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When it opened in November 2019, Buenos Aires’ 15,000- capacity Movistar Arena joined its namesakes in Chile and Colombia as critical parts of the modern Latin American touring infrastructure.
And while they’re not linked through anything but naming rights from the telecoms brand, they’re all moving South America towards a situation in which every major city boasts a purpose-built arena of international standard.
“I don’t want to brag about this, but definitely Movistar Arena is the venue that Buenos Aires, as a city, needed,” says Gabriel Dantur, the ASM Global-owned arena’s general manager. “Buenos Aires has a metropolitan area of 22m people, and it is super intense when it comes to shows.
It’s known worldwide that in Latin America, Buenos Aires is one of the most important places for artists to go, and we didn’t have a modern arena – one that offers the kind of experience you can find in big cities in the US. “It’s all about the quality of the sound, the quality of the shows you put in there; the fact that views from all over the arena are good.
“I don’t want to brag about this, but definitely Movistar Arena is the venue that Buenos Aires, as a city, needed”
But it’s also the parking, the way people treat you until you get to your seat, clean bathrooms, the F&B experience – being able to have something more than the half-baked hamburger, which is the standard in stadiums in Argentina – that makes the difference. Usually big shows here go into stadiums and then you have small theatres, so an arena like this is something new.”
Even against a backdrop of a notoriously unruly economy – at the time of writing, analysts polled by the country’s central bank were estimating inflation at 90.2% for 2022 – the level of demand for tickets in Argentina this year is something to behold, and there are some cases for which only a stadium will do. For example, Coldplay are due to play ten nights at River Plate Stadium in October and November – a total of 550,000 tickets.
“There’s no city that did it like Buenos Aires,” promoter Diego Finkelstein told IQ Magazine. “We have ten nights, all standing. And we only stopped at ten because the guys don’t have more dates available.”
At arena level, demand has been just as compelling. Although forced to close due to the pandemic just four months after opening (and an off-and-on 2021), the Movistar Arena bounced back in March 2022 and is making up for lost time.
Coldplay are due to play ten nights at River Plate Stadium in October and November – a total of 550,000 tickets.
“The market in Argentina in 2022 has been insanely active, especially in the second part of the year,” says Dantur. “The Movistar Arena will be doing 110 shows across the year, of which 25 took place between January and June; 85 will happen in the second semester of the year.
“The market has been really crazy – we’re seeing super-high demand for everything: international shows, local shows, regional shows, every music type. And out of those shows, I would say probably 80% will have been sold out in a couple of hours.”
The arena’s plan for the future is to bring its total up to 150 shows a year, including a greater proportion of international concerts and 20 to 30 family shows, as well as some sports events, including futsal, tennis, and basketball exhibitions.
“The market in Argentina in 2022 has been insanely active, especially in the second part of the year”
Other venues in Buenos Aires include the 90-year-old, 8,400- capacity Estadio Luna Park in the San Nicolás neighbourhood near the waterfront, which continues to receive plenty of mostly local and Latin shows. Now a National Historic Monument, Luna Park dedicated July to Disney On Ice: Find Your Hero.
Tecnópolis, a permanent science and technology park in Villa Martelli, fractionally outside the city in Buenos Aires Province, hosts an indoor multipurpose venue for 11,000 people. El Estadio del Bicentenario was inaugurated in 2013 and maintains a steady flow of concerts and sports events, while the most recent Quilmes Rock festival took place outside.
There is more to Argentina than just Buenos Aires, though secondary markets are yet to find their feet again. In Córdoba, the 20-year-old Orfeo Superdomo, with its capacity of 8,000 to 14,000, lays claim to a lengthy list of major shows over the years, with Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, and Sebastián Yatra as recently as 2019/20, but the arena has yet to come back to life after the pandemic.