Standing in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin when it’s totally empty – no big event, no audience – makes you realise how truly massive it is. On 11th May, students at BIMM Berlin had the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of one of Germany’s largest concert and event venues. This experience also gave Music Business students a rare and valuable chance to network with professionals in their industry. It’s not every day that you have the people who run a major venue standing right there in front of you, ready to answer any question that might pop into your mind.
While the students were there, the crew was setting up for an event. Cables were laid; equipment was tested. Every movement the crew made was efficient and assured, which is no surprise given the exceptionally high standards of the event’s presenters, Anschutz Entertainment Group. That evening the basketball team ALBA Berlin was to play a home game against FC Bayern. ALBA was favoured to win but, of course, during our visit this was all just speculation.
With its 60,000m2 of space, this multifunctional hall can hold an audience of up to 17,000, including seats and standing room. And that’s not all: there are 59 entertainment suites, as well as conference and event suites, a World Dinner Restaurant, offices, and backstage dressing rooms (it goes without saying that ALBA Berlin and the Eisbären, Berlin’s ice hockey team, have their own locker rooms!). But the best part is that during the winter months, a state-of-the-art cooling system keeps a thick sheet of ice hidden underneath the floor at game-ready temperature for the entire hockey season. Pretty cool, huh? (Literally.)
When it’s so empty, the arena looks a bit naked. The presenters must bring their own stage and lighting equipment. In fact, to make the perfect show, some promoters turn up with nine tons of gear! But this also means that every show is unique. No one knows that better than Taylor Swift, Madonna, Depeche Mode or U2 – all of whom have played the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Or sports legends like boxer Wladimir Klitschko, who chose the Arena as the place to make his comeback.
There’s no doubt that the Mercedes-Benz Arena is one of the greatest venues out there. It’s a place where big names in entertainment produce big shows for big audiences. And for one afternoon in May, BIMM Berlin students were right in the middle of the action – and not to see an event, but to learn from the greats how best to make one.
This article was written by Anna Jakisch, Communications & Project Manager at Buero-Doering