SGA Fastigheter, owner of the Ericsson Globe, has called for “innovative and creative solutions” from companies across the world as it seeks to secure the future of the Stockholm arena for the next three decades.

Ericsson Globe, the world’s largest spherical building, opened in the Swedish capital in 1989, but SGA Fastigheter recently launched a procurement process to find solutions for scaling down the arena space.

Under ‘Globe 2.0’, SGA Fastigheter hopes to transform the arena into a venue that can quickly adapt from accommodating 14,000 visitors to around 6,000. “The Ericsson Globe was originally built to host the local ice hockey teams in Stockholm, as well as the national team, and serve as a multi-purpose venue for other sports, concerts and business events,” Mats Viker, CEO of SGA Fastigheter, told TheStadiumBusiness.com.

“The capacity for ice hockey is 13,850, but after a number of years the ice hockey clubs had problems attracting more than 6,000 to 8,000 spectators. The venue is huge in volume, and with only 8,000 spectators at an ice hockey game there is a lack of atmosphere.

“In 2007 the clubs decided to move back to the old ice hockey venue, Hovet, which was built in 1955 and today has a capacity of 8,100. Hovet is loved and worshipped among ice hockey fans due to the spectacular atmosphere. But Hovet is very old and is not possible to remodel for the benefit of business to business use.

“The venue is simple, and there are very small areas for business guests. It is impossible for the teams to increase their business (revenues) at Hovet. The venue is also very big in volume for other events, sports and concerts that attract lower numbers of visitors. Those are the reasons we would like to find ways to downscale the arena, in order to have events of different size.”

Viker says SGA Fastigheter has turned to the global marketplace having encountered barriers in its own investigations into transforming the Globe. He admits: “We have tried to investigate different concepts, together with a number of skilled consultants, but all of these resulted in solutions that gave us new problems and risks.

“Instead, we have worked together with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), (ice hockey team) Djurgårdens IF and Stockholm Live (part of ASM Global) to find out what we want to achieve. Instead of turning to the market with a given solution, we are asking the market what they can do to help us achieve our vision.

“Today, we honestly do not know what the result or the solution will be. It’s exciting to wait until we can see what kind of innovative and creative solutions very skilled companies will come up with. We are seeking proposals from those who can help us make the Globe great again.”

Like many major sports and entertainment venues across the world, the Globe is currently dealing with the impact of COVID-19. The global pandemic has decimated events calendars for arenas large and small, and Viker said the venues under SGA Fastigheter’s wing are working to address this.

He added: “COVID-19 affects us, as it does everyone else in the business. All events are postponed or cancelled. The venues owned by us – Ericsson Globe, Hovet, Annexet and Tele2 Arena, are all operated by Stockholm Live. They are working hard to find new ways of retaining revenue and on how to restart the business.

“The Swedish football season is postponed, the season is normally played April-November, but there hopes to start in June this year. In that case the full season will be played. The 2019-20 ice hockey season was cancelled when the playoffs were about to start. But all teams played the full regular season.”