The Friends Arena owners today announced that Lagardère Unlimited is managing Friends Arena operations for at least the next 10 years. As per the contract, Lagardère Unlimited is also signing a long-term property lease for the arena. The Swedish Football Association, Peab, Fabege, Solna, and Jernhusen own Friends Arena.
Lagardère Unlimited has extensive experience in managing and developing big stadiums. Right now, the company has contracts with 20 venues worldwide, e.g., Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Groupama Arena in Budapest, Singapore Sports Hub, Imtech Arena in Hamburg, and Arena Castelão Fortaleza in Brazil.
Several factors supported the owners’ decision, namely, Lagardère Unlimited’s broad, in-depth operating experience, its large international network of events organizers, and its expertise in developing and running events. This contract fulfils the owners’ strategy to continue to focus on their core competencies as owners of Friends Arena.
“From the start, we never intended to own an arena operating business,” says Erik Paulsson, who represent the Friends Arena owners. “We’ve formed a firm foundation for the operations. So this deal is a great opportunity to hand over the operations to an experienced international operator that will further contribute to strengthening and developing Friends Arena as an internationally competitive venue.”
“We see this as a positive initiative. Lagardère Unlimited is a strong international operator that will enable Friends Arena to become competitive on regional, national, and international levels,” says Pehr Granfalk, mayor of Solna. “It strengthens commerce and culture in the Stockholm region, creates jobs, and facilitates growth.”
Operations cover event marketing and sales; event concepts development; managing ticket sales, working with current and future partners, and developing the Friends Arena hospitality function.
“The arena’s location, capacity, and flexibility provide enormous potential for further development,” says Ulrik Ruhnau, managing director of Lagardère Unlimited Stadium Solutions. “Friends Arena will become one of the leading venues in Northern Europe for football, other sporting events, and entertainment.”
Thomas Perslund will remain in charge of Friends Arena operations.
About Friends Arena
Friends Arena, located in Solna (outside of Stockholm) is Sweden's national arena and one of the world’s most modern arenas. Thanks to a good view wherever seated, the latest communication technology, a retractable roof and excellent support services, the audience gets a whole new opportunity to experience great arena moments.
Friends Arena holds up to 65,000 guests for concerts and 50,000 for sporting events. Friends Arena is home to the men's national football team and the AIK football team (soccer). The Swedish Football Association, the Solna municipality, Jernhusen, Peab, and Fabege own Friends Arena.
The arena is named after Friends, an anti-bullying organization. Swedbank owns the rights to the arena’s name, which it gave to the Friends Foundation. As a sponsor, Swedbank’s objective is to give the foundation increased opportunities to reach out to children and young people in schools and sports clubs.
About Lagardère Unlimited
Lagardère Unlimited is a global leader in Sports and Entertainment.
Present in more than 20 countries, its network offers innovative and integrated solutions to its customers and partners, helping them grow the value of their rights over the long term.
Lagardère Unlimited's key business activities include athlete representation, venue consulting, events production and management, marketing rights and associated products, content production and broadcast rights management as well as the management of sports academies and front-ranking sports clubs.