News

 
Adele Hints ‘25’ Tour Is Her Last
 
Posted: 29 Jun 2017, 8:13 am
Pop superstar Adele has hinted that her current tour for Grammy-winning album 25 will be her last.

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Afghan Whigs’ Dave Rosser Dies
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 7:48 pm
Dave Rosser, best known as the guitarist for Afghan Whigs, died after battling colon cancer June 27. He was 50 years old.

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Asia: SMAP, Movie Animation Park Studios, Chung Myung-whun
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 7:32 pm
SMAP Stars Leaving Management, Movie Animation Park Opens, Korean Conductor Cleared Of Charges, ...

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Tour Bus Ignites
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 7:08 pm
Hundredth and Being as an Ocean were on their way to their next set for Vans Warped Tour when their tour bus caught fire in St. Louis June 27.

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The Struggle In Greece Continues
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 6:18 pm
Greek promoter Giannis Paltoglou says that ?from September onwards we?ll have serious problems with the government."

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Song From Prince’s Father Arrives Today
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 6:16 pm
A new song from Prince?s late father, produced at Paisley Park, is being released Thursday to celebrate what would have been his 101st birthday.

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Rock Hall To Open New $15M 'Power of Rock' Exhibit
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 6:01 pm
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is opening a $15 million exhibit this weekend that will give fans a taste of the hall's famous induction ceremonies.

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Up To $100,000 of Damage at Mizzou Arena
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

The gate at Mizzou Arena, Columbia, that Nathaniel J. Conant allegedly slammed through early Sunday morning, June 25.

Former Missouri University, Columbia, student Nathaniel J. Conant, 23, was arrested June 25 after he allegedly drove his car through Mizzou Arena, causing thousands of dollars in damages in the process.

“At 4 o’clock in the morning he drove his car down our loading ramp area through a sliding gate that was secured; he completely blew through that,” said Nicholas Britton, director of facility operations, Mizzou athletics. “Then without hitting his brakes he went another 150 feet through the overhead door and never hit his brakes once.”

During his early morning joy ride, Conant drove his Volkswagen Passat onto school premises and onto Norm Stewart Court, inside of Mizzou Arena. His vehicle managed to leave treadmarks and dispense antifreeze onto the hardwood floors. The damage to the court is not thought to be permanent. Though the court will be fine, other areas of the arena faced serious damage.

“We’re still in the process of getting some quotes for some things,” said Britton. “The biggest thing is we have a big sliding security gate that got completely damaged, a 13-foot wide by 16-foot tall overhead door, that’s probably completely damaged. The police put out there initially like $100,000, but I think we’ll be in the neighborhood of anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 in hard costs.”

This incident has left many at Missouri University puzzled and frustrated that someone's ill-advised actions would put the school in such a situation.

“It’s unfortunate that people decide to do silly things," said Britton. “It’s disappointing because you work so hard to take care of the facilities. To have an idiot come through and destroy everything you work for makes you kind of sad.”

There weren't any employees on the scene at the time of the incident. According to Mizzou athletics, there is a command center on the weekend with part-time staff.  The staff usually leaves at 11 p.m.

Sunday morning, when the first on the scene arrived at approximately 7 a.m., they notified Missouri University Police Department and the Mizzou athletic department of the incident.

This is a situation that no one could've foreseen. Though this was a costly mistake by a lone vandal, Mizzou athletics doesn't plan on changing their security protocol in the near future.

"You hope that something like this doesn’t happen again,” said Britton. “Obviously we’re making sure folks are aware of who to call, where to go, what to do and to make sure the necessary protocols are in place. There are nights where we have 24-hour security, but on normal nights they’re not merited. So I don’t see us doing anything drastic to change protocol or anything."

Conant graduated from Missouri University in 2016 with a degree in English. He worked as an event assistant for the Southeastern Conference Network. He has since been let go. Prior to graduating, Conant worked as a student employee in athletics.

Conant has been charged with four counts of first-degree property damage and second-degree burglary, two of which are felonies. He was released on $10,500 bail. 
 

 

 

 


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AEG Invests In Esports Franchise Immortals
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm

Immortals team members playing at an eSports tournament.

AEG has acquired a minority stake in eSports franchise Immortals, joining current stakeholders Lionsgate, Michael Milken and Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Steve Kaplan, among others.

As part of the investment, Immortals will host their Los Angeles-based tournaments and events at AEG’s sports and entertainment district, L.A. Live.

The Immortals investment marks the latest step in AEG’s eSports initiative. Last September, the company entered a long-term global partnership with ESL, the world’s largest eSports company, which enables ESL to utilize AEG’s global network of more than 120 clubs, theaters, arenas and stadiums for qualifying events, tournaments and world championships.

“AEG has engaged in the eSports space for several years now, having hosted tournaments on our L.A. Live campus and several other AEG venues,” said Todd Goldstein, chief revenue officer, AEG. “This specific conversation (about Immortals) started about eight weeks ago.

"We like the people, we like the concept and we’re big fans of the Immortals franchise. We like their future as well as the individual ownership group that exists.” 

AEG is a forward-thinking company, especially with its L.A. Live campus being known for being the best in entertainment and "we believe eSports is a growing enterprise that will have more and more of these physical locations that will host these various events,” he added.

Goldstein believes AEG can bring its expertise to play with their vast resources to make the L.A. Live home events shine.

“They have a team and a franchise and we’re going to review all the titles and we’re excited about the future for the team.”

Goldstein said that AEG is “an enthusiastic minority partner” and at the moment AEG is not looking to buy into any other eSports teams.

“From a venues standpoint I think this is a unique piece of what venues can host and participate in over the course of the next decade,” he said. “It’s a very exciting space and we want to make it a great experience for everyone who comes to watch one of these events.”

Founded in 2015, Immortals competes worldwide before more than 200 million fans in global tournaments including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Overwatch and Super Smash Brothers. 

Noah Whinston, Immortals CEO, said he founded the company after finding out he was better at managing an eSports team than playing on one. “Before founding the team I was a casual fan with a knack for business,” said Whinston. “I was never close to this level player.”

Immortals has multiple teams comprised of 23 players. “Some teams have seven players; some have three,” he said. Currently some teams play two to three games a month and other teams are in a league with games followed by playoff games.

When we were thinking about ways to expand the Immortals brand we saw holding live events in the Los Angeles area crucial to our success, he said. “No one does live events better than AEG. L.A. Live is a beautiful campus and will offer us a lot of flexibility.”

“AEG has a unique set of skills and resources,” said Whinston. “Bringing them in was a no-brainer for us.”

The global eSports market generates more than $493 million in revenues with an audience of more than 115 million regular viewers.  By 2020, the market is expected to grow to $1.5 billion in revenues.

With its investment in Immortals, AEG joins a group led by Managing Director of  Crosscut Ventures and Chairman of Immortals Clinton Foy and CEO Noah Whinston; Lionsgate and its President of Interactive Ventures & Games Peter Levin; former financier Michael Milken; co-founder of Oaktree Capital and co-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies Steve Kaplan; Managing Director of March Capital Partners Gregory Milken; Third Wave entrepreneur Allen DeBevoise; Redpoint Ventures partner Brad Jones; former SVP and General Counsel at Activision Greg Deutsch; Machine Shop, the venture capital arm of the band Linkin Park; Upfront Ventures partner Greg Bettenelli; and former Honest Company CEO Brian Lee.

Lionsgate's Levin, has held a stake in Immortals for about two years.

“I’ve been in and around competetive gaming for well over a decade,” said Levin. “What attracted me specifically to Immortals was the management team of Clinton Foy and Noah Whinston who are as strong an executive team as one could back. My experience as an investor is to back people, knowing that businesses need to maneuver as the marketplace matures. The quality of the investors attracted to the enterprise was also highly attractive.”

Levin said that after Kaplan and Milken and Lionsgate came aboard, which all had ties to AEG, bringing in the company was a natural play. “If you are going to operate a geographically-focused and promotion- and venue-oriented business in Los Angeles, there is no better contemplative partner than AEG. What they have done with the L.A. Live footprint is nothing short of breathtaking.”

"We’re very excited to have them onboard," he said. “AEG’s acumen in putting on events and bringing marketing partners to initiatives like Immortals will be invaluable going forward. Prior to them coming aboard we didn’t have that. It checks multiple boxes with a well-heeled partner in the marketplace we are routing.”

Levin said that “we are in the first or second at bat in terms of a nine-inning game” in the eSports industry and that “it’s going nowhere but up. This is not a fad. These numbers are wildly compelling. The demographics are extremely attractive."

Whinston said that with the addition of AEG, the team is done “fundraising,” but would look at any new investors that “bring us strategic value.”

 

 


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Europe: O2, Foo Fighters, UTA, Switzerland
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 4:36 pm
Foo Fighters For O2 Anniversary Show,UTA Signs Social Media Magician,Swiss Live Music Clubs To Receive Funding, ...

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Hip Hop Complex to Begin Phase I
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 4:00 pm

Rendering of of an exhibit in the HHHOF, Harelm, N.Y.

JT Thompson’s dreams of building a Hip Hop Hall of  Fame Museum (HHHOF) are coming true in Harlem, N.Y., and he feels humbled and blessed for the support and encouragement from those in the entertainment and development industries.

“We’re extremely excited but, more importantly, we’re extremely grateful,” said Thompson who is the creator and executive producer of the 1990s BET Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards TV show. He’s also the founder of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Museum that operates as a 501(c) 3.

Initial plans include a 60,000-sq.-ft. museum, a cafe, gallery, retail gift store, event space, offices and a multimedia studio for film and television production. A performance stage for artists also is included in the preliminary plans.

HHHOF_Exterior_Night_NoContext_(1)1.jpg

Rendering of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame multiuse complex planned for Harlem, N.Y. 

Thompson has met with big venue management companies such as SMG and AEG, as he wants to hire a professional venue management group to run the operation.

A hotel also is planned, and Thompson hopes a big brand will put its flag on the accommodations.

The museum will honor former and current hip hop artists, recognizing their work in the industry. An educational element will allow youth to visit the museum, learn about the hip hop recording industry and actually create music themselves, Thompson said.

An HHHOF Arts & Media Youth Academy will train students for careers in tech and media, and they also will produce “real-life content for the museum, and the hip hop television channel network,” Thompson said.

The first phase of the development is projected to cost $150 million, and those funds are currently being raised in various ways, including sponsorships.

The HHHOF construction project will begin in February and will be built on a block in Harlem, New York, where the Harlem building currently stands. Thompson expects the acquisition of the building to be complete in September. Next February, the building will be demolished and construction on a new structure will begin.

Recently, the HHHOF was awarded a bid for the development site, allowing the nonprofit and design companies to begin the first phase of planning.

“We’ve been working with JT Thompson for close to eight years on this predesign project,” said Terence Healy, design principal at HealyKohler, a museum design company based in Washington, D.C., that has worked with the Smithsonian Museum, among other big museums across the nation.

Phase I includes getting the structure off the ground and completing the design of the museum and retail shop.

Phase II includes “a full scale design and build development of the total site that could be approximately 20 stories high and include The Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Museum and Hotel Entertainment Complex design concept that features the Hall of Fame, museum, a 5-star hotel, retail mall and gift shop, arcade, TV studios, sports bar, restaurant and concert lounge with a goal of serving up to 1 million local, national and international visitors annually,” stated the press release.

Thompson also said that “green technology” will be used to build all structures. The overall plan is to make sure the new venue is sustainable, not only financially, but also environmentally.

“The HHHOF envisions a state of the art green technology and energy conservation museum building project that will aggressively explore and utilize all of the available cost and energy saving technologies and mechanisms that are currently in the marketplace,” the press release stated.

HHHOF_Retail_Final.jpgRendering of a retail space at HHHOF, Harlem, N.Y.

The museum will be a participatory experience for guests, Healy said.

“We want it to be interactive,” he said, highlighting the youth education part of the project. “How can kids get involved with the genre, with hip hop, with music as well as the business?”

Over the last three decades, Thompson has worked with dozens of famous hip hop artists, and he’s confident that adding the HHHOF to Harlem will be just as big as when Cleveland got the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

“He definitely has the passion. I think the venue and the location of the HHHOF will be highly successful,” Healy said.

The Switzer Group, Inc., based in New York City, is the interior architectural design firm on the project and Zubatkin Owner Representation, LLC, also of New York City is the project management company for the development.


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Simons Cited For Security Leadership
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 3:51 pm
Russ Simons, managing partner at Venue Solutions Group, will receive the Distinguished Leadership Award during the National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition.

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Moon Taxi Books Fall Run
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 2:19 pm
Moon Taxi?s ?Put Em Up Tour? continues with a new leg of fall headline dates that includes performances across the U.S.

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SMG Expands its Role at Osceola Park
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 2:00 pm

Soon to be entirely SMG-managed Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Fla.

Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Fla., with its 150 acres, houses Silver Spurs Arena and an exhibition building, which already sets under the management of SMG. Starting Oct. 1, 2018, SMG will handle the entirety of the property, also taking over operations of Osceola County Stadium, home of the Florida Fire Frogs, a Class A advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, next door to Osceola Heritage Park.

“We are very excited,” Robb Larson, Osceola Heritage Park general manager, told Venues Today. “Osceola County Stadium is a great facility and sets right there on the property with us. We are very excited about the future.”

SMG, based in suburban Philadelphia, has been on site since 2003 when Silver Spurs Arena was constructed. SMG has worked closely with Osceola County, which has operated the stadium ever since. “We have been very good neighbors and worked with them all these years,” Larson said. “We consider ourselves family already. Now we have the opportunity to be under one umbrella.”

As part of the agreement, which extends the SMG management of the entire Heritage Park complex to 2023, with another five-year option in a contract that includes a base fee and incentives for both parties; all approximately 15 county employees at the stadium will transition to SMG staff in October 2018. SMG already has a full-time staff of about 35 on site.

“It allows us to have one all-inclusive staff that will be effective,” Larson said. From communication to synergy, coordinating multiple events and managing staff to handling the entire property, Larson said he remains excited about the opportunity to take operations and sales to another level for all the venues within the park.

Osceola County Stadium was built in 1984 and expanded in 2003, holding over 5,000 in its baseball configuration. As the 30-year spring training home of the Houston Astros, the stadium was one of the smallest in the Grapefruit League. The Astros left the stadium after 2016, moving into the brand-new The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. This year marks the first year of the Fire Frogs.

Osceola County Stadium will fall under the capital improvement plan of SMG, which Larson said has already poured over $20 million into Osceola Heritage Park in the last three years. With a new scoreboard, LED ribbon boards, outdoor marquee and a brand-new lighting system for the 8,000-seat arena, future plans include redoing the entire front of the Heritage Park property and expanding the Heritage Club.

“There is a lot of growth taking place,” Larson said. “It is a great time to be in Osceola County.”


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Deep Roots To Honor Karoondinha Tix
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 1:48 pm
With organizers announcing yesterday that the Karoondinha Music & Arts festival will be put on hold, Deep Roots Mountain Revival in West Virginia is ready to welcome disappointed fans with open arms.

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Ed Sheeran Divides And Conquers
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 1:02 pm
Ed Sheeran is in high demand these days. He just headlined Glastonbury last weekend and is kicking off a North American adventure tomorrow, but none of that is stopping him from planning his European tour dates for 2018.

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Italy To Host Biggest Ticketed Concert Ever
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 1:00 pm

The layout for the biggest ticketed concert ever that will take place July 1 at Italy’s Enzo Ferrari Park, Modena, when Italian superstar Vasco Rossi will perform to 220,000 paying guests.

The biggest ticketed concert ever will take place July 1 at Italy’s Enzo Ferrari Park, Modena, when Italian superstar Vasco Rossi will perform to 220,000 paying guests.

The massive outdoor concert’s sales shatter the old records of 198,000 paying fans at an A-Ha concert in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanà Stadium in 1991; Tina Turner’s 188,000-attendance at the same Brazilian stadium in 1988 and Paul McCartney’s 185,000-paying crowd at the venue in 1990.

The concert is being organized by Big Bang promotion agency and sold on the Vivaticket ticketing platform, both belonging to the Bologna group Best Union.

"We are setting a new world record,” said Luca Montebugnoli, chairman of Best Union, “It will be the largest and greatest rock concert ever organized in the history of music.”

Montebugnoli said the discussions started last year with Rossi, and the plans were put in place in January.

“This concert will celebrate Vasco Rossi’s 40-year anniversary from when he sang his first song in Modena,” said Montebugnoli.

The tickets have three levels of pricing ranging from €50 ($56.60) to €75 ($85.03), which is the largest area. The average price, said Montebugnoli, is €68 ($77.09), making the concert's gross potential €14.9 million ($16.9 million). There are no seats; all tickets are for standing spots.

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Ferarri Park, Modena, Italy, has been under construction for months to set the stage for Viasco Rossi's concert.

The show will be four hours with several supporting acts. Fans are welcome into the venue an hour before the show starts, said Montebugnoli, who expects the ingress process to run quickly and smoothly.

Security will be tight. Rowdy, sometimes violent, football fans (soccer in North America) are nothing new to Europe. “There will be 1,300 local security staff,” said Montebugnoli.

Fans will have to go through two levels of security. The first level is a pat-down and then the fans have to go through metal detectors. On top of this, there will be 55 cameras equipped with facial recognition software.

Montebugnoli also pointed out that all tickets are “named tickets" and will use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. “This means that each ticket has all the information of the customer who purchased the ticket in the system,” explained Montebugnoli.

“At the entrance, we will have hand-held readers that recognize if the ticket is right or not, and if it also matches the name on the ticket and to the credit card that was used to purchase the ticket. Anyone who shows up without all the correct information and credit card is not getting in,” he said. “All the technology runs in both the office control and in the ticketing system. We’re creating a local network into the park and we’re able to track the ticket from any entrance.”

“The administration has been preparing for this event, side by side with Best Union for many months,” said the Mayor of Modena, Gian Carlo Muzzarelli. “As soon as the artist, one of the most loved rock stars in Italy, told us that he would have loved to have a concert here in summer 2017 — this year it’s special for him because it’s 40  years of career, and he started right here in Modena —we began to work, to celebrate him as he deserves.”

“The location, the Parco Ferrari, is quoted in one of his songs, 'Colpa d’Alfredo,' as 'Modena Park,'” said Muzzarelli, “and we chose this as the title of the event. The park is perfect because it’s big, it is near the train station, not more than four to five kilometers from many thousands of parking spots, and it is surrounded by long avenues.”

In a way, Muzzarelli thinks Ferrari Park has been ready for this concert for 40 years. “In 1977, 40 years ago, the same year Vasco Rossi started his adventure as a rock star, Parco Ferrari hosted a huge rally: the secretary of the Italian Communist Party, Enrico Berlinguer, spoke in front of more than 500,000 people. So we can say that the park was ready since the beginning, but now there’s a huge stage, every safety measure, a new fiber optic network and everything else needed to give every possible comfort to the 220,000 people attending the event.”

There will be concessions in the form of food trucks, controlled by Best Union.

DSC_1054_2_160616_POSATI_PUTLAND_mod.jpgItalian superstar Vasco Rossi.

Vasco Rossi has been breaking records for a long time. His album, Gli Spari Sopra ("The Shots Above") released in 1993 went platinum 10 times. In 2007, "Basta Poco" ("A Little Is Enough"), topped the Italian charts for 21 weeks, making it Italy’s best-selling single of 2007.

Fans who did not get a ticket should not despair, Montebugnoli said there are plans to set maxi-screens in the venue, and the concert will be broadcast in over 140 cinemas throughout Italy.

“The community of Modena is part of the event,” said Mayor Muzzarelli. “Twenty-seven thousand out of the 220,000 come from Modena, and we’ll have in two squares of the historical center, Piazza Grande and Piazza Roma; two big screens, and we estimate 15,000-20,000 more will be watching the concert.”

The impact to the city of Modena will be huge, at least for a few days, according to the mayor. “For a couple of days, Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1, the city will be impacted in many areas and many streets will be accessible only by bikes, and walking, of course, and we expect many traffic jams.”

“But we’re hosting a show that will be remembered for years and years,” added Muzzarelli, “so we know that the citizens, despite a couple of tough days, will be proud of it, and I want to thank everyone of them for their patience and collaboration.”

 


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Grammys Will Return To LA In 2019
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 12:49 pm
The 2018 Grammy Awards will be held in New York City, but the show will return to Los Angeles for four years beginning in 2019.

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Cosby Rejects ‘Sexual Assault Tour’ Idea
 
Posted: 28 Jun 2017, 8:17 am
Bill Cosby?s ?town hall? tour is unlikely to happen before his retrial on sex assault charges in Pennsylvania, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.

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Karoondinha Fest On Hold
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 9:10 pm
Karoondinha Music & Arts Festival announced today via its website that the Centre Hall, Pa., event won?t take place on its scheduled dates of July 20-23, but organizers are working to put on an alternative event.

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Toronto’s Rock Pile Reborn As Concert Hall
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm
Toronto?s Masonic Temple, a landmark building since it was built in 1917, hasn?t seen much in the way of concerts in the last couple of years, but that is about to change with a relaunch as The Concert Hall.

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Wilshire Grand’s Big Reveal
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 6:47 pm
The Wilshire Grand Center is not only the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, but its InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles is host hotel for Pollstar Live! 2017.

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Ontario Mulls Over Resale Restrictions
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 6:42 pm
Ontario resale legislation banning bots and capping resale prices has been put forth and will be voted on in the fall.

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ACM Reveals Industry Winners
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 6:19 pm
The Academy of Country Music is once again honoring the genre?s cream of the crop when it comes to venues and live event booking and promotion, revealing the list June 27.

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Campbell Promoted in Baltimore
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

200x145_23.jpgMac Campbell

Mac Campbell has been promoted to deputy director for the Baltimore Convention Center. Campbell was previously director of client services. Before joining Baltimore Convention Center, Campbell worked at Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, Md.

On June 21, Campbell was named as a recipient of the 2017 Pacesetter Award by the Events Industry Council. He was nominated for the national honor by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), where he served as chairman on the Young Professionals Committee from 2014-2016. In August of this year, Campbell will begin serving on the board of IAVM.
 


