Spectacular ABBA show ABBA Voyage has sold more than 1 million tickets in just a 18 months in London, as producers of the show start to eye up other cities for the show.
A report into the socio-economic impact of the extraordinary show, commissioned by the producers and conducted by strategy company Sound Diplomacy and social value consultancy RealWorth, said that ABBA Voyage contributed £322.6 million in spending, and £177.7 million in extra economic activity in its first year in London.
The show was the sixth most visited paid attraction in London in 2022, and the report also claims that ABBA Voyage has supported more than 5,000 jobs in London, both directly by the venue, and indirectly through visitor spending.
ABBA Voyage is housed in the specially built, state-of-the-art, 3,000-seater ABBA Arena designed by STUFISH Entertainment Architects, which can be moved and rebuilt in other cities. ABBA Arena takes up a huge 6,710m² space, and is mainly built from timber with a timber cladding.
In the shgow, digital Abbatars take to the stage designed by Hollywood special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, with 1979 digital versions Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad performing live in front of the audience.
Songs performed in the show include Mamma Mia, Voulez-Vous and The Winner Takes it All, alongside a live 10 piece band.
Since the show opened in May 2022 it has proved a huge success with audiences, and garnering great reviews from London critics.
The original planning terms of building the ABBA Arena were that it could stay in its home in Pudding Mill Lane in East London for five years.
This is widely expected to be extended.
Executive producer of ABBA Voyage, Michael Bolingbroke, said in a statement: “The presence of ABBA Voyage is felt in a way that will be enduring. Knowing that in our first full year, the operations of ABBA Voyage has had an economic impact in London of £322 million is extraordinary, and our challenge will be to maintain and grow this number, and to ensure that its effects are long lasting.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The fantastic success of ABBA Voyage shows once again how London is the music capital of the world and is roaring back from the impact of the pandemic. I am so proud that City Hall was able to help ABBA bring this pioneering show to east London, providing huge benefits to both the local area and London’s wider economy.”
Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “ABBA Voyage has been an amazing success for the area and a vibrant addition to the attractions on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”
Is Melbourne next for ABBA Voyage?
Producers of ABBA Voyage are also talking to other cities in the world about new productions of the show.
It was reported in The Age last week that Victoria’s state government in Australia is in “advanced conversations” for a Melbourne version.
Apparently Michael Bolingbroke has been busy scouting locations for the multi-million pound ABBA Arena across Melbourne, and execs met with Paul Dainty, President and CEO of TEG Dainty, which has already secured an option to produce ABBA Voyage in Australia.
Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Steve Dimopoulos, said: “As Australia’s major events capital, we’re always looking at new opportunities and events for our calendar”, but wouldn’t go into specific over ABBA Voyage.
A spokeswoman for ABBA Voyage said: “Michael and our producers were in Melbourne recently meeting with one of our partners TEG. We’re currently exploring options for the concert, but at the moment we’re not in a position to comment on this any further.”
Backers of the concert would split the cost of mounting ABBA Voyage, primarily the Victorian government’s events company Visit Victoria, ABBA Voyage itself, TEG, and local investors.
Sydney in Australia has also been lobbying for the event. Industry group Business Sydney has been pushing its New South Wales government, and conducted their own report saying that the show would deliver more than 2 million visitors from outside New South Wales to Sydney, and bring in a $3.7 billion visitor spend.
However, the New South Wales government seems to have passed on hosting the event.
ABBA Voyage continues its run in London at ABBA Arena in East London, and is currently booking to 25 November 2024.