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Arena Market: Spain

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Business continues to thrive in the largest nation on the Iberian peninsula.

Spain’s leading venue is the WiZink Center in Madrid, which can be configured to accommodate between 3,000 and 17,453 guests. After a landmark 2022, CEO Manuel Saucedo foresees another excellent 2023 and beyond. “We’ve got an array of concerts to be announced soon, and as we’re still a strong option for tourists, we’re confident that the global financial crisis won’t affect ticket sales and food & beverage revenue inside the arena,” he says.

A key factor in the WiZink Center’s success is promoters’ understanding of musical trends, having overseen a rise in urban music performances since 2019, as well as hosting a line-up of Latin artists, pop stars, and rock bands over the years. In 2023 alone, it has already hosted artists as diverse as Bad Gyal, Michael Bublé, the Pixies, Lewis Capaldi, and Roger Waters.

“We’ve got an array of concerts to be announced soon, and as we’re still a strong option for tourists, we’re confident that the global financial crisis won’t affect ticket sales and food & beverage revenue inside the arena”

Having already upgraded the premium and VIP areas, more works are scheduled. At the time of writing, the venue was about to finalise the construction of “La Sala,” a 1,000-capacity venue with a 21m2 LED screen; 66 different bulbs and strobe lights; and sound-proofing equipment designed to insulate itself from the concerts taking place on the main floor of the WiZink Center.

“It’s created specifically to host concerts of artists and bands of any kind,” explains Saucedo. “We’ve made huge efforts to isolate it from the main WiZink Center floor, so that it can be the perfect mini-venue for emerging talents and for booked acts to conduct soundchecks and rehearsals.”

With the country set to open two new concert venues by the end of 2024 (one in Valencia and the other inside Real Madrid’s famed Santiago Bernabéu), Saucedo remains positive about the future of live entertainment in Spain. “The new situation will be good for live music, and while they’ll be direct competitors to the WiZink Center, we’re confident that promoters will still see our venue as the best possible option,” he says.

The multipurpose Palacio Vistalegre, also in Madrid, has forthcoming performances from acts such as BABYMETAL and iKon. Organisers at the 14,000-capacity venue – which used to be a bullring – have seized the opportunity to take advantage of the growing demand for rock, metal, and K-pop.

“The new situation will be good for live music, and while they’ll be direct competitors to the WiZink Center, we’re confident that promoters will still see our venue as the best possible option”

In Barcelona, the Palau Sant Jordi has a fully stocked calendar for the rest of 2023 and beyond. “Our bookings are at a spectacular occupancy level until the first half of 2025,” says director Carme Lanuza. “At the moment, it’s quite balanced between national and international tours. We also want to highlight a rise in large-scale corporate events, a sector that had suffered a setback due to the pandemic.”

Lanuza also believes that the rise of genres such as reggaeton and Latin trap has contributed significantly to the record turnover the arena recorded in 2022. “We receive requests from artists that we’ve never heard of before, and they’re able to sell out the Palau Sant Jordi in just a few hours,” she says. “We can safely say that in 2023, all styles of music are having their moment.” Household names still headline the venue, though, with Elton John, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Lewis Capaldi, and The Weeknd scheduled for this summer.

Having already taken advantage of the closures caused by the pandemic to make further improvements, including increasing the venue’s capacity to 18,411, Lanuza explains that the focus in 2023 is on optimising energy efficiency.

“At the moment, it’s quite balanced between national and international tours. We also want to highlight a rise in large-scale corporate events, a sector that had suffered a setback due to the pandemic”

Investments have already been made towards installing solar panels on the roof, changing the boilers, and improving the air conditioning of the Sant Jordi Club (the annex building to the main hall, which can hold up to 4,620 people).

With a floor capacity of 10,000, Bizkaia Arena in Bilbao can host up to 18,000 fans. It has all-round access to the premises; a large parking area for production and for heavy vehicles, sleepers, ambulances; merchandising; a PA; accessible services; and a nearby underground station. Attendees can look forward to sold-out shows from Joaquín Sabina and Iron Maiden, as well as the Love the ‘90s Festival Bilbao.

La Nueva Cubierta (10,000 capacity) in Madrid handles a broad variety of events but is mainly focussed on music. Its offer to promoters is that it has low hire fees as its parent company, Grupo Friends, is a production hire firm, offering clients the opportunity to rent whatever they need, from staging and sound to lighting and furniture. Forthcoming shows include Angerfist and Son Latino Son.

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