The afternoon after the second show, Klas Bergling walked into his son’s bedroom, woke him up and read him the newspaper review of the shows. “The critics were so nice,” Bergling recalls. “Tim was so proud.”
Now, nine years after those highlight performances and three years after Avicii committed suicide, ASM Global — operators of the Ericsson Globe — have announced that starting Wednesday (May 19) the venue will officially be called the Avicii Arena. The Avicii Estate will not pay for the rights to have its name on the venue, with those expenses covered by Swedish insurance company Trygg-Hansa and Swedish construction retailer Bauhaus, both of which have their own mental health initiatives.
“We want to show Sweden’s young people that the adult world listens and cares,” said Hanna Axelsson, Trygg-Hansa’s communications and marketing manager, in a statement.
This name change is not, however, a purely cosmetic endeavor. The Avicii Arena will serve as a hub for events hosted by the Tim Bergling Foundation, the suicide prevention and mental health awareness organization founded by Klas Bergling and his wife Anki Lidén in the wake of their son’s death. (Foundation-related events will happen alongside the large-scale concerts and sporting events that have been the Arena’s focus since it opened in 1989.) The foundation focuses on suicide prevention among young people worldwide, as suicide is currently the second most common cause for death among people aged 15-29. Tim Bergling was 28 when he took his own life on April 20, 2018.
Planning for such Foundation-related events is currently in progress and will extend through the summer. Bergling anticipates the Avicii Arena will host lectures for student groups, music-related education activities and other education and awareness-based initiatives hosted in conjunction with Foundation partners including Save The Children and Sweden based mental health initiatives SuicideZero, MIND and BRIS. For Bergling, shifting events to the central hub of the Avicii Arena “is an opportunity to reach a much bigger audience.”
Representatives of ASM Global first had the idea for the name change after the success of a Avicii tribute concert, which was hosted at the Stockholm’s Friends Arena, another ASM venue, in December of 2019. The show drew roughly 60,000 fans.
“Hosting the tribute, we knew there was a void left after Tim passed,” ASM Global president and CEO Ron Bension tells Billboard. “The people that run our venues around the world are members of those communities. They know what’s happening, and it’s my job to listen and then throw the weight of ASM Global behind it.”
“They asked if we were open to calling it the Avicii Arena and we were so honored by just the question,” Bergling says. “For us, the possibility of taking the Tim Bergling Foundation into the arena for longterm activity is a very unique opportunity.”
In conjunction with the announcement, the The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded a version of the 2015 Avicii track “For a Better Day” that features 14-year-old Swedish vocalist Ella Tiritiello. Watch the performance below.
This name change is one of several projects currently in motion to commemorate Avicii. Bergling says that The Avicii Experience, a museum chronicling the life and career of the artist, is set to open in Stockholm this November or December. “We are just supporting them [by providing] videos, instruments and things to put out there,” Bergling says.
Additionally, an official Avicii biography written by Swedish investigative journalist and documentary producer Måns Mosesson is set for release in the United States on Nov. 16. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Tim Bergling Foundation.