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Rory Feek To Perform Again
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 5:53 pm
Rory Feek, one half of the Grammy-winning country duo Joey + Rory, announced on Tuesday he will perform publicly for the first time since his wife Joey died last year to raise funds for the Music Health Alliance, a nonprofit that helped his family with insurance and medical bills.

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Griz Announces West Coast Dates
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 5:25 pm
?Future funk? musician and saxophonist Griz has announced October West Coast dates adding to his Good Will Continue Tour, with general onsale June 30 at 10 a.m.

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Universal Tries To Void Deal With Prince Estate
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 5:04 pm
Lawyers for Universal Music Group have renewed their request that a Minnesota judge cancel the company?s music rights deal with Prince?s estate, saying UMG will otherwise have to sue in litigation that could keep fans from hearing new music from Prince?s vault for years.

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Chris Hillman Bides Time, Plots Tour
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 4:36 pm
Coinciding with the release of his first studio album in more than a decade, Byrds founder Chris Hillman has announced a coast-to-coast U.S. tour that begins in September.

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Frankfurt Honors Lieberberg
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 4:19 pm
German concert promoter Marek Lieberberg received the badge of honor from his hometown Frankfurt, presented by the city?s mayor, Peter Feldmann, June 23.

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Hot Tickets for June 28, 2017
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 4:00 pm

Roger Waters perfoming at Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.

Roger Waters launched his highly anticipated Us + Them tour at the Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo., May 26, and will wrap up Oct. 28, at Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The former Pink Floyd front man topped our chart this week with a sold-out performance at Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif., and with ticket prices ranging from $55 to $250, grossed over $1.5 million. The 12,000-plus fans were treated to a plethora of Pink Floyd hits, solo hits, laser lights, 10 school-age children (who assisted in singing “Another Brick in the Wall”), and a giant flying pig. Waters used the soaring swine during his performance of “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” where he also used uncomplimentary images of President Trump, which played behind the band during the song. The classic-rock icon pulled no punches during his politically charged performance and was cheered on by the majority of his fans. Waters’ fans can find him next at AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas, July 1.

Linkin Park made our Hot Tickets chart this week with a performance at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, June 12. The American rock band is promoting their seventh studio album “One More Light” with a world tour of the same name. The Live Nation-promoted event grossed nearly $900,000, and the 13,000 fans in attendance were treated to classic tunes and music from the new album. Linkin Park, along with support act Machine Gun Kelly, will kick off the North American leg of the tour July 27, at Xfinity Center, Mansfield, Mass.

  HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between May 30-June 27.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Roger Waters
Gross Sales: $1,520,020; Venue: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.; Attendance: 12,125; Ticket Range: $250-$55.50; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 10; No. of Shows: 1

2) Neil Diamond
Gross Sales: $1,508,333; Venue: Air Canada Centre, Toronto; Attendance: 15,677; Ticket Range: $150.64-$37.38; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 7; No. of Shows: 1

3) Tool
Gross Sales: $1,242,672; Venue: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.; Attendance: 14,697; Ticket Range: $92.50-$77.50; Promoter: Jam Productions; Dates: June 9; No. of Shows: 1

4) Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull
Gross Sales: $1,234,434; Venue: Toyota Center, Houston; Attendance: 12,062; Ticket Range: $189.95-$39.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 18; No. of Shows: 1

5) Tool
Gross Sales: $1,148,129; Venue: FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, Ontario; Attendance: 13,876; Ticket Range: $94.81-$56.66; Promoter: Goldenvoice; Dates: May 31; No. of Shows: 1

1) Def Leppard
Gross Sales: $1,188,091; Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 11,680; Ticket Range: $139.50-$29.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 17; No. of Shows: 1

2) System of a Down
Gross Sales: $1,139,713; Venue: Hallenstadion, Zurich; Attendance: 13,805; Ticket Range: $96.14-$85.75; Promoter: Act Entertainment; Dates: June 1; No. of Shows: 1

3) Linkin Park
Gross Sales: $865,479; Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin; Attendance: 12,884; Ticket Range: $83.67-$72.52; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 12; No. of Shows: 1

4) Daryl Hall & John Oates
Gross Sales: $795,247; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,256; Ticket Range: $129.50-$35; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 11; No. of Shows: 1

5) Chris Rock
Gross Sales: $617,880; Venue: Perth (Australia) Arena; Attendance: 7,949; Ticket Range: $110.24-$56.15; Promoter: James Smith; Dates: June 23; No. of Shows: 1

1) Jennifer Lopez
Gross Sales: $3,025,613; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 16,483; Ticket Range: $412-$54; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: June 7-11; No. of Shows: 4

2) Jennifer Lopez
Gross Sales: $2,667,599; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 14,520; Ticket Range: $412-$54; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: May 28-June 3; No. of Shows: 4

3) Backstreet Boys
Gross Sales: $2,161,889; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 16,156; Ticket Range: $294-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: June 21-24; No. of Shows: 3

4) Backstreet Boys
Gross Sales: $2,146,878; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 15,985; Ticket Range: $294-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: June 15-17; No. of Shows: 3

5) Elvis - The Wonder of You
Gross Sales: $985,073; Venue: ICC Sydney Theatre; Attendance: 12,089; Ticket Range: $115.11-$61.04; Promoter: RCM Touring; Dates: June 2-3; No. of Shows: 2

1) Phantom of the Opera
Gross Sales: $2,183,583; Venue: Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Boise, Idaho; Attendance: 29,639; Ticket Range: $135.50-$50; Promoter: MagicSpace Entertainment; Dates: June 14-25; No. of Shows: 16

2) Beautiful – The Carol King Musical
Gross Sales: $1,027,410; Venue: Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, Wis.; Attendance: 12,813; Ticket Range: $135-$45; Promoter: In-house, Broadway Across America; Dates: June 13-18; No. of Shows: 8

3) Dirty Dancing
Gross Sales: $789,434; Venue: DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Attendance: 12,880; Ticket Range: $77-$42; Promoter: Broadway Grand Rapids; Dates: June 6-11; No. of Shows: 8

4) The Avett Brothers
Gross Sales: $543,134; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 10,986; Ticket Range: $59-$39; Promoter: NS2; Dates: June 8-10; No. of Shows: 3

5) Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Gross Sales: $539,847; Venue: Shubert Theatre at Boch Center, Boston; Attendance: 7,666; Ticket Range: $95-$35; Promoter: Tremont Theatre; Dates: May 30-June 11; No. of Shows: 16

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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Trans-Siberian Orchestra Carries On
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 3:07 pm
Trans-Siberian Orchestra has vowed that the show must go on following the recent death of founder Paul O?Neill.

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Dave Chappelle Adds To NYC Residency
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 2:46 pm
Dave Chappelle?s ?Live From Radio City? residency in New York City is already set to provide some great entertainment and now Chance The Rapper, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Yasiin Bey are joining the comedian for one show apiece.

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Andy Gibb Leaves Ricoh Arena
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 1:36 pm
The closer working relationship between Wasps Rugby Club and the operators of its Ricoh Arena stadium in Coventry, England, means that some positions are made redundant, including managing director Andy Gibb.

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Moveable Ceilings in the Future for Arenas
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 1:00 pm

Populous' rendering of a eSports arena with a movable ceiling.

Arenas want—need, really—both flexibility and intimacy. But the dutiful black curtain that closes off upper-bowl seating only goes so far in reimagining space, the very reason we can expect to see the movable ceiling turn from concept to reality.

“I think you will see this happening in a large building from the outset,” said Brian Mirakian, Populous principal architect. “The biggest need that our large buildings have, especially the ones in the big markets with a lot of different entertainment options, is the ability to create unique spectator experiences for all types of events.”

The movable ceiling concept helps accomplish that. In the Populous concept, Mirakian plans to mount to the roof structure—in a similar way you mount rigging for concerts or center-hung scoreboards—a high-tension cable system and a series of lightweight fabric panels. The design then raises and lowers based on modular configurations while reconfiguring the interior space.

The concept creates the ability for an 18,000-seat, National Basketball Association (NBA)-ready venue to cut down to half-size, quarter-size or whatever is needed to attract much smaller events without relying on just the black curtains to create a more intimate environment.

“The idea is to really atmospherically change the entire environment spatially by dropping the ceiling down,” Mirakian said. “Then you also have the ability to use mass projection to project content right onto the plane of the ceiling. It really creates a different sort of atmospheric condition to the type of event you are hosting.”

Whether a Disney on Ice, small-scale concert or eSports event, the ceiling not only creates a new size of space, but a fresh canvas for multimedia and the potential to improve acoustics by decreasing the venue’s volume.

Ryan Gedney, HOK senior project designer, said the ceiling plane has always provided an opportunity for something smarter in terms of its ability to change and handle technology. “I think everyone is trying to figure out how to merge these opportunities together,” he said.

In an HOK concept, not unlike the Populous idea, the tension-rigging grids really put a focus on integrating media onto the ceiling, all while allowing for a smarter way to offer house reduction. “We are looking at ways to do that in a more automated way that takes the element and turns it into more than reducing volume,” he said, “but acts as a media canvas. We are really trying to embrace the wave of new technologies and emerging events, particularly in eSports where display technology is trying to find a new way of being deployed.”

Mirakian and Gedney both believe new builds will see this type of concept turn to reality first, as new construction offers the ability to build in flexibility needed in the structural capacity and rigging system from the start. But for existing venues in increasingly competitive entertainment markets, a retrofit isn’t out of the question.

“Concerts and other types of events are being selective and want to have the best event experience for fans and spectators,” Mirakian said. “What we see is an opportunity where a client could be attracted to having a more personalized intimate venue.”

Of course you’ll have yet undetermined capital costs, especially when dealing with a retrofit that must take into account loading capacity. Mirakian believes the return on investment in this case comes in the ability to attract a different type of entertainment event. With mechanized pulleys and metal frames filled with stretch fabric, he said not to expect a “significant cost in terms of the technology itself,” although costs come associated with any premium upgrade. “I think what you’ll find is when you run revenue projections, the ability to attract new events and retain current events with the flexibility in programming; there is a revenue proforma that makes it a worthwhile investment,” he said.

As the concept turns to reality, the final design will come in as lightweight as possible. “Logistically in terms of movement and ease of operation, lighter tends to be better,” Gedney said. Lighter helps with loading, the reason he believes a larger building will enter the fray first, especially as we see a new wave of varied programming enter the market. “The large venues need to become more and more transformable than they already are,” he said. Multipurpose venues already have retractable seating sections, but the ceiling will finish off that transformability on a larger scale.

As event designers continue to explore the possibilities of kinetic movement inside the physical space in order to build a more theatrical experience, the movable ceiling concept has more going for it than theatrics. It has media production capabilities and volume reduction crucial in giving even the largest arenas maximum flexibility and intimacy.

 


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Shakira On The Road For El Dorado
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 12:39 pm
North America and Europe get ready, because Shakira is headed your way!

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Cosby Venue Could Move To California
 
Posted: 27 Jun 2017, 12:23 pm
The stage for Bill Cosby?s next legal challenge shifts to California with a hearing scheduled Tuesday to set a trial date in a lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting a teen at the Playboy Mansion more than 40 years ago.

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Greenebaum Joins Blizzard
 
Posted: 26 Jun 2017, 8:31 pm
Sig Greenebaum, former co-director of the Voodoo Music + Arts experience in New Orleans, has left that position for a job in competitive video games.

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Florence Civic Center Expansion Underway
 
Posted: 26 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

Rendering of the exterior of the Florence (S.C.) Civic Center expansion. 

The SMG-managed Florence (S.C.) Civic Center is in the midst of a $15-million expansion, a move that helped them book the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association. Renovation is  is expected to be complete during spring 2018.

An additional 25,000 sq. ft. of space will be added  and 28,000 sq. ft. of existing meeting space will be renovated. The 10,000-seat arena wil boast 60,000 sq. ft. of total event space. The center will also add six new meeting rooms and a new kitchen that will assist with catering services.

“Because we’re expanding, we were able to get the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association world tournament, which we would not have been able to do before,” said Nick Hooker, director of marketing at Florence Civic Center for SMG. “This is our first big score due to the expansion."

The tournament will be held in November. Florence beat out Shreveport, La., and El Paso, Texas in a bid to host this event.

“The tournament we’re having in November will have 250 people competing,” said Brian Davison, head of the horseshoe tournament. “This will give the civic center a chance to show off their new expansion.”

"It’s not just the tournament, there are banquets, social gatherings and hall of fame inductions,” said Hooker. “It's really a full spread of all sorts of activities all under the umbrella of the event. It’s going to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, events to come to Florence." 

This event is expected to bring in an estimated $3.5 million economic impact to the city of Florence, in hotel and restaurant bookings, shopping and taxes.

"It's going to be a huge boost for us. We’re bringing in new visitors, who are going to ultimately enjoy parts of Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Columbia and different parts of the region here, so it’s really a win for the state," said Davison.

Construction at Florence Civic Center has been underway for a little over six months. The new and improved center was originally set for a spring 2018 grand opening. However, with renovations moving quickly, it may lead to an early opening. 

"We’re actually ahead of schedule," said Hooker. "In December of this year, we’re going to be able to show off some of the new space, and have a soft opening walk-through for selected individuals."

With Florence Civic Center's central location off of I-95 and I-20, in between major business markets in New York and Miami, SMG hopes this will be a middle ground meeting place for those doing business, or booking events, on the East Coast. With news of  the expansion, meeting professionals have booked personal onsite walk-throughs since March and have been reserving event space for 2018, 2019 and farther in the future.

If the expansion proves to be a success, SMG and Florence Civic Center plan to implement an additional two phases of renovation, said Hooker.

“We’d like to add a large expo hall, additional ballrooms, a possible hotel extension, a remodel and expansion to the current arena, plus complement that with new bistros and bars,” he said. “Phase two and three are kind of a wish list, we hope that in a five to 10-year range we can revisit that possibility."

 


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MLB Livestreaming Every Tuesday
 
Posted: 26 Jun 2017, 2:00 pm

Intel's True VR camera sees more than just the game at MLB parks. (Photo Credit: Intel Corporation)

(Editor's note: This article previously appeared in SportTechie.com)

Beginning during the 2017 MLB regular season, Intel True VR is livestreaming one Major League Baseball (MLB) game every Tuesday. Available via the Intel True VR app, the technology uses multiple panoramic, stereoscopic camera pods to create a more natural, realistic and immersive view that brings MLB fans closer to the action. 

For baseball fans experiencing Intel True VR’s free coverage of an MLB game of the week in live virtual reality this season, they’re being treated to views from the dugout, home plate and centerfield. Fans can watch from those perspectives for the entire game, switch back and forth, or sit back and allow the broadcast to select the best views.

It’s an entirely new experience that was launched this month on the Intel True VR app and one that is different from what fans attending the game or watching on television get to see. And as Intel’s three-year partnership with MLB develops, there could be opportunities in the future for virtual game tickets to eventually be sold to those who prefer the VR experience.

“Virtual tickets are absolutely one of the things that gets us excited to both offer to fans and certainly as a monetization component from the rightsholder’s perspective,” Intel Sports Group managing director David Aufhauser told Vince Gennaro earlier this month on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel.

During this year’s NCAA tournament when Intel True VR partnered with Turner Sports, CBS and the NCAA to offer live VR broadcasts for six games, providing virtual courtside seats for fans who purchased a VR premium ticket. Fans could watch for $1.99 per game via a single courtside camera and receive the television broadcast from CBS. For $2.99 per game or $7.99 for all six games, fans could choose between six camera angles or have fully-produced VR coverage incorporating the cameras while listening to dedicated VR game commentary.

“That was pretty exciting because we think it might have been the first time virtual tickets in VR were sold for a sporting event,” Aufhauser said. “And that’s a pretty exciting endeavor and not even yet scratching the surface of what a virtual ticket could be.”

For MLB broadcasts in VR, Aufhauser said the free coverage for this season could involve three to five camera angles depending on the venue, as he included cameras set up at iconic locations on Fenway Park’s Green Monster or a place like Chase Field’s swimming pool as possibilities.

It’s all part of an exploration into what sports fans want from their VR broadcasts. Because if the demand is there for virtual tickets, they offer the possibility for so much more than simply a sellout crowd at a venue with a tens-of-thousands seating capacity. Aufhauser used English Premier League clubs as an example.

“Some of those teams have fan bases in the hundreds of millions,” Aufhauser said. “And if you can offer them unique opportunities above and beyond the current experiences to have something completely different, those are fanatical diehard fans who are absolutely willing to pay to experience something unique. It’s an incredible opportunity for fans, and certainly there’s a potential big monetization component to that.”


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VenuesNow Announces Speakers
 
Posted: 22 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

VenuesNow has announced the A-list speakers at its inaugural conference, July 12-14,to be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, Calif. 

A veritable “who’s who” of the most influential and visionary executives of the sports and live entertainment industry will speak at the inaugural VenuesNow conference, set for July 12-14 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Produced by Oak View Group, VenuesNow is game-changing, forward-looking gathering for the sports, entertainment and venue industry geared toward recognizing and inspiring innovation in the dynamic live event space through candid discussion of the challenges and opportunities the industry is currently facing. Set up to coincide with ESPN’s annual ESPY awards on July 12, VenuesNow 2017 is an invitation-only event (with open registration beginning in 2018), to be attended by executives from all major sports leagues, live entertainment firms, arenas, stadiums, and other venues hosting live events (including OVG’s Arena Alliance group of major market arenas across the country, which attract some 70 million fans per year), and the wide range of businesses that serve the industry.

“The concept of VenuesNow is to host a conference like no other in our space, an elite forum focusing on the epicenter of where sports and live entertainment events and fans converge: the venue,” said Ray Waddell, president, Publications & Conferences, for OVG, who is spearheading programming for VenuesNow. “Out of the gate, we have a heavy emphasis on technology, security, branding and sponsorships, fan engagement, and live music, along with concessions, ticketing, operations; basically innovation and positive disruption at all levels in the venue space.”

The speakers booked for the first VenuesNow reflect that focus. Confirmed to speak are heavy hitters from the entertainment world, including mega-managers Irving Azoff and Red Light Management founder Coran Capshaw, KISS manager Doc McGhee, Metallica agent Adam Kornfeld, Artist Group International; Rob Beckham, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment co-head of the Nashville office; Live Nation Global Touring COO Gerry Barad, and live legend Louis Messina, president of Messina Touring Group.  Taking on issues in the ticketing world will be Jared Smith, president, North America, Ticketmaster, and Scott Cutler, president, StubHub.

Technological advances in the world of venues, sports and entertainment, is a priority for VenuesNow, and the conference has booked a wealth of speakers to address a range of topics in that realm, including streaming, virtual reality, e-sports, and new tech in security, ticketing, concessions, and venue operations. On board are Jed Corenthal, CMO, PhoenixP2P; Chris Wagner, EVP, Marketplace Strategy, Neulion; Brad Allen, executive chairman, NextVR; Tobias Sherman, head of e-sports, WME/IMG; Paul Ward, CEO, e-Sports Arenas, Rick Fox, founder of e-sports powerhouse Echo Fox; and Stratton Sclavos, founding partner (with Fox) in Vision Venture Partners.

From the branding/sponsorship world, VenuesNow has confirmed Justin Toman, director of Sports Marketing, Pepsi; Mark Irace, chief Marketing officer, FanDuel, Joe Belliotti, head of Global Music Marketing, Coca-Cola, and Marcie Allen, president, MAC Presents. Other confirmed speakers include Tim Romani, CEO, ICON Venue Group; Bruce Miller, senior principle, Populous; Al Guido, president, San Francisco 49ers; and Dan Berkowitz, founder/CEO, CID Entertainment, among many other industry leaders.
 


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Brooks To Play 1st Mercedes-Benz Stadium Concert 
 
Posted: 22 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm

Garth Brooks will play the first-ever concert at Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Minutes ago, Garth Brooks announced on his Facebook page that he will play the first-ever concert at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Oct. 12. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 30. His wife, Trisha Yearwood, will also be featured as a special guest. The show will be the inaugural concert at the new venue, giving fans their first chance to experience the stadium in a full-stage entertainment format.

“I’m thrilled to be back in Atlanta and honored to play the first concert in Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” said Brooks. “I’ve visited the stadium twice in the last month, and all I can say is, the fans are going to love it; it’s truly one-of-a-kind. We’re going to create a special experience the fans will never forget, and I can’t wait to light that place up this fall.”

Garth Brooks at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was booked by Marcie Allen, president, MAC Presents, and Rob Beckham, co-head of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment Nashville, in partnership with Tim Zulawski, Senior VP/Chief Commercial Officer, AMB Sports + Entertainment.

“Mercedes-Benz Stadium is focused on delivering an unmatched guest experience to everyone who enters the building as well as delivering the best talent,” said Zulawski. “It was important for us to not only find an artist who could deliver the biggest show in the world, but also had the same fan-focused ideals.  We knew the best artist who could deliver, and that was Garth Brooks."

“Two of Arthur Blank’s goals for Mercedes-Benz Stadium were to create premiere home venues for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC and to attract the best in sports and entertainment to Atlanta,” said Steve Cannon, chief executive officer of AMB Group. “We’ve succeeded in securing the premiere sporting events in America and now have the top-selling solo artist of the 20th century, Garth Brooks, coming to Atlanta to showcase the stadium as an elite music venue. We could not be more pleased than to have Garth set this milestone in the stadium.”

Brooks is currently on the three-year Garth Brooks World Tour with Yearwood. The tour began with 11 sold-out shows at the Allstate Arena, Chicago. In two and a half years, the tour has sold over 5.5 million tickets, making it the biggest tour in the world.

Upon its completion in 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be home to the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United. The multipurpose stadium will host major sports and entertainment events, including the Super Bowl in 2019, the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Men’s Final Four in 2020 and the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship game.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.Ticketmaster.com/garthbrooks or by calling 800-745-3000. To learn more about the show, visit Mercedesbenzstadium.com.


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IAVM Legend Dubay To Retire
 
Posted: 21 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

Screen_Shot_2017-06-21_at_3.10_.23_PM_.pngLionel Dubay

Lionel J. Dubay, AVP, business services division at the University of Florida (UF), Gainesville, has announced that he will retire July 6.

Dubay came to UF in 1985 as the director of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, a position he held until 2007 when he became the director of UF’s business services division. He took on his current title in 2012.

