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Arena Market: Latvia

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As one of the Baltic states bordering Russia, Latvia has enjoyed a strong position as a bridge between Europe and the eastern giant. Despite a comparatively small population, it has a strong economy and has long been a must-stop on international tours.

The majority of the population lives in the capital, from where Arēna Rīga chairman Girts Krastins says live entertainment is slowly getting back to pre-Covid conditions.

“The summer is good and busy with lots of shows and festivals, but in autumn, promoters are looking cautious.”

He says since the pandemic, ticket-buying patterns have become difficult to predict. “There are some shows that sell really well but others which aren’t selling at all, even though the artists are at the same level and scale. I would say we are on the right track, but the road is bumpy and unpredictable.”

“The summer is good and busy with lots of shows and festivals, but in autumn, promoters are looking cautious.”

However, the war in Ukraine looms large, and the arena has lost about 40% of its event days as a direct result of the conflict. “We have lost our home ice hockey team and Russian artists, too. So we are looking at a very difficult two years ahead. On the other hand, bookings are healthy, and that gives us confidence.

“We will reshape our operations to fit the new situation and focus more on big shows and other sports. All the restrictions of Covid were lifted only on 1 April, so we are only just returning to normal.”

As a result of the war and the aftereffects of the pandemic, there are no major capital expenditure projects on the immediate horizon, but Arēna Rīga (2,000-12,500 capacity) is planning to improve its catering and hospitality sales by increasing the variety on offer.

Acts performing include OneRepublic, Iron Maiden, The Cure, LP, and Sting.

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