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ASM Global adds to Swedish venue portfolio

ASM Global has taken over operations of two further venues in Stockholm.

The leading venue manager has signed a “long-term” lease with the properties’ owners, brothers Jakob and Mattias Johansson, to manage the Södra Teatern, a theatre venue with a capacity of up to 600, and Mosebacketerrassen, a rooftop terrace that can accomodate around 2,000 people.

Since 2008, the company (as AEG Facilities) has operated a number of venues in the Swedish capital, including the 15,000-capacity Avicii Arena (formerly the Ericsson Globe), 8,300-cap. Hovet and 3,400-cap. Annexet. In 2013, it added the new Tele2 Arena, a 45,000-cap. stadium in south Stockholm, and in 2017 took over Friends Arena (75,000-cap.) in Solna, in Stockholm County, north of the city centre.

“It feels fantastic to help elevate this classical venue’s continued development”

“It feels fantastic to now be a part of and help elevate this classical venue’s continued development,” says Andreas Sand, GM of Stockholm Live, ASM Global’s subsidiary in Sweden. “Södra Teatern is already a great venue which has evolved tremendously in recent years, both through careful renovation of the property but also modernisation of the business.”

“There’s really no better place in the city to see local artists like Albin Lee Meldau, Petter or Weeping Willows than on Mosebacketerrassen,” he adds.

Södra Teatern (pictured) was built in 1852 and is one of Sweden’s oldest active theatres. Until 2018, the theatre was owned by Riksteatern, a publicly funded theatre institution, after which it was sold to the Johansson brothers.


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Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe becomes Avicii Arena

Stockholm Live, the ASM Global-owned operator of Stockholm’s five major event venues, has announced the renaming of its 15,000-capacity Ericsson Globe arena to Avicii Arena in memory of the late DJ.

The company, along with local sponsors Trygg-Hansa and Bauhaus, has partnered with the Tim Bergling Foundation – set up by Bergling (Avicii)’s family in 2019 after the artist took his own life – to transform the Ericsson Globe into a “global symbol for mental illness prevention”, according to ASM Global.

“With our worldwide reach, ASM Global takes tremendous pride in not only presenting unparallelled entertainment experiences but also in playing a positive role in the lives of our millions of guests in countries throughout the world,” says the venue giant’s president and CEO, Ron Bension. “We’re honoured to participate in this collaboration to help prevent mental illness.”

The area, which opened in 1989, will become “a hub for sharing ideas and hosting activities with the focus on young people’s mental health,” comments Klas Bergling, the father of Tim. “It was a significant milestone in Tim’s career when he played here nine years ago, and he would be extremely proud that this iconic building from today will bear his name.”

“Being able to use one of Sweden’s most famous buildings … in the way we are now feels fantastic”

In celebration of the venue’s new name, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded a new interpretation of the Avicii song ‘For a Better Day’, sung by 14-year-old Ella Tiritiello from Kristianstadm.

“Being able to use one of Sweden’s most famous and visited buildings as a symbol and meeting place for one of the most important societal issues of our time in the way we now do together with our partners feels fantastic,” says Stockholm Live CEO Andreas Sand.

“When we hosted the Avicii tribute concert in December 2019 at Friends Arena we got the idea to create a place that could spread the same understanding and community that we had that evening, with a focus on making a difference.”

Other venues run by Stockholm Live include Tele2 Arena (40,000-cap.), Hovet (9,000-cap) and Annexet (3,400-cap.).


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New event formats emerge as Swedish cap. limit sticks

Jubel, an independent live events company in Sweden, has found novel ways to host shows during the coronavirus crisis, as a strict 50-person capacity limit looks set to stay in place for the near future.

Sweden has taken a different approach to many others in its handling the coronavirus pandemic, neither implementing a full lockdown or a blanket event ban. However, many promoters have reported similar struggles to elsewhere, as stringent capacity limits have been in force since mid-March.

Recent Midsummer celebrations, which centre around the summer solstice – this year on 20 June – were scaled back from the usual big group gatherings to more intimate events and livestreamed musical performances, dances, workshops and cooking tutorials.

Independent, Stockholm-based company Jubel is among those to have come up with a range of initiatives to keep live shows going while adhering to the restrictions.

Jubel is launching its Republic of Woodland event series this weekend, which combines live music with a weekend getaway. Tickets to Republic of Woodland, which is held in a secret location in the Stockholm archipelago, include accommodation, food, drink, live entertainment, outdoor activities and “surprises” over one night and two days. Tickets start from SEK3995 (€382) per person.

“Unlike other countries that are slowly easing their public gathering restrictions, in Sweden the policy remains strict”

The company is also running its own virtual music festival, Låt Live Leva, which started on 21 March. Streamed live via Twitch and YouTube, the Låt Live Leva performances take place in hotel lobbies. Fans can book rooms in the hotel to get closer to the action and order food and drink via room service.

Seven Låt Live Leva concerts have taken place so far, with seven more planned for the summer. The concert series has reached 250,000 unique viewers across digital platforms.

Jubel’s own livestreaming platform, Dramatix, developed in conjunction with Oakwood web agency, acts as a virtual venue for artists, enabling artists to set up ticketed events and sell merchandise.

“Unlike other countries that are slowly easing their public gathering restrictions, that has allowed them to try certain formats such as socially distanced shows and drive-in concerts, in Sweden the policy remains strict,” explains a Jubel spokesperson.

“As a company this has not discouraged us, we are seeing opportunities in the crisis and we have come with interesting formats that had not only prove to be successful but also set a precedent for the industry.”

Photo: Folkbildarn/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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All the world’s a stage: Ericsson Globe at 30

What began life 30 years ago as one of the most controversial buildings in Stockholm has now become woven into the fabric of the Swedish capital and a celebrated part of the city’s skyline.

The Ericsson Globe – known locally simply as “Globen” – took over two years to build. It opened its doors on 19 February 1989 and remains the largest hemispherical building in the world. Over the past three decades it has changed the live entertainment and sports environment not just in Stockholm but across Scandinavia. In that time, the venue has hosted over 3,300 events and seen 35 million customers through its doors.

Its construction at the time was desperately needed as there was no purpose-built multifunctional arena in the region until its arrival, with concerts and other family entertainment events having to make do in ice hockey arenas that dated back to the 1960s.

“There was an architectural competition to build the new arena and to make it a landmark of the city,” says Marie Lindqvist, the venue’s vice president and general manager. “It is a spherical building, and it was very controversial at the beginning but it has become a well-known and well-loved landmark in the city of Stockholm. The building was completely new and very modern. It was very different to what had been in the market before.”

Its impact was instant, putting Stockholm on the international touring plans for major acts and events, as it meant they could now play to audiences of up to 16,000 in a purpose-built arena.

“The Globe has been a major contributor to Stockholm growing on the international music and entertainment market”

“The Globe has been a major contributor to Stockholm growing on the international music and entertainment market,” says Lindqvist. “It has been an enabler for Stockholm to get big shows but also to host international championships in ice hockey, handball, figure skating, and many more sports. It has definitely been a driver in positioning Stockholm as an events city.”

What was state-of-the-art in 1989, however, can start to look and feel archaic in 2019. As such, the venue has been keenly aware of the need to constantly evolve, to ensure it doesn’t become as anachronistic as the hockey arenas it superseded.

Scandinavia has long been a leader in the adoption of online and mobile technologies, and it is only to be expected that this has impacted on live entertainment in the region before most other places in the world. The Globe has adapted to keep itself at the forefront of these developments.

Jenny Blomqvist, head of event sales at the venue, says that while laptop/PC sales of tickets are still 50% of the market there, mobile is where the focus is now. “We do see a big shift towards mobile payments,” she says, “[and] all development within ticketing is now focused on mobile.”

With this rise of online and mobile comes a concurrent growth in the importance of data, and this feeds into how the venue runs and helps it anticipate customer behaviour.

“Today, consumers expect great connectivity in any arena; it is one of the basic components of the live experience”

“Data lets us know more about the fans and, thereby, creates a better customer journey [in terms of] what they want and how to communicate with them,” says Blomqvist. “It’s also more important with today’s technology and data to explain more about your exact position in the venue, the view from your seat, and also about possible upgrades or add-ons.”

Data, ultimately, should be used to enhance the customer experience. “With more information about visitors and sales, together with the promoter we can create a better event when it comes to getting the perfect seating plan for each show,” she says.

Alongside the customer-facing benefits of this rich data there are also business-facing upsides. “Promoters expect fast feedback on booking availabilities, so the organisation needs to quickly process information in order to find out what can be accommodated, both from a calendar and an operational perspective,” explains Blomqvist. “I would say that the organisation has sharpened its working processes and our know-how to better face up to the ever-increasing demand for arena availability.”

Given that Ericsson has been the venue’s naming partner for the past decade, mobile technologies have long been front and centre here. “Today, consumers expect great connectivity in any arena; it is one of the basic components of the live experience,” says Gil Murphy, the Globe’s head of event technology. “Most of the new ways of operating a venue depend on the connectivity in the arena with the POS systems, ticket scanning, wayfinding, and so on. Also, from an operating perspective, great connectivity is essential.”

