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Arena Market: Uruguay

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At a stroke, the arrival of the ASM Global-managed Antel Arena gave the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo a prominent spot on the South American touring map when it opened in November 2018.

And after barely one busy year, during which Caetano Veloso, Bryan Adams, Karol G, Backstreet Boys, and local heroes Buitres all stopped by, that entire map was rolled up and put away by Covid.

It was a frustrating start for the state-of-the-art arena – one with the capacity to change the colour of its exterior, no less – which was designed, in the words of Chuck Steedman, ASM Global executive vice president, strategy and business development, arenas and stadiums, to “set the standard for excellence on the continent.”

The arrival of the ASM Global-managed Antel Arena gave the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo a prominent spot on the South American touring map when it opened in November 2018.

The 10,000-capacity venue in the barrio of Villa Española, with configurations for basketball, futsal, and other sports, as well as concerts, family shows, festivals, conferences, exhibitions, and special events, reopened for a while between August and December 2021 and returned in earnest in March 2022.

Since then, it has been making up for lost time, with Gorillaz, Los Auténticos Decadentes, Louis Tomlinson, Lali, and Tiago PZK, among a variety of international and Latin artists – particularly Argentinian and Uruguayan – thankful for another worthwhile stop in the southern part of the continent.

One of South America’s smaller capitals but also one of the most frequented by tourists, Montevideo has a metropolitan population of around 2m and enjoys close ties with Buenos Aires, from which it is accessible via a two- to three-hour ferry across the Río de la Plata.

The 10,000-capacity venue in the barrio of Villa Española reopened for a while between August and December 2021 and returned in earnest in March 2022.

Previously, Montevideo had comparatively little to offer modern touring productions between the Estadio Centenario and the city’s theatres, which include the elaborate and storied 1,500-capacity Teatro Solís and the 4,235-capacity Teatro de Verano Ramón Collazo, an outdoor amphitheatre beside the coast.

A three-phase renovation of the Teatro de Verano will begin next year in time for the 80th birthday of the venue in 2024, with new seating and better wheelchair access, as well as a relocated sound desk and two new boxes. The aim is to restore the venue to international standards. In the meantime, visitors include Jack White, Cat Power, Brazilian reggae band Natiruts, and Argentinian rock band Don Osvaldo.

The city’s previous arena, the Cilindro Municipal, which opened in 1956, remained in use into the 21st century, though a fire in October 2010 led to its demolition in 2014. The Antel Arena now stands on the same site.

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