December 9, 2014
Michael C. Enoch, General Manager of Mercedes-Benz Arena
China Connect : Mercedes-Benz Arena (MBA) was crowned “China’s Most Dynamic Large Scale Performance Venue of 2013”: What are the main stages that led to this achievement?
Michael C. Enoch : The award for “China’s Most Dynamic Large Scale Performance Venue” was presented by Dao strategy Research Center which is the only research institution focusing on the performing arts industry in China. In 2013, just the main stage of Mercedes-Benz Arena contributed 76 performances, exciting a total audience of 610,000. With a large edge in both performance quantity and total audience, Mercedes-Benz Arena topped a list including the Beijing Workers’ Stadium, National Stadium, Shanghai Grand Stage, MasterCard Center, Guangzhou Gymnasium, and many other major domestic performance venues.
China Connect : How does Mercedes-Benz Arena differ from other AEG worldwide venues?
Michael C. Enoch : The speed of development for the cultural and entertainment industry in China is astonishing. The performance market is becoming more mature and closer to international standards. Still, certain aspects such as ticketing are in their infancy. So one of the main tasks for Mercedes-Benz Arena is to introduce international standards and advanced concepts into China. For example, the set up of VIP suites and premium ticketing has already had a positive impact on the concert experience for Chinese people.
We also emphasize our venue is not only for live performances, but also for cultural and entertainment events, as well as socializing. Besides watching shows, you can spend the whole day at the venue dining, watching movies, and shopping. Audiences at our venue enjoy entertainment and dining facilities, bright and clean bathrooms, cozy seats, and passionate onsite customer relations staff who can answer your questions and help solve your problems – which is very different from all other government managed venues in China.
This concept is based on one goal – to introduce the best venue management concepts from the U.S. to Chinese audiences, applying them selectively to eventually become a “Chinese venue service system”, thereby increasing the overall experience for everyone involved.
China Connect : How do you leverage social and mobile tools to connect with your core audience?
Michael C. Enoch : Mercedes-Benz Arena is at the cutting edge of the digital and social trends. We have always put an emphasis on interacting with our audience through social media. We leverage our official Weibo and Wechat accounts, respectively launched in July 2012 and May 2014, to provide unique content and to build a loyal community for future networking. They have the same objectives: getting closer to our audience, to hear from them and express ourselves further.
So far, our weibo account has +436 000 followers and we intend to continue this organic growth. At the same time, we would like to develop more interactive services on our website and app collaborations. We sincerely hope our existing and potential audience will get to know us better not only from visiting our venue but also by e-visiting us. The Chinese people are truly into entertainment if you put them on the right stage, they are not at all silent and inactive as one might have imagined..
With WeChat*, we are getting more loyal followers and further interactions
China Connect : With all these shows and stars, give us a few anecdotes !
Michael C. Enoch : Some of the largest names in music came to MBA from J.Lo., Eagles, Usher, Elton John, Maroon 5, to The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Justin Bieber, and Bruno Mars. Let me give a few ones:
- Only 30′ after the Rolling Stones’ show started, we had sold our entire stock of beer worth RMB 600,000
- 95% of the audiences of K-pop concerts are female, so we change all men’s bathrooms to female for these shows
- Niles Rodger invited about 50 people to dance with him on stage, and signed autographs for every single person who wanted one (the Mixing Room seats 800 seats people)
- It took 5 minutes for Taylor Swift’s concert to be sold out
- 37,636 fans had Hong Kong Nova female singer G.E.M.’s perform 3 continuous days: the biggest show of 2014
China Connect : Do you have any expansion plans on the Mainland?
Michael C. Enoch : AEG currently manages 3 premier venues in China: MasterCard Center in Beijing, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, and the Dalian Zhongsheng Center. AEG is also in active dialogue with a number of other cities across China to develop venues, manage existing facilities, and provide consulting services for ongoing stadium development. For example, AEG recently provided the Hangzhou municipal government with some design consulting services on the development of their new multi-functional venue.
Michael C. Enoch, is General Manager of Mercedes-Benz Arena. He will speak at China Connect in Paris, March 5-6
*By Curiosity China
Laure de Carayon
Founder&Ceo China Connect