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Swifties expected to spend half a billion in Stockholm

Taylor Swift’s upcoming concerts in Stockholm are expected to be a “real hit” for the city’s economy, according to a new report.

The superstar is due to play three Eras Tour concerts between 17–19 May at Friends Arena (cap. 50,000), marking her only stop in the Nordic countries.

According to calculations by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and Friends Arena, Swifties attending the concerts are expected to spend half a billion kroner (€43.6m).

“When the Friends arena is filled with visitors, it also means significant revenue for hotels, restaurants and shops. Taylor Swift’s visit is therefore a real hit for Stockholm’s economy,” says Carl Bergkvist, chief economist at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), in a press release.

“We have calculated what the visitors can spend on accommodation, food, SL [public transport] tickets and additional tourism, perhaps a guided tour of the old town. The concert tickets and trips to Stockholm are not included.”

“Taylor Swift’s visit is a real hit for Stockholm’s economy”

Of the 150,000 fans attending Swift’s Stockholm concerts, almost half will come from abroad, according to the SCC.

Fans from 132 countries, including USA, Finland and Australia, will attend the shows in Sweden’s capital city.

Swift and other A-list stars have also been credited with helping to rejuvenate tourism in Singapore after the country secured a much-debated exclusivity deal with the star.

At the end of last year, Swift’s planet-conquering Eras Tour officially became the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue.

Weeks later it was announced that the Eras Tour concert film also made history, becoming the highest-grossing concert/documentary film in box office history with more than US$261.6 million earned globally.

The blockbuster tour will resume in May with the European leg, which kicks off at LA Défense Arena in Paris.

In the meantime, Swift’s next album, The Tortured Poets Department, is due out on 19 April.

 


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ASM Global continues Nordics expansion

Venue management giant ASM Global has announced three new appointments as it continues its expansion in the Nordics.

Tobias Ekman has joined the company as general manager for four arenas in the Stockholm Globe District, including the 15,000-cap Avicii Arena and 30,000-cap Tele2 Arena, and Michael Yngvesson is named GM of the 50,000-cap Friends Arena in Stockholm, while David Laturnus comes on board in the newly-created role of F&B director Nordics.

Ekman and Yngvesson start with ASM in January 2024, with Laturnus taking up his position in April.

“I’m delighted to welcome three such highly-experienced and widely-respected industry leaders to the ASM Global team as we enter a period of business growth in the Nordic region,” says Marie Lindqvist, ASM’s SVP operations Europe. “This is an important market for us, and since expanding further into Finland just this year, it’s an exciting time with a series of major projects in the pipeline including the redevelopment of Avicii Arena and Annexet, new naming rights partners, our move to bring F&B in house, the development of new content and of course along the way, further elevating the fan experience.”

Ekman, who is currently CEO of artist and promoter agency Jubel, will oversee the Avicii Arena through its full-year closure in 2024, during which it will undergo a complete renovation, set for reopening in January 2025. He has previously served in senior commercial roles for Live Nation in Sweden and the US.

ASM Global currently operates eight arenas, stadium and theatres in Sweden and Finland

As well as serving as GM of Sweden’s national stadium, the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Yngvesson will also continue as operations director for ASM in the Nordics. Yngvesson joined the firm around a year ago, and has held a number of senior positions in sales and operations across multiple industries. Concerts lined up at the venue in 2024 include Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and Melodifestivalen.

Elsewhere, Laturnus, who has been brought in as F&B director Nordics, has worked in most of Stockholm’s arenas and stadiums, most recently as MD of F&B operator Five Moments. He will be tasked with overseeing all aspects of F&B operations in the region.

ASM Global currently operates eight arenas, stadium and theatres in Sweden and Finland, and further expansion in the region is anticipated. The entered Finland this year as part of its development in the Nordics to take on operations at the Kulttuuritalo, as well as exploring the future development of the Hanasaari power plant area, Hanasaaren Voimala, in Finland.

Last week, premium experiences specialist Legends confirmed its long-rumoured acquisition of ASM, subject to regulatory approval.

 


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Sweden’s Friends Arena marks first decade

Friends’ Arena’s Andreas Sand has spoken to IQ about the venue’s transformative impact on the Stockholm music scene as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

Sweden’s national stadium has attracted global megastars such as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, the Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Eminem, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga to the country since its launch a decade ago.

“It makes you nostalgic to think back over those 10 years,” says Sand, CEO Stockholm Live, ASM Global Sweden. “On one hand, it feels like ages ago since some of those events, milestones and fantastic moments in the venue and on the other hand, it feels like yesterday. It’s almost like when you celebrate your kids’ birthdays: you’re being nostalgic and you reflect on the past, and you’re also thinking about the years to come.

“Stockholm, to this day, doesn’t have another stadium with this type of capacity. We now also have Tele2 Arena, which is a stadium with lower capacity, but the big stadium tours wouldn’t have played in Stockholm if it wasn’t for a venue like Friends Arena.”

“This is a strong music market and the appetite for live entertainment here is huge”

Earlier this week, ASM Global announced the city’s Kägelbanan venue will be reopening under the operation of Stockholm Live after a three-year closure, further boosting the Swedish capital’s live music network.

“Stockholm is one of the music capitals of the world. It has venues that start at 200 capacity going up close to 60,000 capacity,” says Sand. “We are starting to see more local acts play bigger and bigger venues, and that has probably been helped by the pandemic. It used to be only the top international content that could sell out the big venues, but we have started to see that change and that would be a fantastic addition to our possible headliners.

“This is a strong music market and the appetite for live entertainment here is huge. We’re much more than a summer festival stop; we have really good venues of different sizes – with Friends Arena being the jewel in the crown.”

