Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Filipinos love concerts, but venue infrastructure gaps pose a threat to their enjoyment.

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

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.

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
Singapore's pride, the National Stadium, boasts innovative features such as the world's largest free-spanning dome, a retractable roof, and comfort cooling technology for spectator comfort. Its innovation, strategic location, and efficiency create positive and immersive experiences for enthusiasts and concertgoers, attracting entertainment acts from all over the world. Filipino concertgoers hope to see a similar concert venue and experience replicated in their country.

3. World-class concert amenities and facilities
Accessing the venue's amenities and facilities should provide a premium music experience for concertgoers or convenience 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

For example, the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, a flexible indoor arena developed in 2012 by leading integrated property developer SM Prime, has been a popular venue for a variety of events and provides a one-of-a-kind concert experience. With a full house seating capacity of 20,000, it has hosted thrilling sporting events, spectacular OPM shows, and unforgettable international superstar performances.

The SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque City is a large outdoor venue that can host at least 50,000 people. Recent performances include Ed Sheeran's Mathematics Tour and Rivermaya The Reunion.

4. Achieving Filipinos’ concert dreams
One of SM Prime's most forward-thinking plans is its 360-hectare smart city development, which is intended to serve as a focal point for the country's entertainment and sporting events - larger in capacity and with improved venue infrastructure - attracting legendary icons from the entertainment scene and competing against Southeast Asia and the best in the world. It will include a stadium with a capacity of 70,000 and a concert arena connected to Central Park, one of the island's most popular tourist destinations. The expansive arena is intended to be the Philippines' largest concert venue, with world-class facilities and sustainable features comparable to other major concert venues around the world. Once that is built, Filipinos will not need to fly overseas because they can watch top-tier performances right from the comfort of their home country.

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

Without a doubt, Filipinos live and breathe entertainment shows. In fact, according to digital payments company Visa, Filipinos are the fourth highest concert spenders in Asia-Pacific, demonstrating our love of concerts. By investing in the creation of modern, smart, and accessible concert venues, Filipino concertgoers can continue to embrace and celebrate live performances with the ease, comfort, and enjoyment they deserve. Beyond entertainment, well-curated, smart, and innovative concert venues can boost the Philippines' national and local economies, resulting in additional local spending in retail, tourism, and hospitality.

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