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Berlin to go, english edition, 02/2016

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PROFILE Arena of the

PROFILE Arena of the Stars Michael Hapka, CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group Mr. Hapka, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of live entertainment and sports. It operates large arenas and theaters, including Mercedes-Benz Arena, where there seems to be a revolving door of international stars like Adele, Madonna and U2. What makes this arena so attractive? Berlin is now at the top of the itinerary for almost every touring artist, which was not always the case. For big stars, Mercedes-Benz Arena offers not only plenty of audience capacity, but excellent production conditions and topnotch acoustics as well. For each event, we strive to deliver optimal conditions and first-class service for our audience, so that these emotional, sometimes once-in-a-lifetime experiences become wonderful memories – this is what drives us. But these days, many visitors also want to spend concerts or sporting events in a special setting where they can indulge their own guests – in a “premium” environment. Whether it’s just for you and one other person, or for an entire group, no other arena in Germany offers this segment such a wide range of possibilities – and with an accordingly high level of service. How will Berlin gain from the Entertainment District planned for the area next to Mercedes-Benz Arena? Just in front of the arena, a new plaza is being developed that will reflect all aspects of urban life. It will include a multifaceted entertainment structure and an attractive public square where residents, tourists and the thousands of people working here in the neighborhood can all spend time. There will also be hotels, shopping venues and a wide variety of restaurants and cafés. In our immediate vicinity lies Berlin’s vibrant, organically evolving district of Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain; and, of course, the Spree and the East Side Gallery are just a stone’s throw away. In short, old meets new to create a location mix unique to Berlin. Which international metropolis would you compare most closely to Berlin? I’ve often thought about this, but I always come to the conclusion that Berlin cannot really be compared to any other city I know of. It’s either that the cityscape is completely different, the cost of living is much higher, traffic is worse or the climate just doesn’t measure up. From any angle, Berlin always comes away from these comparisons looking very good. In many respects, we have the conditions for a good quality of life, comparatively moderate prices and dynamic development, and yet – for a metropolis – Berlin still feels rather cozy. About… Michael Hapka has been CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group Operations GmbH since 2013. Prior to that, he served as CEO of Aspria Germany for ten years. Michael Hapka began his career in the hospitality trade with training in hotel management. He subsequently studied business administration. The 54-year-old is married and has two children. Where do you see further development potential for the city? I would be happy if the senate were a bit more determined in tackling administrative reforms, so that the citizens of Berlin could settle regulatory issues faster and more easily. The city should accelerate procedural interactions between district and senate-level authorities. For example, the urgently needed construction of new school buildings is proceeding much too slowly. If we can’t manage to implement infrastructural measures more quickly, Berlin will suffer as a desired location. Interview by Gabriele Schulte-Kemper Photos: Anschutz Entertainment Group LEGAL NOTICE Berlin to go Business news to take away is a Berlin Partner publication Published by: LASERLINE Verlags- und Mediengesellschaft mbH Scheringstrasse 1 · 13355 Berlin-Mitte Tel.: +49 30-467096770 Ads: Heidrun Berger, Falko Hoffmann E-mail: anzeigen_BTG@laser-line.de Tel.: +49 30-467096-777 Publisher: Berlin Partners Holding Capital City Marketing Ltd. Fasanenstrasse 85 · 10623 Berlin Managing Directors: Andrea Joras, Dr. Stefan Franzke Managing Editor: Annabell Dörksen (V.i.S.d.P.) E-mail: annabell.doerksen@berlin-partner.de Tel.: +49 30-46302599 Managing Director: Tomislav Bucec Editors: Gabriele Schulte-Kemper (gsk), Anke Templiner (at), Immanuel Ayx (ima) Editorial staff: Christin Berges (cb), Ines Hein (ih), Eva Scharmann (es), Ernestine von der Osten-Sacken (vdo), Simone Fendler (sf), Heike Herckelrath (hh) Translation: Barbara Serfozo Layout and graphics: Hans-Albert Löbermann, Anja Sadowski, Daniel Isbrecht, Till Schermer Production: LASERLINE Druckzentrum Berlin KG Scheringstrasse 1 · 13355 Berlin-Mitte www.laser-line.de Concept and design: LASERLINE Verlags- und Mediengesellschaft mbH Copies printed: 2,000. Any media data used in this publication are taken from December 2015. 34 BERLIN TO GO

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