangkok Arena will become the home of local and international entertainment in Thailand. The 15,000-capacity arena aims to host 1m guests across more than 90 events each year. The arena is adjacent to the Mall of Bangkok, which averages 35m visitors a year.

Busan Arena – South Korea
Scheduled opening date: TBC
Live Nation is partnering with Korea’s Busan Metropolitan City to develop a new arena and multicultural entertainment complex in South Korea’s second most populous city. The new destination will include a 20,000-capacity arena, an exhibition centre, hotels, and an educational facility to foster talent in K-Pop and K-Culture.

Live Nation will manage the venue, with the local Live Nation Korea team also providing expertise on content and concert promotion to book talent.

“As we continue to expand our global venue business, Busan will be an important touring hub for global superstars who are touring more of the world, as well as K-Pop and local artists,” said Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino. “We’re excited to help create more opportunities for artists and fans to connect, while also contributing to the growing tourism in the city.”

CJ LiveCity Arena – South Korea
Scheduled opening date: TBC
The “world’s first K-Pop-specialised arena,” is expected to host more than 150 events annually, including a diverse range of entertainment shows from K-Pop stars to international acts. The arena says it wants to be the epicentre of Korea’s entertainment industries and will have 20,000 indoor seats and a 40,000-cap outdoor setup, equipped with a cutting- edge stage system for quick setup and teardown.

Seoul Arena – South Korea
Scheduled opening date: October 2025
A further new arena is being built in South Korea, including state-of-the-art sound equipment, a seating capacity of around 19,000, and a maximum capacity of 28,000 for standing events. The arena will also feature a separate 7,000-capacity concert venue, as well as a cinema and commercial facilities. Seoul Arena is expected to attract some 1.8m visitors per year.

Kai Tak Sports Park – Hong Kong
Scheduled opening date: 2025
Featuring a 50,000-capacity stadium and 10,000-capacity indoor arena with retractable seating, Kai Tak Sports Park will be operated by ASM Global and predominantly host sporting events.

Glion Arena Kobe – Japan
Scheduled opening date: spring 2025
Being built as home to the Kobe Storks basketball team, Glion Arena will also host concerts, family entertainment, and conferences. The arena is built with a horseshoe-style seating arrangement and will have a maximum capacity of 10,000. The venue includes a permanent LED screen on one side, which it claims is the largest in Asia, and it will have a restaurant with an open terrace and a VIP floor.

Osaka Arena – Japan
Scheduled opening date: 2027
Due to open in 2027, the 18,000-capacity arena will play host to over 145 events and 1.6m visitors per year. The arena will include performances from international and regional music, entertainment, and sports.

 


AFRICA
Lagos Arena – Nigeria
Scheduled opening date: late 2025
The most populous nation in Africa is set to get its first purpose-built arena. In February, ground was broken on the $100m venue, which will have capacity for 12,000 and is projected to host 200 events each year, including concerts, family entertainment, basketball games, UFC fights, boxing matches, WWE shows, and more.

The consortium delivering the project includes Live Nation, Oak View Group, Tayo Amusan (chairman of real estate company The Persianas Group), the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Yinka Folawiyo (chairman of the Yinka Folawiyo Group), Nigerian investment fund Adino Capital, and MBO Capital.

John Reid, president of Live Nation EMEA, said at the ground-breaking ceremony: “Nigeria and Africa more broadly present massive opportunities to touring artists when it comes to connecting with their global audiences. This brand-new, 12,000-capacity venue will open up Nigeria to international stars, and Nigerian artists will benefit hugely from having an arena to showcase their talents in front of a home audience.”

 


MIDDLE EAST
Diriyah Gate Arena – Saudi Arabia
Scheduled opening date: TBC
The 20,000-seat, multipurpose venue is being built in a new city on the outskirts of Riyadh, around the historic town of Diriyah. Designed by London-based architects HKS, Diriyah Gate Arena will cover 76,000sqm and is currently one of the tallest new buildings planned for the town.

With huge, sand-coloured stone blocks and a cascading waterfall of digital windows, the design of the building adheres to the classic style of Najdi architecture that Diriyah is famous for. Adjacent to the arena will be a plaza intended for live performances, pop-up shows, and events, as well as an urban park.

Oak View Group is understood to be involved in the project, which will be located near a new 45,000-capacity stadium in Qiddiya, an entertainment and tourism megaproject in Riyadh that’s also part of Saudi’s Vision 2030 masterplan.

Jeddah Arena – Saudi Arabia
Scheduled opening date: December 2025
Saudi Arabia is about to go through a venue-building boomtime. And with a population of 35m – over a third of them aged 15-34 – this is a market with huge potential.

Among the first to come on stream is Jeddah Arena, a state-of-the-art venue with a capacity of 20,000 that will be managed by ASM Global. It is being built as part of the Jeddah Airport City complex, which will include shops, homes, a financial district, an artisan district, and a green food-yard.

“There are some very aggressive plans for new arenas in Saudi Arabia. The desire for people to see live events in Saudi Arabia is wonderful to see. When all the venues are completed, there could be potential for a touring circuit of the country itself,” says Iain Campbell, ASM Global’s EVP for the MENA region.

“Jeddah Arena and the neighbouring exhibition centre is on a cracking site and in a cracking location, right by the airport and with a shopping precinct, too.”

 


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