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It’s been nearly two years since it was finalised, but Live Nation’s $415m acquisition of a 51% interest in market- leader OCESA remains the big story of the Mexican live
business – not least because the combined operation has sailed through a surge of post-Covid consumer demand that has lifted an already busy market to new heights.
For his part, Bruce Moran, Live Nation president of music in Latin America, couldn’t be more satisfied. “OCESA and Live Nation are having a truly great 2023,” he says. “My love and respect for its people – Memo Parra, Alejandro Soberón, and more – know no bounds. I am so proud that we are one team.”
Moran has been in the market longer than most, having brought Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Santana to Mexico in his time as president of OCESA in the early 1990s.
“One could argue that my early years at OCESA saw the grand opening to the region and to the success that is the Latin American concert industry today.”
“One could argue that my early years at OCESA saw the grand opening to the region and to the success that is the Latin American concert industry today,” he notes.
The long-term impact has been a capital city that welcomes international touring acts as standard. “From Imagine Dragons to Red Hot Chili Peppers to The Weeknd to RBD and more, Ciudad de México has proven to be one of the best concert markets in the world,” says Moran.
Even before 2022, OCESA was selling more than 20m tickets annually, with in excess of 3,000 events, including 23 festivals– among them Vive Latino, Corona Capital, EDC Mexico, and the reggaeton-focused Coca-Cola Flow Fest. It also operates 13 venues across Mexico with a collective capacity of nearly 250,000 seats.
Mexico’s other giant is Avalanz Group’s Zignia Live, which promotes tours, controls venues – including Arena Ciudad de México and Arena Monterrey, the country’s two busiest arenas, and the 20,000-cap Arena Guadalajara, due to open late this year or early next. Zignia sells around 14m tickets a year through its Superboletos operation.
In April, it showcased Travis Scott, Rosalía, Fred Again.. and M.I.A. at the top of an alternative, electronic bill.
ECO Entretenimiento represents a newer wave of Mexican promoters. Formed in 2019 from indies Sicario, Tape, and Marketen, it is part of the wider Grupo ECO, which encompasses bars, venues, an architecture practice, and a PR agency. AXE Ceremonia, Grupo ECO’s most-renowned event, these days takes place at Parque Bicentenario in Mexico City. In April, it showcased Travis Scott, Rosalía, Fred Again.. and M.I.A. at the top of an alternative, electronic bill.
Monterrey-based Apodaca Live, meanwhile, is a long- established promoter with strength in regional Mexico, from Monterrey to Tijuana. At the time of going to press, it had recently brought The Weeknd through Monterrey’s Estadio BBVA Bancomer, to add to shows by Rauw Alejandro and numerous others.
Mexico also has a vast array of homegrown talent. Powered by streaming, regional Mexican music, comprising banda, corridos, cumbia, norteño, sierreño, mariachi, and other genres, has blossomed in its wider influence in recent years, and produced stars from Tijuana’s regional heroes Grupo Firme and Mazatlán, Sinaloa’s Banda MS to fast-rising young artists such as Junior H and Peso Pluma. The latter two are exponents of corridos tumbados, which brings a hip-hop sensibility to the storytelling ballad style of corrido, and each play the Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City towards the end of 2023