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ASM Global’s Harvey Lister looks to ‘full revival’ of live events in 2022

ASM Global’s Harvey Lister looks to ‘full revival’ of live events in 2022
February 14, 2021

Harvey Lister, APAC Chairman and Chief Executive of ASM Global (Asia Pacific) has shared his thoughts on the revival of the Australian and international live performance industry.

In an exclusive interview feature in the latest issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Lister explains how ASM Global has handled the challenges of Coronavirus, his thoughts on the live sector's recovery and his ongoing commitment to the live experience.

Looking beyond the current Coronavirus enforced venue closures and the halt in international touring, Lister advised “I think a full revival will be more likely in Q1 and Q2 in 2022 when we’ll be back to the types of revenue figures that we were seeing before the Coronavirus.”

Commenting on how the market will look at that time, Lister stated “the Australian marketplace has a flood of international talent just waiting to come and re-engage with this country because of the way that our governments have dealt with suppressing the virus so far.

“There is a lot of confidence that we will be able to come screaming out of the blocks in late 2021, starting with strong touring line-ups of Australian talent and, when borders open, international talent.

“We think we will be back to the numbers of 2019, which for our company was our strongest year ever, in 2022 and 2023.”

In dealing with the challenges of Coronavirus, Lister acknowledges that “JobKeeper has been a godsend for our industry and I think it’s done precisely what the Federal Government wanted it to do and that is to keep the employees engaged with their employers.”

Mindful of reports that suggest different patterns of consumer behaviour and particularly the growth of in-home entertainment during lockdowns, Lister emphasises “live events aren’t going anywhere”, going on to point to the example that “people have suggested that streaming was the end of live music and that everybody will just sit in their lounge room and be able to listen to things much cheaper than going and seeing an act live ... for consumers, every event they go to that’s live, has the potential to deliver something truly extraordinary.”

In terms of infrastructure, Lister is confident that governments around the world will continue to inject capital into facilities, pointing out that “they are looking for shovel ready projects, facilities that will be built and operational within three to four years.

“We think over the next few years we will see significant upgrades to existing venues and new facilities in many places and across Asia, into the Middle-East and in India we see enormous opportunities for us as a business.

“We are just now waiting for some of those decisions to be taken once everybody gets some more certainty about how vaccines will work.

“So, we are very positive. I think we will operate our venues a little differently in the future, as we’ve had to do when terrorist incidents in other parts of the world caused us to rethink things. With COVID-19 we will have done the same thing.”

As for ASM Global (Asia Pacific)’s own major infrastructure plan, the Brisbane Live - a $2 billion redevelopment at the Roma Street railyards in Brisbane’s CBD that will create a world class entertainment precinct - Lister advises “I’m very confident that Brisbane Live is going to happen.

“The Queensland Government has agreed the delivery of the Cross River Rail project, has their plans complete and the two massive tunnel boring machines are now starting work.Government can now start planning how the above-ground entertainment precinct will look.

“I think work on Brisbane Live could start around the end of 2023, or early 2024, which is sort of within the timelines of what we have always thought would be the timeline for the delivery of the project.”

The latest issue of Australasian Leisure Management magazine also includes features on re-imagining the patron journey in a post-COVID-19 world, the Sydney Motorsport Park, contactless technology, how the fitness industry will perform through 2021, the incorporation of sustainable practices in facility design, an overview of the new Ashfield Aquatic Centre and the digital future of sport.

Click here to subscribe to Australasian Leisure Management magazine.

Images: Harvey Lister (top), the ASM Global (Asia Pacific)-managed Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai (middle) and the concept for Brisbane Live (below).

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