ARA Publishes analysis of European test events


July 13, 2021

The Arena Resilience Alliance, the purpose-driven initiative created by the European Arenas Association (EAA), has published a report analysing findings from more than 20 test events hosted at 12 of its partner arenas across Europe.

ARA partner arenas that have hosted test events and experimental studies include AccorHotels Arena Paris, Ahoy Arena Rotterdam, Avia Solutions Group Arena Vilnius, Barclaycard Arena Hamburg, Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin and Palau Sant Jordi Barcelona.

Quarterback Immobilien Arena Leipzig, Rockhal Luxembourg (2 venues), Saku Suurhall Tallinn, The O2 London, and Ziggo Dome Amsterdam are also affiliated with the ARA and have hosted experiments.

The new report aims to share the experience and insights gathered from those test events – which took place with between 100 and 5,000 participants – in order to provide a framework for the return to live events in Europe.

According to the ARA’s analysis, the total amount of visitors admitted at each event varied from under 5% of normal maximum capacity to over 30%.

The highest capacity events were held at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris which sold 5,000 tickets representing 33% of total capacity and the Palau San Jordi in Barcelona which also hosted 5,000 people which represented 28% of capacity.


The report also notes the varying approaches to safety and preventative measures:

  • 83% required all visitors to have taken a PCR or antigen test within a stipulated timeframe prior to the event and 58% requiring another test taken within a fixed timeframe after the event.
  • 92% of the venues employed enhanced cleaning protocols with 83% providing hand sanitisers at the entrances and throughout the venues.
  • Only 17% of venues adopted temperature check protocol.
  • Security check at the entrance was contactless, with 67% requiring a full body scan on entrance.
  • Inside the venue social distancing was required at 50% of the venues with 17% adopting a mixed approach depending on
    specific zone designation.
  • 58% of the venues handed masks out on entry although masks were not required at all the events.

In terms of infrastructure development, arena ventilation and air filtering were found to be the highest priority for all participating venues, with 92% actively monitoring ventilation performance and 8% operating specific air filtration systems.

When it came to customer experience delivery, 100% of venues provided detailed pre-event customer guidance communications and ensured all the onsite staff were given adequate training to be able to deliver the new protocols. Almost 60% of venues offered food and beverage services and 42% operated contactless payment processes.

The report emphasises that, at the time of publication, there are “no recorded clusters of infection from those who attended the test events and there is no published evidence that these events contributed to the spread of the virus”.

It concludes: “From the evidence available to date, it appears that with the correct implementation of safety measures, in particular pre-event Covid testing and the use of the EU Digital Certificate, it is possible to host safe indoor live events.”


“Arenas sit at the hub of the live events ecosystem playing a vital role in bringing together all the major stakeholders and playing a crucial role in communities across Europe,” says John Langford, president of European Arenas Association. “Over the past year, ARA has been promoting important dialogue around why we need unified conditions that will allow music, culture and sports to return to arenas and enable arenas to reopen.”

Olivier Toth, CEO, Rockhal in Luxembourg, EAA board member and co-founder of ARA, added: “After almost a year and a half without live events, experiments like our Because Music Matters showcase and other test events that have been taking place across Europe, are an important and positive step forward in testing the safety measures we can employ to support our back to business strategies.

“Building confidence amongst all our stakeholders that live events are a safe environment is so important. We were pleased to share these findings, with a view to building towards a model that can be scaled as the industry continues to work towards the safe and sustainable return of live events.”

Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO, The Odyssey Trust, owners of The SSE Arena, Belfast, EAA Member and co-founder of ARA, commented: “As the advocacy platform for European arenas, the ARA has developed a manifesto, which will be an important tool as we prepare for a return to live events, whilst working to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities and the sustainability of our industry.

“This report publishing the findings of the recent test events provides a further tool to help industry and key EU decision-makers come together and discuss the regional and national frameworks that will help us get back to business.”

See an extensive list of the test events and experimental studies that aim to show a scientific path back to live here.

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