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Leading execs to discuss arenas in Recovery Sessions

The line-up has been finalised for the next must-see Recovery Sessions event, which takes place tomorrow (21 October) at 16.00 BST and is free to watch.

Joining chair Olivier Toth (chair of EAA) are Coralie Berael (Forest National Arena), Tony Goldring (William Morris Endeavour), Steve Homer, (AEG Presents) and Paul Twomey (Bio Security Systems), who will be exploring the recovery of the arena market.

Recovery Sessions: Arenas Working Together will look at how these principal touring grounds are working collectively to reignite the live music sector – from new developments in mitigation measures and strategies, to new and more collaborative actions across the venue space.

Beyond Covid-19, with sustainability now a must-tackle issue, and the ongoing race to provide the perfect customer experience, these industry heads will discuss what lies ahead for the arena sector.

The Recovery Sessions, supported by ASM Global and Goodtill, is a series of fortnightly webinars designed to keep the live music industry updated about the international roadmap to reopening. All Recovery Sessions events are free to access for IQ subscribers.

With sustainability now a must-tackle issue, these industry heads will discuss what lies ahead for the arena sector

The first Recovery Sessions event took place on 13 May, hosting high-level discussions on the issues around vaccine passports, the takeaways from this year’s major pilot events, and the road to recovery from the points of view of industry leaders.

The second edition took place on 17 June, hosting topical debates and discussions on the issues around insurancethe top mitigation measures and the importance of political relationships will be in a post-Covid world.

And the third took place on 22 July, quizzing HR heads about the various challenges they face as key markets reopen for business, as well as the opportunities to ‘build back better’ by spreading the recruitment net as wide as possible to help the industry become more diverse, equal and equitable.

To watch the Recovery Sessions: Arenas Working Together panel live on Thursday (21 October), simply head to the dedicated Recovery Sessions page on the website or IQ‘s Facebook page for 16.00 BST/17.00 CEST.

As with the first three events, the session will be available to watch back on demand for IQ subscribers.

To subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month, click here.

 


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ASM launches corporate social responsibility platform

ASM Global is launching a new corporate social responsibility platform called ASM Global Acts, which it says is aligned with many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the live entertainment giant, the platform is centred on three commitments: protect the environment, invest in people and strengthen communities around the globe.

The company will establish annual targets that measure impact and progress to achieving the commitments.

Today also marks the launch of the ASM Global Acts Foundation to support philanthropic and community-based endeavours guided by its sustainability and diversity pillars.

“Our ASM Global Acts initiative is inspired by this idea of making a meaningful difference in our communities and beyond”

In addition, the ASM Global Acts Scholarship will focus on serving diverse and under-resourced communities with educational and career development opportunities.

The initiative will immediately launch at ASM’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, Chicago’s McCormick Place, California’s Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, Ontario Convention Center and Toyota Arena.

The company says there are plans to roll it out in other venues in 2022.

“Whether you are a performer on our stages, a technician, hospitality team member or visitor to our venue, we all have the ability to work together and harness our collective action to make the world a better place,” says Ron Bension, president of ASM Global.

“Our ASM Global Acts initiative is inspired by this idea of action and brings to life our dedication to making a meaningful difference in our communities and beyond.”

 


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Building(s) for the future: Introducing the new arenas

As the live entertainment industry prepares for what could be the busiest years in its history, IQ looks at some of the new area projects that promise to take indoor shows to the next level. From Oak View Group’s groundbreaking Climate Pledge Arena to MSG’s spheres in London and Las Vegas, below you’ll find an extensive guide of the arenas set to open in the next five years and beyond.

 

2021

Climate Pledge Arena (Seattle, US)
Oak View Group
Naming sponsor: Amazon
Purpose: Sport and live entertainment
Opening date: October 2021
Configurations: 18,100 total. Capacities for different events will vary
Cost to build: $1billion (€0.85bn) of private investment
Design: Populous. McLennan Design advised on green/ sustainability features
Partnerships: Amazon’s The Climate Pledge, Alaska Airlines, Coors Light, Symetra, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, WaFd Bank, Verizon and Ticketmaster
Special features:
■ Expected to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world and will harness the power of sports and entertainment to inspire change on the climate crises.
■ OVG has respectfully retained the iconic roof of the Seattle Center Coliseum, originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and designed by renowned architect Paul Thiry.

“There is no question that the state of our planet is a critical issue for all of us. We have a responsibility to future generations to try to leave them with a better world. We love that Amazon is using its naming rights for a cause we care deeply about – this partnership is a visionary step for the facilities business and sport and music industries. Our goal is to be the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable venue in the world. It is not just about one arena – it’s a platform for us to step up and heal our planet.” – Tim Leiweke, CEO, Oak View Group.

