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Barclaycard Arena invites thousands for test events

Barclaycard Arena Hamburg is welcoming spectators for the first time in over a year, for a series of tests that aim to find out if and how major events can take place safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tests have been approved by the Hamburg Ministry of the Interior and Sport and will take place in conjunction with Handball Sport Verein Hamburg (HSVH), the Handball Bundesliga (HBL), the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and the Barclaycard Arena.

For the first test on 28 May, the arena welcomed 1,000 spectators from Hamburg for the home game of handball team Handball Sport Verein Hamburg, which was against ThSV Eisenach.

Provided the first event is deemed successful, it is expected that 2,000 spectators will be allowed into the arena for the REWE Final4 and the last HSVH home game of the season against ASV Hamm-Westfalen on 22 June. Visitors from outside of Hamburg will be welcome at this event.

Both events are seated and socially distanced. Attendees are required to present a negative coronavirus test to gain entry, wear mask a throughout the event, and take another test 7–10 days after the event.

Modified mannequins that emit marked particles will be placed next to the real spectators during the game

Under the direction of Prof. Dr Wolfgang Schade, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute will examine the aerosol distribution in the arena, which is equipped with a ‘state-of-the-art ventilation system,’ as well as the risk of infection.

For this purpose, modified mannequins that emit marked particles will be placed next to the real spectators during the game.

“The data from the pilot project collected here will provide important information on the spread of aerosols at major events, which can then also be transferred to other event venues with comparable ventilation systems. In this way, fact-based risk assessments can then be carried out in the future for holding such events,” says Prof. Dr Wolfgang.

Steve Schwenkglenks, managing director of the Barclaycard Arena, adds: “The Barclaycard Arena is the ideal location for these scientific test events and we hope that it will provide the entire industry with important knowledge that will enable us to take further steps towards normality in the near future.”

The arena had prepared to open its doors in early May for a concert series organised by Hamburg Concerts but Hamburg authorities called off the events due to the rising Covid-19 infections at the time.


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Barclaycard Arena set to open for first time in a year

Hamburg’s Barclaycard Arena is preparing to open its doors for the first time in a year to host the Restart concert series, organised by Hamburg Concerts.

The concerts, organised as part of the government’s Restart Culture funding programme, are due to take place between 2 and 7 May with artists including Thees Uhlmann, Versengold, Selig and Madsen, and will mark the promoter’s 10th anniversary.

The 16,000-capacity arena will be reconfigured into a compact theatre setting designed for a maximum of 650 guests and taking into account the current hygiene regulations.

The venue and promoter have revealed an extensive hygiene plan which would require guests to wear a masks in the hall, maintain social distancing between two-person seating groups, follow a one-way system in the venue and present a negative coronavirus test upon entry.

According to a statement from Barclaycard Arena, attendees will be able to take a rapid test or a supervised self-test on site, but have been strongly advised to take advantage of the free citizen tests at their place of residence or work to avoid waiting times at the venue.

Hamburg Concerts has submitted the 100-page hygiene plan to the relevant authorities to carry out the event as a model test to test alternative protective measures and concepts in accordance with the current Hamburg Corona Protection Ordinance.

“We are firmly convinced that we can safely organise the events for all participants,” says Diak Haring, MD of Hamburg Concerts.

“We are firmly convinced that we can safely organise the events for all participants”

“The applications for implementation have been sent to all relevant offices in the City of Hamburg and we are ready to talk. We expect feedback from the authorities by mid-April and are in good spirits that we can now open the concert season in Hamburg with the restart series.”

Germany was given further proof that events can be organised safely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic after the artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic shared preliminary findings from the orchestra’s recent pilot concert which show zero infections among the 1,000 people who attended.

Steve Schwenkglenks, VP and MD of the Barclaycard Arena, adds: “Berlin has shown the way – events with a well thought-out hygiene concept are feasible. The more than 100-page hygiene concept, which we developed together with well-known experts, gives us the security of being able to hold events responsibly.

“This fact, coupled with the rapid test concepts and the vaccinations, which will hopefully start sooner, allow me to look very positively into the future. We are well prepared and look forward to welcoming spectators to the arena for the first time in over a year.”

