Groundbreaking for CTS Eventim’s new Milan venue
A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for CTS Eventim’s 16,000-cap multi-purpose arena in Milan, Italy, which remains on track to be completed by the end of 2025.
Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala, and architect Sir David Chipperfield launched the above-ground construction phase on the €180 million Arena for Milan yesterday (28 November).
The project, designed by Sir David Chipperfield and the international design firm Arup, is being positioned to “strengthen Milan’s standing as a global centre of culture, entertainment, and sporting excellence”, while raising “the bar for live entertainment venues”.
“This groundbreaking ceremony marks the next step of an extraordinary journey for Italy’s live entertainment scene,” says Schulenberg. “We extend our sincere thanks to Mayor Sala for his support and dedication to this project. Together with David Chipperfield and Arup, we envision this new landmark as a cultural and sporting hub that will showcase Milan to the world.
“The new arena also aligns perfectly with our venue strategy. Our extensive expertise in managing venues of this caliber will ensure it integrates seamlessly into Milan’s cultural landscape and Eventim’s global live entertainment and ticketing network.”
The venue also promises to reflect Milan’s commitment to sustainability and a greener future via an “innovative design, energy-efficient systems, and responsible resource management”.
“We have worked closely with CTS Eventim and David Chipperfield to design a spectacular venue which has been conceived with ambitious energy efficiency and sustainability targets”
“We are really excited to celebrate this important milestone to launch the project toward its completion,” adds Arup project director Giammichele Melis. “We have worked closely with CTS Eventim and David Chipperfield to design a spectacular venue which has been conceived with ambitious energy efficiency and sustainability targets. Our current statutory site
supervision role gives us the opportunity to keep supporting CTS Eventim and the whole team to see this project through.”
Initially, the arena – part of the Milano Santa Giulia urban development project – will be used for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games after which CTS will continue to operate it.
The venue will compete with the existing 12,700-seat Mediolanum Forum in Assago, near Milan, which has served the city since 1990 and is one of two Italian members of the European Arena Association (EAA). An older open-air venue, the 10,000-capacity Arena Civica, which opened in 1807, is also capable of hosting concerts, as is the 80,000-cap. San Siro stadium.
Eventim’s venue portfolio also includes the Lanxess Arena (cap. 18,000) in Cologne, the KB Hallen (4,500) in Copenhagen, the Waldbühne (22,290) in Berlin and the Eventim Apollo (2,500) in London.
Tours by superstars including Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Coldplay helped drive Eventim to strong growth in the first nine months of 2023. Last week, the firm announced it had acquired Punto Ticket in Chile and Teleticket in Peru via its JV with Sony Music Latin Iberia.
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Italian live music events up 70% since 2019
The number of concerts held in Italy last year represented a 70% increase on 2019 figures, according to national trade body Assomusica.
Referencing Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE) data, the organisation said that more than 31,000 concerts took place in Italy in 2022 compared to 18,000 in the last pre-pandemic year.
Speaking during a panel at Milan Music Week, Assomusica president Carlo Parodi credited the rise of smaller performances, which take place mainly outside the large metropolitan centres, with boosting the total.
“This panel is the natural continuation of a social campaign by Assomusica on the impact and positive consequences that concerts and live shows have on the territories, especially in villages and small towns,” said Parodi, as per the Ticketing Business.
“These numbers demonstrate how live shows and contemporary Italian music satisfy the primary need for culture and sociality in the territories.”
Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori pointed out that 50 concerts had been held in the city over the past three summers as part of the NXT Station project, while the city has also funded the opening of a second venue, the Lazzaretto.
“We are happy to have become part of the large family of Italian entertainment”
Mantua Mayor Mattia Palazzi also discussed the rise of the Mantova Summer Festival in attracting tourists. The event has confirmed Greta Van Fleet and Diana Krall for 2024, with the city previously having hosted the likes of Sting, OneRepublic, Sigur Ros, Kasabian and Placebo.
