Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
Click the interactive map below to explore 60+ market reports
The online directory of 650+ arenas will go live shortly
In common with so many major nations in the aftermath of the pandemic, Mexico is enjoying an astonishingly supercharged 2022. The resumption of touring, the boom in Latin American talent, and the consolidation of promoters and venues have all conspired to give the region’s hotspots an unprecedented period, even in spite of an ominous economic situation.
“It’s amazing the way the business came back in Mexico,” Memo Parra, director of international talent at giant Mexican promoter OCESA, a recent Live Nation acquisition, recently told IQ magazine. “What I was worried about was the amount of shows we had on the books and that the amount would be bigger than demand or that fans would need to decide which to buy tickets for. [But] this year we have 94 stadium shows, and we are going to have 22 festivals.”
Much of this activity seeks out the very biggest venues – Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Iron Maiden, Justin Bieber, Rammstein, and local stars such as Grupo Firme have all done eyebrow-raising numbers at Mexico City’s 65,000-cap Foro Sol stadium. But the nation’s arenas have experienced a similarly resounding return to action.
“It’s amazing the way the business came back in Mexico.”
The capital’s primary indoor venue is Zignia Live’s 22,300-capacity Mexico City Arena, known as Arena CDMX, or Arena de la Ciudad de México. Built on the site of an old cattle market in Azcapotzalco in the north-western part of Mexico City, it opened in 2012 as the first new indoor arena in the capital since the Palacio de los Deportes in 1968.
As well as plenty of boxing and Mexico’s beloved lucha libre wrestling, it hosts numerous concerts. In August alone, Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel and the Jonas Brothers each played two nights, with Camilo, Bronco, Sin Bandera, and Khalid due as summer turns to autumn.
In all, the arena typically runs to around 120 events a year and has all the trappings of Mexico City’s most modern venue, including two helipads, 124 luxury viewing suites, and 850 LCD screens, with a screen of 700m2 in the main arena.
OCESA co-owner Grupo CIE’s Palacio de los Deportes may be old, but it is still a powerful player. Next door to the Foro Sol stadium, its 2022 shows have included Billie Eilish and Marc Anthony in May and Camila Cabello in August, with Placebo, Roger Waters, and numerous local and regional stars also on the schedule.
In addition to the sporting uses implied by its name, the Palacio de los Deportes (the sports center) has five configurations based around its 360° centred stage, starting at 24,500 capacity and scaling down to 20,000, 18,000, and 16,300 with various grandstand options.
OCESA co-owner Grupo CIE’s Palacio de los Deportes may be old, but it is still a powerful player.
The 16,500-cap Arena Mexico is also the site of occasional concerts, but it is chiefly a lucha libre wrestling venue, known as ‘the cathedral of lucha libre,’ with matches many nights a month.
Over in Guadalajara in the west of Mexico, Arena CDMX operator Zignia Live is working towards bringing the city its first modern arena in the form of the Arena Guadalajara, a 22,000-capacity construction that will be the second-largest in the country after its sibling in the capital.
Though construction paused during the pandemic, the build is now underway again and the venue is expected to open its doors in the summer of 2024. Zignia Live spokesman Dante Guillén has advised the world to expect a building that reflects a decade of technological advance since the arrival of Arena CDMX, with walls of screens inside and out and an experience that is tailored to the audience and the expectations of the US business.
“The truth is that, little by little, we have built the arena to the taste of the public and to the taste of the talent agencies in the United States, since a large part of the concerts that are held in the United States are in arenas,” he told Mexican newspaper Publimetro earlier this year.
“We have built the arena to the taste of the public and to the taste of the talent agencies in the United States, since a large part of the concerts that are held in the United States are in arenas”
Alongside Live Nation’s OCESA, Zignia Live is the major player in the Mexican live business, controlling not only Arena CDMX and Arena Guadalajara but also Arena Monterrey, the Zignia Live promoting arm and the Super Boletos ticketing operation.
Up in the north, 17,600-cap Arena Monterrey is the oldest of Zignia Live’s arenas, having opened in 2003, but it remains an essential stop on any Mexican tour, with Puerto Rican star Rauw Alejandro, Ricky Martin, Colombian diva Karol G, and The Killers among those passing through in the first half of 2022 and Alejandra Guzmán, Wisin & Yandel, and the Jonas Brothers coming up at press time.
Other major arenas on the circuit include CIE’s Arena VFG in Guadalajara, named after Mexican singer Vicente Fernández, ‘the King of Ranchera music,’ who died just before Christmas 2021. The 15,000-capacity arena, which opened in 2009, represents a lasting monument, with the Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, Maluma, and Harry Styles passing through this year.