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Live Nation and OVG back Africa’s first arena

Africa’s first purpose-built arena is set to open in Lagos, Nigeria, at the end of next year.

The $100 million arena will have capacity for 12,000 and is projected to host 200 events each year, including concerts, family entertainment, basketball games, UFC fights, boxing matches, WWE shows and more.

The venue will be located on Victoria Island, an affluent area that serves as the main business and financial centre of Lagos.

The consortium delivering the project includes Live Nation, Oak View Group, Tayo Amusan (chairman of real estate company The Persianas Group), the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Yinka Folawiyo (chairman of the Yinka Folawiyo Group), Nigerian investment fund Adino Capital and MBO Capital. The conglomerate today held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site.

“Nigerian artists are some of the most influential in the world right now and yet they have nowhere to play in their home market,” says Oak View Group chairman and CEO, Tim Leiweke. “We want to change that. This consortium, headed by Tayo Amusan, has shown enormous tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit in getting this project off the ground and we are proud to be their partner. The arena will also give major brands – both global and local – the chance to showcase to Nigerian audiences for the first time at over 200 electrifying events per year.”

“Nigerian artists are some of the most influential in the world right now and yet they have nowhere to play in their home market”

John Reid, president of Live Nation EMEA, adds: “We are incredibly excited to be part of the consortium delivering this groundbreaking arena in Lagos. Nigeria and Africa more broadly present massive opportunities to touring artists when it comes to connecting with their global audiences. This brand new 12,000 capacity venue will open up Nigeria to international stars, and Nigerian artists will benefit hugely from having an arena to showcase their talents in front of a home audience.”

While Nigerian superstars such as Burna Boy, Davido and Wizkid continue to fill arenas and stadiums across the world, their home country lacks the venues needed to match their success.

Until now, artists have had to perform at hotel complexes such as Eko Convention Center (cap. 6,000) and Balmoral Convention Center (4,500) in Lagos, according to the Global Arena Guide 2023.

For larger concerts, temporary venues are built in outdoor spaces such as Muri Okunola Park on Victoria Island and Tafawa Balewa Square, a former horseracing track in the centre of the commercial district and the spot where Nigerians celebrated their independence in 1960.

The new Lagos arena will develop ancillary businesses around entertainment and sports and is expected to create over 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.

The first-of-its-kind venue will serve Nigeria’s young and rapidly growing population of over 220 million.

 


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Mexico to gain new 20,000-capacity arena in 2024

A new 20,000-capacity arena is due to open in Guadalajara next year, becoming Mexico’s second-largest arena.

Touted as the city’s first modern arena, Arena Guadalajara will host sports, live music, cultural and social events.

After pandemic-related delays, the arena is scheduled to open in September 2024 on the intersection between major roads, Av. Periférico and Calzada Independencia.

Designed by KMD Architects, the arena’s facade is “designed and imagined for the City of Guadalajara, inspired by its colourful landscape and local materials, such as the Huentitán Golden Quarry and the Tequilero Blue Agave”.

Zignia Live’s venue portfolio also includes Arena Ciudad de México and Arena Monterrey

The company behind the arena is Avalanz Zignia Live, a tour promoter and venue operator that is one of two major players in the Mexican live music business, according to the Global Arena Guide 2023.

Zignia Live’s venue portfolio also includes Arena Ciudad de México (cap. 22,300) and Arena Monterrey (17,599) – the country’s two busiest areas, according to the Global Arenas Guide 2023.

The former venue – Zignia Live’s flagship – last year celebrated its 10th anniversary, while the latter turned 20 this year.

Guadalajara, in the western state of Jalisco, home of mariachi and ranchera music, is Mexico’s largest conurbation after Mexico City and Monterrey.

 


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Arena Kuwait off to a strong start

Tamdeen Group are striving to put Kuwait on the international touring circuit with the opening of the region’s biggest indoor arena.

As reported in IQ Magazine‘s Global Arena Guide 2022, the arrival of Arena Kuwait (cap. 5,000) in March 2022 addresses the previous lack of large venues.

Since its opening, the arena has held a significant number of sold-out concerts by A-list Arabic artists, including Abdul Majeed Abdullah, Mohammed Abdu, Aseel Abu Bakr, Fahad Al Kubaisi, Angham, Mutref Al-Mutref, and others.