Assomusica was founded in Florence in 1996. However, a raft of Italy’s leading promoters split from the organisation in June to join breakaway live music association Assoconcerti, which subsequently installed renowned artist manager and promoter Bruno Sconocchia as its first president. Sconocchia, who has worked with top Italian artists such as Fabrizio De André, Gino Paoli, Ornella Vanoni, Zucchero, Pooh and Lucio Dalla, previously led Assomusica from 2005-09.
Billboard Italia reported the group’s formation was sparked by the appointment of 30-year industry veteran Parodi as Assomusica president, which was supported by local promoters but caused friction with the larger organisations, who considered Sconocchia a better fit for the role due to Parodi’s independent background.
Parodi is founder of the Collegno’s Flowers Festival and the Hiroshima Mon Amour live music club. He became the sixth president of Assomusica, succeeding the late Vincenzo Spera, who passed away in a road accident earlier this year.
The presidential office of AGIS (Italian General Association of Entertainment) approved AssoConcerti’s membership earlier this month, reports iMusicFun.
“We are happy to have become part of the large family of Italian entertainment,” said Sconocchia. “The strength of AGIS lies precisely in its ability to bring together within it a plurality of realities that represent the entire Italian entertainment sector.”
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Italy’s Artist First launches promotions division
Italian music group Artist First has launched a new live music promotions division, called Artist First Live.
The new department will be headed by Alessandro Fabozzi, the founder of Milan-based artist management company 432 Srl and digital agency Officine Orange – both of which sold majority shareholdings to Artist First in recent years. Fabozzi will work alongside Artist First founder and CEO Claudio Ferrante.
Artists exclusively promoted in Italy by Artist First Live include Le Vibrazioni, Alfa, Francesco Gabbani, Zero Assoluto & Mace. The company has also announced a series of Italian arena dates by UK artist Blue, which will include performances in Rome, Milan, Bari and Padua, with 35,000 tickets sold in less than an hour on pre-sale.
Artist First’s move into live music promotions sees it make a significant leap towards becoming the first Italian music company with a 360-degree offering.
“We are going to be very selective about who we work with to ensure we can fully focus on their individual needs”
Claudio Ferrante, founder and CEO of Artist First, says: “We have launched Artist First Live to work with great artists, domestic and international, who want to perform to Italian audiences. This new division builds on the great work we are already doing in other areas of the industry and brings us closer to our aim of being the only Italian music company to offer an authentic 360-degree service to artists and rights holders.
“We are going to be very selective about who we work with to ensure we can fully focus on their individual needs and to offer a bespoke, transparent, collaborative service. Unlike some of the bigger promoters in Italy who have built their businesses purely on volume we are passionate about music and are approaching things in a much more artist-focused way.”
Founded in 2009, the Milan-based firm deals in distribution, record labels, brand divisions, digital marketing, artist management, talent booking, music publishing and merchandising.
The company works with numerous successful Italian artists alongside a number of high-profile international acts. It also distributes a wide range of labels and has its own roster that includes Gazzelle, Fulminacci, Alfa, Dardust and Zero Assoluto, and has significant shareholdings in a number of other music companies such as Color Sound.
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Kanye West comeback concert cancelled
Kanye West’s comeback concert in Italy has been cancelled before it was officially announced.
The US rapper was reportedly set to perform a secret show at the 100,000-cap RCF Arena, aka Campovolo, in Reggio Emilia, near Bologna, tomorrow (27 October), promoted by Milan-based Vivo Concerti.
It was rumoured the gig, which was originally planned for 20 October, would serve as the global premiere of West’s upcoming joint album with Ty Dolla $ign. Local prefect Maria Rita Cocciufa says the event was cancelled for “safety reasons”.
“We had no option but to cancel the event,” says Cocciufa. “These things take a lot of organising: you need to have a health plan, a traffic plan and some idea of how tickets are being sold and the number of people.
“You have to have all these things in place because you have to guarantee the safety and security of the people attending. As a city, we were ready, but we just hadn’t heard anything from the organisers so for safety reasons it had to be cancelled – the concert was due to take place Friday and on Monday we had still heard nothing.”
