Tag: January 2021

Year End 2020: Charts and Analysis

HEAT CHECK: A security officer checks the temperature of a fan at the Vive Latino festival March 14 at Foro Sol in Mexico City, one of 2020’s highest-grossing events. (Getty Images) Change of Course Promising start to 2020 no match for the pandemic In the early weeks of 2020, live entertainment seemed to be poised for an extraordinary year with first-quarter ticket revenue showing slight increases over the same period a year earlier. Box-office tallies from concerts and live events in 2019 ultimately topped $11 billion globally, so optimism was high with hopes for a record-setting year, perhaps even reaching $12 billion. The onset of the pandemic in March charted a very different course for 2020. At the end of the challenging year, final worldwide gross figures from reported events totaled about $2.5 billion, less than a quarter of what occurred the previous year. YEAR END CHARTS:    HOT TICKETS — […]

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Year End 2020: Arena Top Stop

‘WE HAD TO ADAPT’:  WiZink Center was among the first of the big arenas to return after the novel coronavirus shutdown. (Courtesy venue) WiZink Center: Spanish Steps Madrid arena’s GM talks about little victories in a year when everyone lost When the world shut down in March, Spain was among the countries hit hardest by COVID-19, topping 20,000 deaths in mid-April. The government introduced some of the severest restrictions on public life in all of Europe, including tiered time slots during which only certain age groups were allowed to leave the house.  So how did WiZink Center, in the Spanish capital of Madrid, top the VenuesNow year-end Top Stops for 2020 in the 15,001-30,000 category?  The arena’s situation evolved parallel to the evolution of the pandemic, said the arena’s general manager, Manuel Saucedo. “Spain went through more than 100 days of complete lockdown, so WiZink Center remained completely closed for […]

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Year End 2020: Big Year for Big Buildings

SOFI SCORES: SoFi Stadium’s center-hung videoboard commands attention during Los Angeles Rams and Chargers games. (Getty Images) The crowds will come later, but these stadiums are making their mark  The two most expensive stadiums in the world opened in 2020 to muted applause, underscoring the pandemic’s devastating effect on the sports and entertainment industry. SoFi Stadium, at cost of $5 billion, and Allegiant Stadium, a $2 billion facility, represent the future of NFL stadium design with starkly different looks. What they both shared, though, was playing games in empty venues.  Fans were not allowed to attend Rams, Chargers and Raiders games. In Southern California, state and local requirements prevented both Los Angeles NFL squads from hosting fans. In Las Vegas, team owner Mark Davis made the decision to ensure fairness for all of Raider Nation. Overall, both buildings reflect their surroundings on the West Coast.  SoFi Stadium’s swoopy roof canopy […]

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Year End: What the …?

Thought leaders address what just happened and what 2021 may look like Tough times require smart people, so VenuesNow and Pollstar went looking for some of the smartest in the business as the idea of the imminent approval of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. began to take hold and asked them these questions:  1. In terms of scale and impact, how would you describe 2020 and the current crisis’ challenges and impact on your business? 2. What strategies have you and your businesses implemented and/or are you considering implementing to address these challenges? 3. With vaccinations reportedly on the near horizon, better testing technology, accrediting organizations, industry sanitization and safety protocols being established, a new presidential administration and more, when and how do you anticipate the industry coming back? Their answers to each of the three questions are below. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.   Kenneth Feld Chairman and […]

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Year End 2020: The Indies

Independents organize in a fight for their survival No aspect of the live industry was hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than venues themselves. While artists and other members of the live ecosystem have partly offset lost touring revenue with livestreams and other new content, venues saw income halt suddenly and almost completely in mid-March, when most public gatherings were banned under sweeping health restrictions. Initially, the live business stayed afloat with meager government aid and charitable efforts – but relief has long since dried up, with lawmakers failing repeatedly in recent months to pass additional legislation to bail out the live industry and other sectors impacted by the pandemic. But as the months dragged on, the National Independent Venue Association has provided a beacon of hope during challenging times for venues across the country. More than 2,900 independent venues have banded together since NIVA formed in the pandemic’s early […]

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Year End 2020: Big Venues

Amid the quiet, sponsorships, renovations and even some events continue Most sports and entertainment venues sat empty for nine months after the pandemic shut down the industry. Teams, facility managers, concessionaires, marketers and ticketing firms still got deals done, though, whether it was in person, over the phone or online. During these unprecedented times, give credit to all those in the business that kept the ball rolling forward with the creativity and resiliency that’s been the backbone of live entertainment for decades. On the marketing side, Oak View Group, owner of VenuesNow, made the biggest splash, signing $400 million naming rights deals with Amazon (for Climate Pledge Arena) and UBS Arena, respectively, for new NHL arenas opening this year in Seattle and New York.  Legends got a big deal done with Ball Corp., the maker of Mason jars, to take over naming rights at the old Pepsi Center, owned and […]

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Blown Away, Rising Again

AFTER THE STORM: The image of the Basement East’s mural went viral after a March tornado knocked down walls at the venue. (Getty Images) Nashville’s Basement East rebuilds, hopes to rebound in early 2021 The Bernie Sanders benefit was over. The last of the staff was cleaning up as March 2 turned to March 3 when the sirens went off. Thinking quickly, they headed for the cellar. People cowered in the basement as an EF-3 tornado headed towards 5 Points; moments later, the roof and back walls were torn from the Basement East, one of East Nashville’s premiere music venues. Co-owner Michael Grimes, known to all as “Grimey,” told RollingStone.com the next morning, “The tornado hit at approximately 1:15 a.m.; the Bernie benefit was over, and our conscientious staff of five ran down to the basement with seconds to spare before the roof blew off. All are safe. We are […]

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Teams Add Touchless to Stadium Plans

HELLO, COLUMBUS: MLS Cup 2020 champions the Columbus Crew open a new stadium this year with ample concourse space. (Gerardo Prado) Coming out of COVID-19, the newest generation of Major League Soccer stadiums will feature contactless and cashless operations in ticketing, food service and restrooms, according to teams building those facilities.  In most cases, design tweaks have been made to blueprints to address upgraded safety and sanitization protocols. Austin FC, for example, has gone from 80% to 100% touchless restroom fixtures by adding automated faucets and toilets, team President Andy Loughnane said. The same is true with FC Cincinnati for going completely touchless in restrooms, said team President Jeff Berding. Both teams are scheduled to open their stadiums in March, pending the start of the 2021 MLS season. “We started working with (architect) Populous on prospective design changes after the pandemic began,” Berding said. “We understand the safety of our […]

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Amazon’s Chris Roe: Pledge Drive

GREEN PALACE: The construction of Climate Pledge Arena continues in Seattle. (Courtesy Seattle Kraken) Head of sustainability for company part of Climate Pledge Arena team Chris Roe is head of energy and sustainable operations for online retail giant Amazon, which acquired naming rights for Climate Pledge Arena, the $1 billion transformation of old KeyArena and future home of the NHL Seattle Kraken. Roe provided an update on the company working with Oak View Group (owner of VenuesNow) to develop the world’s first net zero-carbon sports and entertainment venue. The arena is set to open in fall 2021. What’s your background and your role with Amazon? I lead our team at Amazon working on renewable energy as well as our sustainable buildings, in support of our climate pledge, which is our commitment to have a net zero carbon footprint. We’re focused on driving to 100% renewable energy as part of our […]

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Upgrades During the Downtime

SWEET SHOW: Blake Shelton got chocolates for his Valentine’s Day concert from Tacoma Dome staff (from left) Kim Bedier, Tammi Bryant, Hillary Brenner and Tom Alexander. (David Conger) Spotlight: Pacific Northwest Tacoma venues stay busy in anticipation of the day business returns Kim Bedier, director of Tacoma (Wash.) Venues & Events, oversees both the 23,000-seat Tacoma Dome and the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, with 119,000 square feet of meeting space. What follows are some of her comments on the new technology that her venues will feature when they reopen, the importance of new bonds among venues in the COVID-19 era, and why consistency is one of her three C’s for the comeback.  We were on tap to have an absolutely massive year at both our dome and our convention center. As you know, they’re building a new arena in Seattle, and so we were poised after coming out of our […]

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