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Arena Market: Hungary

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In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, Hungary’s key venue, the László Papp Budapest Sportaréna in Budapest saw a drop in audience figures of 30%, says venue manager and finance manager, Tibor Lak.

“However, after restrictions were removed and international tours started again [in April], live music has become extremely popular again,” he reports. “In May, for example, our 14,500-capacity venue hosted ten concerts, including four with more than 10,000 audience members and two sold-out concerts.

“We already have bookings for 2024 and 2025, which is great.”

Even though both Hungarian and international shows can sell out, ticket sale dynamics are different than before Covid-19, as it seems that people now buy tickets much closer to the date of the event than before because they want to make sure the event is really going to happen before they make their purchase.”

He says another wave of Covid restrictions notwithstanding, the arena’s calendar is busy, and Q3–Q4 this year, as well as next year, look very positive in terms of bookings.

“We already have bookings for 2024 and 2025, which is great. The ratio of concerts, sport events, exhibitions, and conferences is very similar to pre-Covid years, and returning events have similar tickets sales to previous years.”

Despite suffering losses due to Covid, the venue, which can be configured for between 3,000- and 14,500-capacity, is investing in digital technology to improve services such as the ability to buy parking tickets in advance. The arena updated its mobile app in June.

Even though both Hungarian and international shows can sell out, ticket sale dynamics are different than before Covid-19.

Artists such as Hans Zimmer, 2Cellos, OneRepublic, Tool, Scorpions, Pearl Jam, Harry Styles, and KISS have performed recently, with forthcoming shows by Andrea Bocelli, Sting, Backstreet Boys, and several other international and local acts.

Hungary has a VAT rate of 27% – something promoters say is putting them at a competitive disadvantage compared to their neighbours and other European countries. The Music Hungary Association is campaigning to reduce this tax rate.

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