When Dubay moved over to the Business Services Division in 2007, his new responsibilities included overseeing the operational, fiscal, programmatic and administrative activities of several auxiliary enterprises and private management services.

“Throughout my 47-year professional career I have been blessed to have worked with so many hard working, dedicated and talented staff members and business partners as well as people I have reported to,” Dubay said. “I am very grateful to them for all of the support they have extended to me.”

As the head of UF’s Business Services Division, Dubay has worked closely with the university’s food service business partner Aramark to increase the number of national brands on campus from 9 to 18, such as: the new Au Bon Pain, Panda Express, Wing Zone, Pollo Tropical, Moe’s, Salad Creations & Rising Roll. 

Through the BSD and Aramark partnership, they have spent over $20M in building new and refreshing food service units on campus. The number of Starbucks on campus was expanded from 2 to 5 with the most recent being at Marston Library. Currently the Chick–fil-A located at the Hub is under expansion and renovation, the Starbucks at Library West is under renovation and a Chomp It and Starbucks are being installed at the Law School. These projects are slated for completion before the start of the fall semester.

UF was one of the first campuses within the state to go Styrofoam-free at all of their food service locations. The student meal plan program was completely revamped from a number of meals a student could purchase per plan to 5 and 7-day open access meal plans which now have up to 12 additional meal plan equivalency food-service locations a student can go to.

With the extension of the Bookstore contract two years ago with Follett Higher Education Group, the main bookstore underwent a $1.2M renovation and the auxiliary bookstores at the Law School and Health Science Center went through a re-fresh. And, Follett helped with the financial support to expand the seating in the Reitz Union food court across from the Pollo Tropical. In an effort to save students money on course materials, Follett implemented a Rent–a–Text Program, Price Match Program, and a Digital All Access Opt in Program.

The process time to obtain a Gator 1 Card has been shortened for students because they now can submit their photos online to the Gator 1 central office.

Upon graduation from the University of Maine, Orono, in 1970, Dubay was hired as the first full-time recreation director for the City of Augusta, Maine. In 1972 he became actively involved in the construction process of the Augusta Civic Center and shortly after the Center opened in 1973 he was appointed director, a position he held until 1985 when he became the O’Connell Center director.

Dubay joined International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM), now known as International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), in 1973 and was one of the founding members of the Florida Facility Managers Association, which consists of arenas, stadiums, convention centers and performing arts centers within the state of Florida. He served as the association’s president from 1991 to 1993 and again from 2005 to 2007.

Dubay was responsible for bringing many acts to the Augusta Civic Center and UF campus over the years, including Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, John Denver, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, M.C. Hammer, the Grateful Dead, Willie Nelson, Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Dave Mathews Band, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley. The May 24, 1977, Elvis Presley concert Dubay hosted in Maine was one of Elvis’s last concerts before his death on Aug. 16 of that year.

He served as the 75th president of the IAAM, which he said was a great honor and privilege. Dubay also served in numerous leadership positions within IAAM including vice president of Region V (1995-1997), chair of the board of governors, universities committee, diversification committee and was on the IAVM Board of Directors for seven years.

“I truly loved my time in the arena business. I have many fond memories of the many wonderful artists I booked over the years,” Dubay said. “And more importantly, I have made so many life-long friends within the entertainment industry and my professional associations. And having the opportunity to serve as President of the International Association of Assembly Managers was such an honor and privilege.”

Shortly after Dubay became President of IAAM the tragic events of 9/11 took place. In response to those terrorist attacks, Dubay appointed the IAAM Safety and Security Task Force, which brought together the largest number of like-minded organizations in the history of IAAM to develop a set of safety and security best practices and protocols for the various venue types. Out of the tireless efforts and great work of the IAAM SSTF, the IAAM Academy for Venue Safety & Security was later formed.

A champion of diversity, professional development and growing students within the venue management profession, he was the architect in setting up a student scholarship program within IAAM at the International and Region V levels, and within the Florida Facility Managers Association.

Dubay received IAVM's prestigious Charles A. McElravy Award in 2007 and in 2013 he was the first to receive the IAVM Region V Distinguished Service Award.

“I have a strong passion and love for IAVM and FFMA because they have done so much for me in the way of my personal and professional growth. Further, I would encourage everyone to get involved within their professional associations for you will definitely receive more back than you put in,” said Dubay.

As for retirement, Dubay says he has no major plans, “other than playing a little more golf and spending time with my grandkids.” Dubay added, “I do know I will miss coming to work at UF every day for it’s a very energizing and special place to work.” 


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Alaska Aces Moving To Portland, Maine
 
Posted: 21 Jun 2017, 4:00 pm

Cross Insurance Arena, Portland, Maine, the new home of the (to-be-renamed) Alaska Aces.

Comcast Spectacor, the parent company of the Philadelphia Flyers and Spectra, will bring hockey back to Portland, Maine, with the purchased Alaska Aces, an ECHL franchise. The Alaska Aces will be renamed and relocated to the Cross Insurance Arena to begin the 2018-19 season.  

The Alaska Aces were founded in 1989 and played 28 seasons in Alaska. During that period, they won three ECHL's Kelly Cups. Comcast Spectacor purchased the team from a five-man local ownership group after it was known the Aces would not be back for the 2017-18 season. The team will switch coasts, leaving Sullivan Arena, Anchorage, Alaska, for their new home.

The last hockey team to call Cross Insurance Arena home was the Portland Pirates, whose residency lasted from 1993-2016. Prior to the Pirates arrival, Comcast Spectacor had its first amateur hockey team, the Maine Mariners, play at the location from 1977-1992, when the arena was known as Cumberland County Civic Center. 

“We have a good relationship with the arena," said Paul Holmgren, president of the Philadelphia Flyers. "We manage that building. We have good partnerships with people in the area; we feel a real synergy with building the community, and we look forward to reigniting hockey in Portland."

The Cross Insurance Arena recently underwent a sizable renovation to create a better atmosphere for fans, create more comfort for athletes and a more desirable venue for entertainers. The 2014 renovation added 37,408 sq.-ft. of private suites, party rooms and larger state-of- the-art locker rooms for sports teams.

Cross Insurance Arena will also feature wider concourses, more vending stations, increased seating for handicapped patrons and advancements such as retractable telescopic seating, which will push the stage back to create more floor space for shows.  

Many of the improvements to the arena were made with the fans in mind. However, the renovation would not be possible if it weren't for the citizens of Cumberland County. 

“A question was put before the voters of the county (Cumberland County) and they, in fact, agreed,” said Mitch Berkowitz, chairman of Cross Insurance Arena board of trustees. “They were willing to commit upwards of $33 million of bonding capacity for the renovations of the facility.

“I think the stone has been dropped into a calm pond and the ripples instead of dissipating are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. By that I mean we expect great things that are going to come now that hockey has returned to the city of Portland," said Berkowitz. 

The purchase of this ECHL franchise will contribute to tourism and distination vacations in Portland, which can create economic benefits for nearby hotels, restaurants and shopping outlets, he added.

The arena has also hosted a lot of sold-out concerts. “We do a good bit of ticketed shows, everything from the Disney Live and the Disney on Ices, all the way to Phish and James Taylor,” said Matt Herpich, general manager of Cross Insurance Arena. 

Cross Insurance Arena also hosts a number of collegiate sporting events involving the nearby University of Maine. National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) sporting events that have been held in Cross Insurance Arena include hockey, women’s basketball and men’s basketball games.  

This ECHL franchise will play 36 home games at Cross Insurance Arena starting the 2018-2019 season, not including possible postseason games. Though a team name or team colors has not yet been determined, that decision will be made sooner than later. 

Holmgren said the Flyers intend to hold a press conference later in July to talk about team details like name, colors and players.

Founding and building a new franchise will not be a new task for Comcast Spectacor, as they've been through this process with two American Hockey League (AHL) franchises, the Maine Mariners and the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Though this ECHL franchise will be a main focus of Comcast Spectacor, the company will still handle business operation for AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, a franchise-owned affiliate of the New York Rangers. Comcast Spectacor has been involved with the Wolf Pack over the past four years. Comcast Spectacor also manages the Wolf Pack's home arena, Hartford (Conn.) XL Center.

Danny Briere, former long-time Philadelphia Flyer, will be in charge of the day-to-day operations as the team looks to hire a coaching staff, athletic trainers, sign players to contracts and find a National Hockey League (NHL) affiliate for the club. The franchise will not play its first game at Cross Insurance Arena until October 2018.

 

 


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AEG Plans Nashville Yards
 
Posted: 21 Jun 2017, 3:00 pm

Rendering of the proposed Nashville Yards project. (Photo Credit: Southwest Value Partners)

AEG’s plans for a mixed-use entertainment destination in downtown Nashville will fit right in with existing offerings and will create a new niche, capacity-wise, with its 4,000-seat music venue, said AEG Presents Senior VP Ali Harnell.

“That capacity range is underserved in this part of Nashville,” Harnell said, mentioning the iconic Ryman Auditorium, which housed the Grand Ole Opry in its heyday and still features special Grand Ole Opry shows. “The Ryman is always going to be the Ryman. People are always going to want to play there. It’s 2,400 (seats). Then you go up to the Municipal Auditorium and Bridgestone Arena and Ascend Amphitheater. Those are 6,000 and more. This is the perfect stepping stone, the perfect size.”

Earlier this week, AEG and San Diego-based developer Southwest Value Partners (SWVP) announced that AEG had purchased 4 acres of property in downtown Nashville known as Nashville Yards with plans for a mixed-use entertainment district, not unlike other well-known AEG brand destinations such as L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, The O2, London and Mercedes-Benz Platz, currently under construction in Berlin, Germany.

In addition to the 4,000-seat music venue, AEG’s plans also include a luxury, flagship Regal Cinemas theater complex; a 600-700-capacity live entertainment club; an approximately 240-room boutique hotel and a variety of additional entertainment, food and beverage options.

“For several years, AEG has been looking for the right venue development opportunity in Nashville, one of the fastest-growing cities in the country,” said Jay Marciano, CEO of AEG and chairman and CEO of AEG Presents, in a press release. “A development offering like this has to not just be special, but be remarkable.”

Plans for developing the area began in late 2015 when SWVP purchased the nearly 15-acre campus of LifeWay Christian Resources for a reported $125 million in cash to create a multi-phase office, retail, hospitality, entertainment and residential space in the western edge of downtown Nashville. The complex will span from Broadway, downtown’s showcase street featuring iconic tourist attractions such as Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, past Church Street.
Nashville Yards will be in walking distance to the Music City Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Bridgestone Arena, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Johnny Cash Museum, among other attractions.

The developer plans to open a full-service, 591-room Hyatt Regency on the property in 2020, featuring more than 65,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa and “culinary experiences,” according to a press release. The Hyatt Regency will anchor the northwest corner of Broadway and 10th Avenue.

Ground will be broken on AEG’s parcel in the near future, Harnell said, although she could not pinpoint a time. She also stated that 2019 would be the earliest that any of AEG’s venues or attractions are completed, but that 2020 is a more likely target date. AEG’s entertainment complex does not have a name yet, she added, and she anticipates that a naming rights sponsor will be sought.

“It’s important that it stays locally grounded, but naming rights sponsors are part of the game,” she said.

News of AEG’s plans were welcomed by some other venues in town. “I’m pretty excited about it,” said Sean Henry, president and CEO of the Nashville Predators National Hockey League franchise, the primary tenant of Bridgestone Arena. “I’m a big believer in the more venues we have in the city, the better it is for all venues. I think it fills a nice void. You’ve got clubs in that area that seat in the 200-range right up to stadiums that could do 60,000.”

The 69,000-seat Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, is a five-minute drive across the Cumberland River from the lower Broadway area of downtown Nashville. Bridgestone Arena’s capacity is about 20,000 for concerts, depending on the configuration, and 17,200 for hockey games, Henry said. The area should be able to handle additional foot and car traffic as well, Henry added. “It’s incredible — we just hosted the Stanley Cup during the same week we had the CMA Music Festival. We had 100,000 outside watching, 18,000 inside watching, and 45,000 at the stadium. You die for those things.”

A more direct competitor would be Nashville Municipal Auditorium, which hosts concerts that generally seat about 7,500 fans, said general manager Bob Skoney. Live shows at the venue have been boosted in the past year by a new five-year agreement with Live Nation, which now hosts several — but not all — concerts at the Municipal Auditorium, Skoney said.
“There will be competition,” he added. “We’ve got a little more head room if the act skews bigger. But if it’s toward a lower capacity, that would be a different type of fit. So I would say it will be competition in some regard.”

Municipal Auditorium has hosted about 20 concerts in the year since the Live Nation agreement took effect, with acts including Sting, Boston, The Chainsmokers, Pretty Lights and The 1975, with Slayer and Mary J. Blige slated to perform concerts later this summer. The concert schedule has slowed a bit because of improvements that are being made to the venue, including a $1.5 million project to turn two large dressing rooms into five plush dressing rooms and a $1.8 million seat upgrade.

“The auditorium has been around for 55 years and we’ve weathered a lot of different new venues over the years,” Skoney said. “We kind of carve our own niche. We’re not strictly concerts. We book a lot of conferences, religious meetings and different types of public gatherings, circuses and basketball games. We’re a little broader with a multipurpose building.”

A press release stated that AEG and SWVP will work closely together to integrate all aspects of the entertainment district development, including infrastructure, architecture and pedestrian connectivity. Nashville’s population has been on the upswing, seeing a nearly 10 percent increase in residents between 2010 and 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. “I’m not overly concerned, but we have a traffic issue building in town because of our explosive growth in the past five years,” Skoney said. “But with them being inside the beltway and with plenty of infrastructure to support something like that, and it will be in the evening hours most of the time, I think it will be fine.”


 

 


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Spotify and AXS Announce Partnership
 
Posted: 21 Jun 2017, 2:00 pm

Spotify and AXS are teaming up to move tickets.

In a new partnership between music-streamer Spotify and ticket company AXS, Spotify users will have access to AXS’ more than 25,000 annual music events and receive personalized recommendations based on their listening habits. A direct ticket feed embedded within both the desktop and mobile apps will provide users with faster access to purchase concert tickets.

As part of this agreement, Spotify’s 100 million active users can now access AXS tickets through the Spotify desktop or mobile app. Personalized event recommendations of AXS events will be based on listening behavior, artist preferences and user location and will be delivered to the listener in multiple ways.

Further details on the agreement have not been disclosed.

“Overall, Spotify is an amazing company, a truly pure music platform built around the fan, and this is a natural partnership for us that extends concert ticket inventory to help clients in a thoughtful and personal way,” said Dean DeWulf, AXS’ senior vice president of music. “It’s exciting when companies from parallel disciplines work together in a unified ecosystem with fans. Technology is allowing us to do these things, but it’s also about the willingness for companies in this space to work together.”

Integrated through the AXS API in real time, Spotify’s ‘Concerts Section’ will now surface personalized events. Events will also appear on the ‘Artist Pages’ under the ‘Concert’ tabs on ‘Desktop,’ ‘Artist Pages’ on ‘Mobile’ under ‘On Tour,’ and in the ‘Concert Recommendation’ emails Spotify sends out on a biweekly basis.

“One of the most frustrating statistics concert marketers experience is the percentage of people who say they don’t go to a show because they don’t know about it,” said Jamie Loeb, vice president of marketing for Los Angeles-based Nederlander Concerts, one of the largest operators of theaters and music venues in the U.S. “The Spotify partnership with AXS is a great step toward chipping away at this universal problem.”

To move the partnership forward, AXS had to first decentralize its inventory.

“This is more efficient than traditional marketing efforts,” said DeWulf.  “Spotify has entered into similar agreements with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, and we’re happy to be a part of what they’re trying to accomplish.”

To date, Spotify has featured over 150,000 artists with concert dates in more than 100,000 venues.

Staples Center, Los Angeles; Santa Barbara (Calif.) Bowl; Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colo.; Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.; Target Center, Minneapolis; Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie, Texas; Forest Hills Stadium, N.Y.; and Infinite Energy Center, Duluth, Ga. are some of the participating venues in  the US. 

This partnership also expands AXS’ ticketing offers to hundreds of venues internationally. The O2, London; SSE Arena Wembley, London; Hyde Park in the UK and the Stockholm (Sweden) Live event district in Northern Europe containing the four arenas Ericsson Globe, Tele2 Arena, Hovet and Annexet, are all included in the partnership, as well as others.

“Spotify’s personalized recommendation e-mails and the integrated AXS purchase flow give fans the information they need to purchase tickets to see artists they love," said Loeb.

 


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Star Plaza Theatre Closing After All
 
Posted: 21 Jun 2017, 2:00 pm

A bumpy year for Star Plaza Theatre, Merrillville, Ind., ends with the final curtain planned.

At first, it was going to close and then it wasn’t. Well, now it’s finalized that the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Ind., will shut its doors at the end of 2017.

The_Plaza_Theater_(interior).jpgThe interior of Star Plaza Theatre, Merrillville, Ind.

The theater, built in 1979, is set for demolition after it closes in December, making way for White Lodging — a hotel company that owns the 3,400-seat theater and adjacent office building— to redevelop the area that sits on 30-acres of land. Preparation of the land for construction of a new hotel and restaurant will begin next summer.

White Lodging’s communications director said that the company is not ready to answer any questions about the redevelopment, because much of the construction planning is still being finalized.

The initial shock of the theater closing was last August, but after the community and various musical artists heard about the looming closure, they took action — and it worked. Last November, then CEO of the theater Charlie Blum announced that the theater would not be demolished, crediting the news to the outcry of support shown for the venue.

Blum left the Star Plaza and White Lodging in February, said Bill Kelley, marketing director for the theater.

As White Lodging dove deeper into their redevelopment plans, it ultimately was decided to close and tear down the theater.

Many things remain unknown about the redevelopment and what it will and won’t include. The Twin Towers office building next to the Star Plaza Theatre will also be demolished.

“Tenants of the office tower will finish their remaining leases with the building anticipated to be vacated by summer of 2018,” stated the press release.

It’s not clear if a new theater will take Star Plaza Theatre’s place.

“The new development will include a full-service hotel, but the scope beyond that is currently undetermined,” White Lodging’s Director of Communications Kathleen Quilligan Sebastian said in an email.

Deno Yiankes, president and CEO of investments and development at White Lodging, made the following statement via email:

“In working with our land planners, we didn’t want to leave any possibility for the redevelopment off the table, and that meant we needed to start with a clean slate. Our ultimate goal is to create a development that enhances the local community and offers an everlasting positive impact on Northwest Indiana while honoring Dean White, similar to what the original development provided for almost 50 years.”

The founders of White Lodging have a long history with the Star Plaza and its former hotel, the Radisson, which was recently demolished. Prior to being rebranded into the Radisson Hotel, it was a Holiday Inn.

“Originally known as the Holiday Star Plaza, the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza was the brainchild of Dean White, the father of White Lodging’s founder Bruce White,” stated a White Lodging press release.

Those who worked at the theater for decades feel sad and nostalgic about the demolition of the theater that was known for hosting big acts, including Lyle Lovett, The Oak Ridge Boys and late night talkshow hosts like Jay Leno and Bob Hope.

“We’d do private affairs,” said Star Plaza Theatre Engineer Steve Kokos. “There have been fundraisers for hospitals. Jay Leno has performed.”

For Kokos, the rollercoaster ride of the theater closing or not has been difficult, and he’s now starting preparations for the next phase of life without the theater.

“I’ve been very pleased with the 32 years that I’ve worked here. My memories are far and wide happy memories,” he said.  “All the professional acts, the artists, their crews have all been wonderful. It’s been a pleasure being in this business all these years.”

The Oak Ridge Boys, who played the opening act for the Star Plaza in 1979, will do a farewell act in December, Kokos said.

Duane Allen, the lead singer of The Oak Ridge Boys and a long-time supporter of Star Plaza Theatre, said he understands the reasoning behind the demolition of the theater.

"I think that’s something that they probably feel they need to do," said Allen. "Back when the first word came out, I had written an email to all the powers that be at the theater... and Bruce White said my email influenced them to keeping it open."

Allen doesn't blame White Lodging for changing their minds and knows that one day, The Oak Ridge Boys will play at their newly developed property.

"We were the first act to perform at Star Plaza, and we’ll be the last act to perform there, and everything in-between was great," Allen said. "We are dear friends with Bruce White and the Star Plaza Theatre people."

“We’re going to do a farewell run," added Allen. "There are a lot of good friends there as far as the artists go."

 

 


 


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Clippers Explore Inglewood Arena
 
Posted: 20 Jun 2017, 7:40 pm

Map of the city of Inglewood, Calif., showing where the proposed new Clippers arena would be built. 

Under a looming cloud of controversy, The L.A. Clippers of the National Basketball Association and the City of Inglewood, Calif., already home to the Forum and a new football stadium, have entered into a three-year exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) that will allow the Clippers to explore building a new state-of-the-art basketball arena, training facilities and team offices in Inglewood, Calif.

The ENA, was unanimously approved May 15 by the Inglewood City Council. The deal calls for the Clippers to pay the city a nonrefundable $1.5 million which will fund the city’s administrative costs. If additional funding is required, the Clippers will provide the necessary resources. The new arena would be 100 percent privately funded and privately capitalized. No public dollars will be used for this project.

The city is considering a 20-acre site located south of Century Blvd. at Prairie Ave. and directly across the street from the future football stadium and entertainment district being developed by The Kroenke Group for the L.A. Rams and the L.A. Chargers, which is a year behind schedule and slated for a 2020 opening.   

The ENA establishes a three-year timeframe during which the L.A. Clippers will develop the details of its proposed basketball facility. The City of Inglewood will conduct an environmental review including an evaluation of the proposed facility’s construction and operational impacts.

The Clippers have called Staples Center, Los Angeles, home since 1999. They share the downtown L.A. venue with the NBA's L.A. Lakers and National Hockey League’s L.A. Kings. The team’s current lease with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the owners of Staples Center, will expire at the end of the 2023-2024 NBA season.

“Today’s announcement is consistent with what Steve Ballmer and the Clippers leadership have said for years,” stated Gillian Zucker, L.A. Clippers president of business operations at a press conference. “We want to be regarded as the best. That requires setting the highest bar for our performance in every aspect of our business. To accomplish this goal, we must have options for the future.”

“The Clippers' lease expires in seven years,” she said. Zucker cited having to share Staples Center was the primary reason for the proposed move. “We had to play many Friday night games followed by Saturday night games at Staples Center, which is not optimal.”

“This agreement serves as an example of the team’s commitment to providing Clipper Nation with the best game experience in the NBA,” Zucker said. “It is another step in the journey toward building a championship culture that will deliver positive results for Clippers players, fans and the greater Los Angeles community.”

“The Clippers applaud the energy and vision that (Inglewood) Mayor Butts has for his city,” added Zucker. “His tenacity was instrumental in getting this exclusive negotiating agreement across the finish line.”

One already controversial provision of the new agreement would see the city confiscate what is now private property under eminent domain laws at a price that is consistent with current value, not the value it would achieve as part of a major entertainment complex.

Another sore point, say critics of the process by which the agreement came to be, is the way the agreement was discussed, debated, and ultimately decided upon by the mayor and the four city councilmen without any input from the public.  

And while Butts, the city council and Ballmer have cause to celebrate, one group that definitely is not joining the party is would-be new-neighbor The Forum.

Citing violations of the Brown Act and the California Environmental Quality Act, attorneys for the Forum criticized the agreement, calling it a “backroom deal” and an “unprecedented agreement without a shred of public notice or public process.”

Forum attorneys wrote to Butts and the four city councilmen, saying “to our knowledge this action was done without the courtesy of any substantive discussions with the Inglewood community or, for that matter, our client.”

The letter went on to claim that The Forum “had no time to assess the proposed action or enter into discussions with the city or any of the parties involved,” and “fails to comply with requirements of law,” specifically an environmental review.

The Forum, which opened in 1967, was home to the Lakers and Kings until 1999. In 2012, it was bought by Madison Square Garden Company for $23.5 million and renovated as a concert-only venue by MSG Entertainment.

 

 


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Live Nation Invests In Block Party Suites
 
Posted: 20 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm

Block Party Suite's Binkley Avenue pop-up, SMU, Dallas.

Live Nation has made a $2-million funding investment in Block Party Suites, a company that provides mobile pop-up premium suites.

As part of the investment, Live Nation executives Mark Campana, co-president, North American concerts, and Tom See, chief revenue officer, North American concerts, will be joining Block Party Suites’ board.

“This round, funded entirely by Live Nation, will provide us with access to a diverse network of entertainment venues, talented industry professionals, and the financial resources needed to build our vision of creating a national event hospitality brand,” said Adam Ward, co-founder and CEO of Block Party Suites, in a statement. “Closing this round is a key indicator that sport and entertainment venue operators understand the hospitality experience must extend beyond the venue walls, and that our focus on customer service exceeds that expectation.”

“Live Nation is enhancing the venue experience for fans with custom pop-up hospitality suites at select locations this summer,” said the company in a written statement to Venues Today. “The preconcert tailgate villages and in-venue cabanas by Block Party Suites kicked off earlier this month at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., and BB&T Pavilion in Camden, N.J. On June 23 the suites will be featured outside two additional locations - Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Ind., and Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville.”

“In each of the venues, early-arriving fans can expect premium service from the time they arrive on-site through their pre-event activities. Amenities include access to fully furnished tailgate tents - which will be equipped with satellite TV and premium lounge furniture - as well as entertainment from live bands and popular tailgating games.”

“The pop-up aspect is a new revenue stream,” said Maury Brown, sports business and entertainment analyst. “It used to be that you generated your revenue from album sales. The money now comes from touring.”

“As Live Nation has become a broker of all kinds of live events, I think they see the pop-ups as a revenue stream they can get their hands on and become part of.”

“It used to be who you knew to get you into the premium space or allowed you to get access. Now it’s who has the cash to buy their way in.”

“Being involved in tailgating and partying on a high level can enhance the concert experience if you have the dollars to do this. Live Nation sees this. It’s highly lucrative. They obviously see this as something worth investing in.”

Brown would not be surprised if this move is just Live Nation getting their toes wet. “It’s possible they will invest more," he said. "It’s one of these situations where you start to make partners and then you want to make that experience uniform across all your events. I see this strategically as making a lot of sense.”

Block Party Suites has been in the game only three years. “Pop-ups are big and getting bigger," said Ward to Venues Today in a previous interview. "My partner and I started this company in 2014 because we were avid sports and music festival fans and saw a need for more than a tent." Block Party Suites didn’t get the first trailer out till 2015. By the middle of 2016, they saw six-to-eight times the growth.

“We married shipping containers and outdoor entertainment," said Ward. “We take a 20-foot shipping container and modify it into a portable hospitality suite. We put in 55-inch flat-screen TVs, five speaker surround-sound systems, hardwood floors, 14-piece furniture sets, satellite TV service, a rooftop deck and track lighting. It’s essentially a pop-up living room. Or we can turn it into a bar. Or it can be a VIP lounge.”

The containers come from China. "We buy the container once it hits port," said Ward. It’s sent to Block Party Suites' shop in Austin where it is stripped, painted and outfitted with all its electric connections. "Then it comes back to Dallas where we put in the signage and all the finishings. It leaves ready to go.”

Block Party Suites have two different revenue models. The first is a leasing model. In this scenario, the suites typically lease for $3,000 to $3,500 with logistics built into the price. Custom signage is extra; a vinyl package costs $1,500 and a premium dibond package costs $2,700.

The second pricing model works on a revenue share. Often the venues put zero dollars down. "This model is popular with sports teams," said Ward. “Sometimes it’s a 50/50 split; sometimes it’s an 80/20 split." The split is accounted for after operating expenses have been taken out.

“We’re a new product category." said Ward. "Venues are looking for partners who are experts who can execute all aspects of the pop-up. They have enough to do running the venues. We design, deliver and produce the product as well as handle logistics and operations. We manage everything from marketing to building websites. We conduct fan surveys and provide data collection. We create brochures, digital ads and send email releases."

Ward is gearing up for the last year of a three-year contract with Mustang Sports Properties which is the marketing arm for Southern Methodist Athletics, Dallas (SMU). "It's a tailgate village outside Gerald Ford Stadium and has six luxury suites," said Ward. "It was a huge success last year."

After SMU went up last year, Ward was flooded with calls. "We’ve done a Jägermeister lounge that went to five states on a five-festival tour," said Ward. "We did a Red Bull lounge for Circuit of Americas MotoGP, Austin, Texas, a pop-up lounge at the Travelers Championship, Hartford, Conn. and a pop-up park at TBC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn.

Ward has several concepts ready to go that are in final contract stages, one for a “big Bowl Game” and one for a “major festival.”

To place this all in perspective, Live Nation promoted nearly 26,300 events in 2016, alone.


 


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Hot Tickets for June 21, 2017
 
Posted: 20 Jun 2017, 3:25 pm

Take That perform at the 02 Arena, London.

Take That launched their Wonderland Tour, May 5, at the Birmingham (England) Genting Arena, promoting the Feb. 17 release of their Wonderland album. The English pop music group, along with light displays, a water show, circus-style acrobatics, seven costume changes and a giant flying swan, topped our chart this week after making a stop at The O2 Arena, London, England, June 6-12, surprising and entertaining over 100,000 fans with six shows grossing $9.5 million. The Wonderland Tour will continue throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand; the band will wrap up Nov. 22, at The Trusts Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. Although Take That fans are missing two of the band’s original members, Jason Orange and Robbie Williams, there are rumors floating about that a full reunion of all five members may take place for the band’s 30th anniversary in 2020.

After keeping a low profile for the past few years, Chris Tucker passed through the Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn., May 27, landing on our Hot Tickets chart this week. Tucker brought his unique brand of comedy to a near-capacity crowd of 7,300, and with ticket prices ranging from $25-$45, grossed nearly $300,000. The comedian’s new stand-up tour will be stopping next Sept. 29, at the Wellmont Theater, Montclair, N.J.
 

HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between May 23-June 20, 2017.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Take That
Gross Sales: $9,484,533; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 105,556; Ticket Range: $119.92-$69.43; Promoter: SJM Concerts; Dates: June 6-12; No. of Shows: 6

2) Iron Maiden
Gross Sales: $2,348,767; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 34,427; Ticket Range: $72.58-$60.59; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 27-28; No. of Shows: 2

3) Shawn Mendes
Gross Sales: $1,510,016; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 31,942; Ticket Range: $56.80-$34.71; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 1-2; No. of Shows: 2

4) Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull
Gross Sales: $1,372,890; Venue: American Airlines Center, Dallas; Attendance: 13,631; Ticket Range: $164.95-$34.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 16; No. of Shows: 1

5) Birthday Bash ATL
Gross Sales: $1,326,213; Venue: Philips Arena, Atlanta; Attendance: 16,731; Ticket Range: $199-$10.79; Promoter: Radio One; Dates: June 17; No. of Shows: 1

1) Cirque du Soleil - OVO
Gross Sales: $849,821; Venue: Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario; Attendance: 16,773; Ticket Range: $125.81-$29.38; Promoter: Cirque du Soleil; Dates: June 14-18; No. of Shows: 7

2) UFC
Gross Sales: $800,298; Venue: Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand; Attendance: 7,468; Ticket Range: $252.33-$36.05; Promoter: UFC; Dates: June 11; No. of Shows: 1

3) Elvis - The Wonder of You Tour
Gross Sales: $591,294; Venue: Perth (Australia) Arena; Attendance: 7,232; Ticket Range: $115.76-$62.38; Promoter: RCM Touring; Dates: May 26; No. of Shows: 1

4) Gloria Trevi vs Alejandra Guzman
Gross Sales: $543,710; Venue: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego; Attendance: 9,128; Ticket Range: $110.50-$36; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 9; No. of Shows: 1

5) Magic 92.5 20th Birthday Bash
Gross Sales: $278,534; Venue: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego; Attendance: 5,270; Ticket Range: $79.50-$24; Promoter: Pacific Concert Group; Dates: June 17; No. of Shows: 1

1) Jennifer Lopez
Gross Sales: $2,379,225; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 12,037; Ticket Range: $412-$54; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: May 24-27; No. of Shows: 3

2) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $951,423; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 8,176; Ticket Range: $150-$69; Promoter: WME, In-house; Dates: June 2; No. of Shows: 1

3) Neil Diamond
Gross Sales: $791,245; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 9,084; Ticket Range: $99-$59; Promoter: WME , In-house; Dates: June 11; No. of Shows: 1

4) The Avett Brothers
Gross Sales: $281,100; Venue: Breese Stevens Field, Madison, Wis.; Attendance: 5,274; Ticket Range: $75-$45; Promoter: Frank Productions, Majestic Live, True Endeavors, NS2; Dates: June 17; No. of Shows: 1

5) Chris Tucker
Gross Sales: $279,700; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 7,290; Ticket Range: $45-$25; Promoter: In-house, UTA; Dates: May 28; No. of Shows: 1

1) The King and I
Gross Sales: $1,331,222; Venue: Durham (N.C.) Performing Arts Center; Attendance: 20,647; Ticket Range: $177.15-$42.78; Promoter: PFM, Nederlander Presentations (New York); Dates: June 6-11; No. of Shows: 8

2) Mamma Mia
Gross Sales: $1,222,088; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 18,694; Ticket Range: $125-$30; Promoter: Broadway Across America; Dates: June 13-18; No. of Shows: 8

3) Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
Gross Sales: $1,006,846; Venue: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, Wis.; Attendance: 11,299; Ticket Range: $135-$50; Promoter: Broadway Across America; Dates: May 30-June 4; No. of Shows: 8

4) Jerry Seinfeld
Gross Sales: $626,757; Venue: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; Attendance: 5,231; Ticket Range: $165-$82.50; Promoter: AEG Presents, Caesars Entertainment; Dates: June 17-18; No. of Shows: 2

5) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Gross Sales: $585,084; Venue: Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Attendance: 6,412; Ticket Range: $99.50-$79.50; Promoter: Goldenvoice; Dates: May 26-27; No. of Shows: 2

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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Largest LED Display In Sports Debuts
 
Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 2:05 pm

Click here to see the video of the largest LED display in sports at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta.

Sitting at the roofline of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta — home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC — will be the largest LED video display in sports. For Jared Miller, the 58-foot tall, 1,100 feet around halo screen is arguably the most exciting and noteworthy piece of technology being integrated into the venue, which will open in the Fall.

“Anyone who walks into the venue, that’ll be the first thing that they look at and the first thing they’ll pay attention to. It’s not going to get old, game after game after game,” said the Chief Digital Officer and SVP of Analytics and Technology for AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE).

“It’s unlike anything that’s ever been built.”

Miller said that with the $1.5-billion construction project, which was both publicly and privately funded, the goal isn’t to chase superlative statements or claiming to be the most technologically advanced venue, even if it will house a 101-foot tall mega column LED display, 460 LED sports lights and an all fiber-to-the-edge network. The sentiments echo recent comments made last month by Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts.

“My commitment is to make sure that the fan experience we’re creating is going to leverage the latest and greatest technology, to make it the best possible experience,” Miller said to SportTechie.

“One thing we’re not going to do is innovate for innovation’s sake. We’re going to make sure we innovate for the customer's sake and for benefit of the fan at the end of the day.”

With countdown to opening less than a few months away, Miller said that the stadium is in the “full-on implementation and final configuration” phase of the process. Since early last year, AMBSE and its outside vendors have tested at a local lab facility in Atlanta the different types of technology being incorporated into Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with Miller saying that, in mid-2016, “we had the equivalent of three stadiums running simultaneously in this lab.”

“Granted, they were a microcosm in terms of scale, but it allowed us to test the technology as opposed to relying on that paper-based approach, and the hope that the integrations would work,” he added. “We put it to the test and saw first-hand how each one of these technologies would behave and nuances that often manifest themselves in the phase that we’re in now.”

Everything from safety firewalls and points-of-sale devices to routers, security cameras, television screens and other tech-based features have all been given the test treatment prior to the current implementation stages. Even WiFi, which will be powered by Hewlett Packard company Aruba, and have 1,800 wireless access points, has been tested as well.

From a fan engagement perspective, there has been a heightened level of importance placed on mobile and the app experience, according to Miller, who called it “one of the most critical touch points we have because that’s how fans engage with us.” Through a partnership with IBM, there will be three apps (Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta United FC/Mercedes-Benz Stadium) for fans to use versus what other sports teams have done with a joint team and venue app. Both teams’ apps will include stadium-based features and information.

As a result, there isn’t a necessity to download multiple apps unless a sports fan’s allegiances span soccer and football or maybe a consumer just wants to learn more about the stadium. Miller said that with the multipurpose 71,000-seat venue, which will also include events like the NCAA Final Four, SEC Championship or concert programming, it was necessary to build out the third app to cater to another group of attendees.

Additionally, with the IBM-powered apps, AMBSE can experiment with different startup vendors and technology providers to enhance the fan experience, whether it’s parking information or survey-based fans communication, for example.

“If we find that that is not being effective and not adding value to the fans, it’s like Legos, we can pull one out and try something else,” Miller said. “The core platform we’ve developed with IBM is really that core platform that allows us to have that agility and speed of innovation.

“Anything we do from a digital standpoint, it can’t be distracting. It needs to enhance whatever is happening on the field, whether it’s a game, concert or something else.”

That mindset stretches to ticketing as well, where Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be paperless, said Miller. Both the Falcons and Atlanta United season ticket holders will receive an RFID card and lanyard to make entry more efficient while barcodes on smartphones will still be accepted. As the organization utilizes the RFID technology throughout the season, learns more about its capabilities and how it impacts the fan, Miller said there is the possibility to “leverage it more broadly.”

When asked about collecting further fan data and information from the RFID technology, such as where individuals walk throughout the venue, how they’re using their time or where they’re purchasing food and beverage, Miller said that could be a capability as AMBSE looks into the future. From day one when Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens, that won’t be an option. Additionally, fans won’t have the ability to initially buy merchandise and generally spend money via their RFID card but again, that may be a future possibility as Miller and his staff continue to engage in conversations about how to enhance all aspects of the fan experience. With the organization’s Ticketmaster relationship, the plan is to continue to maximize that partnership as much as possible and “deploy the latest and greatest technologies.”

In addition, Miller explained that  the venue’s “fiber-to-the-edge infrastructure” means over the next 5, 10 and 20 years, Mercedes-Benz Stadium can stay current with new advances in technologies without having to reconfigure the infrastructure.

“How are we setting us up for continued excellence in the years to come? … I think that’s something we’ve focused on squarely and uniquely with Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” Miller said.


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Spectra’s Jones Goes It Alone
 
Posted: 15 Jun 2017, 6:20 pm

Brock Jones, the proud owner of 191 Touring.

Brock Jones has made a three-decade career of looking for the right fit between venues, artists and his own goals. That’s why when he sensed earlier this year that his position at Comcast Spectacor’s Spectra live event touring and promotion division didn’t feel right anymore, he decided to make a clean break and go his own way.

“Comcast Spectacor has really made a conscious decision that they need to focus in on the core product of the business, which is venue management and food and beverage, which is fine [with me]” he said. “It’s not a coincidence that the concert touring division was offloaded almost at the exact same time they sold ticketing. Honestly, the concert touring business is not for everyone.”

Jones, who left the company May 12, said he’d sat in multiple meetings with the Comcast finance team and “felt bad for them” when they’d ask him about cash flow and “how many tickets we’ll sell next week.” Knowing that those types of figures are impossible to predict in a business that’s not typically ruled by quarterly returns and month-over-month cashflow, Jones said it was hard for Comcast to make the touring business fit with their more traditional business model. “It’s not apples and oranges, it was apples and hand grenades,” he said, noting the split was amicable. A spokesperson for Comcast Spectacor declined to comment for this story.

So, the longtime talent buyer and former VP of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena left the company after nearly five years of trying to break into smaller markets when it was clear that the division he led was not producing as expected. The good news is, he retained his entire staff of three full-time employees and hung his own shingle at his office 10 miles outside of Nashville.

The company, named 191 Touring after Brock’s childhood address in a small Idaho town bisected by State Route 191, has already ramped up with its first few projects. The initial outing is a string of dates in conjunction with Brad Garrett’s Police Productions, extending country singer Justin Moore’s tour, which he’s in the midst of routing right now.

He’s also partnering with Invictus’ Jim Cressman for some Canadian dates of the “I Love the 90s” tour and is in conversation with some of his longtime William Morris cohorts on a short Canadian run with another act he is not yet at liberty to discuss.

“Brock is a hard worker and he's another indie underdog working hard to develop hard ticket artists,” Cressman said. “My impetus to partner with venues is driven by intentionally doing whatever is advantageous for the artist. If bringing the venue in as a partner on my side reduces rent and soft costs, the artist walks out with more money because of that arrangement, we all win.”

Both men said the killer nostalgia lineup of the 90s tour — featuring Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa, Young MC, Coolio and others — made sense for them and the markets they’re going into.

“Whatever artist makes sense we’re gonna go after it,” Jones said of the net he’s planning to cast with a team that includes two marketing and production staffers and a right-hand woman who “basically keeps the world running for us.”

“I’ve been in the concert business since I was 17 — this is my 31st year — and I want to have an independent touring company that’s focused on putting artists in places they can succeed,” he said. “The concert touring model is going through a big flux right now. There’s so much focus placed on the majors and there are so many acts touring now because of the implosion of labels that there is a lot of potential for shows and touring and markets out there.”

The key, he noted, is that it is giving artists, managers and agents the ability to look at a national tour without having to go to Live Nation or AEG by picking a shop that can focus on an artist with laser precision. “They won’t be a number, that’s why Brad and I work so hard on Justin, we believe in him,” he said of his partnership with Garrett. “We focus on those dates. Live Nation and AEG do great business, but they are spread thin. If somebody wants to put an artist out for 18 dates in the middle of winter for acts that don’t burn sheds, that’s not what they do. They won’t get the attention they need to succeed. That’s what I do.”

Asked how many dates or tours he plans to put out in the next year, Jones said he hasn’t set a goal for a reason. “I don’t lock myself in because that’s when you start making bad offers,” he said. “If it makes sense, we’re going after it. We’re not budgeting ‘we have to do 15 shows a month.’ We’re budgeting ‘let’s go do what’s right and makes sense.' I just came out of a world that lived on benchmarks and that doesn’t work in this world.”

Plans call for his office to expand soon, thanks to an initial response he described as “beyond positive. To say I’ve been welcomed with open arms would be an understatement. In this industry, you can never have enough good partners, and I’ve been in this business a long time and worked hard to have a good reputation. I pay my bills and treat artists well. There’s nothing more you can ask for in this business.”


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Spectra Sells Ticket Division To Learfield
 
Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

The new (yet old) logo of Paciolan, which was acquired by Learfield.

College sports marketer, Learfield, which is owned by Atairos Group, has acquired Spectra’s Ticketing & Fan Engagement division from Comcast Spectacor, which will revert to its original name, Paciolan. The deal was announced on June 12 and it’s expected to close at the end of the month.

Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagements’ Kim Damron will continue to lead Paciolan in her role as president. Dave Butler will remain as CEO of Paciolan and founder Jane Kleinberger will also remain with the firm, which will officially be called, Paciolan a Learfield Company.

The connections run deep between all four companies. Atairos Group is run by Michael Angelakis, who was formerly CFO at Comcast, owned by Comcast Spectacor.

“Pac is back,” said a thrilled Damron about getting the Paciolan name back when reached at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) conference in Orlando, Fla., where all of the company’s branding is already Paciolan.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “We had that name for 35 of the 37 years we’ve been in business and the Paciolan name resonates well with our clients. The brand is great and known in the market.”

“Learfield was looking for natural synergy plays and this was one that made sense," said Damron. “Learfield is clearly the leader in college, but they’re also focused on live entertainment — the venue side, the college side and on the arts side.”

Damron is excited about working with Learfield’s digital marketing company, Mogo Interactive. “They have over 200 clients, 150 of which are performing arts clients, so we’ll be able to deliver advanced marketing tools and data solutions to our performing arts and venue clients,” said Damron.

Damron also believes another windfall of the deal will be that Paciolan’s already strong marketing services team will be able to accelerate their services to their clients through Mogo technology.