Homegrown heroes including Agnes Carlsson, The Hives, Icona Pop, Loreen, First Aid Kit and Roxette performed during the stadium’s opening ceremony in October 2012, with Swedish House Mafia playing three sold-out gig the following month. However, arguably the most memorable show was the Avicii Tribute Concert on 5 December 2019, which featured the likes of David Guetta, Kygo and Rita Ora and drew the venue’s record attendance of 58,163.

“The stadium has a retractable roof, which means we can use it 365 days a year”

“It was a special night and to this day it’s probably my favourite moment in the venue and maybe going to a concert overall,” reflects Sand. “The atmosphere was spectacular. You felt this love: there was definitely joy and happiness – people were dancing and celebrating Avicii – but of course there were a lot of tears as well, so emotions were at a maximum.”

Friends Arena, which is the home ground of football club AIK and the Swedish men’s national team, has concerts confirmed for 2023 by Ozzy Osbourne (5 May), Depeche Mode (23 May) and Celine Dion (30 September), while it also hosts the final of the annual Melodifestivalen song contest, which determines Sweden’s Eurovision representative.

“The stadium has a retractable roof, which means we can use it 365 days a year,” explains Sand. “That is the only way to have such a stadium in a country like Sweden where we’re so far up north that it’s tough up here with the weather gods. If you want to build a modern world class venue like Friends Arena, you need to be able to use it 12 months of the year and you can’t be that dependent on the weather.

“We are able to bring in and out events with quick turnarounds. It is a football stadium and we’re proud of that. But it is a football stadium that can be used for so much more. On average, 27% of our attendance comes by car. Some US venues hit the high 90%, so it is quite unique that people walk here or take a bike and so on.”

“I’d love to see festivals at the arena, using the main bowl, but also other areas that we have adjacent to the venue”

The venue has a sponsorship deal with banking group Swedbank, which donated the naming rights to Friends, a not-for-profit anti-bullying organisation.

“That is something that we’re proud of,” adds Sand. “We take our responsibility seriously to do what we can to make this society a better place. We see that the awareness of these types of matters have increased over these 10 years and that is an aspect of the venue that is part of our history and our legacy and it gives us a deeper sense of purpose.”

And switching his focus to the decade ahead, Sand feels the stadium is well placed to maintain its status, despite the many challenges facing the venue sector.

“There’s always some crisis that we need to fight and the energy one is a tough one,” he notes. “We’re in a fairly good spot with this stadium, as is Sweden overall, energy-wise. We’re not dependent on gas, as an example, and in the long run, this energy crisis too shall pass.

“Looking forward, we have this fantastic hybrid of sports and music in our venue. We want to continue to attract the big tours and complement that with some other types of shows and entertainment, like Monster Jam, which we have coming back to the venue in ’23. I’d love to see festivals at the arena, using the main bowl, but also other areas that we have adjacent to the venue. I think it would be a good spot to host a festival type of content. So we’re excited for the next 10 years.”

 


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Avicii tribute raises funds for mental health charity

Artists including David Guetta, Kygo, Rita Ora and Adam Lambert will participate in an Avicii tribute concert in the artist’s hometown of Stockholm, Sweden on 5 December.

The concert is taking place at the 50,000-seat Friends Arena and will feature music from Avicii’s (real name Tim Bergling) posthumously released album ‘Tim’, performed for the first time.

The event will feature 19 of the singers who appear on Avicii’s songs, performing alongside a 30-piece band. Sets from fellow DJs including Guetta, Kygo, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Nicky Romero will open the concert.

Proceeds from the Avicii Tribute Concert for Mental Health Awareness will go towards the Tim Bergling Foundation, a charity set up by Bergling’s family to raise money for mental health-related issues and suicide prevention.

“Tim had plans for his music to be performed together with a large live band, and now we are realising his dream and giving fans a chance to experience his music in this unique way”

Bergling died of an apparent suicide in 2018, at the age of 28. The DJ had retired from touring two years previously, stating he had “too little time left for the life of the real person behind the artist” to continue.

“Tim had plans for his music to be performed together with a large live band, and now we are realising his dream and giving fans a chance to experience his music in this unique way,” says the DJ’s father, Klas Bergling.

“We are grateful that his friends, producers, artists and colleagues are coming to Stockholm to help,” adds Bergling.

“They have all expressed a sincere interest and desire to engage in efforts to stem the tide of mental illness and lend their support to our work with the Tim Bergling Foundation. We are very much looking forward to this evening, which will be a starting point for the foundation’s work going forward.”

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. CET. More information can be found here.

 


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AEG to operate Sweden’s Friends Arena

AEG has entered into a multi-year agreement to manage the biggest stadium in the Nordics, Stockholm’s 75,000-capacity Friends Arena.

Located in Solna, in Stockholm county around five miles north of the city, Friends Arena is home to the Swedish national football team and All-Swedish league club AIK, and hosts a regular programme of concerts, family shows and other live events.

It is owned by Arenabolaget in Solna, a joint venture between the Swedish Football Association and property company Fabege.

“Friends Arena [is] an elite venue that complements our other facilities in the marketplace”

Friends Arena becomes the sixth AEG-operated venue in Stockholm, joining Tele2Arena (30,000-cap.), Söderstadion (13,000-cap.), Ericsson Globe (16,000-cap.), the Hovet (9,300-cap.) ice-hockey stadium and the Annexet (3,700-cap.) conference and events centre.

“We are honoured to support Friends Arena, an elite venue that complements our other facilities in the marketplace,” comments Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities. “Its location in a growing and vibrant office, residential and retail environment has created a unique, world-class destination.”

Arenabolaget i Solna board member Klaus Hansen adds: “In AEG, with its extensive international network and experience, we’ve found a partner with an excellent reputation with whom we can continue to develop the events experience at Friends Arena while positioning the Stockholm region internationally.”

 


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