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Arena Market: Finland

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Putin’s sabre-rattling and the war in Ukraine have caused headaches for Finland, which has a long land border with Russia. Sanctions and trade restrictions, along with a general increased military threat, have upended the Finns’ previously sleepy and happy lives. One of the issues has been the Russian ownership of the Helsinki Halle, the city’s largest venue.

This prompted a closure of the venue, which has caused some problems. Nevertheless, in the face of adversity, this country famed for its great design and architecture, as well as its penchant for metal, will soldier on. There are few other countries in the world where a 30-something, hipster prime minister would attend music festivals wearing a leather jacket and looking like the kind of politician we can only dream about in most countries. Former PM Sanna Marin’s appearances at Ruisrock and Flow epitomised the coolness of this Nordic nation.

Finland’s arenas include the Gatorade Center in Turku (11,820), Nokia Arena in Tampere (5,000-15,500), Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi (5,500), Espoo Metro Areena (8,582), and the Helsinki Ice Hall (7,000).

“We are doing well. We have approximately 140 events per year.”

“We are doing well. We have approximately 140 events per year,” says Marko Hurme of the Nokia Arena in Tampere. “We have missed a few artists as we have had no room for the days enquired about. And it looks like 2025 will be even better.” Rockers Bryan Adams, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Bocelli have passed through recently.

Sport is big here, too. Which brings benefits and challenges. “We will be busy for the next 18 months,” says Hurme. “There is a division of the Eurobasket basketball 2025 played at the Nokia Arena. We have two professional teams playing ice hockey at the same time in our arena (approximately 85 games per year), which is taking a lot of days out of our calendar.

We have to be really fast and flexible with our conversion capabilities to be able to have more concerts, galas, and other events in between the games played.” In terms of improvements, Hurme says: “We have been working with our web store trying to decrease lines and make more profit at the same time.”

“The live entertainment market at the moment is good, and the next 12-18 months look busy”

In Espoo, near Helsinki, which is very closely connected to the capital by road and rail, there is the Metro Areena. “The live entertainment market at the moment is good, and the next 12-18 months look busy,” says CEO Katariina Järveläinen. She also points out that pricing and taxes are relevant here in Finland.

“The ticket prices cannot go too high, so people still have the possibility to buy tickets. Also, the general tax is going to get higher in Finland during autumn 2024.” Much of Finland’s entire market is situated here in the south in the Greater Helsinki-Espoo area, so although the country is huge and stretches a long way north, many concerts and events stay down south, nearer to big population centres.

Improvements-wise in Espoo, Järveläinen outlines: “The new Mediacube will be available in August, improvements for the skyboxes, and also we have a new restaurant.” She adds: “We’ve recently had shows by the likes of Manowar, Bryan Adams, the Emma Gaala (annual music gala), and also Mestarit (a top Finnish artist).”

Although things are not easy in Finland at the moment, there are also clearly plenty of reasons to look on the bright side, and the plucky Finns are certainly always up for a challenge.

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