CTS Eventim announces plans for new arena in Milan
German live entertainment giant CTS Eventim has announced plans to build a new multi-purpose arena in Milan, northern Italy.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, the 16,000-capacity MSG (Milano Santa Giulia) arena will be one of the largest in Italy and will also include an outdoor area of more than 10,000 square metres for open-air events.
Construction is due to begin in autumn 2022 and investment over the duration of the project will amount to around €180 million.
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 Oak View Group and Live Nation’s Santa Giulia Arena – which will also be utilised in the Olympics – as well as the 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).
“Our new arena in Milan will be a must-play for all major tours”
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.
Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim, says: “Our work as venue operators is one of the outstanding success stories of CTS Eventim. We are very much looking forward to this new project, which will enable us to bring our expertise in the management of top international venues and the live entertainment business to bear.
“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.”
CTS 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.
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Italy’s Barley Arts launches new music festival
Renowned Italian promoter Barley Arts has announced the first edition of a brand new festival centred on the idea of comfort.
The inaugural Comfort festival will take place between 3–4 September 2021 in Ferrara, northern Italy, at the Parco Urbano Bassani – an ancient hunting reserve surrounded by lakes and meadows.
The festival will comprise two stages: the Comfort stage, which will offer live music performances, and the Armonia (harmony) stage by Slow Music, which will host acoustic, literary and theatrical performances.
Comfort will invite around 4,000 attendees each day to enjoy the performances, either from the comfort of ‘the blanket area’ in front of the stage, a deckchair, table, or seat.
The line-up boasts more than 20 Italian and international acts including Lovesick Duo, Filo Graziani, The Cyborgs, Paolo Benvegnù, Matthew Lee quartet and Rinky Tinky Jazz Orchestra.
Barley Arts founder and Slow Music president Claudio Trotta – who has produced and promoted a plethora of concerts from international artists all over the world – says the idea has been years in the making.
“The ingredients are all there: the prestigious signature of Trotta, the unique area of Parco Bassani, many great acts”
Comfort festival is co-produced with Teatro Comunale di Ferrara (opera house) and sponsored by the municipality of Ferrara.
“Comfort festival is a great novelty this year and it will further enrich the large calendar of events during this summer of recovery,” says the mayor of Ferrara, Alan Fabbri.
“Parco Urbano is a new venue that will be animated by music of national and international artists, which the audience will listen to surrounded by greenery, in a large, evocative, equipped area. A unique place on which we are working to make it more usable and make it a setting for major events. We are happy to collaborate with Claudio Trotta, whose name and history are linked to international artists of the highest level.”
Council member Marco Gulinelli added: “Comfort festival has all the prerequisites to become one of the most qualifying events at a national level during this summer of recovery. The ingredients are all there: a prestigious signature like that of Claudio Trotta, the unique area of Parco Bassani, many great singers and bands on stage and a very wide offer that ranges from different musical genres to literature.”
Tickets for the festival are on sale on Ticketmaster, Ticketone and Vivaticket. A one-day ticket costs €25, a two-day pass costs €40.
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Italian industry rebukes gov over €222bn recovery
Italy’s live industry has admonished the government for failing to recognise ‘the cultural, economical and social importance’ of live music in its new recovery plan.
The ‘National Recovery and Resilience Plan’ (PNRR), totaling €222 billion, was presented to parliament on Monday (26 April) by president Mario Draghi.
Of the €222 bn, €6.7 bn has been allocated to culture with the aim to “increase the level of attractiveness of the country’s cultural and tourist system through the modernization of both tangible and intangible infrastructures”.
However, in the spending plan for culture, music venues (or theatres, as Italy prefers to call them) are only referenced once as part of a €300m bid to “promote eco-efficiency and the reduce energy consumption” in cultural venues.
Roberto De Luca, president of Live Nation Italy, told IQ: “I am very pleased about this PNRR but unfortunately, I do not find a single line regarding live music industry. This a terrible mistake as live music is a fundamental part of our culture, as well as an industry that has a huge economic impact on every territory where live music is happening.
