VETERAN REGIONAL figure Thomas Oversen, now working with Saudi Arabian government-owned Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), believes the county’s growing interest in live entertainment will help the wider region, once the Covid-19 crisis has passed.
He says the acquisition of a 5.7 per cent stake in Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) is “very good news”.
“The regional industry will be looking forward to seeing how this deal and [Saudi Arabia’s] influence in the company … will result in more top content and programming for the region in general and the Kingdom in particular.
“Strategically it looks like a very smart move to buy when share prices are down, but moreover at these challenging times seeing such a fantastic commitment to the world of live entertainment is just incredibly encouraging for the global industry.”
Formerly of United Arab Emirate promoters 117 Live and Done Events, Oversen returned to promoting in January last year after spending 12 months as chief programmer at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena (17,000).
He is now entertainment director at DGDA, which is developing the ruins at former Saudi capital, Diriyah, in order to accommodate an entertainment complex housing a 15,000-capacity arena.
Last year Oversen oversaw seven concerts in Diriyah by acts including Imagine Dragons and Maluma.
With around half of Saudi Arabia’s 35 million population aged under 30, LNE Middle East president James Craven tells Audience, “The Saudi Arabian market is opening up very quickly and demand is strong.”