“[Climate Pledge Arena’s] goal is to be the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable venue in the world”

UBS Arena (New York, US)
Oak View Group
Naming sponsor: UBS signed on for a 20-year naming rights deal worth $250million (€213m)
Purpose: Made for music and built for hockey
Opening date: Autumn 2021
Configurations: 18,500 total. NHL capacity: 17,000. Concert capacity: 18,500
Cost to build: $1.5bn (€1.3bn)
Design: Populous
Partnerships: UBS, Northwell Health, Verizon, Heineken, Dime and Ticketmaster
Special features:
■ State-of-the-art sound system that leverages sophisticated engineering acoustics to amplify the audio experience.
■ The first venue of its kind in New York to be eligible to achieve certification under the LEED V4 Building Design + Construction rating system while featuring state-of-the-art sustainable technology.
■ Arena displays will include the largest scoreboard in New York with industry-leading high-definition technology and two levels of high-resolution LED ribbon boards.
■ The utilisation of the Verizon 5G Ultra-Wideband network.

“We like to call this arena ‘the next most famous arena for the next century’. It will be the last great arena that will be built in all of our lifetimes in the New York City area. – Tim Leiweke, CEO, Oak View Group.

“UBS Arena will be the last great arena that will be built in all of our lifetimes”

Coca-Cola Music Hall (Puerto Rico)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: Coca-Cola
Purpose: Coca-Cola Music Hall has a flexible and innovative design that will cater to a wide range of events, including concerts, family shows, boxing matches, corporate events, and much more
Opening date: 14 August 2021
Configurations: Up to 5,000 guests
Cost to build: $40m
Programming: Beatriz Colón
Special features: Coca-Cola Music Hall is the first medium-sized venue in Puerto Rico.

 

2022

MTS Live Arena (Moscow, Russia)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: MTS (Mobile TeleSystems PJSC)
Purpose: Music, sports (basketball, MMA, etc), corporate events
Opening date: Q1 2022
Configurations: Standing floor, seated lower bowl, suites, upper bowl; or all seated; or banquet tables on the floor, seated lower level, suites, upper bowl
Cost to build: TBC
Design: HOK, Gensler
Financial backers: Private investment
Programming: AEG and ASM Global
Special features: Best rigging capacity in the country: up to 200 tons in total with a 4.5 ton point load
Partnerships: Ticketland (ticketing company owned by the naming rights partner); Bose (sound equipment); Compass Group (venue-wide catering); and AB InBev/Efes, L-wine, and Ahmad Tea (beverages).

“We are confident that a thriving, beautiful city like Moscow needs this one-of-a-kind new venue, which will be in demand for all European tours once the business is back to normal. No expense has been spared to create the world-class amenities and ultimate convenience for the artists and the fans.” – Rick Krezwick, ASM Global.

“We are confident that a thriving, beautiful city like Moscow needs this one-of-a-kind [MTS Live Arena]”

Swansea Arena (Swansea, Wales)
Ambassador Theatre Group
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Live music, comedy, theatre, sports, e-sports and conferences
Opening date: Early 2022
Configurations: 2,151 seated. 3,500 seated/standing. 2,500 standing only. 750 seated in section separated by auditorium wall
Cost to build: The Swansea Arena forms part of the £135m (€158m) Copr Bay phase one district that also includes a 1.1-acre coastal park, a landmark bridge, new homes, car parking and spaces for leisure and hospitality businesses
Design: Friedrich Ludewig of Acme
Financial backers: Swansea Council and the Swansea Bay City Deal. The Swansea Bay City Deal is an investment in nine programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City region. It’s funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector
Programming: Ambassador Theatre Group
Partnerships: TBC
Special features: Over 1,600 gold-coloured panels are being fitted around the outside of Swansea Arena, complete with over 95,000 LED lights. These will enable the screening of the light shows, as well as the potential to promote upcoming shows, concerts and other events.

“Located within touching distance of our world-class seafront, Swansea Arena will be among the best facilities of its kind. The stunning, gold-coloured LED skin surrounding the attraction also means the arena is in keeping with the digital age, with top quality Wi-Fi being made available there for visitors too.” – Councilor Rob Stewart, leader, Swansea Council.

“Ambassador Theatre Group is incredibly excited to be operating the brand-new state-of-the-art Swansea Arena. Not only because we are able to play a part in the incredible regeneration that is happening in the city, but to also bring artists and events to the area that have never had the opportunity to before. The venue is incredibly flexible and can host a great range of shows and events – we can’t wait to get the doors open!” – Lisa Mart, general manager, Swansea Arena.

