Wukesong Arena in Beijing has had a troubled first year. Initially taking over a year to open its doors and then getting rid of AEG pretty sharply after they did actually open, the venue has been doing pretty reasonably business over the last 12 months. A string of corporate gigs, the big Usher concert last July, the big NBA game in October and various other bits and bobs have all been nice, but running an international calibre venue in China is a tough business without other revenue streams.
Which is why, in the age of an increasingly brand supported music industry, naming rights for venues like these are not just a nice to have, but vital to profitability. Despite being terminated as building management, AEG China were retained to focus on naming rights, and at the back end of last week, they came up trumps, pulling in Mastercard on a long term deal. Similar to the Shanghai MB Arena whose deal with Mercedes stipulates a set number of shows per year, there will be a show minimum at Wukesong, so we can expect more big name international stars coming through China over the next 5 years.