COVID sound the death knell on SA venue



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Johannesburg Ticketpro Dome to close Image: Ticketpro Dome (Twitter)

The RX Venue Management has announced that the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg (city in South Africa) is all set to shut up shop after being sold to a third party that does not operate in the event space. The official handover of the venue will take place on September 7th, 2021.

The ‘Biz Community’ stated that the RX Venue Management sent out a statement which read, “This is another devastating blow for the exhibitions, events and entertainment industry due to COVID-19 which has had a devastating effect on the live entertainment industry. The ban on public gatherings has meant that during 2020 and now 2021, the Ticketpro Dome has been unable to operate.”

The Ticketpro Dome is an event venue located in Johannesburg, South Africa. The seating capacity is approximately 20,000 and covers about 11,000 square meters. The ‘Dome’ opened on April 8th, 1998.

Stated Carol Weaving, Managing Director, RX Africa, “The selling of the Ticketpro Dome is extremely disappointing and heartbreaking for our industry. The Ticketpro Dome has been home to many international concerts and events in South Africa, and this will undoubtedly leave a huge void. Unfortunately, as we are only the managing company, we were unable to change the outcome of Sasol Pension Fund (owners of the venue) selling the venue due to force majeure.”

The ‘Biz Community’ further stated that The Dome opened on April 8th, 1998 with a concert by the American singer, Diana Ross, which was graced by over 15,000 people with a special guest appearance by the Late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Over the years, the venue has played host to top international music artistes such as the American singer-songwriters – Pink, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Lauryn Hill, American rapper Pharrell Williams, and Canadian singers Celine Dion and Michael Bublé. On the local front, artistes such as South African rock band Prime Circle, South African indie rock band The Parlotones, South African singer Lira, London-based South African singer Toya Delazy, South African DJ Black Coffee, and musical group Soweto Gospel Choir have graced the stage. South African rapper Cassper Nyovest became the first local artiste to give a sell-out performance in the ‘Dome’. Some 20,000 tickets were sold even before the event, suitably billed ‘Fill Up The Dome’.

On the exhibition front, the ‘Dome’ has been home to many consumers and trade shows such as Homemakers Fair, Rage, Mama Magic Baby Show, Fire and Feast Food Festival, Mediatech Africa, and Africa Automation Technology Fair.

In 2017, the National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa Games were held at the ‘Dome’ and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) International and Disney on Ice (touring ice shows) were also staged in the venue.

The 2017 NBA Africa Game was an exhibition basketball game played on August 5th, 2017 in the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was the second NBA game to take place in the continent of Africa and the first since the NBA Africa Game 2015. The teams involved were Team Africa, featuring NBA players and alumni that were born in or had parents born in Africa, and Team World, featuring NBA players from the rest of the world.

In 2020, the Ticketpro Dome launched the successful Hybrid Studio in response to the global outbreak of coronavirus.

Lamented Projeni Pather, Chairperson, Association of African Exhibition Organisers, “Our sector has been extraordinarily innovative in transforming our offerings to accommodate online participation, but a hybrid event incurs two sets of costs, one for the online component and one for the in-venue aspect. Attendance capacity restrictions make in-person events unviable, and online do not carry the same appeal.”

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