Learfield also owns digital signage companies ANC and GoVision, and Sidearm, a website company, which Damron believes will also provide ‘synergies across the company that make a whole lot of sense for us.”

The company will be staying in their headquarters in Irvine, Cailf., and the rest of the senior management team, Steve Demots, chief revenue officer, and Craig Ricks, SVP, marketing, will also be staying in their roles.

“We expect to grow the product and the features and deliver great products and services for our customers,” said Damron about Paciolan’s future under a new corporate owner.  “Learfield also plans to invest in our technology, which means more products and services out to the market to serve everybody better.”

“We have long admired Paciolan,” said Learfield President and CEO Greg Brown.  “Not only is it a great service with a number of segment-leading products, the reputation of its people, beginning with its founders and current management, is without peer.  We couldn’t be happier and look forward to having Paciolan as part of the Learfield family.”

Brown said there are still a few minor legal matters to resolve but all the major issues have been agreed upon. “The deal is signed,”  he said.

“We serve many athletic and entertainment programs and venues and one of the more meaningful pieces that has not been a part of what we do has been the ticketing function, which has incredible technology and databases and functionality, which every significant venue has to have,” he said. “Ticketing is a pretty complex software product.”

Brown said that acquiring Paciolan fits in nicely with the other acquisitions the company has made over the last few years. “Adding a complimentary product and service to the other companies we’ve picked up like Mogo and Sidearm will make integrating our services seamless.”

Culturally, Brown believes the companies are a perfect fit. “How Paciolan thinks about relationships, and how important they are, is right in line with how we place a premium on working together in a thoughtful and collaborative way,” he said. “Their culture is a centerpiece of what is attractive about that company.”

Brown confirmed Learfield’s intention to invest in Paciolan. “We’re going to be investing and probably bringing in more people,” he said. “We want to continue to build out their suite of services and functionality.”

“We all feel terrific about it, it makes so much sense because the college space is where Paciolan got its start,” said Dave Scott, Comcast Spectacor, CEO.

The genesis of the deal came from conversations Scott had with Angelakis after Atairos Group bought Learfield. “Mike and I are good friends; we worked 10 years together at Comcast,” said Scott. “We talked about what he was doing in the college space and what we were doing, and we thought it made sense to talk about a deal. With all the schools Learfield has, and all the schools Paciolan has, it’s going to be good for both of their businesses.”

Scott pointed out that Comcast by Spectacor still has the other parts of Spectra — food service and corporate sponsorship — and believes they “can go deeper in the college space” and that the move is “a terrific opportunity for cross marketing for both companies.”

Paciolan was founded in 1980. Its ticketing platform and related fan engagement services are used by 500 live entertainment organizations including 120 leading collegiate athletic departments, 75 performing arts venues and more than 100 professional sports and arenas clients and several regional ticketing partners who serve hundreds of venues. The Paciolan system processes the sale of over 120 million tickets per year. In more than 37 years of operation, Paciolan has expanded beyond its ticket operations software solutions, adding fundraising, marketing and customer analytics, providing its partners with reliable data and customer insights.

The ticketing world was also rocked this week by the news that primary ticket company Eventbrite entered into an agreement with Pandora to acquire ticket company Ticketfly for $200-million. Additionally, Eventbrite and Pandora plan to enter into a future distribution agreement to extend the benefits of the Ticketfly integration into Eventbrite.

“Both Eventbrite and Ticketfly have made incredible progress building technology for live music businesses in the long underserved mid-market,” wrote an Eventbrite representative to Venues Today in a statement. “We have shared passions and complementary strengths, and we know we can offer better solutions for venues & promoters by joining forces. When you add Ticketfly's deep relationships and strong track record in a complex industry to Eventbrite's global scale and technology, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.”

"We've always believed independent venues and promoters deserve the absolute best in event technology and services,” wrote a Ticketfly representative to Venues Today in a statement. “Teaming up with Eventbrite will give our incredible roster of clients a solution that combines the strengths of both companies, and together we will continue to push the industry forward. Ticketfly's mission is to deliver the world's most powerful live events platform, and this combination accelerates our path to achieving that mission."

The deal is still in negotiations and no date has been set for closing.

Both ticketing company deals come on the heels of a new partnership between long-reining ticket industry-leader Ticketmaster and upstart last-minute ticketing app Gametime.

“This is the first indigenous ticketing company we’ve done an open platform deal with,” said Greg Economou, Ticketmaster, chief commercial officer and head of sports. “We really like the incremental audience they’ve captured. Their market is mostly last-minute ticket-buyers who are making a decision within seven days of an event.”

“We really like their technology and their interface and think it really matches up with the direction we’re going,” he said. “We think it’s a great opportunity to create incremental purchases and ticket sales.”

“Working with an industry leader like Ticketmaster is strong validation for the fast-growing platform we’ve built at Gametime,” wrote a Gametime representative to Venues Today. “We expect to offer significant value to all of Ticketmaster’s clients as the company looks to expand inventory distribution and reach even more of our millennial demographic. Gametime’s last minute, mobile-focused user will also benefit from the best selection of tickets across all categories of sellers.”

Economou said that, “it’s available for our partners to take advantage of immediately.”

For more on the latest round of ticketing industry consolidation and analysis of all the mergers, acquisitions and new partnerships that have hit in this wave, pick up the July issue of Venues Today.

 


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Second Paw Patrol Tour Launched
 
Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure, debuts in October.

The worldwide popularity of Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue, produced by VStar Entertainment Group, has led to a second production based on pirate puppies.

The success of Nickelodeon’s “Paw Patrol” shows combined with youngsters’ fascination with pirates should be a winning formula for Paw Patrol Live: The Great Pirate Adventure, said VStar’s Kevin Kulas. The original Paw Patrol Live has been playing theaters since October of last year. There are also five international units of Paw Patrol, which opened or will open March 31 in Australia, April 7 in Mexico City, Aug 4 in London, July 3 in Uruguay and October in Portugal.

Paw Patrol Live: The Great Pirate Adventure will play 1,500-5,000 seat venues, among them four arenas so far, said Julia Schmidt, new CMO of VStar, who joined the firm in February. Bookings are a combination of promotes and co-promotes, Kulas said.

Ticket prices start at $19 and go up to $110 for the VIP package, comparable to the first run.

Setup for this new Paw Patrol, which is a slightly bigger production, will be eight hours; tear-down, four hours. It involves four or five semis, one tour bus and a cast and crew of 30. Costumes are produced in-house, one of VStar’s core competencies. VStar is using a “Bunraku”style of theatrical costuming, which leaves the actor’s face exposed.

Kulas pegged the cost of production at in excess of $2.5 million. The show makes use of video walls and Nickelodeon animation. It is also interactive. The first Paw Patrol used white pompom giveaways, which the children were encouraged to wave. Pirates will have a similar interactive giveaway item.

The target market is preschoolers, but skews to age 10, Schmidt said. “It’s a fun show; everybody likes puppies.” In some markets, they tie in with nonprofit canine companies and let them set up in the lobby, most often with support dogs.

The number one selling merchandise item is LED spin lights.

Sponsorships for the first Paw Patrol Live include Pedigree and State Farm. Kulas said they have not yet contracted the second tour sponsorships.

The strength of the first tour helps with the marketing effort, Schmidt said. “There is pent-up demand.” Paw Patrol two will repeat some markets.

Kulas said the first tour of Paw Patrol Live has played 50 dates and 203 performances through June 8. It has sold over 500,000 paid tickets to date in the U.S.

The social media engagement is huge.

VStar currently has five active touring units besides Paw Patrol — three Discover the Dinosaurs and two units of Sesame Street Live, the last performance of which will be July 23 in Maui, Hawaii. Feld Entertainment will produce future Sesame Street Lives.

VStar also has three holiday shows and one non-holiday productions of Cirque Dreams.

Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure begins Oct. 14-15 at Five Flags Center, Dubuque, Iowa. New arenas on the tour include UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Nov. 4-5.

The route so far:

Oct. 14-15, Five Flags Center Arena, Dubuque, IA                           
Oct. 21-22 , U.S. Cellular Coliseum, Bloomington, Ill.                        
Oct. 28-29, Old National Centre, Evansville, Ind.                           
Nov. 4-5, UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans,
Nov. 8, Cajundome, Lafayette, LA                         
Nov. 11-12, CenturyLink Center, Bossier City, La                      
Nov. 15, Ford Park Arena, Beaumont, Texas                          
Nov. 18-19, PAC at River Center, Baton Rouge, La.                    
Nov. 21-22, Cannon Center, Memphis, Tenn.                            
Nov. 29, Convocation Center, Jonesboro, Ark                        
Dec. 2-3, Allen County Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind.                       
Dec. 6, Civic Center,  Canton, Ohio
Dec. 9-10, Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, Conn.                        
Dec. 13, Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pa.                    
Dec. 15-17, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.                     
Dec. 26-27, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                         
Dec. 30-31, Old National Centre, Indianapolis                        


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Seattle Storm To Stay At KeyArena
 
Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 5:15 pm

WNBA team Seattle Storm will stay at KeyArena through 2028.

The Seattle City Council has approved a new deal that will make KeyArena home to the Seattle Storm of the WNBA through Dec. 31, 2028. The new deal will supersede, terminate and replace the previous contract.

The agreement between Storm owners Force 10 Hoops LLC (F10H) and the city of Seattle contains many of the components of the previous deal. As a part of the revenue sharing deal, beginning in 2017, F10H will receive an annual payment of $340,198 for building naming rights. Also included are advertising, premium seating and suite sales. F10H will pay a minimum of $5,715 per game for lower bowl configuration. A larger fee of $8,115 will be implemented for the use of lower and upper bowl seating.  

"The lease renewal is very similar to the earlier one; however, due to plans for redevelopment of KeyArena, we wanted to more specifically address that issue for the team,” said Edie Burke, general manager at KeyArena. “The first contract was negotiated shortly after the Sonics left.  Both organizations have learned a lot since that time so we wanted to capture some of the standard operating procedures we have established throughout the 10 ten years."

In February of 2009, F10H signed a 10-year agreement to remain at KeyArena. In the wake of the SuperSonics departing, the city council agreed on a deal that would lower costs and boost revenue for F10H. This agreement afforded F10H 30 percent of concession revenue, a $10,000 rent decrease per home game and a minimum of $300,000 annually from the city for allowing Seattle Center advertising throughout and around KeyArena. The existing deal was set to end Dec. 31, 2018.

Even with the new agreement to play the next 10 seasons in KeyArena, the Storm may have to play a portion of their home games elsewhere. Their leave of absence may be lengthy, and a back-up venue has not yet been decided.

"Our new contract with the Storm addresses relocation due to renovations,” said Burke. “We will work together to find them a suitable location if they needed to host any of their games outside of the arena."

The city is currently finalizing a $500-million plan with Oak View Group to replace and renovate the structure of KeyArena. If this deal is implemented, the Storm will be forced to relocate for up to three seasons. This will come at a cost to the city.

If F10H follows all scheduling guidelines but are forced to play a regular season home game away from KeyArena either due to Bumbershoot (an annual music festival which takes place during the Women’s National Basketball Association season) or renovations, the city would be responsible for paying F10H up to $260,000 per game. If the Storm are not permitted to play in KeyArena for 11 games to two seasons, the city would be responsible for paying F10H $2.6 million per season. Though KeyArena may take a financial hit during renovations, they're hoping for a big payoff upon its completion.

"The renovations will include upgrades that enhance the playing and viewing of WNBA, National Basketball Association (NBA), National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) basketball as well as National Hockey League (NHL) games. Of course, it will also continue to be able to host live entertainment events," Burke said

Obligations to the city from F10H  include community service programs each season involving players, coaches, staff and owners, that teach the city's youth a healthy and active lifestyle. 

F10H must follow a program that provides 1,000 tickets to local nonprofit organizations in efforts to give children with a lack of resources an opportunity to experience a WNBA game. The team must enter an environmental sustainability program to assist in educating the public about steps that'll create a cleaner and healthier environment. Also, the team must enter into a ticket pricing structure that sees to it there is a minimum of 500 tickets sold at $15 or less apeice, per game. This will ensure that people of all communities and financial backgrounds have the ability to attend a game. Currently, on Ticketmaster.com, Storm tickets range from as low as $9 to as high as $83.

"We have an early-saver zone, which is part of BECU,” said Alisha Valavanis, president and general manager of the Storm. “It provides discounted tickets for families to come into the building and experience Storm basketball. We’re doing things across the board to focus on families and young kids."

Along with receiving $340,198 annually for building naming rights and advertising outside the arena and inside along the upper bowl, F10H will have the exclusive rights to sell and license temporary advertising during home games. F10H will have the right to the following sections of the lower bowl: the digital signage, the basketball floor, basketball goal supports' padding, backboards, player benches, 24-second clock, press table, scorer’s table, visiting team and trainer equipment, video portion of the jumbotron, the concrete walls in the lower bowl, the seats and seat backs in the lower and upper bowl, the blimp and similar devices approved by the building manager, media room, settlement room, courtside entrance, family lounge and the curtain.

F10H is required to ensure that 10 percent of the available signage for each home game is left available for city advertisements. However, the team is entitled to 100 percent of gross revenue allocated by advertisement, granted it's in the listed sections. The Storm have 30 sponsors and partnerships listed on their site, with the most contributions coming from Swedish Medical Center. 

A number of alternative arena uses were etched into the deal, including practices, fundraisers, and parking. The deal states the Storm are allowed to use KeyArena for team practices when no home games are scheduled as long as the request is made 45 days in advance. The team can utilize the arena for practice for up to four hours. However, a scheduled practice can be canceled by KeyArena for a revenue generating activity, as long as F10H is notified 10 days in advance. F10H will also be allowed to request the arena for five fan-generation events, or sponsor development events, per season. As long as it is requested in advance and a home game is not scheduled on that day. F10H will be issued 500 authorized parking permits, for players, coaches, and team staff to be used in First Avenue Parking Garage. Staff may also utilize South KeyArena parking lots for no additional cost, if parking is available.

The Storm have been a success since they've arrived at the KeyArena, winning the Women’s National Basketball Association Championship in 2004 and 2010. In the 17 home games played at KeyArena last season, the Storm welcomed 7,230 fans per game. This total was an 11-percent increase from 2015 when the team hosted 6,515 fans per game. In 2016, the Storm reported it reached a 389-percent increase in local viewership with 171, 917 total viewers. The team also saw a 60-percent increase in national viewership. According to the team page, The Storm estimated reaching 22.1 billion via earned media.

The Storm are scheduled to play 17 home games each WNBA season, excluding pre-season, post-season and the WNBA All-Star Game, which was awarded to KeyArena for the 2017 season.

"For the game, we will activate our plaza,” said Valavanis. “We’ll do kind of fan fest type activities the day of the game… the numbers look strong. We sold out the lower bowl. We’re continuing to drive attendance."

The All-Star Game will be played July 22 and will be broadcast on ABC.


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IAFE Addresses Dealing with Activists
 
Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm

When the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, booked the animal attraction Sea Lion Splash into the 2016 event, GM Virgil Strickler received “thousands and thousands” of emails in protest, and the fair’s Facebook page was deluged with posts from all over the world.

The year before, in 2015, the Black Lives Matter movement decided to use the Minnesota State Fair, Saint Paul, as a platform for rallies, resulting in a situation of closing and opening back up various gates to keep demonstrators out, a task that kept security busy and not focused on other tasks.

The International Association of Fairs & Expositions (IAFE) has been providing alerts to member fairs when they might be targets as well as advice on how to handle protests. Now,  IAFE is releasing a 10-point Activist Response Kit (ARK) to help members prepare for activists, especially animal activists.

“The ARK results from a series of interactions and conversations with members,” said Marla Calico, president and CEO of the IAFE since the beginning of 2016. “Before I became president and CEO, it was evident to me as a staff member of IAFE that animal rights activists— especially but not exclusively—had fairs in their sights. Members were calling asking for advice, most often in a pressure or response situation. We spent a lot of time in 2016 just listening and talking to members and helping in times of crisis.”

After communicating with several fair managers and staff members and realizing she was giving out similar advice in many of the situations, Calico decided it would be helpful to create a tool kit for members in order to prepare them for protests and to help them be more proactive. The ARK is a document with 10 sections, covering the following topics: Animals: Livestock Shows During the Fair; Animals: Petting Zoos, Educational Exhibits and Attractions; Non-Fair Rental Events; Booth Rules: Controlling Activists on Grounds; Free Speech; IT: Preparing for Robo-Emails and CyberAttacks; Screening Personnel: Hired & Volunteers; Social Media; Crisis Communications; and Legislative Advocacy.

The ARK should be available this week online, and Calico plans to email member fairs to let them know they can log in and either download a PDF or read the document online. The next step, Calico said, will be to produce a printed edition that will be about 64 pages that she hopes will be completed in the fall, in time to hand out at the annual IAFE convention, which will take place Nov. 26-29 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

Most of the 10 sections are straightforward when it comes to dealing with activists. As far as Calico knows, a fair has not experienced an activist trying to get hired as a way of working from the inside. However, “we just want them to think about it,” she said. “Animal rights activists are well known for doing that, so why would they not try at a fair? It’s not beyond the scope of possibility. But we’ve heard of no instances.”

Also, in several cases, animal attractions have been targeted, as opposed to the livestock events that are the backbone of most fairs. However, Calico believes fairs should brace for that ocurrence as well. She noted an incident that took place last year when New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes purchased a 4-H pig at the Saint Lucie County Fair in Fort Pierce, Fla., as a gesture to help the kids. According to auction rules, the pig had to be slaughtered.

“People were calling for him to be thrown off the baseball team,” she said. Calico also recalled a petition that received several thousand signatures calling for an end to the “senseless abuse” perpetuated by 4-H programs at fairs. “Those are two specific examples,” she said. 

The stakes to Calico are obvious. “When a critical resource like staff time is spent dealing with an assault of robo-emails, that means something else can’t be addressed,” she said. “An assault of robo-emails may totally disrupt email service, even crash a website of a fair. In that instance, guests can’t get information, cannot make decisions, may get frustrated and develop a negative attitude about the fair.”

Alicia Shoults, the marketing and public relations director at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, can attest to how damaging and time-consuming the issue can be. Last year, just before the fair was set to open, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asked that the Sea Lion Splash be canceled.

Soon, GM Strickler began receiving thousands of emails, requesting the closure of the attraction. In response, Shoults said, the fair contacted the Ohio Department of Agriculture to make sure the sea lions had been inspected by a marine life veterinarian, and that the animals had adequate shade and other necessities. PETA was informed, Shoults said, however, “they were not satisfied and they continued to utilize their emailing and cyber-bullying tactics.”

Ohio State Fair officials consider animal attractions to be both a good educational and entertainment tool for fairgoers, Shoults said. “It’s something we evaluate every year, whether to continue to book animal attractions as a whole, and which ones we’re going to book.” The attractions are examined closely, not only for the value to customers, but also to make sure the acts are “in the clear” and “the right fit” for the fair, she added.

Elephant attractions at fairs also have been targeted by animal activists. The Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), West Springfield, Mass., and the Kern County Fair, Bakersfield, Calif., are two fairs that have dealt with protesters because of elephant acts. Last year, activists showed up to demonstrate at The Big E; most of them stayed outside the fairgrounds, said Donna Woolam, the fair’s director of agriculture. “They have to remain on the street, but that’s not to stop an animal activist from coming in and videoing. We try to keep it on the street.”

And in 2015, elephants from Have Trunk Will Travel were set to appear at the Kern County Fair. Activists there took a different tactic by approaching sponsors and the booked entertainers, including rock act REO Speedwagon, said CEO Michael Olcott. “That got a lot of backlash to me,” Olcott said. “Sponsors said, ‘How did they get my number? I’m not supporting cruelty to animals.’” Because of the pressure, Have Trunk Will Travel pulled out of the fair, he added

Woolam can remember animal activists back in the 1980s, she said, but social media has allowed them to organize in a way never seen before. She appreciates the IAFE’s help in the form of the ARK tool kit. “I think it’s wonderful that we’re taking a proactive response and that we’re getting to be proactive in this,” Woolam said. “I think it’s wonderful that they are reaching out to the IAFE membership that may not have the access that those of us at larger fairs may have to resources like this.”

Although most of the activism at fairs has surrounded the issue of animals, some groups select fairs for protests because they provide a platform. That is what happened in 2015 when Black Lives Matter chose the Minnesota State Fair as a rallying site. “They want to be seen so they go where all the people are, and go where you’re going to get some news coverage,” said GM Jerry Hammer.

The incident happened on one of the fair’s highest attendance days and so did not seem to negatively impact attendance, and once the fairgrounds coordinated with the Saint Paul Police Department, Hammer said, they were able to dissipate the crowd. Some of the protesters then came back as guests, he noted.

Of course, the year-round events at fairs also can be targets, and the IAFE notes that managers have to be aware that booking in a gun show—or a marijuana show—might result in attention from activists. “People are finding a lot of ways to let their voices be heard, through social media in particular,” Calico said. “It has become so simple for a single individual to launch a massive robo-cyber attack that it’s not even funny.” 

As for this year’s Kern County Fair, which will be held Sept. 20 to Oct. 1, there will be a show featuring stingrays that can be petted by customers. Does Olcott expect to experience protesters? “I’m sure we probably will, but I think it will be minor.”


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Yas Arena Plans Unveiled
 
Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:00 pm

Yas Arena, Abu Dhabi, will be part of a $12 billion multi-use entertainment complex.

St. Louis-based HOK Design unveiled the latest renderings of Yas Arena, a new multipurpose sports and entertainment venue on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The facility is part of a $12-billion mixed-use development that will include adjacent retail and dining on a boardwalk.

The new 18,000-capacity arena, which can contract to a 500-seat theatre, is the first on the island to be designed to accommodate a wide variety of events. HOK is working with ESP and Pascall+Watson to deliver the arena. The team was engaged by Miral Asset Management, the entity responsible for the development of the broad southern part of Yas Island.

“This is a fantastic project, and we’ve been working with our client for some time,” said John Rhodes, a director of HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice.

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The goal of the project was to create an intimate, highly flexible and efficient venue with excellent acoustics that can be used year-round for a variety of sport and entertainment events.