Tickets start from €45.95 and seats can be booked for one or two people.

The Restart concert series was originally planned for March this year but due to the continuing number of infections, it was postponed until May.

Another postponement could be likely if parliament passes new legislation which would allow chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition to impose a nightly curfew in areas where the seven-day incidence rate of infections surpasses 100 cases per 100,000 people for three days in a row.


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AEG expands Accor partnership with global assets deal

Global hospitality group Accor and live entertainment behemoth AEG have extended their partnership to a global deal, incorporating a number of AEG and AEG-affiliated venues, festivals and events.

Accor will gain access to AEG assets including: venue partnerships with Qudos Bank Arena Sydney (21,000-cap.) and Barclaycard Arena Hamburg (16,000-cap.); ticketing rights with AEG Presents UK and AEG Presents Asia; and a festival partnership with American Express Presents BST Hyde Park, which this summer features headliners Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam and Little Mix.

The new partnership was brokered by AEG Europe Global Partnerships – AEG’s in-house division responsible for worldwide sales and activation of naming rights and strategic brand partnerships. It follows a ten-year naming rights deal with AccorHotels Arena in Paris (20,300-cap.), agreed in 2015.

The partnership will give Accor customers access to premium tickets, exclusive experiences and the opportunity to redeem loyalty points through the company’s ALL, Accor Live Limitless scheme.

“This extended AEG partnership reflects our elevated ambition to provide more opportunities for live entertainment for our 57 million loyal members”

“This extended AEG partnership reflects our elevated ambition to provide more opportunities for live entertainment in key locations in the world for our 57 million loyal members who will use their ALL points for more than just hotel stays,” comments Mehdi Hemici, SVP of business development and partnerships at Accor.

“The radical transformation of Accor’s lifestyle loyalty program, embodied by ALL – Accor Live Limitless, will continuously provide more value for customers at home or away through music, sport or entertainment partnerships,” adds Hemici.

Paul Samuels, EVP of AEG global partnerships says the company is “delighted” to extend an “already successful relationship with Accor”.

“Together we’ve delivered incredible experiences for thousands of Accor customers through our naming rights partnership in Paris, and now we look forward to enhancing their global customer benefits programme through our expanded relationship.”


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EAY 2017: GSA arenas reap benefit of strong economies

It’s boom time for arenas in Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GSA), with stable, growing economies and consumers willing to pay the highest average ticket prices in Europe meaning the region is attracting more international shows than ever before, reveals IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2017.

“This is a healthy, strong market, offering a lot of product,” says Michael Brill of König-Pilsener Arena (12,700-cap.) in Oberhausen, Germany. “People are much more prepared to spend money on leisure than they were ten years ago, and if you have the right product, you can command very good ticket prices.”

The arenas surveyed in these three countries sold a total of 7,355,076 tickets, worth more than €380 million, in 2016 – although it’s family shows, rather than concerts, doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.

According to the 2017 Yearbook, family events make up 15% of schedules, but when they are booked appear to be the most popular among ticket buyers, drawing 23% of total attendance and average audiences of 8,059 people. This is well over the survey average for this genre (5,157), and above the overall average turnout for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (5,373).

“This is a healthy, strong market, offering a lot of product”

Music events draw the second largest average audiences in this part of Europe. Average attendance is 7,421 compared with a survey average of 7,359, and this genre makes up 32% of the total programme. It attracts 44% of attendance compared with other genres.

Sports is third (33% of programming/24% attendance), followed by comedy (6% of programming) and miscellaneous events.

The arenas sector’s rude health is being borne out in record results at Hamburg’s 16,000-cap. Barclaycard Arena, where general manager Steve Schwenkglenks says that, financially, 2016 was the best year the arena has ever had.

He comments: “2017 looks impressive, too, despite the fact we have now lost both home sports teams. We’ve filled those gaps with new content, such as esports and a major increase in concerts. This year we’ll have 22 artists who’ve never played the arena before.”


Read the full feature in the digital edition of the European Arena Yearbook 2017: