Movistar Arena Puts Bogotá On The Major Tour Map

Home Grown: Karol G, pictured playing Movistar Arena, is part of the latest batch of Colombian talent making noise worldwide. . Courtesy Movistar Arena

With the worst of the global coronavirus pandemic receding, Bogotá, Colombia’s 13,500-seat Movistar Arena is back to realizing the rewards of being the only arena of its kind in a country with positive trends in political stability, economic growth and disposable income.

According to the World Bank, Colombia’s 2020 population of 50.88 million is up more than 5 million from 2010, with the annual growth rate unchanged at 1.1%. 

Movistar Arena, which employs 700 to 1,000 people per event, is in an undeniably dominant position in Bogotá, where it hosts 95% of the capital city’s live entertainment, from concerts to family shows and, to a much lesser extent, sports.

And like Brazil, the behemoth economy of South America, Colombia is a country with a rich musical life that has seen stars like Shakira, Juanes and now Karol G make their marks at home and globally.

Karol G’s monster “Bichota Tour Reloaded” played two sold-out dates at the arena in May.

Upcoming shows include Demi Lovato, Andrés Calamaro, Andrés Cepeda, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Wisin & Yandel, meaning the arena is on target to have one of its best years yet.

“Ninety-eight percent of our events are music,” said Luigi Quintero, the arena’s general manager.

Already in 2022, the arena, originally built in 1973, has hosted more than 300,000 attendees, with a target of 90-100 concerts for the year, according to Quintero and Movistar Arena marketing and communications director Ana María Giraldo. 

More than 190 shows have been staged at the venue since the renovation, which transformed what was known as Coliseo Cubierto El Campin. The arena hosts an increasing number of major international acts, including this year Miley Cyrus, Fito Páez and Gorillaz. 

Quintero says shows at the arena draw guests from across Colombia and other parts of Central and South America.

KISS brought its “End of the Road” tour to the arena in May, which also saw Rubén Blades’ “Salswing Tour!” at the venue, where 65% of the programming consists of major international tours.

The other 35% is local talent like the aforementioned Karol G and Juanes, who opened the renovated arena in 2018, but also acts like Morat, Camilo and Andrés Cepeda. Being the top venue in the country comes with responsibility and, to that end, the arena served as a major vaccination center with more than 1.6 million people inoculated during the COVID crisis. Movistar Arena has been honorably recognized by Colombia’s National Institute of Tourism.

The venue has also made sustainability one of its top priorities and partnered with major companies on carbon and waste reduction initiatives.

“Sustainability is our new obsession,” Giraldo said. “At the beginning of the year, we became the first entertainment venue to have a tree bank in Colombia, planting several trees per event, honoring the artists that perform (here).”

About 65 native trees have been planted so far this year, she said.

“When we restored the venue, we adapted it to use this ventilation system,” Giraldo said.

More than 4,000 acoustic tiles make for improved sound quality and the arena has a 90-ton rigging capability, Giraldo said.

“This is ours, completely apart from promoters. We are the only venue in Colombia where you can drink and eat while enjoying the show. People love it. It’s very common over here, depending on the type of show. Ruben Blades had it. It’s good for high-end clients, but doesn’t work in rock and metal shows,” Giraldo said. “We have different configurations and adapt to the needs of the performer and the promoter.” 

The arena has 21 suites and 18 boxes. Each suite, which holds 15-20 people, costs about $100,000 per year and are sold out, most to corporate clients, Quintero said.

Movistar, the mobile phone division of Spain-based Telefónica, in 2018 inked a 20-year naming rights deal and offers its customers benefits like presale exclusives, food and beverage discounts and dedicated entrances.

The arena’s exterior video screen, which is passed by some 9 million people a month, offers a valuable medium for promoting the venue and its events as well as external advertising. 

There are also more than 40 screens inside the venue, 21 of them in VIP areas