This focus on flexibility carries over to premium and back-of-house spaces. The arena is designed to adapt to a diverse set of events, including community gatherings, concerts, performances, sporting events, and meetings and conventions. Premium spaces include a VIP lounge that can be transformed into a grand ballroom for events, hospitality boxes and unique terrace bars for receptions and parties.

Additional amenities, including food and beverage, will be located adjacent to the arena to create a linear street that stretches down the waterfront promenade. This outdoor concourse will create a festival-like atmosphere to generate year-round activity. The outdoor concourse will provide connectivity to the surrounding district on Yas Bay.

Yas Island is a new multipurpose leisure, shopping and entertainment destination that includes a hotel cluster, the Yas Marina, F1 circuit and a growing number of theme parks. The new venue will be located directly on the waterfront and serve as an anchor for the promenade that will feature more than 50 cafes and restaurants, 20 retail outlets, a recreational pier, two hotels and a beach club.         

“Abu Dhabi has specific requirements, and the scale of events is much different than in the U.S. and Europe,” said Rhodes. “The building is tailored to the market, which demands a lot more hospitality, and also to the nature of how shows are set up. We’ve optimized premium and exhibition spaces [with this design].”

In addition to a unique typology, which is different from traditional North American arenas, what also sets the new arena apart is its location on the waterfront by the sea.

“It runs alongside the waterfront, so the actual building layout is symmetrical to respond to that,” said Rhodes. “The lower concourses can act as a mall, so this will be a very active building on non-event days.”

Rhodes said a start date and date of completion have not yet been set, but construction on the arena is anticipated to begin in the next few months.


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Ticketmaster Losing Its Grip on NFL?
 
Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 3:00 pm

Ticketmaster's contract with the NFL ends in 2017.

Ticketmaster has a hold—at least officially—on National Football League (NFL) ticketing, both the primary and secondary markets. But signs point to a shifting of the landscape in the NFL’s secondary ticketing market with the five-year Ticketmaster agreement running out following the 2017 season. That expiration introduces the possibility of the NFL opening up the secondary market to all sorts of players. Or, they could simply choose someone different.

“It is a wait and see what the league says,” John Schriever, senior vice president of ticketing and event management for the Houston Texans, told Venues Today. “I don’t think it is imminent until the fall. The decision is months away.”

The NFL and Ticketmaster remain mum on the topic, with both entities declining comment to Venues Today and Ticketmaster stating it doesn’t comment on pending deals.

If a change does come to the secondary market, right now dubbed the NFL Ticket Exchange, it could account for some radical shifts for some clubs and potentially no change at all for others. Mark Arata, Mercedes-Benz Superdome box office manager, told Venues Today that for teams that own their own buildings, such as the Dallas Cowboys, not having an official league partner could open up other channels. But for publicly-owned buildings hosting a variety of tenants, the idea of switching providers doesn’t seem appealing.

“I think any team that owns their own stadium is going to look at what provides the most up-front money in order to change,” Arata said. “As much as I can despise Ticketmaster, changing isn’t something I can do easily with my 15 to 20 clients.”

If the NFL does allow teams to ink their own deals instead of signing on another league-wide partner—and don’t bet on that being the case as that would leave more money to individual teams through sponsorship deals and the NFL league office out of the mix—it may come down to which ticket exchange providers “back up the truck” with money. Arata said Ticketmaster usually wins those battles, but it doesn’t mean someone else can’t waltz in and write a bigger check.

“With teams that control their own venues, whoever provides the most financial incentives gives them a reason to switch,” he said. “It is hard to switch the system in a multiuse (venue). It is like herding cats.”

That said, don’t expect all that much to change for fans either way, as Arata said he notices many of the tickets into his venue have been posted on StubHub and other places “all the time.”

As teams also explore the digital, print-at-home and mobile opportunities of each of these providers, anyone wanting to dive into the NFL ticketing game will need to bring a wide range of capabilities to the table.

Schriever said he believes the Ticketmaster deal has worked well for him. The current platform provides an opportunity for fans to resell tickets, but still send data to the team about both the buyer and seller, an “important” aspect of the transaction. “It has worked out really well,” he said. “I am looking forward to what the next step is going to be.”

If the NFL does embrace an open platform option that invites multiple parties to get in on the ticket action, expect Ticketmaster and StubHub to get plenty of competition from Amazon and Veritix, which already has inroads in the league with the only non-Ticketmaster deal in the league (Detroit Lions for primary tickets). And the NFL may like that option as a way to glean more data from ticket buyers across multiple platforms.

Across the North American sports landscape, the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League already partner with Ticketmaster and Major League Baseball has a StubHub agreement. Major League Soccer last year signed a multiyear deal with SeatGeek that includes an open platform so that fans can resell tickets on any platform of their choice, but with the buying/selling data still getting transmitted back to the teams.

If the NFL follows a similar model in an effort to mine the data of its ticket buyers, the only thing that can rival data in importance is sponsorship dollars. A final decision on the NFL’s ticketing future will rest on those two components: data and dollars.


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Hot Tickets for June 14, 2017
 
Posted: 13 Jun 2017, 3:00 pm

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, The Venitian, Las Vegas.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill launched their Soul2Soul World Tour April 7, at the Smoothie King Center, New Orleans. This is the third co-headlining tour for McGraw and Hill who, when collaborating, are undeniably at their best. The iconic country music duo ranked on our Hot Tickets chart this week after performing to a packed house May 27, at the Moda Center, Portland, Ore., grossing nearly $1.2 million with ticket prices ranging from $70-$120. The real-life married couple will be celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary on the road shortly before wrapping up their world tour at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., Oct. 27.

For its third year in a row, bands such as Zapp, Chocolate Milk, The S.O.S Band, Slave and Evelyn Champagne King, performed at the 2017 OC Funk Fest, which kicked off the summer with some old school funk at the Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif., June 10. The Curious Entertainment-promoted event saw ticket prices ranging from $45-$200 and grossed over $500,000. The assembly of funk bands entertained a full house with their infectious grooves transporting their fans back to the 70s and 80s for the entire 11-hour event. Due to another successful year, plans for the 2018 OC Funk Fest are already in the works.
 

HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between May 16-June 13.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull
Gross Sales: $1,804,583; Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles; Attendance: 14,523; Ticket Range: $189.95-$39.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 10; No. of Shows: 1

2) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $1,404,912; Venue: Verizon Center, Washington; Attendance: 14,174; Ticket Range: $150-$39.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 18; No. of Shows: 1

3) Tim McGraw, Faith Hill
Gross Sales: $1,192,723; Venue: Rose Quarter, Portland, Ore.; Attendance: 12,758; Ticket Range: $119.50-$69.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: May 26; No. of Shows: 1

4) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $1,162,222; Venue: Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum; Attendance: 20,313; Ticket Range: $85-$20; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 20; No. of Shows: 1

5) Def Leppard
Gross Sales: $1,150,083; Venue: Rose Quarter, Portland, Ore.; Attendance: 12,182; Ticket Range: $139.50-$29.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 10; No. of Shows: 1

1) Dead & Company
Gross Sales: $1,052,921; Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 10,258; Ticket Range: $150-$50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 27; No. of Shows: 1

2) Elvis - The Wonder of You Tour
Gross Sales: $591,294; Venue: Perth (Australia) Arena; Attendance: 7,232; Ticket Range: $115.76-$62.38; Promoter: RCM Touring; Dates: May 26; No. of Shows: 1

3) WWE Raw
Gross Sales: $271,560; Venue: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Attendance: 6,615; Ticket Range: $105-$20; Promoter: WWE; Dates: May 22; No. of Shows: 1

4) Broadway in London: Riverdance
Gross Sales: $157,822; Venue: Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario; Attendance: 2,302; Ticket Range: $102.11-$47.41; Promoter: Innovation Arts & Entertainment; Dates: May 18; No. of Shows: 1

5) Daniel O'Donnell
Gross Sales: $125,892; Venue: Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario; Attendance: 2,022; Ticket Range: $94.44-$44.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 28; No. of Shows: 1

1) Tool
Gross Sales: $755,705; Venue: EagleBank Arena, Fairfax, Va.; Attendance: 8,097; Ticket Range: $125-$92.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 24; No. of Shows: 1

2) OC Funk Fest
Gross Sales: $513,985; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 7,116; Ticket Range: $200-$45; Promoter: Curious Entertainment; Dates: June 10; No. of Shows: 1

3) Camilo Sesto
Gross Sales: $373,997; Venue: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles; Attendance: 5,930; Ticket Range: $249.50-$35; Promoter: Goldenvoice; Dates: June 2; No. of Shows: 1

4) Woman to Woman Tour
Gross Sales: $352,335; Venue: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles; Attendance: 5,891; Ticket Range: $225.50-$52.50; Promoter: FKOA Presents; Dates: June 3; No. of Shows: 1

5) Ricky Gervais
Gross Sales: $332,131; Venue: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York; Attendance: 5,450; Ticket Range: $79.50-$50.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 21; No. of Shows: 1

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $10,395,450; Venue: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; Attendance: 61,296; Ticket Range: $500-$55; Promoter: AEG Presents, Caesars Entertainment; Dates: May 9-June 3; No. of Shows: 9

2) The Phantom of the Opera
Gross Sales: $2,475,630; Venue: The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas; Attendance: 30,990; Ticket Range: $123-$25; Promoter: In-house; Dates: May 31-June 11; No. of Shows: 16

3) Rent
Gross Sales: $1,354,181; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 18,321; Ticket Range: $135-$21; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust, Broadway Across America; Dates: June 6-11; No. of Shows: 8

4) Steve Martin, Martin Short
Gross Sales: $680,115; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 5,073; Ticket Range: $195-$75; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust; Dates: May 18-19; No. of Shows: 2

5) Mamma Mia
Gross Sales: $594,584; Venue: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Attendance: 8,769; Ticket Range: $75-$35; Promoter: In-house, Broadway Across America; Dates: May 19-21; No. of Shows: 5

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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Congratulations 2017 Women of Influence winners!
 
Posted: 12 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

Venues Today will feature their accomplishments in the July issue and present awards at our reception during IAVM VenueConnect in Nashville, Tenn.Tuesday, August 8, 2017 from 5:30-7:00pm at Music City Center.

Congratulations!

Kim Damron
President
Paciolan, Irvine, Calif.
Kim Damron’s recent promotion to president of Paciolan is the culmination of her longstanding strong leadership, extraordinary vision and expertise. She has worked in growing capacities to achieve the company’s goals for the last 12 years; she particularly champions and exemplifies equality and the positive impact of female influence. One of Damron’s first moves as president was to elevate key team members to pivotal roles to best position the company for longterm success. She has been instrumental in the company’s growth, including the organization’s key alliance with StubHub. She has overseen customer service, technology operations, commerce, marketing, the client partner team and strategic partnerships. She is also leading the company through its exciting acquisition by and partnership with Learfield.

Donna Julian
Senior Vice President of Arena & Events Ops & GM
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Donna Julian has been the lead executive for Spectrum Center since its inception, construction and grand opening in 2005 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena. She is overseeing a $27.5-million Arena Enhancement Plan at the 19,000-seat Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets, which includes a new state-of-the art scoreboard. During her 30 + years in the sports and entertainment business, she has hosted a multitude of events including NCAA Basketball Tournaments and 2012 Democratic National Convention. Prior to coming to Charlotte, she worked for SMG as the General Manager of the Baltimore Arena. She is on the Executive Committee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Charlotte and is a member of the Women’s InterCultural Exchange and the Charlotte Women’s Executive Organization.

Michele Montague
Assistant General Manager & Vice President, Events
Verizon Center, Washington
Michele Montague is the epitome of influence both in the District of Columbia and in the industry overall.  She has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University for the past five years, teaching both an undergraduate and graduate class each year.  Her classes are very popular with students, but what is even more impressive is the number of students that stay in touch with her over the years. At Verizon Center, she schedules the vast array of events that are held in the building and oversees event production, the box office and takes the lead on many high profile events such as AIPAC.

Marla Ostroff
EVP of Arts and Theatre and Strategic Accounts
Ticketmaster, New York City

Marla Ostroff started with Ticketmaster 29 years ago as GM of Boston, then took over as SVP of the Northeast before becoming executive vice president. She has shown strong leadership and mentoring skills and loyalty to the company. She loves that every day is different and that Ticketmaster is constantly reinventing itself. The technology she can bring to her client base is ever evolving.

Debra Rathwell
Senior Vice President
AEG Live, New York
Debra Rathwell has run the New York office for AEG for about 15 years. She also brought such great international tours as Justin Bieber, American Idol, Carrie Underwood and Celine Dion to AEG. She has been in the Billboard Top 100 Women in the Music Business consistently. She consistently and successfully has built AEG touring from the ground up. Innovative booking of everything from top rock acts and Broadway to creating tours for successful reality music series like “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Before that, she was the lead booker for Metropolitan Entertainment during the peak of their success.

Thank you to our 2017 sponsors:

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Saunders New F&B GM at Duke Energy Center
 
Posted: 12 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

06-14-17_Charles_Saunders_200x145.jpgCharles Saunders

Charles Saunders is the new General Manager, Spectra Food Services & Hospitality at the  750,000-sq.-ft. Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati.

Saunders has held a number of  leadership roles in the hospitality industry, including the Four Seasons, Starwood, and Marriott where he served as director of food and beverage. Saunders also boasts international experience in food and beverage leadership having worked in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More recently, he finished a consulting assignment with the historic Strater Hotel, Durango, Colo. These positions called for him to introduce new dining concepts, increase food and beverage profitability, and manage international business relations.


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"Stadium" Unveils Programming
 
Posted: 12 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

One of Stadium's broadcasting booths. (Photo courtesy: "Stadium")

(Editor's note: This story first appeared in SportTechie.com)

A first-of-its-kind 24/7 multiplatform sports network around live and original programming is officially hitting the airwaves later this summer.

Stadium, which is a joint venture from Sinclair Broadcast Group (American Sports Network), Silver Chalice (Campus Insiders) and 120 Sports, was unveiled at Twitter’s Digital Content NewFronts presentation as part of the social platform’s new live- streaming initiatives. This week in Chicago, the companies provided more context around Stadium, which will include studio programming, classic games and on-demand highlights along with live collegiate events, thanks to Campus Insiders, all distributed across linear courtesy of Sinclair. Additionally, the 24/7 platform will appear live on Twitter as well.

The digital launch of Stadium is scheduled for late July while the linear broadcast will be sometime in August. It’s not only Silver Chalice and Sinclair that have an ownership stake in Stadium. So do the National Football League (NHL), Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Time, Inc.

“We’ve been spending our resources and spending our years building the next generation of sports media, relentlessly innovating but meticulously testing, planning, adjusting, chartering our course forward…Under the Stadium banner, we will continue to produce and launch world-class programming every single day of the year,” said Jason Coyle, President of Stadium.

“Stadium is smashing the limitations of the traditional distribution paradigm.”

Added Laura Britt, host of 120 Sports’ daily show The Rally, “When you think about traditional programming, we’re really going to break the boundaries of traditional programming with Stadium. We’re going to build off of companies that we’ve built in the past. We’re going to take aspects of those brands into the future with what Stadium will be. We’ve proven that we’re the landing spot for over-the-top sports content, and Stadium’s going to continue to be the landing spot for over-the-top sports content in the future.”

According to Tyler Jacobs, one of the hosts of Stadium’s NewFront, The Rally will be Stadium’s “signature show,” a three-hour live daily program separated into hour-long segments (6pm, 11pm and 1am EST). A mixture of highlights packages, live look-ins and viral videos combined with discussing the social conversation on Twitter will be focal points of the re-invited The Rally. As Britt and Jacobs explained, Twitter will play a key role in the show as fans’ Tweets could potentially create stand-alone segments to help drive the sports conversation. The show previously fell under 120 Sports, but going forward, will be rolled under the Stadium brand as the 120 Sports name will no longer be utilized.

Opinionated segments will be part of Stadium and The Rally, but as Britt suggested, it won’t be an Embrace Debate format viewers have grown accustomed to on other sports networks like ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

“When you think about the direction that our business is going, you see all of these opinion shows,” she said. “Everybody is screaming at each other and yelling at each other, which sometimes you just got to mute that. We’re going to have that, some of the time, but we’re also going to provide all of this other content so you’re not just watching people scream at each other and muting the television or your device, whatever that may be.”

A Monday through Friday 30-minute live NFL show will also be part of Stadium. The show, which currently doesn’t have an official name, will feature contributors from Monday Morning Quarterback/Sports Illustrated in addition to interviews with current and former players, among other elements.

Through Campus Insiders, a 30-minute live daily program (Monday-Friday) around college and high school sports will air on Stadium, too. Sinclair has access to hundreds of sports desks around the nation, and as a result, will provide Stadium additional layers of recruiting news, local coverage and deeper behind-the-scenes information, according to Britt.

Included will be 3,000-plus live college events such as football (100-plus), basketball (400-plus), lacrosse and volleyball from the Mountain West, Conference USA, Patriot League and others.

 


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OVG Announces VenuesNow Conference
 
Posted: 12 Jun 2017, 4:00 pm

BEVERLY HILLS – JUNE 6, 2017 – Oak View Group (OVG) today announced the launch of VenuesNow, a next-level consortium for the sports and live entertainment industry, that will debut July 12-14 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

This three-day conference will focus on venue-centric content related specifically to sports, entertainment events, technology, event safety, concessions, ticketing, operations, and programming. This year’s conference will be invite-only, consisting of arena operators throughout North America including executives from major sports leagues and entertainment facilities.

“Our intent is to host a conference unlike any in our industry, focusing on innovation and positive disruption in the venue space through premier content, technology, security, branding and sponsorships, fan engagement, and the presentation of sports and live entertainment,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO, Oak View Group. “The speakers and presenters at VenuesNow will be an elite group of thought leaders and visionaries across this dynamic industry, and we look forward to three days of compelling content and candid discussion about the myriad of opportunities and challenges that face our industry.”

"If we weren't going to do something completely different and game-changing, we would not be entering the industry conference space," added OVG board member Irving Azoff, chairman/CEO, Azoff MSG Entertainment. "We have set the bar very high and the VenuesNow conference will be an elite event that moves the industry forward. VenuesNow is the conference even I would attend."

Panel topics include “Four Tech Trends Venues Should Know About,” “The New Paradigm in Event Safety,” “Blurred Lines: Music Meets Sports, Fans Rejoice,” and “The Art of the Enhanced Experience,” among other sessions and keynotes featuring agents, team executives, tech entrepreneurs, managers, promoters, brand and marketing professionals, venue operators, event producers, and more. The conference also includes several networking opportunities including breakout sessions, lunches and cocktail receptions.

"Playing a role in programming the first VenuesNow conference is one of the most exciting projects of my career, and tapping into the melding of the sports and live entertainment worlds where they converge—at the venue—will change the way people think about industry events," said Ray Waddell, President Conferences & Publications, at OVG. "From the earliest planning stages, Tim and Irving made it very clear they were seeking only the most dynamic content, presented by insightful, out-of-the-box thinkers who continue to make a mark on this industry and our culture."

For more information on VenuesNow please visit here. For more information on OVG, please visit here.

ABOUT OAK VIEW GROUP:
Oak View Group (OVG) is a global advisory, development and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries.  Based in Los Angeles, OVG is helmed by its CEO Tim Leiweke and backed by Azoff MSG Entertainment. OVG comprises of a sponsorship/partnership company, a consulting division, a venue security company, a media division, a venture fund/equity division and an Arena Alliance. The Arena Alliance is designed to serve a select group of  leading facilities with access to unprecedented scale and resources through sponsorship optimization, untapped revenue streams, insights and access to premier sports and live entertainment content.

 


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Perennial Family Show ‘Commences’
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2017, 9:00 pm

June is graduation month for venues across the country and these four grads from Clover Park were part of hordes of students who walked the stage at Tacoma (Wash.) Dome.

With 55,000 people attending 11 high school graduation ceremonies at the new Smart Financial Center, Sugar Land, Texas, last weekend, the 6,400-seat arena added significantly to its exposure in the growing market.

High school and college commencements are bread and butter to most venues, helping to brand a building, build awareness and serve the communities in which they thrive.

Graduate_Every_Child300.jpgThe flags waving from the roof of the dome herald 'Graduate Every Child."

The Tacoma (Wash.) Dome has built that business from four graduations when it opened in 1984, to 22 high school and five college graduations, 27 total, in the month of June, said Kim Bedier, director of facilities for the city of Tacoma. About 90,000 people will trek to the building to celebrate, creating good memories and strong future potential among generations of fans.

At Allen County War Memorial Arena, Ft. Wayne, Ind., 20 commencements (college and high school) take place, 10 of them in June drawing 35,000 people, said Randy Brown, director there.

In mature markets like Tacoma and Ft. Wayne, they have maxed out on what they can do. The general rule of thumb is to keep it simple and keep it moving. For college commencements, Brown will open some concessions stands, but the ceremonies are kept to an hour and, with two arenas under one roof, they will book back-to-back commencements with school officials jumping from one to another. Rental is kept low and parking is minimal.

Bedier said Tacoma also has it down to a science. Several years ago, they introduced a turnkey production system so every school has access to the same sound, light and audio visual equipment and can put on a first-class production while the operations staff does not have to do conversions. The cost is amortized across all the school districts.

Last year, Tacoma added magnetometers and bag checks for commencements. Ft. Wayne has not had to do that yet.

Tacoma also opens its concessions stands, selling quite a bit of water and popcorn, Bedier said. Vendors also bring in leis, which are a graduation tradition and sell very well, she added.

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Vendors sell leis to graduates outside the Tacoma Dome, a local tradition.

“Tacoma Dome was built as a huge community project. This keeps us part of the community,” Bedier said. Hundreds of thousands of people have walked the stage at Tacoma Dome since 1984, creating generations of future fans.

Mike McGee, consultant at Smart Financial Center, which is managed by Randy Bloom, said it can be logistically challenging to put so many graduates through a small theater, but it went off like clockwork. They worked with Fort Bend County to book the commencements and to give that school district a more focused identity.

