Arriving for the first time ever on New Zealand stages, the record-breaking musical production of The Lion King leads a new era for Auckland’s Spark Arena.

Since premiering in November 1997, The Lion King has been seen by more than 100 million people, in over 100 cities across 20 countries – making it the most successful musical in theatrical history.

When tickets went on sale for The Lion King’s New Zealand season, fan excitement couldn’t have been higher– with the season going on to sell more than 130,000 tickets during its three-week Auckland run, and breaking the record for the fastest-selling musical theatre show in New Zealand.

To cope with the extraordinary demand, additional dates and matinee performances were added to the Spark Arena season.

Best known for regularly hosting the biggest local and international touring artists, the 12,000-seat indoor stadium has quickly adapted in 2021. 

Alongside hosting The Lion King, promoter Live Nation – the operator of Spark Arena – also sold more than 250,000 tickets to its Van Gogh Alive immersive art gallery experience across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, a record attendance for a New Zealand exhibition.

Other first events for the Arena include hosting the world’s most Instagrammable exhibit Happy Place, a church service, and a university graduation – with nearly half a million tickets sold for the arena between March 2020 and now.

Welcoming more than 5.5 million fans through its doors since opening in 2007, Spark Arena is currently the busiest arena in the world.

Justin Pule, Managing Director at Ticketmaster New Zealand said: “The success of The Lion King at Spark Arena, and of their new direction including events such as Van Gogh Alive and Happy Place, is testament to the excitement New Zealand fans have to continue returning to live events. We are excited to continue working alongside Spark Arena as they innovate through the current climate, and we look forward to many more record-breaking events in the future,”

Mark Kneebone, Managing Director at Live Nation New Zealand said: “It’s no secret 2020 has been a tough year for all venues, including Spark Arena. But it has also shown the resilience of our venue and our teams who have shown great innovation and worked tirelessly on bringing high-calibre events such as The Lion King, Van Gogh Aliveand Happy Place to Auckland. It has been great to see hundreds of thousands of fans walk through the arena doors in 2021 and proves Spark Arena is a world-class venue.”