Staying on top of the rapidly evolving digital world is a priority for the venue. “When Ericsson Globe hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, the Wi-Fi in the arena was upgraded to a newer standard, delivered by Ericsson, and is today a network that can handle most challenges,” adds Murphy.

“Technological developments have equated to greater demand from artists as well as [raise] expectations from visitors. The arena has had to gradually evolve to meet expectations”

The next technological leap will be 5G mobile connectivity, and venues will have to move in lockstep with these telco developments. “One thing I believe is, for sure, connectivity will continue to increase, as well as new ways to interact digitally with arena visitors,” says Murphy.

Tied into this is the development of the venue’s own smartphone app, which will launch later this year for the Globe and the company’s other four arenas in the city (Friends Arena, Tele2 Arena, Annexet and Hovet).

“The goal with the new app is to smooth the consumer journey and simplify your own interaction with the event you are going to,” explains Daniel Stålbo, director of comms at the Globe. “[The app] is where you will receive your ticket to your event [and it] is also where you will get all the information about your upcoming event; tips about how to best get to the arena; where to stay; how to order and pay for your food and drinks; how to get upgrades, and so on. It also provides a new foundation for interaction with live events in ways that promoters and partners define – such as voting, quizzes, seeing playlists, and more.”

New technologies are also shaping the creative potential of the venue, allowing the touring acts and productions to do things that were inconceivable even a decade ago.

“Technological developments have equated to greater demand from artists to incorporate [new] show techniques as well as [raise] expectations from visitors for a multimedia experience that can be shared online,” is how Blomqvist puts it. “The arena has had to gradually evolve to meet expectations. For instance, we are constantly working on how to improve rig capacity, as well as creating solutions for data capacity in line with visitors’ expectations.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of the European Arena Yearbook 2019, or subscribe to the magazine here

He’s back: Asap Rocky to play one-off Sweden show

Three months after being handed a suspended sentence for his part in the violent assault of a 19-year-old Stockholm man, Asap Rocky is already plotting his return to Sweden.

The American rapper was given a two-year suspended prison term and US$1,300 fine in August, after having spent almost a month in Swedish custody. Rocky was convicted by a Swedish judge of causing the victim “pain and suffering” in the attack, though his pre-trial detention was roundly condemned by the global hip-hop community, as well as US president Donald Trump.

The artist, real name Rakin Mayers, will perform at the 16,000-cap. Ericsson Globe in Stockholm on 11 December, in a one-off headline show promoted by Live Nation Sweden.

Asap Rocky, Live in Sweden 11 Dec

“After huge support from his Swedish fans, [Asap Rocky] returns to Stockholm for a long-awaited gig for all his supporters,” says the promoter.

Several Swedish artists will support Rocky, who plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the concert to a local charity, the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups (FARR).


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Esports and music hub to open in Stockholm in 2021

Space, a music, videogaming and media company run by leading Swedish record label execs, has announced Space Stockholm, a seven-storey, 7,500m² (80,000sqft) gaming and music hub set to open in the Swedish capital in the first half of 2021.

The complex, to be located in Stockholm’s main square, Sergels Torg, will include recording studios, a co-working space, a gym, a nightclub and around 500 high-end gaming stations – along with an arena that, at a capacity of up to 800 seats, will be the largest permanent esports venue in Europe, according to the company.

Space’s co-founders are Gustav Käll, head of Universal’s esports label, Enter Records, Per Sundin, the former MD of Universal Music Sweden, and Lars Bloomberg, a partner at architecture firm DAP Group. Sundis is now CEO of Pop House Sweden, partly owned by Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus, which has invested an undisclosed amount into the project.

“Gaming, music and content creation are the three biggest pillars in terms of what the youth enjoy”

“In online culture, people are interested in gaming, music and content creation. They are the three biggest pillars in terms of what the youth enjoy,” Käll, who remains head of Enter – a JV between Universal Music and Electronic Sports League (ESL) – tells the Esports Observer. “We want to bring that under one roof.”

“Space Stockholm, with its unique location at the heart of Sweden’s capital, is poised to become a cultural landmark, not only for the city, but for the entire country,” says Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of Stockholm, in a statement. “It promises a bright future for Sergels Torg by creating a modern, progressive hub for digital culture.”

Esports revenues are on track to exceed $900m this year, as a growing number of sponsors and investors show interest in the competitive gaming sector. Live music companies that have invested in, or partnered with, major esports competitions and teams in recent years include Deutsche EntertainmentAEGCAATEG and Madison Square Garden Company.


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Avicii tribute raises funds for mental health charity

Artists including David Guetta, Kygo, Rita Ora and Adam Lambert will participate in an Avicii tribute concert in the artist’s hometown of Stockholm, Sweden on 5 December.

The concert is taking place at the 50,000-seat Friends Arena and will feature music from Avicii’s (real name Tim Bergling) posthumously released album ‘Tim’, performed for the first time.

The event will feature 19 of the singers who appear on Avicii’s songs, performing alongside a 30-piece band. Sets from fellow DJs including Guetta, Kygo, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Nicky Romero will open the concert.

Proceeds from the Avicii Tribute Concert for Mental Health Awareness will go towards the Tim Bergling Foundation, a charity set up by Bergling’s family to raise money for mental health-related issues and suicide prevention.

“Tim had plans for his music to be performed together with a large live band, and now we are realising his dream and giving fans a chance to experience his music in this unique way”

Bergling died of an apparent suicide in 2018, at the age of 28. The DJ had retired from touring two years previously, stating he had “too little time left for the life of the real person behind the artist” to continue.

“Tim had plans for his music to be performed together with a large live band, and now we are realising his dream and giving fans a chance to experience his music in this unique way,” says the DJ’s father, Klas Bergling.

“We are grateful that his friends, producers, artists and colleagues are coming to Stockholm to help,” adds Bergling.

“They have all expressed a sincere interest and desire to engage in efforts to stem the tide of mental illness and lend their support to our work with the Tim Bergling Foundation. We are very much looking forward to this evening, which will be a starting point for the foundation’s work going forward.”

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. CET. More information can be found here.


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Marie Dimberg and Tomas Jernberg launch new management co

Veteran artist manager Marie Dimberg and long-serving label exec Tomas Jernberg have joined forces to launch Stockholm-based “supermanagement” outfit Dimberg Jernberg Management.

Dimberg started her management career in 1997 and represents some of the most successful artists in Sweden, including Roxette, Per Gessle, Peter Jöback, Loney Dear, Jonas Åkerlund and Emmi Christensson. Prior to moving into artist management, Dimberg – once named the ‘most influential woman in the Swedish music industry by Musikindustrin – spent several years with EMI, including spells as head of PR and marketing/PR and vice-president of London-based EMI International, where she worked with Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Blur, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, Queen and Radiohead.

Jernberg also has a background in artist management, having run his own management company for a decade. For the past six years, he has been with Warner Music Nordic, where he was director of international exploitation, working with Scandinavian artists such as Miriam Bryant, Julie Bergan, Sabina Ddumba, NONONO, Otto Knows, Nause, Roxette and Christopher.

“Marie and I are a dream team”

”I worked closely with Tomas in connection with the Roxette releases on Warner,” comments Dimberg, “and after ten years on my own, I’m thrilled to take a new, big step with Tomas. We complete each other through our different [career] paths and we want to build a strong management firm with a strong, Nordic roster.

“Marie and I are a dream team,” adds Jernberg. “I cannot imagine a better partner in creating a Nordic supermanagement company. Together we have a solid background in building artist’s careers, both locally and globally, and that’s what we’ll continue doing.”

Dimberg Jernberg’s roster includes Roxette, Per Gessle, Nause, Jonas Åkerlund and more.


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AEG to operate Sweden’s Friends Arena

AEG has entered into a multi-year agreement to manage the biggest stadium in the Nordics, Stockholm’s 75,000-capacity Friends Arena.

Located in Solna, in Stockholm county around five miles north of the city, Friends Arena is home to the Swedish national football team and All-Swedish league club AIK, and hosts a regular programme of concerts, family shows and other live events.

It is owned by Arenabolaget in Solna, a joint venture between the Swedish Football Association and property company Fabege.

“Friends Arena [is] an elite venue that complements our other facilities in the marketplace”

Friends Arena becomes the sixth AEG-operated venue in Stockholm, joining Tele2Arena (30,000-cap.), Söderstadion (13,000-cap.), Ericsson Globe (16,000-cap.), the Hovet (9,300-cap.) ice-hockey stadium and the Annexet (3,700-cap.) conference and events centre.

“We are honoured to support Friends Arena, an elite venue that complements our other facilities in the marketplace,” comments Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities. “Its location in a growing and vibrant office, residential and retail environment has created a unique, world-class destination.”

Arenabolaget i Solna board member Klaus Hansen adds: “In AEG, with its extensive international network and experience, we’ve found a partner with an excellent reputation with whom we can continue to develop the events experience at Friends Arena while positioning the Stockholm region internationally.”


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