To accommodate the constant turnover – five on Friday and six on Saturday – Smart Financial Center presold all the parking. Schools distributed up to eight tickets per student and they had to have a student ID to get those tickets. They also encouraged the schools to set up shuttle buses and, over the two days, 350 busloads of parents and relatives arrived at Smart Financial Center.

“It’s gone like clockwork,” McGee said. “We had 6,000 here at 8 a.m., 6,000 at 11:30 a.m., 4,200 at 1 p.m., 6,000 and 3 p.m. and will have another 6,000 at 6 p.m.”

sugarland600.jpgThis scene was repeated five or six times a day at Smart Financial Center, Sugar Land, Texas.

Concessions were not opened because there would not be enough time to clean and stock them between events.

Most venue managers look to break even on commencements. The real allure is in the exposure and community service components.

“We’ve been open 16 weeks and have put 225,000 people through the building,” McGee said. “This showcases the building and creates a dynamic for us to get good publicity. We’ve seen good reports on social media.”


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SMG To Manage New Shenzhen Venue
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2017, 9:00 pm

A rendering of the interior of the planned Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center.

In its first footprint in China since consulting during the Beijing Olympics, SMG has secured the management contract for Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, the first phase of which is slated to open in 2019.

The agreement is a milestone in SMG’s 40-year history in that it is set to become one of the largest convention centers in the world at 4.3 million sq. ft. of exhibition space under roof, noted Gregg Caren, SMG EVP, Convention Center. It will be the company’s new flagship venue in China’s growing trade show market and will be a showcase for expanding SMG’s international business.

SMG is working with China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK) and OCT Group, the two Chinese companies that came together to win the bid from the Shenzhen Municipal Government to build the exhibition and convention center. It is the centerpiece of a new Central Business District they are also building, Caren explained.

Shenzhen is a port city with a population of 15 million and also has a thriving financial district, the Silicon Valley of China, Caren described. “My iPhone, probably yours, comes from Shenzhen.”

The new venue, which will be located near the Shenzhen International Airport, will anchor a new business and lifestyle district, featuring numerous hotel and commercial projects, including a retail and entertainment complex. The convention center development team is building the entire district, a right they won over three other groups bidding to do so.

The design of Shenzhen World calls for 4.3 million square feet of exhibition space and another 500,000 square feet of flexible convention and meeting space. The venue will be roughly twice the size of McCormick Place in Chicago, the largest exhibition and meeting facility in North America. SMG has managed McCormick Place since 2011.

The architects on the project are the renowned French firms Valode & Pistre and AUBE. The industry advisor to the Shenzhen government is JWC out of Germany.

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The new Shenzhen Convention Center is part of a $4 billion land development deal.

Wes Westley, CEO of SMG, said in a statement: “While we have entertained many inquiries from China in recent years, we were waiting for the right project and partner and believe we have found both in Shenzhen. As we expand our global footprint, this agreement will propel our international growth strategy.”

Tracey Short is on the ground in Shenzhen for SMG and is currently staffing SMG’s China Corporate Office there, Caren said. The search for a permanent GM will begin immediately. Caren estimated it will take another six weeks to formalize the memorandum of understanding that currently exists.

Short said the management appointment is for a two-year preopening period and a 10-year management term.

The group which includes SMG was one of four State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) that bid on the project. Scoring included 25-30 points for the management component, along with points for the overall development plan and financing plan.

The project broke ground in September 2016, and the first phase is targeted for completion in the first quarter of 2019.
 


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DeLuco To Be Moncton, Canada's, First GM
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2017, 7:30 pm

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Nick DeLuco

SMG Canada has named Nick DeLuco the first GM of the still-under-construction Moncton (New Brunswick) Downtown Centre. The 8,500-seat downtown event center is scheduled to open in September of 2018.

During the past decade, DeLuco has transitioned from box office manager to marketing to management. DeLuco most recently worked as AGM for the SMG-managed Rogers K-Rock Centre, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. DeLuco has also held roles with the SMG-managed Hershey Centre, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and worked with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, during the opening of their sports and entertainment venue in 2006.

DeLuco is a graduate of the Brock University Sport Management program, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

 


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Lausanne Contracts with AEG Facilities
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

Lausanne (Switzerland) Hockey Club has retained AEG Facilities in a 10-year deal to manage their new state-of-the-art arena in Lausanne, a city which is also home to the International Olympic Federation and various other national and Olympic sports federations.

In addition, it is a market that has never had a big arena designed to host international tours, effectively creating a new market in the heart of Europe, said Bob Newman, AEG Facilities president. “It’s a new gateway market.”

The new 11,500-seat arena is set to open in Summer 2019. The city-owned venue will be home to the Lausanne Hockey Club Lions.

A temporary venue is being erected by NUSSLI to house the team during the two-year construction period. Newman explained they will open the temporary venue, tear down the existing 9,000-seat, 1984-era arena, build the new arena on that same footprint and then tear down the temporary venue. He added that the temporary building is modular construction, but quite substantial and adequate for the next two seasons. It would have no future use, though, as the new arena is part of a sports complex, to include several ice rinks, a badminton club and other health and fitness enterprises, some of which already exist.

The deal was not the result of a bid process, Newman said. AEG Facilities already had a relationship with the Lausanne Hockey Club, including its president Sacha Weibel. Richard Krezwick, SVP, AEG Facilities, who is based in London, will oversee the project. A GM is to be named.

AEG Facilities will also design the overall grand opening plan for the new Lausanne arena, which is to include first-class premium seating and four special seating configurations that will accommodate events ranging from 4,000 to 11,500.

On the books is the 2020 Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in Lausanne for the first time in the new arena. The proximity of so many sports federations and the International Olympic Federation bodes well for sports bookings, but the arena also fills a void in the concert market. “It’s right-sized for events,” Newman said. “Shows had been passing by with no place to stop.” He noted it is just 210 kilometers from Leon and 550 kilometers from Paris and routes well from Milan or Zurich.

UNESCO is also housed in Lausanne and major corporations have a significant office presence there, Newman said.

In Europe, AEG already owns or operates a network of arenas that include The O2 (London), Mercedes-Benz Arena (Berlin), AccorHotels Arena (Paris), The SSE Hydro (Glasgow), Barclaycard Arena (Hamburg), Friends Arena, Tela2 Arena and Ericson Globe (Stockholm) and Stadio Della Roma (Rome), the planned new stadium home of FC Roma.


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Seattle's KeyArena Goes To OVG
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

Rendering of the exterior of the soon-to-be renovated KeyArena, Seattle, which was awarded to Oak View Group. (Rendering courtesy: Oak View Group)

Today, June 7, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced his decision to award the
contract to rebuild 55-year-old KeyArena to Oak View Group (OVG). Joining the mayor in his announcement were Oak View Group principals Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino.

“Today the mayor officially announced that Oak View Group will be our preferred partner to renovate KeyArena,” said Brian Surratt, director of the Seattle Economic Office of Development. “We hope to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with OVG by the end of this year.”

Surratt said negotiations with OVG will commence in the next few weeks. “We’re going to have to work very hard to get it all done by the end of the year,” he said.

Oak View Group will then have to go through the entitlement process and procure necessary permits. Once that’s completed, another agreement, much more detailed than the MOU, which will include the development and lease agreement, will have to be put in place. “The new document will spell out the long-term operating relationship between the city and OVG,” said Surratt.

Surratt did not want to speculate on when ground would be broken but did offer that “conservatively it’s three to five years before completion of the new KeyArena.”

At the press conference, Leiweke said the tentative plan would be to start construction after the 2019 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) men's basketball tournament games at KeyArena, with the hope of opening in 2021.

The two primary reasons that Oak View Group’s bid was selected over the only other bid, put forward by Seattle Partners, an alliance between venue-giant Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Hudson Pacific Properties, were the design of the building and the finance package.

“The people evaluating the proposals felt the OVG design was the more compelling,” said Surratt. “The design will stand the test of time and maximize the flexibility for future uses and changes.”

Surratt said that OVG’s financial package that sourced outside investment and didn’t require city money was also a big plus for the evaluating committee. “Their bringing in private dollars was a huge factor,” he said.

At the mayor’s press conference, Leiweke revealed new details about how the $564-million, privately-funded renovation would be financed.

Joining previously announced investors Goldman Sachs, who have pledged $350 million in financing and guaranteed up to $400 million, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, who have promised $150 million and concert-promoter Live Nation, will be billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, with the last three not disclosing their financial participation.

It is hoped that OVG can lure National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) teams to Seattle but all have committed to the project without any assurances from either sports league.

"We're listening to what we're told,” said Leiweke at the press conference. “Let me emphasize that. It's been nine years since Seattle had its heart stolen, so when the Sonics moved this has been a chase ever since. We've listened to the commissioners, we know what they are saying, we know how they feel about expansion, we know what the opportunities are out there and we're going to follow the lead of the commissioners. I would say the first shot that is most likely to happen is an NHL team."

OVG has already committed to partnering with concessionaire Delaware North on the KeyArena project, whose chairman Jeremy Jacobs is also the owner of the Boston Bruins. Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini was in attendance at the press conference and acknowledged the league's interest in Seattle. He later said, "It's a very strong desire (to bring an NHL team to Seattle). I don't think there is anybody opposed to it."

Screen_Shot_2017-06-07_at_3.18_.54_PM_1.pngRendering of Oak View Group's proposed interior of KeyArena, Seattle. (Rendering courtesy: Oak View Group)

The OVG proposal calls for a 660,000 sq.-ft. venue. It will have 18,350 seats for basketball, 17,100 seats for hockey and a concert capacity of 17,100. OVG’s arena expansion method is to place the lower arena bowl and floor 15 feet underground to create a 660,000-sq.-ft. blueprint.

OVG  previously announced that it brought in Populous and ICON to design and build the arena, and part of their proposal highlighted that their plan would save the iconic roof structure. They will also introduce a revolutionary two-scoreboard system, one sitting over each end of the arena. An atrium at one end of the arena called the Millennial Area, where there will be a bar and people circulating, will have a spectacular view of the Space Needle.

The selection of OVG was made Friday, June 2. Surratt said he and the city were surprised, then, by a letter they received from Seattle Partners on Sunday saying the entity was pulling out of the competition. “We had zero indication Seattle Partners was pulling out until after they lost the bid,” said Surratt.

In their letter, dated May June 4, Seattle Partners’ Bob Newman, president, AEG Facilities and Alex Vouvalides, chief investment officer, Hudson Pacific Properties, wrote:

“We are writing to inform you that Seattle Partners must regretfully withdraw our bid to redesign and renovate KeyArena.

"We remain firm in the belief that our proposal best serves the people of Seattle, but, unfortunately, significant factors through the bidding process have eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project, no matter which group is selected. We fear the City is driving toward an unrealistic financing structure, and we believe the City has failed to conduct a sufficiently thorough, objective and transparent process to properly evaluate the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two proposals and, most significantly, to identify the proposal best positioned to deliver a project consistent with the community’s interests.

"The people of Seattle deserve a world-class sports and entertainment venue capable of bringing back NBA and NHL teams. We have engaged earnestly in a process that we had hoped would be relentless in its pursuit of that objective, and we put forward a proposal we believed most certain to deliver a successful completed project that would attract professional basketball and hockey teams.

"Notwithstanding our confidence in the merits of our proposal, over the past two months, Seattle Partners has actively sought feedback from community leaders, City staff and members of the City’s Community Advisory Council, and, in response, we have explored improvements to our proposal. However, consistent with a general lack of active engagement through this evaluation process, the City declined to seek improved terms, refusing requests from us and others to call for a “best and final” offer from both bidders. We have seen little indication of the collaborative and iterative process we were told to expect and is typical of such requests for proposals.

"In addition, the City’s decision to withhold critical financial portions of Oak View Group’s proposal from the public, while releasing the financial details of our proposal with our full support, raises serious questions about the integrity of the decision-making process and the ability of the public to make a fair and equitable comparison.

"Despite the lack of transparency, we are generally familiar with Oak View Group’s proposal, including changes to it that have been conveyed via media accounts and otherwise. Based on our experience, we have strong reservations about whether that proposal can be successfully achieved consistent with the City’s best interests. If the City elects to proceed with that remaining proposal, to protect the public interests of Seattle, it is imperative that you closely and diligently monitor the process to ensure that Oak View Group is held accountable for all elements of what it has very publicly promised to the citizens of Seattle.

"Seattle Partners remains deeply committed to this great city, and we thank the countless civic leaders who offered helpful input and partnership on our proposal. We wish the City the best of luck in its pursuit of an arena project that can provide what the region’s passionate sports fans deserve – to see the Sonics and professional hockey return to the Emerald City.”

Regardless of Seattle Partner’s letter, Surratt said the city couldn’t be happier with their decision and the process.

“We are very excited to have selected Oak View Group as our partner,” said Surratt. “We believe Oak View Group will build a world-class arena that attracts NBA and NHL and world-class entertainment opportunities and we’re excited about moving forward and the next steps.”

KeyArena opened its doors in 1962 and was last renovated in 1995. It’s the former home of the SuperSonics and currently home to Women’s National Basketball Associations’ Seattle Storm and hosts dozens of live events and concerts every year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 


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San Diego Fair Embraces Western Roots
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

The entrance to San Diego County Fair's Western-themed 2017 fair, held in Del Mar, Calif. (VT Staff)

REPORTING FROM DEL MAR, Calif. —“Where The West Is Fun” is this year’s theme at San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, Calif., harkening to its origins as an agricultural fair in 1880. The location moved from place to place for several years, finally settling on the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 1936. The fair will be open for 26 days, spread over five weekends, from June 2 through July 4.

“We are the longest running fair in North America,” said Tim Fennell, CEO, San Diego County Fair, “and the largest in California.” Fennell was excited by the Western theme and predicts it will be as big a hit as last year’s “Mad About The Fair," an Alice in Wonderland meets Steampunk theme that broke attendance records with 1.6 million attendees.

IMG_9626.JPGAn exhibit in the Western Exhibit Hall at San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, Calif.

New this year, tying in with the theme, is a Western Exhibit Hall, several weekends of rodeo, country music, Frontier Town, a Wild West-themed space that will feature cowboy stunt shows and even an 1800’s-style gold rush hidden speakeasy.

“We’ve got Toby Keith, Darius Rucker, LeAnn Rimes and Jeff Foxworthy,” said Fennell about his all-star western lineup. For the nonwestern music-lover, Fennell said Patti LaBelle, Styx, Grand Funk Railroad and Peter Cetera are all booked.

New food will include bacon-wrapped cactus, asparagus and Brussels sprouts at concessionaire Bacon Affair, crispy cream chicken ice cream sandwiches, deep fried octopus and zucchini, crispy jalapeño cream cheese poppers, double cheddar cheese smoked bacon and peanut butter meatballs at Chicken Charlie’s. The popular cost-saving coupon book full of concession discounts is also back this year.

The secret speakeasy, called The Jade Peacock, can only be accessed by invitation. “The only way to get in is to go to one of three or four specific bars like The Painted Pony, Spurs Spirits or the Into The Sunset Bar and get an invitation,” said Fennell, sneakily.

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"Belle" and "Miss Kitty" (their real names are secret, just like the bar) serve special Western cocktails at The Jade Peacock speakeasy at San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, Calif.

“On the card is a secret password that will change every day,” he said. The card will instruct the guest where to go meet an escort who will take them through a tunnel to the hidden bar, modeled after an old-time Speakeasy. The bar only holds 40-50 patrons at a time, serves special themed cocktails and will only be open during special hours.

Flying U Rodeo, an “extreme rodeo” is booked June 10 and 11, the highlight of which is a “bull jumper." There will also be “Bull Poker” where cowboys play poker at a card table and the last cowboy sitting at the table as a bull is rampaging around, is the winner. The version on the 11th will be a Fiesta Del Charro and have a Hispanic twist.

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An exhibit in the Western Exhibit Hall at San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, Calif.

“Our fair is so big we have festivals inside the festival,” said Fennell. “We have a beer festival; we have a wine festival; we have a spirit festival; we have a gospel festival, we have a mariachi festival, we have an Asian festival and we have the LGBTQ-event, Out At The Fair.”

Admission to the fair is $18.  Children and seniors are $11. Kids five-and-under get in free. June 27 is Kids Day and all kids 12-and-under will get in free. An all-access pass for $26 will get a fair-fan in all 26 days.

Over 80 “thrilling rides” will be running every day. There are special Wristband Days on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the 7th and 8th, 14th and 15th and the 21st and 22nd of June that will allow access to all the rides, the cost is $38. On Saturdays and Sundays, the 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th of June, all-access wristbands can be purchased online and will be good from 12pm to 8pm. “The idea is to push attendance on certain days,” explained Fennell about why the wristbands would not be available every day.

Fennell predicts beating last year’s attendance record. To help get there, Fennell and his team arranged Wild Western Wednesday, a block party on May 24 in San Diego’s Gaslight District with country and western bands and “Into The Sunset beer brewed just for the fair,” said Fennell.

At the event, the Mayor of San Diego announced a two and a half-mile cattle drive that took place June 3. “Over 200 head of cattle and 50 riders drove cows in front of the convention center, across the railroad tracks, right up 5th Avenue, down Market Street and back down where it started. It’s the first time in 200 years they’ve had a cattle drive down the streets of downtown San Diego,” said Fennell.

Arranging the cattle drive was not easy. “Our permits have to have permits,” joked Fennell. “Just to cross the railroad tracks involved multiple agencies, shop owners and meeting upon meeting upon meeting.” Fennell said that the novel event attracted national coverage.

“We welcome everybody at the fair,” said Fennell. “We expect people from not only the county but from all over the country.”

 


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Hot Tickets for June 7, 2017
 
Posted: 6 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

Chris Brown flying high at Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.

Promoting his anticipated new album “Heartbreak On A Full Moon,” Chris Brown wrapped up his two-month Party tour May 23, but not before making a stop on our Hot Tickets chart with a performance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, May 20. Despite a turbulent relationship with the media over the past few years, he mesmerized the 8,100 fans with his Michael Jackson-like dance moves, aerial acrobatics and high-energy choreography. Fabolous, O.T. Genasis and Kap G also joined the Grammy award-winning artist onstage. The Live Nation-promoted show grossed over $600,000 with ticket prices ranging from $40-$250.

Shawn Mendes, the 18-year-old Canadian heartthrob, kicked off the Illuminate World Tour April 27, at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland. This is the third tour for Mendez, as well as his first all-arena tour, which includes 21 shows in Europe and 29 North American shows. The singer-songwriter popped up on our chart this week after attracting a near-capacity crowd and grossing over $800,000 at Hallenstadion, Zurich, Switzerland, May 14. North American fans can catch up with Mendes on July 6, at the Moda Center, Portland, Ore.

HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between May 9-June 6.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $2,524,286; Venue: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.; Attendance: 38,016; Ticket Range: $89-$20; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 26-27; No. of Shows: 2

2) Gloria Trevi vs Alejandra Guzman
Gross Sales: $2,158,649; Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles; Attendance: 26,269; Ticket Range: $149-$35; Promoter: Goldenvoice; Dates: June 3-4; No. of Shows: 2

3) Green Day
Gross Sales: $1,806,454; Venue: Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney; Attendance: 19,328; Ticket Range: $113.29-$59.13; Promoter: Frontier Touring ; Dates: May 10-11; No. of Shows: 2

4) John Mayer
Gross Sales: $1,741,053; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 30,709; Ticket Range: $59.60-$49.88; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 11-12; No. of Shows: 2

5) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $1,438,010; Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal; Attendance: 16,203; Ticket Range: $129.97-$29.34; Promoter: evenko, Live Nation, Greenland; Dates: May 30; No. of Shows: 1

1) Bruno Mars
Gross Sales: $1,411,755; Venue: Hallenstadion, Zurich; Attendance: 13,700; Ticket Range: $151.66-$89.72; Promoter: Act Entertainment AG; Dates: May 12; No. of Shows: 1

2) The xx
Gross Sales: $1,290,747; Venue: Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, N.Y.; Attendance: 21,627; Ticket Range: $90-$29.50; Promoter: Madison House Presents, AEG Presents, Tie Breaker Productions; Dates: May 19-20; No. of Shows: 2

3) Dead & Company
Gross Sales: $1,052,921; Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 10,258; Ticket Range: $150-$50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 27; No. of Shows: 1

4) Shawn Mendes
Gross Sales: $827,488; Venue: Hallenstadion, Zurich; Attendance: 12,063; Ticket Range: $114.12-$95.94; Promoter: abc Production AG; Dates: May 14; No. of Shows: 1

5) Chris Brown
Gross Sales: $626,473; Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 8,138; Ticket Range: $249.95-$39.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 20; No. of Shows: 1

1) Cher
Gross Sales: $5,556,950; Venue: Park Theater at Monte Carlo, Las Vegas; Attendance: 37,734; Ticket Range: $475-$60; Promoter: AEG Presents, MRES; Dates: May 3-20; No. of Shows: 9

2) Jennifer Lopez
Gross Sales: $2,379,225; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 12,037; Ticket Range: $412-$54; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: May 24-27; No. of Shows: 3

3) Britney Spears
Gross Sales: $2,122,291; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 13,263; Ticket Range: $495-$54; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment; Dates: May 17-20; No. of Shows: 3

4) Britney Spears
Gross Sales: $1,764,300; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 11,619; Ticket Range: $495-$54; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment; Dates: May 10-13; No. of Shows: 3

5) Jason Aldean
Gross Sales: $1,200,520; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 13,929; Ticket Range: $99-$79; Promoter: In-house, WME ; Dates: May 19-20; No. of Shows: 2

1) Wicked
Gross Sales: $9,447,195; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 100,238; Ticket Range: $195-$25; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust, Broadway Across America; Dates: April 12-May 14; No. of Shows: 40

2) Journey
Gross Sales: $3,027,948; Venue: The Joint, Las Vegas; Attendance: 24,393; Ticket Range: $300-$59.50; Promoter: AEG Presents, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino; Dates: May 3-20; No. of Shows: 9

3) Finding Neverland
Gross Sales: $1,281,311; Venue: Durham (N.C.) Performing Arts Center; Attendance: 20,447; Ticket Range: $177.15-$48.15; Promoter: PFM, Nederlander Presentations (New York), FNL Touring; Dates: May 23-28; No. of Shows: 8

4) Finding Neverland
Gross Sales: $957,953; Venue: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Attendance: 16,184; Ticket Range: $83-$40; Promoter: In-house; Dates: May 30-June 4; No. of Shows: 8

5) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Gross Sales: $807,040; Venue: Des Moines (Iowa) Civic Center; Attendance: 13,615; Ticket Range: $99.50-$31.50; Promoter: In-house; Dates: May 18-21; No. of Shows: 8

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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Renamed Jeunesse Arena Opens In Rio
 
Posted: 6 Jun 2017, 6:25 pm

Exterior of the renamed, revamped Jeunesse Arena, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

American cosmetics company Jeunesse has won the naming rights at what was previously HSBC Arena, a former 2016 Olympic venue, located in the region of Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the largest indoor arena in the country.