The Daily Mail reports that a set had been built on the site earlier this month, but was now being dismantled and a convoy of trucks was seen leaving the area.
“We did what we had to do, our part was ready for the 20th – from the parking lots, to the internal staff, to the area itself”
Davide Caiti, partner of arena owner C.Volo, suggests the 46-year-old’s American production team were to blame for the show not going ahead.
“We did what we had to do, our part was ready for the 20th – from the parking lots, to the internal staff, to the area itself,” Caiti tells Il Resto del Carlino.” We were also waiting for the official announcement to continue operations. [West’s team] can say that nothing was ever officially announced, but it’s a bit of hiding behind a finger, because the request had arrived.”
The planned concert had attracted anger from local groups given West’s past antisemitic comments and other controversies, which prompted Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to cut ties with the rapper last year. However, Caiti denies the threat of protests was a factor in the cancellation.
“Faced with an event of that magnitude and a business like that, production would certainly not have stopped due to four local controversies,” he says. “If they [cite] that, it will just be an excuse… Maybe next time, we’ll get some more guarantees.”
West made his first live appearance since the furore in Italy over the summer when he joined Travis Scott on stage at Rome’s 60,000-cap Circus Maximus to perform Scott’s Praise God and Can’t Tell Me Nothing in August.
The arena, which hosted Harry Styles in July, currently has four concerts scheduled for next year, including an already announced Rammstein show.
CTS Eventim appoints venues & real estate VP
CTS Eventim has appointed experienced manager, architect and project developer Arne Fritz to the newly created role of VP venues & real estate.
Fritz, who will report to Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, will take over some tasks from EVP Rainer Appel, who is planning to gradually move into a consulting role for the German-headquartered company next year.
As well as overseeing the construction of the firm’s €180 million multi-purpose Arena for Milan in Italy, alongside the business of the existing venues, Fritz will strategically develop CTS’ real estate portfolio to “sustainably strengthen its value chain”.
“I’m delighted that we’re welcoming another successful and dynamic leader into our team,” says Schulenberg. “Arne will contribute significantly to our future strategy, with which we aim to increasingly diversify our business areas while also offering our artists and business partners an even higher quality of international services from a single provider.”
“I’m grateful to Klaus and the entire team for putting their trust in me, and I’m delighted to be part of the Eventim family”
After graduating in architecture, Fritz spent eight years working in a firm specialising in architecture, project development and property sales in Münster, before moving to real estate consulting specialist Drees & Sommer.
Latterly serving as associate partner and head of sports and entertainment, Fritz worked on projects such as the reorganisation and construction of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Hamburg’s application for the Olympic Games, and numerous other projects for sporting venues, stadiums, and event venues.
“I’m grateful to Klaus and the entire team for putting their trust in me, and I’m delighted to be part of the Eventim family,” says Fritz. “With our existing and upcoming venues, we offer artists, promoters and fans the highest level of service and entertainment.”
TicketOne chief surveys the Italian market
Italy’s live music market has already grown by a third in value since the pandemic, according to the CEO of leading ticket platform TicketOne.
Stefano Lionetti has shared his observations to coincide with the publication of the latest edition of IQ‘s International Ticketing Report (formerly the International Ticketing Yearbook), which is now available in print, digitally, and on the dedicated year-round mini-site.
“Before the pandemic the concert market value was about half a billion euros, but this figure has been significantly exceeded by about 30% in 2022,” Lionetti tells IQ. “The same will happen in 2023.”
CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and is the country’s market leader. Lionetti suggests much of the growth in the live sector is being driven by homegrown acts.
“National artists are very popular with a strong hardcore fanbase,” he says. “International events decreased this year from more than 30% to about 25% of the total. Pop and rock are evergreen, but also local rappers are more than a temporary trend.”
While Lionetti notes that Covid-19 has accelerated the shift towards print at home and digital tickets, Eventim’s bespoke “FanTicket” collectables remain a popular alternative.
