The exhibitions, events, and entertainment industry has suffered another devastating blow after the announcement of the Ticketpro Dome at Northgate in Johannesburg will be closing down.
RX Venue Management, which has managed the venue for 20 years, said that venue has been sold by its owners – the Sasol Pension Fund – to a third party that does not operate in the events space.
“This is another devasting blow for the exhibitions, events, and entertainment industry due to Covid-19. The ban on public gatherings has meant that during 2020 – and now 2021 – the Ticketpro Dome has been unable to operate,” it said.
The Dome opened in 1998, and served as a key event hall for many international artists and exhibitions, as well as trade shows and fairs. It has also hosted sporting tournaments such as the NBA Africa Games, and the WWE International.
To combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions on gatherings, the Dome launched a ‘hybrid event’ model in 2020 that facilitated online interactions.
However, this incurred two costs – for both the physical and online aspects of events – with the events themselves lacking the full in-person experience that were drawcards, to begin with.
Carol Weaving, MD of RX Africa said the sale is “extremely disappointing and heartbreaking for our industry”.
“The Ticketpro Dome has been home to many international concerts and events in South Africa, and this will undoubtedly leave a huge void.
Unfortunately, as we are only the managing company, we were unable to change the outcome of Sasol Pension Fund selling the venue due to force majeure.”
The official handover of the venue will be on 7 September 2021.
RX warned that the fate of the Ticketpro Dome is an alarm bell for the events industry, and called on the government to address the dire situation for businesses in this sector.
“The South African Events Council (SAEC) has been lobbying the government, since its inception in 2020, to let the live events industry operate within Covid-19 safety regulations.
If shopping centres can operate so too should event and exhibition venues. SAEC wants the government to allow venues to operate at 50% capacity so that the industry can start rebuilding,” it said.
“The Ticketpro Dome is the latest causality of not being able to operate and the consequences of its closure will have a ripple effect on the South African economy.
It is too late for the Ticketpro Dome, but may its final curtain call be a sober reminder that there needs to be drastic rethinking on how the South Africa government views our industry.”
South African rapper, Cassper Nyovest become the first local artist to sell out the Dome. Some 20,000 tickets were sold even before the event, suitably billed ‘Fill Up The Dome’.