Posted Jul 23, 2022, 11:01 AM
Sunday, the last stage of the 109e edition of the Tour de France will leave from Paris La Défense Arena, the largest venue in Europe (40,000 seats, 20,000 in this configuration). Comfortably seated in the stands of the modular enclosure which also houses Racing 92 in residence during the Top 14 rugby season, fans of the little queen will enjoy free entertainment with tightrope walkers and DJs, the presentation of the 22 teams, the passage of the advertising caravan and the champions of the Grande Boucle leaving for the Champs-Elysées.
Since its opening in October 2017, the Paris La Défense Arena has established itself in hosting French sports competitions, as will be the case during the 2024 Olympics, where it will be transformed into an Olympic swimming pool for swimming events. However, it is above all a concert hall, as its CEO Frédéric Longuépée reminds us, appointed in the spring by the owner of the premises, the businessman Jacky Lorenzetti who chose it for his “long experience of the sports and entertainment industry”, with the mission of “giving new impetus to Paris La Défense Arena” after two years of pandemic.
Former president of the Girondins de Bordeaux, former general manager of the French Tennis Federation and former deputy general manager in charge of commercial activities for PSG, Frédéric Longuépée was also a high-level athlete in artistic gymnastics.
He arrives in a changing landscape. The Accor Arena in Bercy (10,000-20,000 seats) is opening a second room with 3,400 seats, while an Arena for 6,000 to 9,000 supporters will open at the Chapel for the Olympics. ” This is a good thing. Generation Z, which in 2026 will be the most active class of consumers, is very interested in behind-the-scenes sports and artists. As for the brands, they increasingly like the conviviality of sport and music to address their targets,” points out Frédéric Longuépée, quoting Foncia, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with the Black Eyed Peas in a 10,000-seat configuration. .
He notes a real resumption of shows and business conventions, from the Givenchy fashion show at the end of March to the Go Entrepreneurs show in April (“Les Echos Le Parisien” group). “The two Bruce Springsteen dates for May 2023, i.e. 80,000 seats, left in a few hours, the same for Orelsan with a second date put on sale. In 2022 we will host 60 events, and even more in 2023, compared to 30 in 2019. For the rugby season which starts in September, 4 out of 15 matches will be relocated for the benefit of concerts, our backbone”, continues the CEO.
Since the inauguration of the site, and despite an interruption between DJ Snake on February 22, 2020 and Genesis on March 16, 2022, no less than 3 million people have visited the Arena.
To further strengthen the customer experience, the workforce will increase from 70 to 100 people, with an emphasis on the commercial and digital professions. “It is a strong signal of our desire to support the recovery and the return to the rooms”, judges the CEO, while the Arena has suffered with the health crisis.
“A PGE of 15 million was contracted and Jacky Lorenzetti reinvested 20 million. We are implementing a 3-5 year plan to repay debt and generate revenue. We are expecting a turnover of 50 million for the financial year from 1er July to June 30, 2023 and a gross operating profit of more than one million”, confides the manager.
Hospitality is an important source of revenue with 95 boxes for 12 people (rented for 140,000 euros per year), 16 or 20, and 8 lounges for 80 to 100 guests, i.e. an overall capacity of 2,800 VIPs, served in catering by the caterer for Sodexo, Lenôtre.