Australia’s live events industry is leading the way for a return to normality across the world, with TEG currently at the helm of directing that charge with its Greatest Southern Nights shows kicking off this weekend.

Speaking at this month’s TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020, Geoff Jones, chief executive of TEG, explained that Australia’s first arena concerts since March 2020 will be a “stepping stone” to bringing fans back to live events more broadly in Australia and globally. Attendees can watch the session in full here.

The two 6,000-capacity gigs at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena have come to fruition after Ticketek-owner TEG and Live Nation teamed up with the New South Wales Government. Jones said that the shows are vital for the industry because they will be able to show health and government authorities that big live concerts can be staged safely.

Jones explains that the Greatest Southern Nights is a step towards giving the people within the live events industry confidence, through jobs and restarting, in addition to giving fans confidence that it is safe to attend indoor events, and demonstrating to authorities that the industry can reopen without fear of transmission.

He pointed to the “tremendously positive” steps taken in the sports industry across Australia, with 100-per-cent capacity at some events and 50 per cent across most others. Last week, almost 50,000 fans packed into the 52,000-seat Lang Park stadium in Brisbane for the State of Origin rugby league match between Queensland and New South Wales, marking Australia’s largest sporting event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked how this weekend’s events will remain COVID Safe, he explained: “Our contact tracing over here is down to a fine art – everyone is still a bit on edge, but by and large life is reasonably normal. However, business for our industry is not normal and we’re still profoundly affected by the pandemic, but we’re fighting back and trying to create our own destiny.”

He added: “We will be narrow testing on some smart technology for keeping people away from each other – but we can mainly track everyone through Ticketek, which has sold 1.5 million tickets in the last few months. So for Ticketek, it’s a pretty well-trodden path and we’re confident about contact tracing at these events.”

Jones also noted that TEG is soon to announce a major tour for November next year, as well as an arena tour of a major international act. When asked how sales are going for the company amidst the backdrop of a pandemic, Jones said he has been “pleasantly surprised.”

“I think people are still buying very strongly when there’s some distance away and quality artists always sell,” Jones said. “In the short term there is still some caution – people aren’t necessarily flooding back to things as we would think. There’s a perception of events indoor vs outdoor, but we’re pleasantly surprised by the buying patterns.”

He added: “We’ve certainly doubled down on planning for our Australian acts. Our TEG Live business has already got two Australian arena tours on sale and we’ll probably have another three or four in the next three months and into next year.

“We’ve taken the view of ‘let’s get out there.’ This (Greatest Summer Nights) is not about TEG, this is about the industry and us playing our little part in galvanising the industry.”

Save the date: TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2021 takes place between 21-23 June, 2021…