“Located within touching distance of our world-class seafront, Swansea Arena will be among the best facilities of its kind”

Coachella Valley Arena (California, US)
Oak View Group
Naming sponsor: TBD
Purpose: AHL Hockey, concerts, and family shows
Opening date: Autumn 2022
Configurations: 11,679 for concerts, 9,918 for hockey, 10,815 for basketball and other sporting events. The lower bowl of the venue will seat close to 8,000
Cost to build: $290m (€247m)
Design: Populous. McLennan Design advised on green/ sustainability features
Financial backers: Privately financed by Oak View Group
Partnerships: Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Verizon, Alaska Airlines
Special features:
■ 300,000-square foot arena.
■ 20 suites.
■ A 145-capacity private club.
■ A pair of VIP clubs and a premium concourse club that seats 590.

“[Moody Center] should be the first place the biggest bands in the world want to play”

Moody Center (Austin, US)
Oak View Group, Live Nation/C3 Presents
Naming sponsor: Moody Foundation
Purpose: Live music, family shows, community events and sports Opening date: Spring 2022
Configurations: 15,000+ seat venue with the largest event floor in the US
Cost to build: $338m (€228m)
Design: Gensler
Financial backers: Privately financed through a partnership between Oak View Group, Live Nation/C3 Presents, actor Matthew McConaughey, and the University of Texas at Austin
Programming: Live Nation in conjunction with subsidiary C3 Presents
Special features: Designed specifically for concerts, this modern arena will provide state-of-the-art amenities and top-tier hospitality for artists and fans.

“As a proud alumnus and professor at the University of Texas, I’m honoured, now as minister of culture, to convey what a special place the university and the city of Austin are through the design and hospitality of the new Moody Center. It should be the first place the biggest bands in the world want to play, but the last place a visiting basketball team wants to play.” – Matthew McConaughey.

Tech Port Arena will have a first-class in-house sound system

Tech Port Center + Arena (San Antonio, US)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC (imminent)
Purpose: The Tech Port Arena will host national touring concerts, comedy, Ted Talks, regional/national conferences, product launches, and regional/national/international e-sport events supporting the aerospace, cyber security, and robotics tenants located at Port San Antonio.
Opening date: April 2022
Configurations: The arena will have 3,200 seats on two levels that will include 1,200 retractable seats that can host GA full-floor shows, seated configurations, and banquets.
Cost to build: $60m
Design: RVK Architects
Financial backers: American Triple I Partners, Port San Antonio
Programming: ASM Global will operate the venue and it will be an open venue to all promoters. Tech Port will co-promote or buy direct from agents.
Special features: ■ Tech Port Arena will have a first-class in-house sound system, 60’ LED wall for performances, and a lighting system that will include a 7.1 surround sound system in the arena for conferences, e-sports and music events.
■ Tech Port Center and Arena will also have a seven-day-a-week restaurant and bar experience to support the 15,000 employees that work at Port San Antonio, which will have live bands and DJs hosting after-hours events and festivals.
■ E-sports will be a large part of the complex, which will have a LAN centre and the first e-sport-focused, 60 station, LAN/Arena complex built in the US.
■ The building will be the first test site for the Genesis Water System, which converts air to water and will be a lifesaver for millions of people around the world looking for water in any environment.
Partnerships: TBC

 

2023

Co-op Live (Manchester, UK)
Oak View Group
Naming sponsor: A 15-year partnership with the Co-op to bring one of the most planet-friendly arenas in Europe to east Manchester
Purpose: Live music, sports, comedy, awards, and family entertainment events
Opening date: 2023
Configurations: 23,500-capacity, making it the UK’s biggest venue
Cost to build: £350m (€409m), 100% privately financed
Design: Populous
Financial backers: Oak View Group and City Football Group (CFG) are equal joint venture partners and investors in Co-op Live, along with Harry Styles as an investor
Partnerships: Ticketmaster will be providing digital ticketing technology
Special features:
■ Smart bowl design providing an intimate experience for fans and ‘black box’ for artists.
■ Innovative LED programmable halo around the building facade.
■ A football-pitch-and-a-half of solar panels on its roof.
■ Ten tennis courts creating a green biodiverse ring.
■ 100% rainwater harvesting.
■ 100% electric.
■ Targeting zero-waste to support carbon neutral goals.
■ Sustainable food sourcing via local producers. electric.
■ Local supply chain for the build creating jobs and apprentices.

“I am incredibly proud to be partnering with OVG on their plans for Co-op Live. Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier to be involved in their project. It feels very much like coming home.” – Harry Styles.

“Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier to be involved in [Co-op Live]”

MSG Sphere at the Venetian (Las Vegas, US)
MSG Entertainment
Purpose: Attractions, concert residencies, corporate events, award shows, product launches and select sporting events
Opening date: 2023
Configurations: Scalable capacity of approximately 17,500 seated to 20,000 with a mix of seated and standing
Design: The vision for MSG Sphere, including its design, is being driven by a talented team at MSG Entertainment, which has also brought on board Populous, one of the world’s most acclaimed design and architectural firms, to help make MSG Entertainment’s vision a reality – both in Las Vegas and London
Special features:
■ Fully programmable LED exterior – creating a digital showcase for artists, brands and partners.
■ The highest resolution LED screen on Earth – an immersive display plane that will wrap up, over, and behind the audience at a resolution over 100 times that of a high-definition television.
■ Advanced acoustics system delivering crystal clear audio to every guest.
■ The system will use a variety of technologies including beamforming, enabling audio to be directed to specific locations in the bowl at a volume that remains constant – from point of origin to destination. This means two people – sitting in different seat sections – could hear completely different things, adding to the possibilities for a truly customised experience.
■ An infrasound haptic system that will use deep vibrations so guests can “feel” the experience.
■ A new architecture for connectivity that delivers more than 25 megabits per second for every guest – enabling a broader range of content and greater interaction.

“The renders of the [Kai Tak Sports Park] provide a tantalising glimpse as to what that experience will look and feel like”

Kai Tak Sports Park (Hong Kong)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Live entertainment, sport, conferences, seminars, meetings, exhibitions and trade shows
Opening date: Late 2023
Configurations: 10,000 maximum capacity with retractable seating systems to provide as much flexibility as possible.
Cost to build: HK$30bn (€3bn) including a 50,000 capacity stadium and other facilities
Design: Populous (architects), Arup (engineering disciplines) Financial backers: The Government of Hong Kong under a design build operate contract for 25 years
Programming: ASM Global (concerts and other live entertainment, conferences and functions), Sportfive (sport content)
Special features: Kai Tak Sports Park will integrate world-class sports facilities with retail, wellness and community leisure spaces to create an urban oasis. With its Pearl of the Orient theme, the main stadium will boast a retractable roof and flexible pitch surface that can host a wide range of international, regional and local events in any weather.
Building(s) For The Future_Feature
Partnerships: The Kai Tak Sports Park consortium is led by Kai Tak Sports Park Ltd (KTSPL), a subsidiary of New World Development Company Limited and NWS Holdings Limited. The KTSPL project team comprises of recognised local and global industry leaders with extensive experience in the design, construction and operation of large-scale projects. ASM Global will be responsible for management and operation of the precinct. The Park will include 57,000m2 of retail space, 3,000m2 of restaurants, a bowling centre, a sports health/wellness centre, an event village,
a main plaza, a children’s play area, and numerous outdoor sports courts.

“Kai Tak Sports Park will transform the sports landscape in Hong Kong. ASM Global will bring world-class sports and entertainment events and deliver an outstanding experience to fans and clients alike. The renders of the venues provide a tantalising glimpse as to what that experience will look and feel like and we can’t wait to start delivering events.” – Darren Burden, executive director, ASM Global.

 

2024

Newcastlegateshead Quays (Newcastle, UK)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Concerts, live entertainment, boxing, mixed martial arts, sport, family entertainment, comedy, e-sport, e-gaming, conferencing, association events, exhibitions and regionally tailored and produced events
Opening date: Summer 2024
Configurations: 12,500-capacity arena plus conference and exhibition centre with over 6,300m2 including conference suite for 900, exhibition halls totalling 5,500m2
Cost to build: £260m (€304m)
Design: Hook
Financial backers: Ask and Patrizia
Programming: ASM Global
Partnerships: Local and national premium brands, Gateshead Council, regional stakeholder and education institutions

Derby Becketwell is perfectly placed to benefit from the demonstrable growth in 3,000-4,000 capacity shows in the UK”

Derby Becketwell Arena (Derby, UK)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Concerts, live entertainment, family entertainment, comedy, sports entertainment, conferencing, exhibitions and corporate events
Opening date: 2024
Configurations: 3,500 capacity auditorium with flexible seating and standing modes
Cost to build: £39m (€45m)
Design: Corstorphine and Wright
Financial backers: St James Securities and Derby City Council
Programming: ASM Global
Special features: Becketwell Arena follows in the footsteps of the success of Bonus Arena in Hull and joins Swansea Arena as part
of a cohort of new 3,000-4,000 capacity venues in the UK, which represent a significant growth opportunity for the UK touring market. This new venue in the heart of the city of Derby will present intimate arena shows with fantastic sight lines and a first- class audience experience.
Partnerships: Close collaboration with Derby City Council and other regional stakeholders, putting the new venue at the heart of the city’s regeneration strategy, with a new entertainment, cultural and business events programme.

