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Prague has long been a top destination for Western tourists as well as international acts – huge tours frequently stop by the Czech capital.
The O2 Arena – a 20,000-capacity arena that’s one of Europe’s most modern multipurpose venues – has also proved ideal for mid-size acts, too, and that’s now been complemented by the O2 Universum, a brand-new 24-hall, 10,000-capacity multifunctional congress and cultural centre right next door that can hold corporate events, sports, and international congresses alongside concerts.
The O2 Arena remains “at the heart of the Czech Republic’s live entertainment scene,” says Simona Matějková, managing director of Ticketmaster Czech Republic, “and Czech fans were so excited about the opening of the Universum.”
And further positive news is to be found in the way the local market is bouncing back from Covid. “With so many shows cancelled or postponed over the last two years now being re-arranged, we’ve been super busy,” says Lucia Bočánková, managing director of Ticketportal.
“To handle the huge volume of clients’ requests, we had to start using a chatbot on our website – we’re still teaching it how to be more intelligent in answering clients’ questions.”
Historically, Ticketportal was number one in terms of market share, but that changed somewhat when Ticketmaster won the lucrative contract for the O2 Arena back in 2019 – the opening of the Universum has further cemented Ticketmaster’s hold on the market (the company had also acquired Ticketpro in 2016).
Yet Ticketportal remains a very popular choice, especially for non-O2 shows, as does GoOut, a “personal cultural guide” where you can create a personal profile, set up alerts, follow friends and featured artists and venues, and save tickets digitally in the GoOut app.
DISTRIBUTION OF SALES
Like much of Eastern Europe, consumers retain strong ties to physical products, and that includes tickets. But online sales now account for the majority of purchases, with print-at-home being very common, and mobile and e-tickets gradually gaining more mainstream acceptance.
“Fans prefer print-at-home and digital tickets, with traditional paper tickets becoming increasingly less popular”
“Fans prefer print-at-home and digital tickets, with traditional paper tickets becoming increasingly less popular,” says Matějková. Bočánková agrees: ”printed e-tickets are the winners, and we are working on improving mobile ticketing,” she says. But, she adds: “We need venues to be ready to scan them – that is the main issue, and it will take longer to adjust.”
As in most territories, the bigger the artist or show, the bigger the issue with scalping and resale. “It’s still very popular, especially for big international acts,” says Bočánková. Bazos.cz, a Czech website, Viagogo, and Ticketonlineshop are the common destinations for those looking to sell or buy secondary tickets.
INTERNATIONAL / DOMESTIC SPLITS & GENRES
As noted above, Prague has become a regular stop for A-list artists and those just below that level, in part thanks to the infrastructure and clout afforded by the likes of the O2 Arena. But there are a huge number of successful domestic artists with large, dedicated followings – and they represent the majority of ticket sales.
There are a huge number of successful domestic artists with large, dedicated followings – and they represent the majority of ticket sales.
As an example, alongside upcoming shows by 50 Cent and Swedish House Mafia, the O2 Arena will also be hosting two nights by the current Czech Nightingale (an award recognising outstanding achievement in the Czech music industry) winner in the Band of the Year category, Mirai, and singer-songwriter Jan Pokorný, best known as Pokáč.
As for genre, according to Bočánková, rock is the most popular, followed closely by metal then pop.
“Music continues to be our most important genre, and there is still space to grow,” says Simona Matějková. “Family and sports events are gaining in popularity as well.” But there are clouds on the horizon, too.
“Music continues to be our most important genre, and there is still space to grow”
“It will be interesting to observe how fan attendance is affected by the looming economic and energy crises knocking on the door,” says Lucia Bočánková. “Because here in the Czech Republic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has already had a significant impact on it.”