Boxoffice Insider: How Lanxess Arena Was Early With Indoor Options For Pandemic-Era Events

Lanxess Arena,
Ying Tang / NurPhoto / Getty Images
– Lanxess Arena,
illuminated in orange to mark the international day for the Elimination of Violence against women, in Cologne, Germany, Nov. 25, 2020.

Along with being one of the consistent contenders for top chart rankings in Pollstar’s annual recaps, Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany was also a pioneer among large European venues in staging live shows in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak. Less than three months after the mid-March industry shutdown, the 20,000-seat arena devised a hygienically sound and socially distanced solution for live events. Plans were announced in early June for a string of reduced capacity concerts set to begin on the 20th of that month.

Procedures to ensure safe attendance included extra cleaning and disinfecting measures and mask-wearing, now customary for venues of all types hosting indoor events. The change in seating configurations included the creation of “cubes” with small groups of attendees surrounded by plexiglass. There were also distance requirements between each group. Similar cube or pod configurations have risen in popularity this year among venues staging indoor events in the era of COVID-19.
For the first event of the summer, Lanxess Arena hosted German pop star Wincent Weiss for a four-night concert engagement, the only one presented at the arena since the June reopening. Thus, the 27-year-old recording artist holds the post-shutdown record for the highest gross and sold ticket counts among all of this year’s events since June, according to the venue’s box office tallies reported in the past five months. His four concerts racked up a gross of $158,925 (€143,160) from sold tickets totaling 3,579 and priced at €40 each.
Although Weiss is the only headliner with a four-show run, two artists have played for two consecutive nights since his engagement. Singer/songwriter Nena, best known for the 1983 international hit “99 Luftballons,” performed July 28-29, while singer and DJ Kerstin Ott appeared more recently with a two-show stint Oct. 9-10.
Nena follows Weiss among artists producing the top grosses of the year since June, ranking second based on $108,737 (€96,843) in ticket revenue. Her two July concerts logged an attendance total of 1,794 over both nights.
Third among the top grosses was a Sept. 4 multiple-act dance music event produced by Musical Madness called Resurrection. The concert secured a gross of $91,196 (€76,485) and began with sets by Aftershock, Phuture Noize and Sub Zero Project. D-Block & S-Te-Fan capped the evening that drew a crowd totaling 2,347.
Boxoffice recaps from 27 performances with pandemic-era capacity changes show an overall gross stretching just over $1 million. The total ticket count was 28,120 for shows during the period beginning with the June 20 Weiss performance through Ott’s two shows in October, the most-recent concerts reported by the arena. The average number of tickets per show was 1,041.
Prior to the March shutdown of live concerts, Lanxess Arena had already staged 14 events and 28 total performances since the beginning of January. The 10-week ticket count was 213,484 for a combined gross of $10.3 million. Accounting for 15 of the shows and 61% of the sold tickets was the arena’s annual “Lachende Kölnarena” carnival event that stretches over multiple days featuring bands, dance groups and acts of all varieties. With $6.3 million in sales, the event drew 130,490 spectators.
Among first-quarter concert headliners, Jonas Brothers racked up the top boxoffice take of $685,601 (€620,425) with the trio’s Feb. 11 performance. The show, promoted by Live Nation and Dirk Becker Entertainment, drew a crowd totaling 12,313. The last show reported prior to the shutdown was a March 5 event featuring Berlin-based rapper Kontra K performing for 15,299 fans. With box office sales of $612k, the performance occurred just two weeks before cancellations began.