“We look forward to bringing world-class entertainment, sports entertainment and business events to Derby, in an innovative new venue, which is perfectly placed to benefit from the demonstrable growth in 3,000-4,000 capacity shows in the UK. We have been inspired by the vision shared for the city, and the growth and opportunities for the East Midlands economy more broadly. Along with a busy concert and entertainment programme, the venue will attract a wide range of business events and provide a great meeting place and activation platform for the region’s world-leading industrial sectors.” – Tom Lynch, group commercial director & senior vice president, Europe, ASM Global.

Emlive will be built atop a major mall development

Emlive (Bangkok, Thailand)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Primarily entertainment and corporate banquets
Opening date: late 2024
Configurations: 5,000 maximum capacity
Cost to build: TBC
Design: The Mall Group
Financial backers: The Mall Group, AEG Real Estate
Programming: AEG Asia
Special features: Built atop a major mall development
Partnerships: TBC

 

2025

Cardiff Atlantic Wharf Arena (Wales, UK)
Oak View Group, Live Nation
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Live music, family shows, comedy and sport
Opening date: Spring 2025
Configurations: 15,000 capacity – standing and seated
Cost to build: £150m (€175m)
Design: HKO
Financial backers: Cardiff Council, Live Nation Entertainment, and Oak View Group, with Robertson Group as developers
Special features:
■ Single-tier arena to intensify the atmosphere for spectators and performers.
■ Seating and floor space that adapts to audience sizes anywhere between 3,500 and 15,000, and a variety of events from sports to family shows as well as live music and entertainment.
■ With world-class acoustics, fans and performers will be guaranteed the ultimate sound experience while noise levels are reduced to maintain a peaceful environment outside the arena.

“This project has reached an important milestone. It has been 22 years in the making, and we have made significant progress in recent years. The new indoor arena will be the primary catalyst of the regeneration of Atlantic Wharf.” – Russell Goodway, cabinet member for investment and development, Cardiff Council.

Cardiff Atlantic Wharf Arena has been 22 years in the making, and we have made significant progress in recent years”

Jeddah Arena (Saudi Arabia)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Primarily entertainment and sport
Opening date: December 2025 Configurations: 20,000 maximum capacity
Cost to build: TBC
Design: Chapman Taylor
Financial backers: SARH Real Estate Investments
Programming: ASM Global
Special features: First international standard arena in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Partnerships: TBC

“ASM Global is looking forward to being an integral part of the team to deliver this visionary project in Jeddah. We pride ourselves on joining forces with partners with whom we know we can make a difference to creating and delivering amazing experiences.” – Harvey Lister, chairman & chief executive, ASM Global (Asia Pacific & Gulf Region).

 

2026

Milano Santa Giulia Arena (Milan, Italy)
CTS Eventim
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, live music
Opening date: 2026
Configurations: 16,000-capacity indoors. Plus outdoor area of more than 10,000m2 for open-air events
Cost to build: €180m Design: TBC
Financial backers: TBC

“Our new arena in Milan will be a must-play for all major tours, and we will also be able to offer top events from the Eventim portfolio to the region around Milan and beyond in our own arena through the four Italian promoters in our Eventim Live promoter network. This is another excellent addition to our value chain.” – Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO, CTS Eventim.

“[CTS Eventim’s] new [Milano Santa Giulia Arena] will be a must-play for all major tours”

Bangkok Arena (Thailand)
ASM Global
Naming sponsor: TBC
Purpose: Primarily entertainment
Opening date: Late 2026
Configurations: 15,000 maximum capacity Cost to build: TBC
Design: The Mall Group
Financial backers: The Mall Group, AEG Real Estate
Programming: AEG Asia
Special features: Built atop a major mall development
Partnerships: TBC

 

TBC

MSG Sphere (London, UK)
MSG Entertainment
Purpose: Attractions, concert residencies, corporate events, award shows, product launches and select sporting events
Opening date: TBC. Planning application currently under consideration by the LLDC. “As we work through this process, our timeline will continue to evolve.”
Configurations: Scalable capacity of up to 17,500 seated or 21,500 when there is a mix of seated and standing
Design: See MSG Sphere at The Venetian
Special features: See MSG Sphere at The Venetian


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ASM appoints GM for Middle East’s largest convention centre

ASM Global has appointed Dr Debbie Kristiansen as general manager of the new Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre, which will be the largest venue of its kind in the Middle East.

Kristiansen, who has lived and worked in the Middle East for 16 years, joins ASM from Novo Cinemas where she worked as CEO for more than seven years.

The Middle East vet ranked in the Top 30 Most Inspirational Women in the Arab World 2019 and was named Middle East Female CEO of the Year 2018.

“Debbie has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry and her leadership skills will bring many unique qualities to the role,” says ASM Global APAC & Gulf Region chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister.