“I do not find a single line regarding live music industry. This a terrible mistake as live music is a fundamental part of our culture”
“Live music has both direct and indirect effects. As an example, let’s look at what the FirenzeRocks festival means for Firenze. In 2019, it generated an economic impact of more than €40m as our audience spent between €300–500 per person on hotels, museums, restaurants and so on. Not just in Italy, summer live shows are happening in historic squares, castles, Roman and Greek amphitheaters, so I truly believe that is a driver for our own culture.”
Claudio Trotta, founder of Barley Arts and Slow Music, expressed similar disappointment to IQ: “I don’t see at all in this plan the recognition of the cultural, economical and social importance of live popular music and its industry. I don’t see any investment at all in new venues for music nor attention to professional training for the future generation.
“According to this plan, culture is important only if connected to the benefits that it creates for tourism and not for the citizens and the people. Culture is important by itself, not just when it’s used to draw tourism.
“On another note, I would love to see in this full plan a real and accurate attention to the biodynamic balance and not only some generic references to a digital, ecological and green transition.”
Vincenzo Spera, president of Italy’s live music association Assomusica, tells IQ he is particularly concerned about how the measures will affect the next generation.
“According to this plan, culture is important only if connected to the benefits that it creates for tourism”
“We currently do not know if and how the €6bn envisaged by the PNRR will be allocated to the live music sector. We are therefore very worried, especially because we believe that this could be a fundamental opportunity for socio-cultural aggregation at the European level.
“Obviously this does not concern, or should not only concern Italy, but all European countries, considering that music is the tool for the greatest socialisation and aggregation among young people. It is no coincidence that there is a measure called Next Generation. By continuing in this way, however, there is a risk that future generations will not derive any benefit from the envisaged measures but rather pay the price.
“We think that there is no better opportunity than this to realize some fundamental points which, especially following the pandemic, become particularly urgent: the first point [in the spending plan] concerns technological innovation, of which we are carriers and experimenters; the second point refers, instead, to the eco-sustainability of the live entertainment system and its ability to always attract new audiences to the territories, to discover new realities and to generate ‘green economy’, helping to enhance sites that are important from the point of view historical-architectural.
“The third point concerns the possibility of finally creating premises, structures and spaces of the future, conceived as they should be today, multifunctional, interactive and synergistic between the various genres of entertainment. The time has also come to create a physical and not just a virtual platform that can allow various European cultures to circulate in different countries.”
“The government propaganda is telling everyone that Italy is slowly getting back to a sort of normality but we still have restrictions”
Fabrizio Pompeo, Radar Concerti, tells IQ: “Yes, the headline of the news is great but going deeper into it, there is no such great news for the music business as nothing is coming directly to our industry. The €6bn is going to feed a very wide range of activities and not going to the music industry.
“The government propaganda is telling everyone that Italy is slowly getting back to a sort of normality but we still have restrictions which are making impossible arranging a concert. Not only the distancing procedures but we still have a curfew on from 10 pm to 5 am.”
As of Monday (26 April), eleven of the twenty Italian regions have been permitted to reopen music venues for capped and socially distanced concerts.
The eleven regions – including Lazio, Veneto, Piedmont, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna – have been dubbed ‘yellow’ under the country’s colour-coded system of coronavirus restrictions and are now allowed to partially reopen.
Venues in the yellow zone can now reopen at 50% capacity, with no more than 500 people inside and 1,000 people outside – all of whom must observe one-metre social distancing. The 10 pm–5 am curfew is still in place.
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Viagogo fined for breaking Italian anti-touting law
An Italian court has rejected an appeal by Viagogo against a €3.7 million fine for hosting listings for tickets sold in contravention of Italian law.
The judgment, handed down by the regional administrative court (TAR) of Lazio (Latium) on 2 April, upholds a 2020 ruling in favour of the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM), which brought legal action against the secondary ticketing site for listing tickets to 37 events at above face value between March and July 2019.