Alongside live music, the multipurpose all-seater arena offers flexibility to host sports, corporate events, exhibitions and conferences.

“The arena has a number of unique selling points, which make it an exciting new venue in the expanding regional touring calendar,” says Arena Kuwait general manager Ken Jamieson. “Kuwait has an event-hungry population, and the response to our first events has been outstanding and very satisfying for all concerned.

“The response to our first events has been outstanding and very satisfying for all concerned”

“Our location in the 360 Mall, Kuwait’s leading retail, leisure, entertainment, and sports destination, ensures the arena can offer unique marketing advantages and exposure as well as extensive support infrastructure.”

The arena has a number of key technical and operational advantages, including a 5,000-seater retractable seating system capable of a multitude of event set-ups, a 300-tonne rigging grid, 20m floor-to-ceiling clearance, extensive back-of-house infrastructure, and considerable F&B options.

“We have also developed our own ticketing solution, which allows promoters and organisers to easily connect with our extensive and ever-growing ticket-buyer community,” says Jamieson.

Arena Kuwait is one of 600+ arenas featured in the Global Arena Guide 2022, which is available to subscribers now.

The guide features over 250 interviews from arena professionals worldwide, as well as a comprehensive global directory. Subscribe now to read the full publication.

 


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Latam’s largest multipurpose arena opens

The largest multipurpose arena in Latin America opened earlier this month in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá.

The 24,000-capacity Coliseo Live (Colosseum Live) was inaugurated on 12 August with a concert by salsa superstar Marc Anthony.

Other artists slated to perform at the arena in 2022 include Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Daddy Yankee, Ana Gabriel and Ricardo Arjona.

Alongside concerts, the venue (formerly Arena Bogotá) will also host corporate, sports, gastronomic, family events and 360 events.

The previous incarnation of the arena was acquired in 2019 by Henry Cárdenas, president and executive director of US-based promoter Cárdenas Marketing Network (CNM).

Cárdenas also leads Cárdenas Entertainment and Marketing Group (CEMG), founded in 2018 to manage the Arena Bogotá/Coliseo Live project.

“I have dreamed of a scenario that would have nothing to envy of the great arenas that exist in first-world countries”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Colombia-born Cárdenas says he made a “multimillion-dollar investment” in the arena.

“For many years I have dreamed of a scenario that would have nothing to envy of the great arenas that exist in first-world countries, and that is what we bet on,” says Cárdenas.

“I am proud to say that Coliseo Live will surprise all its visitors, placing within their reach, among other things, more than 750 square meters of LED and circumferential screens used in games such as the NBA, a unique and safer ticketing system, suites and boxes of luxury with personalised food and beverage service, air handling units that reduce the probability of contagion of infectious diseases, among other innovations never seen before in Colombia.”

Located in the municipality of Cota, to the west of the capital city, Colieso Live occupies a million-square-foot (93,000m²) site on Calle 80 (80th Street).

The new arena is less than 15 kilometres from Colombia’s first-ever arena, the Movistar Arena (cap. 15,000), which hosts around 90 shows per year.

Read more about Bogotá, and Colombia’s burgeoning live music industry, in IQ Magazine‘s recent feature on Latin America.

 


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YTL Bristol Arena announces two senior hires

YTL Arena Bristol, a new 17,000-capacity arena in the southwest of England, has announced two senior appointments.

Une Marija Jurkstaite joins the YTL team as head of experience, tasked with growing the arena’s fan database and ensuring each event sells to its targeted full capacity. She will drive the digital user experience across ticketing, food and drink ordering, travel and loyalty programmes.

Jurkstaite joins YTL from her previous role as chief business officer for Žalgiris Arena (cap. 20,000) in Lithuania where she developed a track record for driving fan growth and creating a ‘sell-out’ culture at the venue.

“I am very happy to be joining this world-class new venue,” says Jurkstaite. “I look forward to bringing my passion for customer experiences to ensure every touchpoint across the YTL Arena Bristol customer journey is exceptional.”

Matt Blackhouse will bring his 16+ years of experience in the live events industry to his role as senior events project manager at YTL Arena Bristol.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our operational team, welcoming two talented hires from the industry”

Blackhouse will look after the back of house facilities for all touring artists, promoters and event organisers as YTL Arena Bristol starts its countdown to construction and opening.

