Hamburg On The Map

The state-owned company that took a euro 1 million loss on the German leg of Live Earth says the marketing opportunities the event provided made it worth it.

"It was broadcast in 170 countries and the city was mentioned so many times," Johannes Everke of Hamburg Marketing told Pollstar shortly after the accounts had shown what amounts to a US$1.3 million downside.

"There were 2 billion people watching on TV, over 4,500 articles in German newspapers, and that takes no account of the people who accessed Live Earth via the Internet."

"We knew there was a huge risk that we would lose money and we did. We only had nine weeks to do the project but we also realised the marketing opportunity it offered Hamburg. It wasn’t a difficult choice because – as a global marketing campaign – it was money well spent," he added, after already giving the same response to several local politicians trying to make much of the losses.

Hamburg Marketing GmbH, one of the German publicly funded companies set up to promote their regions, is proactive in getting involved with ventures linked to live music.

Apart from making much of The Beatles’ association with the city, and a supporter of the plan to have a statue of the band in the rejuvenated St. Pauli district that houses most of the rock clubs, it backs the annual Hamburg-based German Live Entertainment Awards and Karsten Jahnke’s 2-year-old Reeperbahn Festival (September 27-29).

Everke called Hamburg an international music city and said Live Earth was an ideal way to promote that.

"Because of the reason for the concert it was also easy for us to promote ourselves as a green city, and we did that right down to running a campaign to explain the importance of this to young people at school," Everke said. "We had to make a quick decision because of the time and we got Marek Lieberberg, who has experience of huge events, to put it together for us.

"We started this at a time when a lot of acts are booked for the festival season and so are the crews and supply companies.

"The fact that sadly it wasn’t possible to achieve this in Istanbul because of the pressure of time shows that the city of Hamburg should be proud. We did it. It cost a lot of money but we did it."

Live Earth Hamburg sold 29,000 of its 45,000 tickets, which generated euro 1.06 million (US$ 1.46 million). Merchandising and sponsorship brought in a further euro 190,000 (US$ 262,000).

The euro 1.25 million revenues were still dwarfed by the tab for staging the event.

"Costs amounted to euro 1.45 million ($2 million), including euro 80,000 (US$110,000) for the artists’ accommodation and transport. We also had to pay an advance amount of euro 750,000 (US$1.03 million) to the Live Earth organization," said Hamburg Marketing managing director Thorsten Kausch.

The lineup for the July 7th concert to combat global warming included Shakira, Snoop Dogg, Katie Melua, Chris Cornell, Mando Diao and local Hamburg favourite Lotto King Karl.