Ticket touting is effectively illegal in Italy under the country’s 2017 budget law, which states that tickets to entertainment events may only be sold by authorised retailers. Consumers are permitted to sell unwanted tickets only for a price equal to, or less than, their original face value.
The judges rejected Viagogo’s argument that it was acting merely as a “passive hosting provider” connecting resellers with potential buyers, which would exempt the resale platform from liability under Italian law. Instead, Viagogo was found to provide a range of services and promote and advertise tickets in a way that could not be considered to be carried out without any awareness or control on its part.
“The service provided by Viagogo […] does not have the characteristics of passive hosting,” the court concluded, “given that it clearly does not consist merely of the ‘storage of information’ but rather optimisation, advertising and promotion of the tickets on sale.”
“Uncapped secondary marketplaces … have long been shielding under the liability exemption offered by EU law”
“Nor has the appellant in any way substantiated the claim that such complex activities would be carried out by the platform in a completely automatic manner and without any awareness and/or possibility of control on its part,” adds the ruling.
Additionally, even if Viagogo had qualified as a ‘passive hosting provider’, it would still not have benefited from the liability exemption afforded by the law as it did not act quickly to remove or disable access to the listings once notified by authorities, according to the court.
The ruling follows similar decisions in both Italy (Mediaset v. Yahoo) and the European Court (L’Oréal v. eBay, Google v. Louis Vuitton) which have held websites responsible for the content ‘passively’ hosted on their platforms.
“Uncapped secondary marketplaces such as Viagogo have long been shielding under the liability exemption offered by EU law by claiming to have little to no knowledge of the activity taking place on their sites,” comments Sam Shemtob, director of the Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT).
“It is time that they’re held responsible for the illegal activity they promote and profit from, both in Italy and across Europe.”
Italy’s Color Sound sells stake to label Artist First
Long-running Italian booking agency Color Sound has sold what it describes as a “significant stake” in the company to Milan-based record label and music distributor Artist First.
Founded in 1989 by Antonio Colombi, Color Sound has represented a roster of high-profile Italian artists, with current acts including stars Ornella Vanoni, Le Vibrazioni, Patty Pravo, Roby Facchinetti and Riccardo Fogli.
The investment is the first by Artist First (A1) in the live music sector, and follows the recent purchase of digital agency Officine Orange and the launch of its own studio complex. The company has 50 employees in Milan and an office in London, and works with acts including Andrea Bocelli, Gazzelle and a number of international artists.
“When the chance came to make a significant investment … we jumped at the chance”
“Live music is the keystone of our industry and remains a hugely important part of how artists engage with audiences and vice versa,” comments Ferrante. “Although life has been extremely hard for this sector during the last year or so, we force a boom in live concerts in the near future and are confident this sector will bounce back stronger than ever.”
Ferrante continues: “Color Sound are one of the most revered live music booking agencies in Italy and when the chance [came] to make a significant investment into their business and bring them closer to the A1 family we jumped at the chance. It is important to us that we offer a full service to our clients, and this is another step towards being able to add even more value to our existing offering.”
ASM Global moves into Italy with new Cantù arena
Venue management and services company ASM Global has ‘planted the flag in Italy’ after signing on to co-manage operations, run the commercialisation, and oversee the development of a new entertainment and sports arena in Cantù.
The 6,000-seat arena, which will be complete in late 2023, will be the new home of professional basketball team Pallacanestro Cantù.
The two-tier facility will also provide structural flexibility to allow for other sports and events, including expos, fairs, conventions, and corporate gatherings.
“Today we plant the flag in Italy, a region with incredible growth potential,” says Ron Bension, president and CEO of ASM Global.
“We to making the new arena one of the most recognised facilities in the region”
“ASM brings to Cantù the decades of expertise and world-class service that have made ASM the premier venue service company it is today. We are looking forward to building on our success and making the new arena one of the most recognised facilities in the region.”
John Sharkey, Executive VP, Europe, ASM Global, says: “The Cantù arena is but another example of ASM’s ability to help turn a great idea into reality. We were introduced to this project last year and even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic we remained steadfast to get to today. I couldn’t be prouder of our team and our new Italian partners and I cannot wait to break ground.”
