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While the rest of the world clamours for Puerto Rican stars such as Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Rauw Alejandro and the rest, one arena has them on the doorstep. Sometimes, they fill the place without even playing any music.
“We have a very special WWE event this weekend, where Bad Bunny, the world’s biggest star, is going to be wrestling on pay-per-view, transmitted across the world, showcasing Puerto Rico as a great entertainment destination,” says ASM Global regional manager Jorge Pérez, who operates the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, speaking in early May.
Bad Bunny won his pantomime ‘street fight,’ against Nuyorican fighter Damian Priest, at the 18,500-capacity indoor arena in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan. The Coliseo is ground zero in reggaeton’s conquest of the world – a place where local duo Wisin & Yandel booked out the month of December 2022 for a 14-show residency and where Daddy Yankee will play the final shows of his retirement tour in late November and December.
“Right now, he has sold out five shows, which sold out in minutes,” says Peréz. “By contract, he has the whole month, so we expect him to announce more.”
In comparison, a proven international name like Rod Stewart played a sole show in Puerto Rico in February, which sold respectably over a couple of months. “You can see how, in general, the local music does against international artists,” says Peréz.
“You can see how, in general, the local music does against international artists”
Many more Latin superstars are coming across the Coliseo’s threshold during 2023, including Guatemala’s Ricardo Arjona, US-Puerto Rican salsa star Victor Manuelle, local boy Ricky Martin, Spain’s Alejandro Sanz, and on and on. As a global musical hotspot, a US territory, and a tropical island, Puerto Rico has what it takes to pull them all in.
The arena itself marks its 20th birthday in September next year, for which celebrations are already beginning. “We are renovating the interior of the building – not adding any square footage but transforming the interior spaces,” says Peréz.
“We have commissioned huge artworks on the walls inside, in all the common areas, sponsored by local brands. We are changing the look and feel of it all. It is a project we are beginning now, and it is going to take about a year.”