Madonna in Hong Kong: Will the Queen of Pop finally get into the HK groove and, if so, where will she play?
Pop legend Madonna is being strongly tipped to make her Hong Kong debut in February - despite the city's lack of big venues to accommodate top international stars.
Industry sources say the "Queen of Pop" is likely to fit Hong Kong into the Asia-Pacific leg of her Rebel Heart Tour next year.
Madonna will play two shows in Manila on February 24 and 25, followed by March dates including her debut in Auckland, New Zealand, and her first Australian gigs in 23 years, in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Tour organiser Live Nation declined to comment, but it has been reported that the Grammy-winning star would perform not just in Hong Kong but also in Taiwan and Macau.
Industry insiders say Hong Kong has missed out on a host of big-name musicians, with the likes of Paul McCartney, Depeche Mode and John Mayer passing on visits to the city. The lack of a suitable venue is understood to be a major reason.
McCartney played Seoul's Jamsil Olympic Stadium, which holds 69,950, and Tokyo's Budokan arena and Tokyo Dome - seating 20,000 and 50,000 respectively - earlier this year.
"The venues in Hong Kong aren't big enough to cater to large-scale performances," said one concert promoter who declined to be named. "The Coliseum only has about 10,000, and you cannot stage an all-standing concert. AsiaWorld-Arena has a maximum capacity of 14,000."
Concerts at the ageing Hong Kong Stadium have long been ruled out on noise grounds.
Without a massive venue, local organisers' only option is to pay a fortune to bring artists and their entourages over. Last year, Forbes reported a leaked list of artists' rates that revealed it cost US$1 million to get Madonna to play just one concert.
Since her 1983 debut, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, making her the best-selling female recording artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records.
Reports said tickets for the show would cost up to HK$4,000.
Hong Yiu-sun travelled to Osaka in 2006 to catch Madonna's Confessions Tour at the 36,477-capacity Kyocera Dome.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience," Hong recalled of the show, for which he paid HK$2,000 for his ticket. "From the production to the quality of the music, stage design and atmosphere, it was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It was worth making a trip just for one concert."