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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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VenueShield: ASM Global prepares for venue reopenings

ASM Global, the world’s biggest venue operator, has taken the first steps towards reopening its properties with a new series of hygiene protocols, dubbed ‘VenueShield’, to be put in place for when restrictions are eased after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic passes.

Described as a “comprehensive, best-in-class programme” which will provide “trusted protection” for visitors, VenueShield will be rolled out at more than 325 of ASM Global’s venues, which include leading entertainment arenas such as Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK; König-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany; the Globe in Stockholm; the SSE Arena in Wembley, London; Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai; and American Airlines Arena in Miami.

“At the very heart of this effort is our focus on making our employees, tenants and guests safe and comfortable in a welcoming environment,” comments Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global. “ASM’s unique and unmatched worldwide footprint of leading convention centres, arenas, stadia and theatres provides the input, data and resources to adapt to our guests’ needs and expectations while further enhancing the quality of their experience in our venues.”

VenueShield protocols will be tailored towards each venue, according to ASM, with a VenueShield taskforce responsible for implementing the new measures (in accordance with international healthcare guidelines from the US’s CDC, the UK’s NHS, Australia’s PHAA and the WHO, among others).

“At the very heart of this effort is our focus on making our employees, tenants and guests safe”

Among the measures being explored are the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), food safety measures, air quality control, surface cleaning, physical/social distancing, temperature checks, thermal cameras, hand sanitisers, reduced touch points, contactless transactions and daily monitoring systems.

Additionally, consultants have been hired to assist with “more technical aspects of the protocol”, adds the company, such as air purification, filtering and the maximisation of fresh-air exchange.

“We realise that each of our venues across the globe are economic engines for their respective communities, representing local tax revenues, travel revenues and jobs,” continues Newman. “We look forward to reopening these local and regional economic foundations, stimulating local economies and again delivering the entertainment experience that has defined us for decades.”

ASM Global, headquartered in Los Angeles, Manchester, Brisbane, Dubai and Sao Paulo, was formed last October by the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG.

The company’s rivals in the international large-venue space, including Live Nation and Oak View Group, are also believed to working on similar guidelines in anticipation of the lifting of lockdowns around the world.


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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: