Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Filipinos love concerts, but venue infrastructure gaps are a threat to the experience

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 held in SM Mall of  Asia Arena – Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Better, larger, and more competitive concert venues have benefited economies, particularly in light of the significant and widespread impact of well-known international acts on consumer behavior and spending, such as Coldplay's World Tour and pop sensation Taylor Swift's Eras Tour.

The success of these concerts attracted tens of thousands of 'Swifties' and concertgoers, and it stimulated the global economy, especially that of Southeast Asian nations like Singapore and Japan. While some Filipino fans traveled to Sydney's Accor Stadium and Tokyo Dome in Australia, others had to spend a lot of money and travel far to see the superstar Swift perform exclusively at Singapore's National Stadium. The massive concert gigs greatly benefited the entertainment, hospitality, retail, and transportation industries, as well as the economies of the respective countries.

Photo credit to Stanley Quek. An empty Singapore National Stadium, viewed from the front stage.

While Singapore’s strategy for a Southeast Asia exclusive Swift performance piqued interest and likewise piqued its neighboring countries, the strategic move sparked conversations and brought to light what the Philippines can improve on in terms of concert venues.

1. Location is key
The Philippines doesn’t lack in big venues. In fact, it boasts of venues that can rival Singapore’s National Stadium and Japan’s Tokyo Dome. Accessibility to the location as well as public
transportation and nearby commercial establishments are key.

2. Concert Experience
The National Stadium, the pride of Singapore, boasts cutting-edge features including the largest free-spanning dome in the world, a retractable roof, and comfort cooling technology for the comfort of spectators. Its creativity, advantageous location, and effectiveness provide enthusiasts and concertgoers with positive and immersive experiences, drawing entertainment acts from around the globe. Filipino concertgoers hope that their nation can imitate a similar venue and concert experience.

3. World-class concert amenities and facilities
For concertgoers or sports fans, the venue's amenities and facilities should provide an excellent musical experience or ease of access during a sporting event.

Architectural “Eyecon” SM Mall of Asia Arena prides itself on having exceptional world-class amenities unique in the Southeast Asia region. –Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 held in SM Mall of  Asia Arena – Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Consider the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, a versatile indoor arena that was built in 2012 by SM Prime, a renowned integrated property developer. It has been a popular venue for a variety of events and provides a distinctive concert experience. It has been a refuge for exhilarating sporting events, amazing OPM shows, and unforgettable international superstar performances, with 20,000 seats in the house.

Concurrently, the SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque City are a massive open-air venue that can hold a minimum of 50,000 attendees. Among the acts that have recently graced the stage are Rivermaya The Reunion and Ed Sheeran's Mathematics Tour.

4. Achieving Filipinos’ concert dreams
One of SM Prime's most ambitious plans is to build a 360-hectare smart city, which is intended to serve as the focal point of the nation's sporting and entertainment events. With a larger capacity and better venue infrastructure, it is expected to draw legendary figures from the entertainment industry and rival the best in Southeast Asia and the world. It will have a concert arena and stadium with an estimated 70,000 seats that are connected to Central Park, one of the island's top tourist destinations. With top-notch amenities and environmentally friendly features that match those of major concert venues across the globe, the expansive arena is intended to be the largest concert venue in the Philippines. When that is constructed, Filipinos won't need to travel abroad to see elite performances because they can do so from the comfort of their home country.

An artist’s render, visual sketch of the proposed concert venue at Pasay 360 project.

Pinoy's unquestionably breathe entertainment shows. Given how enthusiastic we are about concerts, Visa, a digital payments company, reports that Filipinos spend the fourth most on concerts in Asia-Pacific. Filipino concertgoers will be able to continue to embrace and celebrate live performances with the ease, comfort, and enjoyment they deserve if investments are made in the development of contemporary, intelligent, and accessible concert venues. Beyond just providing entertainment, carefully planned, astute, and creative concert venues can boost the national and local economies of the Philippines by stimulating ancillary local spending in the retail, tourism, and hospitality sectors.

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