His previous roles include events coordinator St David’s Hall and senior events manager at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff.

Blackhouse has managed shows for artists including Elton John, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, The 1975 and many more.

“I am really excited to be joining the team that will deliver the South West’s first-ever purpose-built arena,” says Blackhouse. “I grew up in the region and know how much demand there will be from huge events wanting to come to Bristol, and I can’t wait to get started in helping make this a must-play venue for acts.”

Andrew Billingham, CEO of YTL Arena Bristol, added: “We are thrilled to be expanding our operational team, welcoming two talented hires from the industry. Une and Matt bring a wealth of experience in delivering thousands of live events and will help us enormously. Whilst finalising design and construction elements, we are also looking ahead to doors opening and building our operating team to deliver one of the best arena fan and artist experiences in the UK and across Europe.”

A rival arena, operated by Live Nation and Oak View Group (OVG), is set to open in Cardiff, Wales, in 2025.

 


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Live Nation, OVG, GL events to build new Sao Paulo arena

Live Nation, Oak View Group and GL events are partnering on the development of a brand new 20,000-capacity arena in São Paulo, Brazil.

The state-of-the-art Arena São Paulo, expected to open in 2024, will host live events such as concerts, sports games, family entertainment and more.

The arena will be located within São Paulo’s premier entertainment destination, the Anhembi District, which is well-known for hosting the Carnival parade, among other events.

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the re-development of the whole Anhembi District which will also include a cultural boulevard, an exhibition centre, and São Paulo’s first next-generation, international convention centre.

Live Nation and Oak View Group will be the operators of the facility and will oversee event bookings

In addition to developing the venue, Live Nation and Oak View Group will be the operators of the facility and will oversee event bookings.

Live Nation already has a major presence in Brazil, hosting major festivals such as Lollapalooza and Rock in Rio, while also promoting local and international tours.

São Paulo is the fourth-largest city in the world and the wealthiest economy in Latin America.

“As the leader in live, we’re excited to be expanding our footprint in Latin America by creating a world-class arena in São Paulo. This new venue will add to our portfolio of 200+ venues worldwide and we are proud to contribute to the growth of São Paulo as a live music hub and international touring destination,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment.

“We are going to build the best arena in Latin America”

Tim Leiweke, CEO of OVG, commented: “We’re honoured to include São Paulo in our global portfolio of entertainment destinations and look forward to working with GL events and Live Nation Entertainment to transform Anhembi District into the largest entertainment destination in Latin America.”

Olivier Ginon, founder and chairman of GL events, says: “GL events is a leading global player and Brazil’s largest operator in the events sector.

“We are excited to partner with OVG and Live Nation Entertainment, two global entertainment leaders to invest in Arena São Paulo. Entertainment is a major component of Anhembi District. We look forward to capturing synergies between Arena São Paulo and our network of venues, including Rio de Janeiro’s Jeunesse Arena.”

Mayor of São Paulo, Ricardo Nunes, adds: “Today is a historic day for our city because we are starting the implementation of the Arena São Paulo, a project led by the three best companies in the world in their industry. We are going to build the best arena in Latin America. It will be a major achievement for the city of São Paulo and for the world.”

 


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New South Wales set to gain two new arenas

The Australian state of New South Wales is set to gain two multi-million-dollar arenas that will host “some of the biggest local and international acts touring in the country”.

The newly formed Cedar Mill Group today announced that it has acquired a 105-acre site in the Hunter Valley wine country, New South Wales (NSW), where it will build a purpose-built 22,000-capacity outdoor amphitheatre.

The venue, dubbed Cedar Mill Hunter Valley, is expected to open in 2023 at a cost of AUS$107 million.

Cedar Mill Group also recently announced a 30,000-capacity concert venue for Lake Macquarie in NSW as part of a AUS$235m redevelopment of Morisset Golf Course.

The group and its parent company, New South Wales-based property developer Winarch Capital, say they are on the lookout for more Cedar Mill sites in Australia.

“Cedar Mill Hunter Valley and Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie are purpose-built, the first in Australia on this scale.”

“Cedar Mill Hunter Valley and Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie are purpose-built, the first in Australia on this scale,” says Cedar Mill Group general manager Kyle McKendry.

