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Arena Market: Sweden

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In the land of ABBA, Eurovision returned to the country in 2024, 50 years after the superstar group claimed victory. The annual song contest took over the 12,600-capacity Malmö Arena in the south of the country.

A plethora of 10,000+ capacity venues can be found across the expansive Nordic country,  from  Gothenburg’s Scandinavium (14,000) to Linköping’s Saab Arena (11,500) to Karlstad’s Löfbergs Arena (10,300) to Sandviken’s Göransson Arena (10,000). Hockey is a mainstay in these venues, which also host regional and international artists.

ASM Global’s Stockholm Live presides over the country’s capital city, with a portfolio of five arena- and stadium-sized venues.

The 60,000-capacity Friends Arena, to be renamed Strawberry Arena in July, and the 38,000-capacity Tele2 Arena are the largest in the group. They’re followed by the Avicii Arena (16,500), which is set to wrap up renovations in early 2025, and the ice hockey palace Hovet (8,700). And lastly, Annexet (3,400), a multipurpose space used for concerts, galas, and conventions.

ASM Global’s Stockholm Live presides over the country’s capital city, with a portfolio of five arena- and stadium-sized venues.

Sweden’s most iconic venue, Avicii Arena, is currently closed while undergoing refurbishment projects. The largest spherical building in Europe is due to reopen in early 2025 with “fan experience and flexibility” at the forefront of the venue’s changes, says Anna Sjölund, ASM Global’s European programming manager.

With all spectator seats being stripped out, updates will include a restructured lower bowl to bring fans closer to the action, overhanging ‘gondola seating’ upgrades for premium experiences, and a retractable ceiling concept, according to the project’s lead architects HOK.

“A ring-like structure will hover above the seating bowl, with automated, movable panels that can transform the building and optimise the reverberation time according to the type of event. When not in use, panels can be parked out of sight to allow unobstructed views of the spherical building,” they shared last year.

In the meantime, ASM’s other venues are picking up the slack from the shuttered venue.

“We are doing more shows at Tele2 Arena, where we have created a set-up more compatible with Avicii Arena,” Sjölund says. “Tele2 Arena has been transformed into a more intimate version for some shows, and it shows the incredible flexibility we have with football stadiums that have a closeable roof. This is something we will continue with in the future as well.”

Roofing is a key benefit to the Stockholm Live portfolio, as the protection overhead “weatherproofs the shows, which is great in the Nordic climate,” she adds.

“2024 is another year that we see people travelling more and more to Stockholm for events”

The country has been heating up on the entertainment front, with Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Pink, Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj, and Tool set to make their way north this year. And with these international stars set to play, audiences from around the world are making Sweden a destination to visit.

“2024 is another year that we see people travelling more and more to Stockholm for events,” Sjölund says. “For some of the shows at stadium level, we have more than 40% international visitors, which shows what a destination Stockholm has become.”

Next year, Hovet is expected to be demolished following the reopening of Avicii Arena, according to a 2022 statement from Stockholm Municipality. Whilst local media have reported that a new underground hockey rink would be erected to replace the arena. The other ASM Global venues could also absorb some of Hovet’s programming, as the 2025 Ice Hockey World Cup finals are destined for Avicii Arena next May.

Nonetheless, Stockholm Live boasts a range of venues that can transform to serve almost any need, for events of any kind.

“There is room for everything, and if there is not, we’ll find a way to make room! And it’s not only music and sports – there are so many other types of events in our venues, and that’s how we like it!” Sjölund says.

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