“Debbie has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry and her leadership skills will bring many unique qualities to the role”

“Her appointment will help consolidate ASM Global’s reputation in the region as the world’s leading producer of event experiences and enhance Bahrain’s standing as an international meetings destination.”

Kristiansen added: “To have the opportunity of working both for ASM Global, and to return to the beautiful destination of Bahrain, is a dream come true. This will allow me the privilege to help mentor and build the talent and skill set of young Bahrainis for generations to come.

“I look forward to working closely with Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority to develop and grow the international MICE business, and to create a long-term legacy for Bahrain,” she concluded.

The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre is scheduled to open in 2022.

ASM’s Middle East portfolio also includes the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai (cap. 17,000), the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and the recently announced Jeddah Arena and the International Convention Centre Jeddah.

 


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ASM Global expands Middle East venue portfolio

ASM Global is expanding its Middle East portfolio with the addition of two new venues in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.

The global entertainment giant has been appointed as the managing operator of the 20,000-seat Jeddah Arena and the International Convention Centre Jeddah (ICC Jeddah), both set to open in December 2025.

The two new venues will be located adjacent to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, as part of the Jeddah Airport City project.

ASM’s Middle East portfolio already includes the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai (cap. 17,000), the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

“ASM Global is looking forward to being an integral part of the team to deliver this visionary project in Jeddah,” says ASM Global Asia Pacific chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister.

“It was only fitting to appoint the global giants in the venue and entertainment industry to collaborate on this landmark project”

“We pride ourselves on joining forces with partners with whom we know we can make a difference to creating and delivering amazing experiences.”

SARH Real Estate and Development founder and chairman of SARH Real Estate Investments, Sultan Al-Harbi, added: “Upon analysing the significant importance of both the iconic arena and convention centre, it was only fitting to appoint the global giants in the venue and entertainment industry, ASM Global, to collaborate on this landmark project for Jeddah and Saudi Arabia.”

SARH Real Estate and Development recently announced the Airport City project, which will include three to five-star hotels, a shopping mall, ‘world-class’ parklands, a dedicated business centre and residential sector, as well as many other recreational amenities. The development is set to commence by the end of 2021.

Today’s news comes weeks after ASM was announced as the managing operator of The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre – the largest venue of its kind in the Middle East.


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König Pilsener Arena appoints new general manager

ASM Global has announced the appointment of Mirco Markfort as general manager of the König Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.

Markfort is currently managing director of the Nürburgring circuit, a position he has held since 2016, and was formerly head of events and event design at Koelnmesse, the exhibition centre in Cologne. He succeeds Hrushida Kamthe, who has been interim GM since November 2020.

“Mirco is a great addition and brings with him a wealth of experience as a successful executive and strong relationships in the German market,” says John Sharkey, executive vice-president of ASM Global Europe.

“Mirco is a great addition and brings with him a wealth of experience as a successful executive”

“We are very excited to have him join our team. He will lead the reopening of the arena and the growth of the company together with our team in Oberhausen and our clients and partners.

König Pilsener Arena – operated by SMG before its merger with AEG Facilities to form ASM – has a maximum capacity of 12,650. Artists who have performed at the arena include Prince, Iron Maiden, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Take That, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Beyoncé and Linkin Park.

Markfort will take up his new position in November this year.

 


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ASM to operate largest convention centre in Middle East

ASM Global has been appointed as the managing operator of the largest exhibition and convention centre in the Middle East.

The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre will offer 95,000 sqm of exhibition space over 10 halls, a 4,000-seat tiered auditorium and 95 meeting rooms.

Royal & VIP Majlis (parliament rooms), event organisers’ offices and a 250-seat capacity restaurant will complete a total site area of 309,000 sqm.

Upon completion in mid-2022, the venue will host a range of events including exhibitions and conventions, concerts, live events, weddings and seminars.

ASM will manage, operate and programme the new destination, after being successfully appointed by Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority (BTEA).

The international venue operator’s Middle East portfolio also includes the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai (cap. 17,000) and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.

“[This development] will further position Bahrain as a growing international destination helping to drive growth”

“We are delighted to have been appointed the operator of what will be a landmark development, which will further position Bahrain as a growing international destination helping to drive growth and create jobs as well as a legacy for the Kingdom,” says ASM Global Asia Pacific chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister.

“We look forward to working with Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority in creating a brand-new exhibition and convention hub at the heart of the region.”

Iain Campbell, executive VP, ASM Global Gulf Region, added: “The appointment as managing operator is testament to ASM Global’s expertise, knowledge and experience in bringing venues to life across the world.

