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Arena Market: Finland

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The country’s major arena, Helsinki Halli, is closed because its Russian owners were put on the Western sanctions list over the war in Ukraine. Naming rights sponsor Hartwall withdrew its support a week after the Russian invasion, and according to reports, Helsinki mayor Juhana Vartiainen is considering how the arena could be reopened.

“It is not possible to do business with Russians on the sanctions list. At this stage, we can only make sure that the hall pays its taxes and fulfils its obligations,” he told Yle news.
A two-hour drive away in Turku, Heidi Aho at Gatorade Center says the international touring market is missing the capital’s key venue.

“It is not possible to do business with Russians on the sanctions list. At this stage, we can only make sure that the hall pays its taxes and fulfils its obligations,”

“We have a concert capacity of 8,500- 11,000, which isn’t large enough for the bigger acts that would usually go to Helsinki,” she says. That said, after Covid, business is slowly but surely picking up at Gatorade Center. “We had a very good ice hockey season, which really helped, and at the moment many of the concerts we have are those that have been rescheduled from during the pandemic.”

“Looking ahead, things are good. I don’t think the next 12 months will be ‘normal’ because arena shows are the most financially risky, but after that, I think things will be back on track.”
North and west of the capital is the city of Tampere.

There, the Nokia Arena opened in December 2021, and it’s expected to attract over a million people a year to events ranging from sports to concerts. With a capacity range of 2,000 to 15,500, it has a five-year naming rights deal with the Finnish mobile phone brand.

“Looking ahead, things are good. I don’t think the next 12 months will be ‘normal’ because arena shows are the most financially risky, but after that, I think things will be back on track.”

“There are a wide range of [events] happening now, so we’re seeing something of an oversupply,” says sales director Elina Tikkakoski. “That said, international shows still tend to sell out quickly because people still have a strong hunger for live entertainment.” She says the forthcoming calendar looks “promising” at the venue.

“There is good hype in Finland and locally in Tampere towards the newly opened Nokia Arena. We will host the Basketball Team Finland World Cup qualifiers in August; and international and domestic pop, rock, and EDM concerts, with more than 10,000 visitors each over the autumn and spring.

Moreover, we are the main stage of the 2023 Ice Hockey World Championships, as we were in 2022. Summer 2023 is also looking impressive with exhibitions, B2B events and concerts. The most recent bookings were made to years 2026 and 2028, so the future looks bright.”

Acts performing there include Eric Clapton, Queen + Adam Lambert, Volbeat, The Swedish House Mafia, Sting, Evanescence, and Andrea Bocelli.

The modern multipurpose arena has the world’s first LED ice rink and state-of-the-art technology. Acts performing there include Eric Clapton, Queen + Adam Lambert, Volbeat, The Swedish House Mafia, Sting, Evanescence, and Andrea Bocelli.

As the venue opened in the middle of the pandemic, Tikkakoski says she strongly hopes there won’t be a return to restrictions. “I’m pretty sure this was the first arena to [be designed] and operate via [Microsoft] Teams,” she notes wryly.

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