Financial services and real estate development firm Cantù Next will provide most of the project’s funding – though the cost of the arena has not been revealed – and the local municipal government is in support.
Italy’s music sector allotted €50m after ‘The Last Concert’
Italy’s music industry has been allocated €50 million by the government following ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?), a campaign which has been defined as ‘one of the largest webmobs’ the sector has seen.
The initiative, promoted by KeepOn Live, Arci and Assomusica in collaboration with Live DMA, launched on social media at the end of January when Italian venues posted images with the year of foundation and the year 2021 with a question mark to suggest that the crisis may force the permanent closure of these spaces sooner rather than later.
The culmination of the campaign involved 130 Italian venues livestreaming ‘silent’ performances from renowned artists including Lacuna Coil on 27 February, marking a full year since the first venues closed and stages fell silent.
Two days after the event, minister for culture Dario Franceschini announced that a new decree had been signed, allocating €50m for live clubs, concerts, authors, artists, performers and performers.
Fifteen million euros is dedicated to live clubs and other operators in the live music sector, €10m to concert organisers to compensate losses due to cancelled dates or missed dates, and €25m to authors, performers and performers for missed collections.
AssociaMusica, the Italian association of live event organisers and producers, says The Last Concert has given way to ‘a new phase of reflection and awareness’ about the future and sustainability of the sector.
Italian venues adopt ‘The Last Concert?’ campaign
Italy’s live music sector is preparing to host ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?), a campaign which was originally launched in Spain last year to highlight the increasingly uncertain future of music venues.
More than 130 Italian venues will live stream performances under the campaign banner on 27 February, a full year since the first venues closed and stages fell silent.
The initiative, promoted by KeepOn Live, Arci and Assomusica in collaboration with Live DMA, launched on social media at the end of last month when Italian venues posted images with the year of foundation and the year 2021 with a question mark to suggest that the crisis may force the permanent closure of these spaces sooner rather than later.
2014 – 2021
“When will the last concert be? Or maybe it has already been?” reads the statement from the campaign group.
“Live clubs and concert halls carry the weight of almost a year of closure on their shoulders. Currently, despite the enormous role that these spaces have in terms of the creation, promotion and dissemination of culture and their indisputable social value, it can be said that they have been almost ignored by the numerous decrees that have followed one another in recent months. Provisions have mentioned cinemas and theatres in terms of entertainment but have not devoted due attention to these realities which risk [music venues] disappearing.”
2007 – 2021
The campaign group has also highlighted urgent requirements to prevent the live sector from permanently closing including economic compensation “proportional to the level of impact that the sector has suffered in these 12 months and in the months to come” as well as institutional recognition equal to that of cinemas and theatres which would entitle it to subsidies and support measures.
‘The Last Concert?’ will be streamed for free at 9 pm CET on www.ultimoconcerto.it featuring performances from Lacuna Coil at Alcatraz in Milan, The Social State and Botanics from Locomotiv in Bologna, Marina Rei from Angelo Mai in Rome, Cosmo from Fabrique in Milan, Bobo Rondelli from Borderline in Pisa and more.
Italy’s Vivaticket allies with MyTicket Asia
Malaysia-based SeatAdvisor has partnered with Vivaticket, the Italian multinational ticketing and technology company, as Vivaticket’s exclusive reseller in south-east Asia.
SeatAdvisor, whose MyTicket Asia platform looks after ticketing for some of the region’s biggest events and venues, including Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit and Kuala Lumpur Sports City, becomes exclusive B2C resale partner to Bologna-based Vivaticket, whose ticketing and access-control products are used to sell over 650 million tickets annually across the world.
Dirk Sass, founder and CEO of MyTicket Asia, comments: “We are delighted to partner with Vivaticket as their exclusive reseller for the south-east Asia region. With our wide network and regional partners in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India, we will be able to bring first-class services and technology into stadiums throughout the region.
