Design & Development

Court overturns decision to award Vienna arena contract to OVG

Featured image credit: Kronaus Mitterer

Venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group is assessing its options after the Vienna Administrative Court overturned the decision to award it a contract to develop a new 20,000-capacity arena in the Austrian capital.

In July, OVG was selected to lead the construction and operation of the arena following an 18-month process led by the City of Vienna’s Wien Holding company. The process was set up to identify a strategic partner capable of planning, constructing, financing and operating the arena.

At the time, OVG said the arena would become the “best in continental Europe” and allow Vienna to compete with other worldwide capital markets and host more leading events. It had been hoped that work on the €384m (£335m/$405m) project would begin in 2025 and be completed by the end of 2029.

International ticketing and live entertainment provider CTS Eventim had also been in the running to secure the arena contract but ultimately lost out to OVG. However, CTS Eventim lodged a complaint against the decision and the contract award has now been overturned by the Vienna Administrative Court.

Austrian news outlet MeinBezirk has reported that a new tender process is now being worked on by the City of Vienna. Although the decision comes as a blow to OVG, the company plans on going ahead with the project.

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of OVG, said: “Of course we are very disappointed with the result, especially because we have used our global experience to develop and implement the best arena in Europe in Vienna. 

“This beautiful city was always the jewel in Europe’s cultural landscape, but it had no arena to match it. We are pleased that the court assessed our offer as ensuring that we meet all tender requirements and also require the least amount of effort for taxpayers. It is unfortunate that the loser, who also demanded hundreds of millions more in taxpayer money, is able to further delay this important project.

“OVG is the largest arena company in the world. We have projects totalling $10bn in operation or planning. In the last 24 months alone, we have successfully built and opened six new arenas – in addition to our existing 300 other event buildings. We would be very proud to build a new arena for such an outstanding cultural centre, especially since Vienna is the most liveable city in the world.”

Jessica Koravos, president of OVG International, added: “Together with our partners in Vienna, the Oak View Group will now analyse the procedure and decide on the next steps. Should we decide to move forward and continue the process, we remain confident that we can easily overcome the court’s objections and that our project of a bespoke, contemporary venue with state-of-the-art technology will ultimately prevail.”

The City of Vienna launched the planning process for a new arena in 2019 with the aim of creating a “must-play” destination for European music tours and major sporting events such as the Erste Bank ATP 500 tennis tournament, which already takes place in the city.

The venue would be built in Neu Marx, a district of Vienna that has developed in recent years with a focus on the media, cultural and creative industries. The City of Vienna has selected architects Kronaus/Mitterer/Gallister to design the arena, with sustainability, ecology and climate protection to be at the heart of the process.