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Finland’s live events sector ‘on brink of collapse’

Up to 2,300 companies in Finland’s live sector expect to permanently close in the next six months if financial support isn’t quickly provided, according to a survey conducted last week by Event Industries Finland.

The association – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste – also found that almost 300 events are under immediate threat.

According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.

The study found these have received approximately €85m in financial support, which counts for around 4.5% of the estimated €1.9bn financial loss the sector suffered during 2020.

According to Event Industries Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus), the latest event closure in the industry, which lasted more than two months, and the lack of an exit strategy “threaten the realisation of several major events this year and the future of the entire industry in Finland”.

“We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large the damage is”

The association is now calling for a roadmap for Finland’s return to live music, as well as financial security for the event industry – namely a government-backed guarantee fund which would give organisers the ability to plan for the future.

“We understand that a timetable for lifting restrictions cannot be promised, but defining and publishing criteria is essential. The industry will not be able to function without a future perspective. We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large and long-lasting damage we will have to repair,” says Kati Kuusisto, director of Event Industry Association.

“Event guarantee services would strengthen the courage and ability of companies in our industry to plan for the future. The decision on support must be obtained quickly and effective support must take into account the entire business network in the sector. Several European countries have already announced similar subsidies.

“Audiences are also waiting for the return of events, and the return of tickets already sold for events carried over from last summer to this year has been very low. The state should strengthen the possibilities for starting the event industry for several reasons,” Kuusisto emphasises.

Governments in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have recently announced event cancellation funds.

Government-backed insurance funds will be explored at ILMC during Insurance: The Big Update.

 


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60% of Finnish businesses facing bankruptcy

More than 60% of Finland’s live events companies do not expect to survive the next six months, new research reveals.

A survey conducted in October by the recently launched Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste –  found that over 70% of businesses still have next to no work and nearly two thirds believe they will not survive until summer 2021.

“The companies in our sector are in an unprecedentedly difficult situation,” explains Kati Kuusisto, director of advocacy for the Event Industry Association.

“The constantly changing situation and recommendations weaken our customers’ confidence and willingness to buy [tickets], while compliance with the applicable restrictions increases the cost of organising events,” she adds.

According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.

Kuusisto says the industry needs an “exit strategy” in the form of urgent financial support and increased cooperation with the authorities, as well as a campaign that reassure Finns they may return to shows safely.

“We need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK”

“Adequate financial support must be a priority, so that the damage to the ecosystem, which is vital to our sector’s activities, does not become permanent,” she continues. “Immediately thereafter, cooperation between [the industry], authorities and the government ministries should ensure that the [coronavirus] constraints and recommendations for events are at an appropriate level.

“All means available implement safe events, such as functional rapid testing, must also be widely deployed. At the same time, we need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK.”

In an open letter to the press written in late September, the Tapahtumateollisuus criticised media outlets for fuelling fears about Covid-19 by inaccurately pointing to major events as the source of an increase in infections in Finland.

“During the coronavirus epidemic, professional event organisers have made investments and taken comprehensive measures to make it possible to stage events safely,” the association said. “The loss of customers, and even entire events, caused by incorrect news coverage are already deepening the losses of companies in the sector and threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.”

 


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Tampere Deck signs naming-rights deal ahead of 2021 open

Finnish technology company Uros has acquired the naming rights of the under-construction Tampere Deck Arena, which is scheduled to open in 2021.

Under the ten-year deal, the 15,000-capacity arena in the Finnish city of Tampere will be known as the Uros Live arena.

The arena, which already has a ten-year ticketing deal with CTS Eventim-owned Lippupiste, will host 1 million visitors annually, and host a combination of musical and sporting events.

The venue will serve as the home rink of Tampere-based ice hockey teams Tappara and Ilves and as the main venue for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s 2022 world championship.

“The best partners are those who can add value to our visitors. In addition to the naming-rights deal, we are looking forward to working with Uros on a digital platform that will bring together all the services related to the arena experience,” says the arena’s chief executive, Marko Hurme.