“We are also looking forward to building a bridge for Asian travellers to buy original tickets for venues and events managed by Vivaticket.
“This new collaboration will help us … to expand into an important market like the Asian one”
“Vivaticket is known to offer ticket services for many international artists, the largest soccer stadiums and competitions, as well as the reputable Disney California Adventure Park. This partnership open new avenues for both sides and further future discussions are on the way. Thank you to Luca and his team for the trust and faith to build the new future of Asia ticketing and stadium management.”
“Thanks to its ticketing system, Vivaticket already sells more than 651 million tickets per year in 50 countries, with over 2,700 installations, through responsive portals and mobile apps,” adds Luca Montebugnoli, executive chairman of Vivaticket. “This new collaboration with a partner of great value will help us to increase these numbers and to expand into an important market like the Asian one.”
Vivaticket, formerly Best Union, is one of three leading primary ticketing companies in Italy, along with Ticketmaster Italy and market leader TicketOne (CTS Eventim).
The company, which has offices in Italy, Spain, Australia, the UAE, the UK, France, the US and Singapore, was acquired by Bahrain-based Investcorp in September 2019.
Eventim’s TicketOne fined for anti-competitive behaviour
TicketOne, the market-leading primary ticket agency in Italy, has been fined €10 million by the Italian Competition Authority for alleged abuses of its dominant market position.
The latest judgment follows an investigation by the authority into TicketOne’s parent company, CTS Eventim, that first became public in 2019, when a handful of Italian promoters, led by Zed Entertainment’s Valeria Arzenton, alleged unfair competition on the part of Eventim-owned Friends and Partners (F&P).
Arzenton accused CTS Eventim/F&P of trying to strong-arm promoters and artists into ticketing contracts with TicketOne at the expense of non-Eventim operators – a claim strenuously denied by CTS Eventim, TicketOne, F&P and sister companies D’Alessandro e Galli, Vertigo and Vivo Concerti.
The verdict of the Competition Authority (known as the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM, in Italian), published today (19 January), appear to back up Arzenton’s claims, finding that the ‘CTS Eventim-TicketOne group’ has created a “complex, abusive strategy” which prevents competing ticket sellers from obtaining a “particularly high proportion” (“quota particolarmente elevata”) of tickets for live music events.
In doing so, the group violated EU competition law, in particular Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, according to AGCM.
The authority further found that Eventim particularly sought to exclude TicketOne rival Ticketmaster, a relatively new entrant in Italy (and a non-exclusive ticketing partner of Arzenton’s Zed Entertainment), from the “relevant market”.
By preventing other ticket sellers from obtaining significant ticket inventory for shows organised by F&P, D’Alessandro e Galli, Vertigo and Vivo Concerti, all of which it acquired in a less than eight-month period in 2017–18, Eventim additionally caused harm to consumers, says AGCM, by limiting the choice of tickets available and allowing TicketOne to charge higher prices.
“CTS Eventim … are very confident that this illegal decision will also be overturned by the court”
In addition to the €10m fine, the authority has ordered CTS Eventim to grant TicketOne’s competitors a share of at least 20% of the tickets available for popular music shows organised by owned companies.
Arzenton welcomes the ruling as confirmation that “everything I was complaining about as true, in relation to the pressures and boycotts suffered” by Zed. “But now is the time to look ahead and work all together, as operators in this sector, to face the difficulties caused by this terrible pandemic,” she adds, “and be ready to start again in the name of culture and entertainment.”
In a statement provided to IQ, a CTS Eventim spokesperson refutes the ACGM ruling as being based on flawed data and says the company plans to appeal the verdict.
“TicketOne and CTS Eventim firmly reject AGCM’s claims that the group allegedly abused a dominant position,” they say. “On the basis of incorrect market definitions and in violation of essential procedural rules, the authority made a decision that should never have been made.
“Accordingly, TicketOne and CTS Eventim will appeal to the competent administrative court and are very confident, also with a view to the previous case law on decisions of the AGCM, that this illegal decision will also be overturned by the court.”