‘Customers Are Buying More Thoughtfully’: Q’s With Andreas Kroll, CEO in.Stuttgart

Andreas Kroll 1
Andreas Kroll, CEO in.Stuttgart.

For our annual Germany Focus, Pollstar reached out to Andreas Kroll, CEO of in.Stuttgart, which runs the city’s popular Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle and Porsche Arena. Some highlights from Pollstar’s Boxoffice for Schleyer-Hall include Hans Zimmer, April 29, who sold out 8,927 available tickets for a $968,359 gross); Andreas Gabalier, May 18 (11,588 tickets, $600,157 gross); or Herbert Grönemeyer, May 30 (12,703 tickets, $885,371 gross).

Chris Tall sold out all available 4,315 tickets at Porsche Arena, May 26, grossing
$134,364. Kroll gave us the lowdown on the state of business.

Big Business & Small Struggles: Germany Returns To Full Strength

Pollstar: How would you sum up the state/health of the German live entertainment market at this point in time? Does the business in Stuattgart reflect that, or does it stand out in any way?
Andreas Kroll: The booking situation is stable at the moment, it’s comparable to before Corona. However, there are signs of a deterioration in ticket sales. Not everything is a surefire success, it has become very difficult to assess. I guess this situation is not unique to Stuttgart, it might be the same all over Germany or Europe.

I’m assuming price increases across the board, in every part of the supply chain, are a challenge? Any other major challenges you’re experiencing right now?
There is a lack of specialist staff in all areas, from service providers to organizers.

What’s your business model? You seem to be operating a state-owned business, is that correct? Is it a cooperation with the city of Stuttgart? And does that influence the types of events you promote?
We are a subsidiary of the city of Stuttgart with an economic mission. First and foremost, we are lessors of our arenas, Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle Stuttgart, and Porsche-Arena. We have also been organizing our own events for years, such as the Stuttgart German Masters, an international horse show including three world cup trials. We also do events in cooperation with promoters, so, we are open to all business models. We only advertize our own events ourselves. In the rental business, the advertising is commissioned by the local promotor.

Helene Fischer Award Übergabe Schleyerhalle Stuttgart
For selling out Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle five times, May 2-7, Helene Fischer received a sold-out award from in.Stuttgart CEO Andreas Kroll (left) and Stuttgart’s mayor Dr. Frank Nopper. (Picture courtesy in.Stuttgart)

What types of events do you host? What are the bestsellers in terms of tickets?
All kinds, from sports, to concerts, comedy, shows, and corporate events. The entertainment sector, concert and comedy, generat the bulk of ticket sales.

How do your ticket sales in 2023 stack up?
Ticket sales have recovered and we are back to the level we were before Corona.

The stadium business seems to be in rude health, if you look at the U.S., and indeed, Europe. The artists who can, are choosing increasingly more stadium shows. Does that take business away from the arenas in your experience?
Yes, the stadium business is very strong. Of course, this affects us already. In the past, you could book a superstar into the arena for several days. That was great for us. Not only because of the money, also for our image.

Has customer behavior changed in any way compared to, say pre-COVID?
Yes, behavior has changed since Corona. Customers are buying more thoughtfully, and less spontaneously. Sales start really late, and pick up shortly before the event.

What recent successes and upcoming events at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle and Porsche-Arena would you like to highlight?
In May we had five sold out concerts with Helene Fischer, welcoming 55.000 visitors in total in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. On the first weekend of November, we will host the Stihl Timbersport World Championships with around 22 participating nations in our Porsche-Arena.

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