“Our aim is to provide an unparalleled visitor experience in the heart of the region, offering a gateway for tourists to connect with everything that makes the Hunter Valley a world-class visitor destination and event hub.”

Alongside the amphitheatre, there are plans for Cedar Mill Hunter Valley to house a 100-bed hotel, specialist food and beverage, a wine museum and multiple cellar doors. Development plans for Cedar Mill Hunter Valley will be lodged in the coming months.

News of the new venues comes after the group last month bought one of the county’s leading event management, logistics and production planning companies, Humm.

Cedar Mill Group says the recent purchases are part of its plan to “reinvigorate Australia’s live music and events industry as it recovers from the global pandemic”.

 


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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.

 


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New Toronto arena to double as ‘global hub for esports’

Global esports and entertainment organisation OverActive Media is set to build a multipurpose 7,000-seater arena in Exhibition Place, Toronto, projected to be complete in 2025.

According to the company, the venue will host 200+ events a year, driven primarily by music and entertainment bookings, while also serving corporate events, award shows and ‘a full slate of esports events increasing over time’.

OverActive Media is the owner of four major global esport franchises, including Toronto’s two professional teams – Toronto Ultra of the Call of Duty League and Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League.

“We are already in active discussions to attract some of the biggest esport events in the world”

The venue will be home for both teams and the company hopes to establish the Toronto arena as a “global hub for major international esport events”.

The arena, designed by Populous, is just one aspect of the privately financed $500 million project, which includes a theatre-style entertainment venue and hotel complex.

“Today is another important step in the evolution of OverActive Media. We are building a world-leading, 21st-century sports, media and entertainment company and this best-in-class performance venue will be the chosen home for a new generation of fans that think differently about their entertainment choices and experiences,” says Chris Overholt, president and CEO at OverActive.

“It has always been our intention to develop a venue and hosting strategy and to build a facility that could not only serve as an iconic home for our two franchises, but ultimately emerge as a global hub for major international esport events. We are already in active discussions to attract some of the biggest esport events in the world. This venue will redefine Toronto’s event hosting opportunities in every way,” added Overholt.

The arena will be the first new sports or entertainment venue built in Toronto since 2007 when the city opened BMO Field, a 40,000-capacity outdoor stadium at Exhibition Place.

 


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Live Nation selected for new Cardiff arena

Live Nation has been identified as the preferred bidder to manage a new 15,000-capacity indoor arena in Cardiff.

The new venue, which will become Live Nation’s second arena in the Welsh capital, will cost around £150 million to build and, it is hoped, attract more than 1m visitors and an estimated £100m into the local economy annually.

A Live Nation-led consortium – which also includes venue company Oak View Group (OVG) and property firm Robertson – was behind one of two offers to Cardiff Council, which was seeking a private-sector partner to “deliver a top-tier UK venue that that will enable events of all sizes to be hosted in the city.”

Live Nation also operates the 5,000-capacity Cardiff International Arena (formerly Motorpoint Arena Cardiff), as well as converted warehouse venue Titan Warehouse. OVG, meanwhile, is currently constructing a new arena, Co-op Live, in Manchester, England.

Russell Goodway, Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for investment and development, says: “The city’s strategy is to establish the Cardiff Arena as a top-tier UK arena and to make it the premier arena in the south-west region of England and Wales.”

“Our combined experience in the delivery and operation of facilities of this nature will result in a world-class facility”

A rival arena in Bristol, in south-west England, YTL Arena, is now expected to open in 2023, after years of delays. It was originally due to open in 2018, with SMG Europe (now ASM Global) managing, but is now under construction at a new site.

According to Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas, the council will commit less than 15% of the arena’s cost, with the remaining 85%+ of capital investment coming from the council’s private-sector partners.

In a joint statement, Live Nation, Oak View Group and Robertson say: “We are delighted to have been announced preferred bidder today to deliver the new Cardiff arena. We look forward to working in partnership with Cardiff Council to bring this ambitious vision to life over the next few years.

“Our combined experience in the delivery and operation of facilities of this nature will result in a world-class facility that will bring economic benefits to the entire region, both during its construction and for many years to come once it’s open. In 2021 we will embark on the next phase of the planning process, which will provide the wider community the opportunity to see our exciting proposals for the site.”

 


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