“We are working with Uros on a digital platform that will bring together all the services related to the arena experience”

“There is demand for a versatile arena in our modern world; a world in which people are choosing experiences and services over possessions. Through the value created by teaming up with Uros, our arena partners will be able to build a more intense and deeply-rooted connection with arena visitors, and bring fan engagement to a new level.”

“With this announcement we are excited to share the news of our branching out into the digital experience space, an extension of our commitment to strategically develop smart city solutions,” adds Uros Group CEO Jerry Raatikainen.

Officials behind the arena maintained in February that the project remains on track after construction company SRV significantly reduced its stake in the venture.

SRV has said it will sell three quarters of its stake in Uros Live to other investor partners in the project, namely OP, Ilmarinen and Lähi-Tapiola.

 


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Lippupiste partners with Helsinki Olympic Stadium

CTS Eventim-owned Lippupiste has signed a five-year ticketing and marketing agreement with Finland’s largest venue, the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

The deal makes Lippupiste one of the main partners of the 36,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, which is due to re-open later this year following renovation works.

“We are in the process of creating a new type of event culture in Finland in which consumers come not only to attend a concert or watch a game but to enjoy a comprehensive experience,” says Lippupiste MD Ari Palhamo.

“The renovated Olympic Stadium will be a place for meetings throughout the year, and we are extremely glad about this cooperation. Together, we will have many opportunities to serve the public and offer new types of experiences.”

“We are in the process of creating a new type of event culture in Finland”

Ari Kuokkanen, MD of the Olympic Stadium adds that Lippupiste is “playing an important role as a service provider and partner for the new era” of the stadium.

Speaking to IQ for the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, Lippupiste sales director Mari Hatakka commented on the potential in Finland for offering full-service partnerships to venues, due to “diminishing funds in the public cultural sector”.

Lippupiste is the leading ticketing provider in Finland, followed by Ticketmaster Finland and local brand Tiketti, selling around 18,000 tickets per year.

Last year, the company signed a ten-year ticketing rights deal with the 13,500-seat Tampere Deck Arena, due to be completed in late 2021. Fellow Helsinki venues Hartwall Arena (15,500-cap.) and the future Garden Helsinki (16,000-cap.) are serviced by Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster Finland.

 


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Ticketmaster partners with Garden Helsinki arena

Ticketmaster Finland has announced an exclusive partnership with events arena Garden Helsinki.

Currently under city planning, Garden Helsinki will be completed in stages from 2020 to 2023. The arena will host sporting, music and cultural events, with a capacity of 16,000 seats and 120 boxes.

The partnership sees Ticketmaster become the official ticketing partner of the arena. In addition to providing ticketing services, the company will offer other services including creative marketing and access to ticketing technology.

“The live experience no longer begins when the fans sit down in their seats but from the moment they purchase their ticket,” says Timo Everi, chairman of the Garden Helsinki board. “With their market leading position in Finland and internationally, Ticketmaster is easily the best partner to fulfil our ambitions and help us to grow our business.”

Ticketmaster Finland managing director Jakob Lund says his team is “honoured to be a part of the Garden Helsinki project.”

“The live experience no longer begins when the fans sit down in their seats but from the moment they purchase their ticket”

“We have the world-class technology and experience required for a venue of this stature, and the marketing reach needed to fill it,” comments Lund. “With the live industry booming like never before, this is truly an exciting time for fans, clients and our team alike.

In 2016, the 15,500-capacity Hartwall arena in Helsinki – Finland’s largest venue – partnered with Ticketmaster Finland, ending a previous deal with CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018 (ITY), Lippupiste had 53% of the market in 2016 prior to the Hartwell-Ticketmaster partnership, as opposed to Ticketmaster Finland’s 36%.

Lippupiste sales director of culture and live entertainment, Mari Hatakka, told ITY that “the fight over future venues is going to be tough – these are pretty much must-win cases for ticketing operators.”

Other future venues include Tampere Central Deck and Arena (11,000-cap.), which is set to open in 2021 and Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium (36,000-cap.), which will re-open later this year.

 


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