“TicketOne enjoys successful volumes on its FanSale reselling platform where fans who cannot attend a show can easily and quickly sell the tickets”
“Web plus mobile penetration is permanently between 80% and 90% of the total,” he says. “Print at home is the preferred choice so far, but mobile tickets are catching up as well. Hard tickets by post/courier remains popular in the ‘Fanticket’ version as a kind of souvenir.”
Earlier this year, Italy’s Communications Regulatory Authority AGCOM fined Viagogo more than €12 million for breaking the country’s laws on secondary ticketing. The Switzerland-headquartered platform has been sanctioned three other times in Italy since 2020 for breaking the law against ticket touting.
TicketOne previously criticised AGCOM for its lack of action against secondary sites, although Lionetti stresses that the firm’s own face value resale marketplace FanSale has been well-received.
“New legal resale platforms, introduced by law to prevent scalping, are more and more popular and appreciated,” he points out. “TicketOne enjoys successful volumes on its FanSale reselling platform where fans who cannot attend a show can easily and quickly sell the tickets and recoup their money, while fans who didn’t find tickets before, can buy a precious ticket for sold out event at the same price of the primary market in a 100% safe environment.”
Since it was first published in 2015, the International Ticketing Report has been the only global guide to the live entertainment ticketing market.
The eighth instalment features in-depth profiles of the top 40+ live entertainment markets around the world, as well as insights and information from the most important companies in each market.
Circus Maximus to continue as gig venue after row
Italy’s historic Circus Maximus is to be retained as a concert venue despite the row around last week’s Travis Scott’s gig.
The director of the nearby Colosseum called for an end to “mega concerts” at the ancient Rome site after the 60,000 fans jumping in unison at the rapper’s 7 August gig apparently sparked earthquake fears.
But according to Wanted in Rome, the city’s mayor Roberto Gualtieri and Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano have agreed the venue can continue to host concerts with the proviso that organisers face more stringent controls and sanctions. Each show will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Scott became the latest contemporary act to play the site, which is close to the Colosseum, following shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Imagine Dragons earlier this summer. The venue has hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Maneskin and David Gilmour in previous years.
Meanwhile, Alessandro Onorato, the city’s councillor for tourism and major events, has slammed the controversy over Scott’s performance as “surreal”. He adds that the venue generated €2.1 million from events last year, with each show bringing in around €350,000 to be used towards maintaining and protecting Rome’s archaeological sites.
“We welcome safety discussions, but there’s the risk that we’re discriminating against an entire generation”
Oronato also played down reports that 60 fans required medical attention following a suspected pepper spray attack during Scott’s show.
“The story is not as it was reported,” Onorato tells the Hollywood Reporter Roma. “It was three boys, I would say three criminals, who attempted to attack the cashier of the bar in the centre of the Circus Maximus, using pepper spray as a weapon. The theft was averted by security, but the three fled. And the cloud irritated the people nearby.”
No severe injuries were reported, although some people received assistance for minor eye and throat irritation.
“The police have opened an investigation, but as far as the concert and its management are concerned, there were no other problems or incidents,” says Onorato. “Zero medical incidents.”
He notes that an incident in which a 14-year-old was hospitalised after falling from a height, having allegedly attempted to elude security to enter the concert, happened far away from the venue.
“The only other major concert to receive strong criticism was that of Måneskin,” he adds. “We welcome safety discussions, but there’s the risk that we’re discriminating against an entire generation.”
Dozens fall ill during Travis Scott’s Rome concert
Dozens of fans required medical attention following a suspected pepper spray incident during a Travis Scott concert in Italy.
Police are investigating after around 60 people received treatment for eye and throat irritation at the rapper’s show at Rome’s 60,000-cap Circus Maximus on Monday (7 August).
Ansa sources indicate that the use of pepper spray by an audience member may have been to blame, while Euronews reports a 14-year-old was also hospitalised after falling from a height, having attempted to elude security to enter the venue.
The show, which saw the live premiere of Scott’s new album Utopia, came less than two weeks after the last minute cancellation of his scheduled concert in front of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The American star was joined by surprise guest Kanye West – making his first appearance since posting antisemitic slurs online last year – at the Rome gig to perform the latter’s songs Praise God and Can’t Tell Me Nothing.
“The Circus Maximus is a monument. It is not a stadium, not a concert hall. These mega rock concerts put it at risk”
Meanwhile, CNN reports that the director of Rome’s Colosseum has called for an end to concerts at Circus Maximus after the tens of thousands of fans jumping in unison at Scott’s gig sparked fears of an earthquake.
The 32-year-old became the latest act to play the ancient site, which is close to the Colosseum, following shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Imagine Dragons earlier this summer. The venue has hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Maneskin and David Gilmour in previous years.
“The Circus Maximus is a monument. It is not a stadium, not a concert hall,” Alfonsina Russo, director of the head of the Colosseum Archeological Park, tells Italian news service AGI. “These mega rock concerts put it at risk… Rock concerts should be held in stadiums so as not to endanger public safety.”
Roma Summer Fest reports record sales
An increase in the number international visitors has helped Italy’s Roma Summer Fest achieve record ticket sales at the midway point of the 2023 season.
Acts such as Sting, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Porcupine Tree, Bob Dylan, Pet Shop Boys, The Lumineers and OneRepublic have played this year’s festival, while Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi performed four dates.
Roma Summer Fest is held at Rome’s 3,000-cap Auditorium Parco della Musica Ennio Morricone from 6 June to 8 August.
Promoter Fondazione Musica per Roma (Music Foundation for Rome) says revenue has risen 28% year-on-year to more than €8.5 million from 153,000 ticket sales, while the average number of tickets sold per show is up 5% by 2,630 to 2,494. There will be 58 shows held this year compared to 52 last time around.
“These are excellent results, even more significant when considered in relation to the many large mass concerts at the Circus Maximus and in the stadiums, not only by Italian stars, but also by international ones, which last year were not so frequent,” says Daniele Pitteri, CEO of the Musica per Roma Foundation.
“Internationality is growing and evident not only in terms of artists but also in audiences”
The total attendance compares favourably with the 151,000 tickets sold at the same stage in 2022 and is on course to be up 18% by the end of the summer, with 20 concerts by acts such as Benjamin Clementine, Carmen Consoli & Elvis Costello and Paul Weller still to come.
“Internationality is growing and evident not only in terms of artists but also in audiences – an example is the figure of 35% of tickets for four Einaudi concerts sold abroad – and is accompanied by another change in spectators: the generational theme, with increasingly large audiences of young and very young people,” adds Pitteri.
The Italian capital has hosted a catalogue of huge open air concerts over the past few months including Bruce Springsteen + the E Street Band and Guns N’ Roses at Circus Maximus and Måneskin, Muse, Depeche Mode and three nights by Ultimo at the Olympic Stadium.
Pioneering Italian promoter Francesco Sanavio dies
Francesco Sanavio, a pioneering promoter in the Italian music business, has passed away at the age of 81.
Sanavio battled a series of bacterial infections before he died in his hometown of Venice on 10 July 2023.
The longtime ILMC member started promoting concerts in 1971 and brought many artists to Italy for the first time including Pink Floyd (1971), Deep Purple (1971), Jethro Tull (1971), YES (1971), Donna Summer (1978) and Kiss (1980).
Among his many sold-out tours were Europe in 1987, Ray Charles in 1985 and Neil Young in 1982. In his later years, he was a publisher.
Sanavio died two months after his beloved wife Mara. He is survived by two daughters, Vanessa and Jennifer, and two nephews. Jennifer started working with her dad Sanavio a decade ago and is now keeping his legacy alive at Sanavio.
