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Arena Market: Norway

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Norway is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, with just 39 people per square mile. This makes touring the country, and putting on large-scale events, something of a challenge away from Oslo. Nonetheless, there are several options for those willing to explore beyond the capital.

A ten-minute drive outside the capital, in Fornebu, sits the newly renamed Unity Arena (formerly Telenor Arena), Norway’s largest. With a capacity of 25,000 for concerts (for sport, 15,000), it’s the natural choice for A-list stars and their huge productions – Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish are both scheduled to play here, while previous years have welcomed Kendrick Lamar, Pink, and Ariana Grande.

The venue was renamed without a commercial partner, to “signal that we are an arena that brings people together into a community,” says Unity Arena CEO Kjetil Bell Tveit. The venue will also undergo a massive transformation, which will see it close at the end of 2026 and reopen in early 2028 as a new, “more compact” venue, created at the heart of a new urban centre featuring urban spaces; a cinema; cultural and catering facilities; hotels; and other activities. Capacity will be reduced to 20,000 for concerts. The new arena project is being delivered in partnership with Oak View Group.

“We are an arena that brings people together into a community”

Located just over 300 miles north of Oslo is the 12,000-capacity Trondheim Spektrum, a new arena (it opened in 2019) comprising several halls and a conference centre; Rammstein and Green Day are two of the acts scheduled to play there later this year. On the west coast, Bergen’s Vestlandshallen (5,000-9,000) is an indoor arena that hosts a variety of sporting events and occasional concerts, while 100 miles to the south lies Stavanger’s DNB Arena. An indoor hockey rink with a capacity of 6,000, it plays host to a variety of different events – Norwegian rockers The September When, Mamma Mia! The Musical, and the motocross X-Trial are all scheduled for the coming 12 months.

Located near the old town and Oslo’s Operahuset in the east of the city is the Oslo Spektrum Arena, a multipurpose indoor arena that’s been hosting events since December 1990. “We can scale the arena from approximately 3,500 to 11,500 for concerts and stand-up events,” says CEO Per-Ole Moen. “For other types of events, we can scale it even smaller.”

“Promising” is how Moen describes the coming 18 months, which reflects his overall impression of the health of the live entertainment market in Norway. “The second half of 2024 is looking very busy now, with a good mix of international and Norwegian acts, conferences, and other events, and the first half of 2025 is also starting to fill up.” Ne-Yo, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Jonas Brothers, Nils Frahm, and Gavin DeGraw are just a few of those booked to play.

“The second half of 2024 is looking very busy now, with a good mix of international and Norwegian acts, conferences, and other events, and the first half of 2025 is also starting to fill up.”

The one cloud on the horizon is the relative weakness of the Norwegian krone. “It’s no secret that this is challenging for the promoters,” says Moen. “It’s more expensive to bring tours to Norway, and this is reflected in ticket prices. I’m afraid that sooner or later, we’ll reach the point where ticket prices are too high, but so far, it looks like fans are adapting and accepting such price increases.”

Nevertheless, Oslo Spektrum continues to invest in improvements. It upgraded its premium lounges and areas last year, and continues to work on several sustainability issues. The biggest of all, though, is expansion. “We are planning a large extension to our existing arena,” says Moen. “If our board give their final approval in December this year, we will start construction work in June 2025. This will give us a new venue for events, concerts, and conferences for up to 3,000 people.”

“It’s something the city of Oslo really needs and will fill the gap between Sentrum Scene (1,650) and a scaled-down Oslo Spektrum (3,500),” he adds. “The downside is that we now have a ‘booking-stop’ from June 2025 to September 2026.”



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