The AccorHotels Arena is more used to Drake than dressage, but that’s all set to change this week when the Paris venue stages equestrian sports’ FEI World Cup finals.

Once the famous Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, AccorHotels Arena is among the busiest in the world as it is the No.1 stop-off point in France for the world’s biggest acts. The AEG and City of Paris-operated venue’s capacity is around 20,000 for concerts and 15,000 for most sporting events.

U2, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber and Adele are among those to have played there over the last few years, with Katy Perry scheduled for May. Tennis stars are also regulars, with the Paris Masters taking place at the venue annually. It will host judo and basketball at the 2024 Olympic Games.

But this week it’s horses that will be the focus for fans and the operators themselves, with the prospect of welcoming and housing dozens of animals presenting a unique challenge.

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The stars’ rider demands at the AccorHotels Arena will usually include Champagne and other goodies, but procurement considerations will be very different for this week’s FEI World Cup finals.

The venue is planning for two tonnes of hay, 25 tonnes of litter and no less than 200 m3 of manure. Other provisions include 3,690 m2 of track and 738 m3 or 1,200 tonnes of sand.

“It’s a challenge to be able to host such a competition,” says Alexandra Berthet, the arena’s director of partnerships, marketing and communication.

Stars of the show jumping and dressage worlds such as Mclain Ward and Isabell Werth have attracted fans from across the world, and AccorHotels Arena said more than 30% of ticket sales came from outside France.

“We are very proud to host two prestigious FEI indoor competitions, an event of international renown that attracts a passionate audience from all over the world,” added Berthet.

“It’s a good opportunity for the AccorHotels Arena to have visibility in France but also internationally thanks to media coverage.”

Important allies

Just like this week’s visitors, the AccorHotels Arena, which has undergone extensive refurbishment in the last few years, prides itself on overcoming hurdles as it meets the challenges of each of its shows. Recently, the French electro duo Justice asked engineers from CNRS, France’s leading science agency, to participate in designing the show!

The venue puts innovation at the heart of its planning, as Berthet told TheStadiumBusiness: “We are attentive to technological developments in the world of entertainment. Shows are our first source of inspiration, stage setting is often at the forefront of technology and artists offer more and more innovative shows.

“The venue partners are also important allies in the race for technology. AccorHotels, Samsung or Coca-Cola, amongst others, are innovative companies in their field of activity and we collaborate closely.

“Finally, we are paying attention to new services developed in venues or landmarks similar to ours.”

Images: AccorHotels Arena / Passion Photo Paris / Loll Willems