“Our aim for Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre is to create a venue with its own distinct identity that resonates with MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions] visitors as well as the leisure and tourism market that benefits the local economy and enhances the Kingdom’s status globally.”

Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority chief executive officer, Dr Nasser Qaedi, says: “The new centre will reinforce the Kingdom’s status regionally and internationally and Bahrain’s position in the MICE industry. We look forward to working with ASM Global to attract international exhibitions and conferences to be held in Bahrain.”

ASM Global’s venue network spans five continents, with a portfolio of more than 325 arenas, stadiums, convention, and exhibition centres, and performing arts venues.

 


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Richard Krezwick announces departure from ASM Global

ASM Global’s chief commercial officer Richard Krezwick has announced his departure from the company.

Krezwick, who has spent more than four decades in live events, announced on LinkedIn that he is to pursue new opportunities from September after concluding his notice period.

His previous roles include senior vice president facilities at AEG Europe from 2014 to 2018, in which he was responsible for all of the group’s venues in Europe including the O2 in London, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, AccorHotels Arena in Paris, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Friends Arena in Stockholm.

He relocated in 2018 to the US to head up AEG Facilities’ new office in Manhattan, New York.

He also spent four years as president of Devils Arena Entertainment, New Jersey, from 2009 to 2013, as well as two years as regional vice-president of AEG Facilities from 2007 to 2009.

“I’m looking forward to doing all I can for ASM in the coming weeks, then start brewing some entrepreneurial ideas”

“I realised my entire career has been like driving the Autobahn… full throttle… every day, pedal to the metal,” he wrote. “From the old Spectrum in Philly, around the world and back to ASM in Philly where it all began. It’s time to exit the highway once in a while and take the road less travelled.”

“I’m looking forward to doing all I can for ASM in the coming weeks, then start brewing some entrepreneurial ideas, doing a few deals and staying close to the business that’s been so good to me and my family, for so many years. Stay tuned…” he concluded.

Uwe Frommhold, AEG chief operating officer, wrote: “Thanks for everything Rich! Has been a great pleasure to join you for a couple of ‘fast rides’ on the German Autobahn. Hope to see you again over here soon – there are lots of nice roads still to be taken at a slower pace!”

Marie Lindqvist, senior vice-president Europe at ASM Global, wrote: “You challenged me, believed in my capabilities and taught me so much about our amazing industry. For that, I will always be grateful. I wish you the best of luck in your next phase and look forward to meeting soon. Hopefully in a sold-out arena!”

John Langford, AEG Europe chief operating officer, wrote: “Good luck boss. It’s been a pleasure sitting shotgun on parts of the journey.”

 


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ASM Global adds to Swedish venue portfolio

ASM Global has taken over operations of two further venues in Stockholm.

The leading venue manager has signed a “long-term” lease with the properties’ owners, brothers Jakob and Mattias Johansson, to manage the Södra Teatern, a theatre venue with a capacity of up to 600, and Mosebacketerrassen, a rooftop terrace that can accomodate around 2,000 people.

Since 2008, the company (as AEG Facilities) has operated a number of venues in the Swedish capital, including the 15,000-capacity Avicii Arena (formerly the Ericsson Globe), 8,300-cap. Hovet and 3,400-cap. Annexet. In 2013, it added the new Tele2 Arena, a 45,000-cap. stadium in south Stockholm, and in 2017 took over Friends Arena (75,000-cap.) in Solna, in Stockholm County, north of the city centre.

“It feels fantastic to help elevate this classical venue’s continued development”

“It feels fantastic to now be a part of and help elevate this classical venue’s continued development,” says Andreas Sand, GM of Stockholm Live, ASM Global’s subsidiary in Sweden. “Södra Teatern is already a great venue which has evolved tremendously in recent years, both through careful renovation of the property but also modernisation of the business.”

“There’s really no better place in the city to see local artists like Albin Lee Meldau, Petter or Weeping Willows than on Mosebacketerrassen,” he adds.

Södra Teatern (pictured) was built in 1852 and is one of Sweden’s oldest active theatres. Until 2018, the theatre was owned by Riksteatern, a publicly funded theatre institution, after which it was sold to the Johansson brothers.

 


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Manchester Arena attack: Inquiry publishes first report

There were multiple “missed opportunities” to prevent or minimise the impact of the Manchester Arena bombing May 2017, the public investigation into the attack has found.

The Manchester Arena Inquiry, led by chairman Sir John Saunders, today (17 June) published the first of three reports about the terror attack, which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017. The report, which looks into security arrangements at the arena on the night of the bombing, concludes that bomber Salman Abedi should have been identified as a threat on the night of the attack.

In his 204-page report, Sir John found a number of security failures that he says would have reduced the impact of the bombing, if not prevented it completely. The “most striking missed opportunity”, the report details, came from a member of the public, who raised concerns to stewards about Abedi’s suspicious behaviour in the run-up to the attack.