“Francesco was one of the founding fathers of the contemporary touring business in Italy, known by pretty much everyone”
“Francesco was one of the founding fathers of the contemporary touring business in Italy, known by pretty much everyone,” says CAA’s Emma Banks. “The list of artists that he worked with is second to none. I am so sorry to hear of his passing but know that his legacy is in the safe hands of his daughter, Jennifer Sanavio.”
Georg Leitner, Georg Leitner Productions GmbH, paid tribute to his colleague of 30-plus years: “Francesco and I worked together on various artists such as James Brown, Kool & the Gang, Earth Wind & Fire experience by Al McKay and Sister Sledge. We both shared a passion for our business as well as our independence. When we saw each other at Midem, ILMC and other music business events – as well as on the road – we always had a good laugh.
“Francesco was also a pioneer – long before the days of 360-degree models he founded a publishing company together with his friend Tony, which gave him an additional stream of income aside from the live side. It was great to see how Francesco introduced his wonderful daughter Jennifer to the business and to me and I am happy to see that she continues his legacy. I am thankful for the many years of friendship and cooperation – and will always remember his joyful spirit.”
“He was such a spirited man with a great personality”
Iain Hill, Live Nation, added: “Francesco was a real old-school promoter in many ways, but he was more than that with his solid and very active and prosperous business as one of Italy’s major independent music publishers. This gave him contact with the artists and he also prospered as a producer and artist liaison for music across all the major TV programs and platforms in Italy.
“I worked with him in this capacity as manager of Matt Bianco, Sarah Jane Morris and Kym Mazelle and no small measure of the success that these artists enjoyed in Italy is down to him. It was always fun and he had a real warmth and generosity and a great sense of humour, the industry is a greyer place without him. Rest in peace Francesco.”
Pyramid Entertainment Group’s Sal Michaels paid tribute: “I have been doing business with Francesco for 40 years. He was such a spirited man with a great personality. He promoted with Pyramid Entertainment group all of my artists such as Kool & The Gang, Sister Sledge, Village People and many others. He always lived up to his word and did the best he could for each of my artists. It was an honour to work beside him all these years. He introduced me to his lovely daughter Jennifer many years ago. And we still conduct business together. She is a great representative of Francesco Sanavio. May he rest in peace.”
“He was one of the great characters of the live music industry. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone”
David Shepherd paid tribute: “He was one of the great characters of the live music industry. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone. You would spot him a mile off with his white hair and bright red jumpers! It was always a pleasure to spend time with him. His daughter Jennifer is already following in his footsteps, with huge shoes to fill she is doing an amazing job that will keep the Sanavio name alive. He will be sorely missed and my thoughts are with Jennifer and her family.”
Kevin Moss, Marshall Arts, told IQ: “I had the pleasure of working with Francesco Sanavio for many many years. What a professional he was. With many events over the decades including Limahl & Samantha Fox on well organised events, TV shows. It was great to know when I was sending my artists over to Italy that Francesco Sanavio would take a great quality of care from arrival to return. He had a special eye for details and enjoyed this business with a pleasant sense of humour.”
“One of the last characters in Italy”
CAA’s Shaz Qureshi adds: “Always a warm welcome, a big smile and a glint in your eye. I will miss the countless stories of your escapades and will never forget the support, trust and generosity you showed me when I was starting out as a young agent. You introduced me to a popular Italian TV network with extremely deep pockets so all my tours had a solid and reliable anchor and either started or finished with you! Thank you for the very fond memories Francesco and may your star forever shine brightly.
ITB’s Barry Dickins remembers: “The first Italian promoter I dealt with was Francesco Sanavio which I have to say was an experience. Santana played Milan and some of the audience threw tins of coke to the band. I told the manager to get them off stage which he did immediately. The young Francesco came running backstage and was screaming why the band had come off stage halfway through their set and I said I was concerned about the band’s safety, I then got Francesco as only he could say that the cans were empty, if they did not enjoy the band the cans would have been full. Francesco was mainly a publisher in his later years and he also booked private dates and fashion shows for Dolce and Gabanna. One of the last characters in Italy.”