By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
The venture will see Thailand become the first country in Southeast Asia for the development of AEG’s arenas and entertainment complexes.
Supaluck Umpujh, chairwoman of The Mall Group, said that the new developments are in line with the company’s mission and goals that are set to elevate Bangkok and Thailand to become the leading retail and entertainment hub in Asia.
She said that The Mall Group holds two-thirds of the joint venture, while the rest is owned by AEG.
Supaluck said that the development of the first arena and entertainment complex, Em Live at the EmSphere, will be on a 16-rai plot on Sukhumvit Road, near Benjasiri Park in a prime downtown district of the capital. It will cost about Bt3.5 billion, with the arena accounting for 7,000 square metres of building space and having a capacity to seat about 6,000 people. The arena will be opened in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Arena at the Bangkok Mall will developed at KM 1 of Bangna-Trat Road, opposite the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Bitec). The arena will have 40,000 square metres of indoor building space and a further 20,000 square metres of outdoor space. Costing Bt6.5 billion, the arena will have seating for about 16,000 and is scheduled to open in 2023.
Adam Wilkes, president and chief executive officer of AEG Asia, said that Southeast Asia is going through a transformation. As incomes rise and spending power increases, consumers in the region are demanding more sophisticated entertainment experiences.
“For AEG, we are a big dreamer. In every dream, we share together with someone else. With The Mall Group, we have the same dream and the same kind of business philosophy. We share a common vision, which is to create immersive experiences, which are something that cannot be duplicated anywhere else,” said Wilkes.
“For The Mall Group, we have not only found an outstanding partner, but an innovative company that is led by an insightful and forward-thinking leader, Khun Supaluck. The company shares our vision for creating best-in-class destination experiences and our partnership will bring unique entertainment districts to the city that will redefine and revolutionise Bangkok’s entertainment scene. These two significant developments will be a game-changer giving even greater opportunity to Bangkok and Thailand to become the most important retail and entertainment hub in Southeast Asia.”
Wilkes said that AEG is looking to expand its portfolio of arenas and other entertainment complexes - as well as its content business, such as for music and sport events - all over the world and with a strong focus in Asia. “However, the expansion depends heavily on uncontrolled commercial and government factors, such as finding the land and right partner,” he said. “However, Bangkok is very lucky in that everything comes together in the right way.”
He said that this partnership, which marks AEG’s first major investment in Southeast Asia, expands the proven entertainment district model to the region and demonstrates the company’s strong commitment to Thailand. Over the last decade, Bangkok and Thailand have seen rapid urbanisation and changing consumption trends, and is a market with great potential, driven by an expanding middle-class with growing spending power and demand for premium experiences. He noted that Thailand has been named one of the world’s most visited tourism destinations, which welcomed more than 38 million international travellers in 2017 and this number is expected to reach 42 million this year.
As the co-owner and operator of both entertainment venues, AEG will be responsible for the management and operation of the two arenas, as well as working together with The Mall Group and its alliances on the marketing of events, including those for entertainment, the music industry, live performances, sport events, along with MICE and arts and cultural events.