Although the stewards, Mohammed Agha and Kyle Lawler, took steps to investigate the man’s concerns, with Lawler stating that he thought “there was something wrong” with Abedi’s behaviour and trying to get through to a superior on the radio, his efforts were ‘inadequate’, says Sir John.

While approach by a steward or BTP officer may have caused Abedi to detonate his device, “it is likely that fewer people would have been killed” than were on 22 May, says Sir John. (Abedi ultimately set off his bomb as fans were leaving the show.)

Other failings identified by the inquiry include the lack of British Transport Police (BTP) officers in the arena’s foyer, for which there was “no satisfactory explanation”; a CCTV blind spot near the arena’s City room that allowed Abedi to hide from security cameras; and inadequate counter-terrorism training given the stewards.

Sir John additionally found that after the Paris attack of November 2017, the arena’s operator, SMG, should have “sought to push the security perimeter out, beyond the City room” to make “hostile reconnaissance” of the arena (now called AO Arena) more difficult for Abedi.

“We are carefully reviewing the findings outlined in volume one of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report”

Among Sir John’s recommendations are passing ‘protect duty’ legislation (sometimes called ‘Martyn’s law’, after one of the victims) for large venues such as arenas which would require them to consider terrorist threats and implement further protective security and preparations.

The public inquiry was set up in September 2020 to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the bombing, and followed an earlier review headed by Lord Kerslake whose findings were published in March 2018. Though part one of Manchester Arena Inquiry says it holds BTP, SMG and security provider Showsec, “principally responsible for the missed opportunities”, the Kerslake report found that SMG and Showsec’s response to the attack went “above and beyond” the call of duty.

In a statement, SMG (now part of ASM Global), says that while security around live shows, and at Manchester Arena particularly, has “changed dramatically” since the 2017 attack, the company will take on board Sir John’s recommendations after having reviewed the full report in detail.

The statement reads: “On 22 May 2017, 22 innocent people tragically lost their lives and many others were injured when a terrorist detonated a bomb. The attack shocked the nation and the devastating impact was felt far beyond the city of Manchester.

“The impact was also felt across the industry and the environment in which we all operated changed dramatically that evening.

“Since the inquiry began, questions have been asked of SMG and others about the security operations in place that evening. Throughout, we’ve been committed to working with the inquiry to help the families of victims and survivors better understand the events of that evening, as well as look at the lessons learnt.

”During the inquiry process, the experts stated that they did not see evidence that the security operation in place at Manchester Arena was out of step with the operations being used at other comparable venues. In fact, the standards that we adopted were in line with published industry guidance at the time. However, this doesn’t give us any comfort. Our guests came to the arena to enjoy a show but were met with a horrific tragedy. For that we are truly sorry.

”All of us at Manchester Arena have learnt a lot since the events of that night and our security measures continue to evolve to reflect the threats we face today. Since the attack, we have further extended the security perimeter, adopted a more intensive approach to checking and searching including the use of walk through metal detectors and installed a new CCTV and access control system.

”All of us at Manchester Arena have learnt a lot since the events of that night”

“However, out of respect for those who tragically lost their lives on 22 May 2017, and those whose lives changed forever, we can never be satisfied that we have done enough. To that end, we will be reviewing the report findings in detail and the recommendations that have been put forward. Any additional actions we should take, we will take as we continuously challenge ourselves to be better.

“Finally, we share the chair’s admiration for those who responded so selflessly and heroically to this atrocity.”

“The chairman, Sir John Saunders, and the inquiry legal team have put an enormous amount of work and effort into this important public inquiry,” reads a statement from Showsec. “Showsec has learnt lessons from the terrible events of 22 May 2017 and, as the chairman has acknowledged, Showsec improvements are already in place.

“Having been provided with the first volume of the report, Showsec will take some time to consider both Sir John’s criticisms and his recommendations before responding as he has requested. As always, the families are at the forefront of our minds.”

Lucy D’Orsi, chief constable of the BTP, comments: “We are carefully reviewing the findings outlined in volume one of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report today.

“I would like to reassure everyone that British Transport Police, as you would expect, has been reviewing procedures, operational planning and training since this dreadful attack took place in 2017. We continue to work closely with our emergency service colleagues, Greater Manchester Police and other experts to strengthen our multi-agency preparedness for major incidents. We are committed to ensuring our staff are supported and prepared to undertake the roles they are required to do.

“We will never forget that 22 people tragically lost their lives following the truly evil actions of the attacker and many received life changing injuries . They continue to be at the forefront of our thoughts as are their loved ones and all those affected by this dreadful attack.”

 


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