The 14,981-capacity sports and 18,768-capacity concert venue was completed in July 2007 and was first known as Arena Olímpica do Rio. In addition to the new name, the arena has made improvements.

“It’s a three-year deal,” said Scott Lewis, chief visionary officer, Jeunesse. “The deal also includes several external and internal brand activation opportunities.”

Part of the deal is for Jeunesse to hold two events in the arena each year for their distributors and sales representatives. When Jeunesse is not taking tenancy, Lewis said that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold events and concerts planned include Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and John Mayer. Disney on Ice is also scheduled.

“Holding two events in your own branded arena is pretty special,” said Lewis. “We see tremendous growth in the region and taking our brand to a mainstream level and have thousands of people coming through and creating the brand awareness and equity has tremendous value for us.”

In addition, in a unique arrangement, Jeunesse customers will be able to pick up their products at a dedicated space inside the arena. “This will save us shipping fees, and our customers four to five days to get their products,” he said.

The arena has been through improvements such as the installation of new access ramps and the restoration of the facade, which has received Jeunesse's institutional colors, said Silvia Albuquerque, managing director, GL Events, a French multinational that manages the venue.

“We are located inside the Olympic Park,” said Albuquerque. “The Olympic summer games offered the arena a broad urban integration plan, the entire environment was revitalized and valued.”

Albuquerque said that the arena benefited greatly from improvements to the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood before the Olympics touched ground. Four- and five-star hotels like Mercure, Ibis, Meriot, Novohotel, Sheraton, Hyatt, Hilton, Windsor and Melia opened, and today the neighborhood has more than 12,000 rooms, 2,000 of them in a radius of 4 km of the Sand River.

Two public transport stations were built in front of the venue and the main access roads were duplicated. This means that now the arena is interconnected with much of the city. The roads around the arena have also undergone changes, facilitating  public access.

The arena was used six months for the 2016 Olympic Games, she said, citing events such as assembly, event testing, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and disassembly.

The arena expects to hold 85 events in 2017, and Albuquerque said that they are currently in negotiations with “great sports clubs such as basketball and volleyball” that will run alongside current sports tenants jiujitsu and UFC. This year, the arena hosted two of the largest concert events in Brazil: Festa das Patroas's and Wesley Safadão's concerts, two highly popular events.

Jeunesse is also on the eSports bandwagon, hosting the League of Legends championship.

Food & beverage sales have nearly doubled from 2015 to 2017, said Albuquerque.

Security is just as much a hot-button issue in Latin America as in North America and Europe. Albuquerque said that GL Events, which manages 37 venues, spread over 56 countries, has a long history with safety. “At the arena, individual security check is mandatory,” she said. “All accesses are secured by highly trained security staff, which is able to act in emergency situations.” The venue also counts on fire brigade agents. A two-minute video with safety instructions is transmitted before every event begins.

Speaking to the Jeunesse ‘store,' Albuquerque said that she doesn’t expect any interference in normal day-to-day operation of the venue. “Jeunesse's pickup service is going to be available from Monday to Friday, in business hours, in an outdoor area, next to the arena, with independent access,” she said. “GL Events has wide experience in managing businesses regardless of the events being held in its premises. And we have a school on the premises, which operates daily with 180 children, without impacting our operation.”

Visit Jeunesse Arena here

Visit GL Events here


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Dodge Center Opens
 
Posted: 6 Jun 2017, 4:00 pm

Charles F. Dodge Center, Pembroke Pines, Fla., opened April 19.

A newly built, four story, multiuse facility and civic center in Pembroke Pines, Fla., opened two months ago, bringing a much needed —  and wanted — venue to the city that houses 164,000 people.

The $56 million Charles F. Dodge Center unveiled itself to the community April 19, and has since hosted shows, including Queen, DRUMLine Live! and performances by Kool & The Gang.

“We are very excited,” said Steve Clark, general manager there for SMG. “We have three major shows under our belt, so we’re still tweaking everything.”

The 175,000-sq.-ft. venue has retractable seating, a great hall that can accommodate 3,200 guests in a “theater style” setting.

The seating also can fit 2,400 for concerts, go down to 1,300 for classroom-style seating and can even be configured into 1,120-capacity for banquet-style seating.

The center is managed by SMG, adding to the facility management company’s long list of venues it manages in Florida.

“Leveraging their long-standing success and market knowledge at the Broward County Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center, SMG has teamed with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts – recognized nationally for its leadership in arts and entertainment as well as its innovative approaches to community engagement,” stated the press release.

Economic development continues to boom in Pembroke Pines, especially in downtown where a 127-room Fairfield Inn by Marriott opened in 2015. A new 40,000 sq.-ft. movie theater is also gracing the city.

Adding a new civic center and arts center, especially now, with the great economic climate, made sense. “It’s our beautiful downtown civic center that we’ve been looking at for 15 years,” said Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.

The center was named after the current city manager, Charles F. Dodge, who worked diligently to bring the venue to life, he said.

“I nominated him because he did so much work getting it built,” Ortis said. “It’s been a long-time coming for this particular center to come to fruition.”

“Pembroke Pines is one of those cities that really took off after Hurricane Andrew,” Clark said. “This (venue) was a piece of the puzzle the city felt was missing.”

Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992 as a category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. After the city started rebuilding, it thrived — until the recession hit.

City officials held off building the venue due to the recession, but they reassessed as the economy recovered, Clark said.

Soon enough, the multiplex funded by taxpayer dollars broke ground.

Now, the venue hosts a variety of entertainment, including concerts, comedy festivals and trade shows. It also has an 11,000-sq.-ft. art gallery and 5,000 sq.-ft. of meeting space.

“The city named the art gallery after me,” Ortis said. “I’m very, very honored.”

The 4,000-sq.-ft. kitchen makes it possible for the venue to accommodate anything from small meetings to weddings to large banquets, Clark said.

It also has a new state-of-the-art sound system, and officials currently are installing a top-notch wireless system that guests can use at ease, he added.

The center serves the western suburbs, and the mayor is excited about the new structure and the tax revenue it’s sure to generate.

City offices occupy two stories in the building, which includes offices for city staff, council members, the mayor and other city departments.

“It gives us quite a range of things we can do,” Clark said. “It serves the community in a large variety of ways.”
 

 


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TBEP TAKES ON SUN DOME
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:50 pm

The management at USF Sun Dome, Tampa, is changing. Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties (TBEP), an offshoot of Tampa Bay Sports and Entrainment (TBSE), is taking over July 1 from Spectra. TBSE is the entity that runs neighbor Amalie Arena.
It’s a five-year deal between USF Sun Dome and TBEP. Rhett Blewett, who has been a member of TBEP for the past 10 years, has been tapped to oversee building and event operations at USF Sun Dome.
“We’re going to be taking on and managing the USF Sun Dome,” said Kevin Preast, SVP, event management, TBSE. “Since Mr. Vinik bought the team (Tampa Bay Lightning) in 2010, the brand re-creation of the Lightning and Amalie Arena, led by Mr. Vinik and our CEO Steve Griggs, has been phenomenal.”
  “USF Sun Dome came to us and said that their management contract with their current vendor was expiring and asked us to take a look at it,” he said. “They were
very interested in the transformation of our organization and our brand and wanted to see if we would be interested in helping them make the same transition.”
USF Sun Dome is a 55,000-sq.-ft., multipurpose facility on the campus of the University of South Florida. The building is approximately 37 years old and it is located on the southeastern side of the USF campus. USF Sun Dome is home to the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams.


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VIP AMENITIES EVOLVE
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

Dallas’ American Airlines Center is a testament to what is happening in venues’ premium areas these days.
Undergoing two renovations in the last four years, the arena overhauled its suites to create theater boxes in 2013.
“We started with 22 boxes and added 12, because these sold so well,” said Andrew Silverman, the venue’s chief revenue officer. “Now we have 32 boxes with a four-person capacity and four with an eight-person capacity.”
In 2016, the arena removed suites and added 25 four-person loge boxes. Its three suite tiers include Flagship, Platinum and Admiral levels.
“In most new and existing arenas and stadiums, the number of suites has decreased and hybrid products are being built,” said Silverman. “This gives clients different products to look at.”
The arena’s theater boxes are semi-private on the Admiral Level, accessible through a private club. These include four to six or eight to 12 box seats that are available for all preseason and regular season Dallas Mavericks and Stars games, with the opportunity to purchase National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) playoff seats. The seats also are available for most other events, including concerts. Amenities include VIP covered parking; a private entrance; all food and beverages; access to a private lounge; a theater box attendant; LED/HD TVs and access to meeting rooms and other club areas. Prices are $115,000 for a one-year contract, $107,000 for a three-year contract, $65,000 for a half season, one-year contract and $60,000 for a half year, three-year contract.
“Suites provide the ability to entertain clients without having to submit expenses for $600 dinners, since everything is included,” said Silverman. “It’s self-contained and provides a great return on investment.”

EFFECTIVE MARKETING TACTICS
A big challenge is attracting the right clientele for VIP spaces. Ideally, venues want long-term purchases to minimize suite and box turnover.
American Airlines Center’s operating company, Center Operating Co., is in charge of marketing its premium spaces.
“Instead of utilizing my staff, we have 100 people who work with the Mavericks and Stars selling our suites and boxes,” said Silverman. “We hold sales events, having the coaches speak and show our products off, but it’s still hand-to-hand combat.”
When new clubs are being built at the arena, and one is planned for 2018, hard hat events are held prior to completion.
“People love these, it’s fun to go, get dirty, put on a hard hat and goggles. This allows them to touch it and feel it as it’s taking shape,” said Silverman.
When it comes to suite and box holder retention, it pays to get creative. American Airlines Center’s one-year subscribers who re-enroll on time are treated to a VIP trip, such as a Stars game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“If the all-inclusive area is not a 10, they won’t come back,” said Silverman. “Premium areas are about the experience and stepping away from the game to be taken care of in a cool, trendy and fun environment.”

EVOLVING OFFERINGS
Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena, built in 1998, reinvests capital annually, constantly evolving its premium offerings.
“Instead of reinvesting every five to 10 years like most facilities, we do it yearly,” said Kim Stone, executive vice president of the Miami Heat and the arena’s general manager.
In the last five years, the venue has renovated its flagship lounges or top tier offerings. This now includes a chef’s table featuring local restaurateurs and their specialties.
“It’s like going to a new restaurant every day,” said Stone. “It encourages our guests to dine here, rather than at an outside restaurant beforehand.”
In 2015, the arena began working with Levy Restaurants to renovate an attached restaurant after the independent operator left. The eatery, 601, opened last year. It includes an upstairs restaurant with a full menu, exclusive items and cocktails, in addition to a downstairs meeting room that accommodates up to 200.
“When we first opened, we considered creating a restaurant that was open daily, but we knew there was a need for indoor meeting space and higher-caliber meals,” said Stone. “We’re able to use 601’s event space for games, but also regularly rent it out for occasions like weddings, corporate events and galas. It has worked out really well.”
Five years ago, the facility partnered with Los Angeles’ SBE to open Hyde, an exclusive 250-person nightclub-type operation that offers food and beverages to its members.
“The biggest challenge is making sure we’re not cannibalizing spaces,” said Stone.
AmericanAirlines Arena’s hierarchy of premium offerings include the AmericanAirlines Lounge, which provides access to the North and South Lounge, Dewar’s Suite Level and Dewar’s Clubhouse; AmericanAirlines Lounge and Hyde, which provides access to the North and South Lounge, Hyde, Dewar’s Suite Level and Dewar’s Clubhouse; Dewar’s Suite Level, which has access to the Dewar’s Suite Level and Dewar’s Clubhouse; and Dewar’s Clubhouse access.
The AmericanAirlines Lounges provide dishes from local chefs and craft cocktails.
This year’s culinary line-up includes The Forge, Quality Meats, Dolce, SugarCane, Cibo Wine Bar, STK and Area 31.
Dewar’s Club members can dine in Dewar’s Rail seats, VIP booths and casual bar seating. Located on the Suite Level, the Club features an upscale multimedia dining and lounge atmosphere, two grand bars and a view of the arena floor.
A new mobile app-friendly reservations system has been implemented to allow guests to make a reservation and pay directly from their phones.
The venue also has a unique setup for its suites and loges, which include a social space divided by a walkway to encourage guests to mingle.
Because the arena has only 22 suites, its revenue percentages are less than at other facilities.
“We’re constrained by what we can earn, with premium areas, excluding 601, accounting for 31 percent of our food and beverage revenues and 601 accounting for 8 percent,” said Stone. “In terms of ticket values with those purchasing premium tickets, we invest a lot in everyone having a great experience, while not losing sight of the total value of premium guests.”
Unlike most big cities, the mix of individuals and corporations that purchase suites is 50/50, hence the limited number of premium seating options.
The arena is currently working with Levy to do a total analysis of its premium areas, keeping cognizant of the millennial demographic, which is having the biggest impact in this market.
“The younger ticket holders are looking for a more social experience in terms of interacting and socializing, so we’re looking at that this year and will make changes next year,” said Stone.  

A DIVERSIFIED APPROACH
After opening its doors in July of 2014, Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., kept an open mind when it came to its premium spaces.
“While there were different suite tiers, these were traditional setups with 20 to 40 guests per area,” said Paul Epstein, director of sales and business development for the San Francisco 49ers’ home stadium. “We’ve known there would be 2.0 in terms of the latest in what new premium hospitality amenities we’d have.”
The first couple years were utilized as a massive research project, querying peers, architects and others in the industry to see how the facility could become more diversified and better cater to its market.
The result was more customization, flexibility and versatility across all verticals of its premium spaces, including product types, sizes, content and amenities.
“In our second year, we started to hear more about how these spaces needed to meet the needs on National Football League (NFL) and non-NFL fronts,” said Epstein. “These are different fans, so we needed a subset to get people engaged.”
The key was looking at the platform and leveraging this as a relationship-building tool, while focusing on the true value of the space. Similar to AmericanAirlines Arena, the challenge was selling through one-year suite rentals.
“Flexibility was an issue, as companies would be working on budgets once during the year and had many events to consider,” said Epstein. “The days of mega suites being the only premium asset is challenging; we had to figure out how to capture that client more creatively.”
The result was the creation of Club 49 in 2016, which provides those looking for premium offerings flexible packages at different price points that can be customized.
“As long as we can get financial security, or a longer-term lease, we can get them a customizable look,” said Epstein. “While we did this exclusively in premium suite spaces, we likely will follow this with loge boxes and suites that are on another tier. We’ve found people will pay a premium if you right size it.”
The goal isn’t to adapt its business model to one or two prospective clients, but rather understand the market in order to put a series of platforms in front of people that are appealing.
In terms of today’s trends, Epstein echoes the opinion of others in the industry, saying premium spaces are no longer one size fits all.
“Yes, there are trends and momentum, but ultimately each venue and team has to offer these products independently and use data points, because each market is unique,” he said. “I’ve worked in facilities in New York, Los Angeles and now the Bay Area as well as New Orleans and Sacramento, and each one speaks a different language.”
In marketing these upscale offerings in new builds, which can be more difficult, it’s about painting a detailed picture and thinking tech-forward.
“The problem is engaging with the return on investment, since the bells and whistles sometimes only resonate when the market is good,” said Epstein. “There has been a market for suites for decades, and the investment levels are rising so much that we feel the need to add so many amenities. However, what truly sells is a customized, engaging plan that achieves the ROI; amenities are icing on the cake.”


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PEMBROKE PINES CENTER FILLS A NEED
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

Charles F. Dodge Center, Pembroke, Fla., a $56 million brand new multi-use facility and civic center opened this spring.
The 175,000-sq.-ft., four story, venue has retractable seating and a great hall that can accommodate 3,200 guests in a “theater style” setting. The seating also can fit 2,400 for concerts, go down to 1,300 for classroom-style seating and can even be configured into 1,120-capacity for banquet-style seating.
  The center is managed by SMG, adding to the facility management company’s long list of venues it manages in Florida.
  Adding a new civic center and arts center, especially now, with the great economic climate, made sense. “It’s our beautiful downtown civic center that we’ve been looking at for 15 years,” said Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.
  The center was named after the current city manager, Charles F. Dodge, who worked diligently to bring the venue to life, he said.
  “I nominated him because he did so much work getting it built,” Ortis said. “It’s been a long-time coming for this particular center to come to fruition.”
  The venue hosts a variety of entertainment, including concerts, comedy festivals and trade shows. It also has an 11,000-sq.-ft. art gallery and 5,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
  “The city named the art gallery after me,” Ortis said. “I’m very, very honored.”
  The 4,000-sq.-ft. kitchen makes it possible for the venue to accommodate anything from small meetings to weddings to large banquets, said Scott Clark, GM for SMG. 
  It also has a new state-of-the-art sound system, and officials currently are installing a top-notch wireless system that guests can use at ease, he added.
  “It gives us quite a range of things we can do,” Clark said. “It serves the community in a large variety of ways.”— Noelle Riley


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FRESH START FOR UNIVERSITY VENUE
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

2016 was a monumental year at Steven C. O’Connell Center, on the campus of University of Florida, Gainesville, despite the venue not being opened for most of it.
“We shut down for a $65-million renovation from March through December,” said Director Lynda Reinhart. “We reopened in January 2017.” Fourteen staff stayed on through the renovation. Three hundred to 400 student workers have been rehired and retrained since the reopening.
The renovation costs were paid for by the university, the Athletic Association and donations. A new naming rights deal for the arena was also put in place, which will now be known as Exactech Arena at Steven C. O’Connell Arena. The deal is for 7 years and cost Exactech $7 million.
The 1980-built building was entirely gutted. “We replaced all the electrical systems, all the plumbing, all the lighting, the HVAC system, we rebuilt the bowl structure, added video boards and scoreboards, created a new entry lobby, an outdoor terrace and added 17,000 sq. ft. of event space,” she said.
Everything went according to plan, and the building had a trial-run in mid-December when they hosted commencement ceremonies. Athletic events followed and in January, the new and improved Steven C. O’Connell Center was open for business.
The first concert was Big Sean, then Lil Wayne played, and then medium Theresa Caputo performed. Ticket prices at the center ranged from $20-$65. Bookings for the rest of the year are still in flux, as “we have to work around the athletics’ schedule, which is not finalized yet,” said Reinhart, who does not expect it to be finalized until mid-summer.
As part of the renovation, Centerplate, venue concessionaire, doubled POS stations and added two cooking kitchens where there were none prior. This allowed new food offerings like burgers, chicken fingers, wraps and jambalaya, all of which pushed F&B sales up 20-30 percent since reopening.
Security improvements include buying 15 magnetometers, new cameras, a new card-swiping system for ingress and hardening of the outside with bollards.
“We’re really excited about the rest of the year,” said Reinhart. “We have a lot of interest in the new facility and we’re looking forward to taking advantage of everything the building has to offer.”


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NEW TEAMS, NEW NAME
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

RP Funding Center, Lakeland, which was known as Lakeland Civic Center for the past 20 years, got its new name the second week in May. Anthony Camarillo, GM, said that the switch is still taking place, temporary signage is up with permanent signage to come, which will take up to a year to complete.
  The deal with RP Funding is for five years and will net the center $750,000 over the course of the agreement. “It’s a three-way deal between the center, Lakeland Magic and the mortgage company,” said Camarillo. Lakeland Magic, the D-League affiliate of Orlando Magic, will play their inaugural season in the building for the 2017-2018 season.
  The center is also kicking off a $14-million renovation. Phase one will include new digital signage, a new locker room, new office space, new flooring, new basketball baskets and new infrastructure for television production.
  Also new will be the debut of RP Funding Center’s Major Arena Soccer League indoor soccer team, Florida Tropics.
  Phase two will include updating the meeting space and combining the two 25,000-sq.-ft. halls into one large hall with flex space.
  It was a good year at the center. They beat their budget and reduced their subsidy by $500,000. “We managed our budget better this year,” said Camarillo.
  The best selling shows were Broadway shows, like “Pippin,” and Camarillo said that cheer and dance events and Big Buck, an deer and turkey outdoor show, were also very well attended.
  Tickets ranged from $20-$40 and patrons can buy the whole season of the Broadway series, five shows this year, for $235.
  F&B is provided by Spectra, which Camarillo said “did very well this year.” Their focus is on catering and quality of the food offerings. “Our chef just won a local award,” he said.
Camarillo said the rest of 2017 is looking great. “We always have slow summers, but we really pick up in the fall,” he said. “The Lakeland Magic starts in October, along with the soccer team, and we expect that to really improve our numbers.”


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FREE-FOR-ALL BEACH ADVENTURE
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

Amalie Arena had a free event in 2016 called The Beach Tampa. The unique art-installment event saw a beach come to downtown Tampa. Created by Snarkitecture, The Beach Tampa was a 15,000 square foot immersive environment featuring an “ocean” of 1.2 million recyclable and antimicrobial white balls.
“Everything was free, including parking, and we even gave everyone who came free ice cream,” said Preast. “We admitted over 100,000 people over 21 days.”
The event, which cost $1.5 million, was funded by Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment Owner and Chairman Jeff Vinik.
“First I had to wrap my head around a free event,” said Preast. “But once I vetted it out, I realized it was a way to give back to the community. The people loved it, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of.”
The Beach Tampa was such a hit they are having another free event in 2017. Art of the Brick, also paid for by the Vinik Foundation, will be hosted in a building just acquired by Strategic Property Partners, of which Vinik is a large part, at a cost of $1.5 million.
“We wanted to do something this year that added to the legacy of The Beach Tampa,” said Preast.
The building used to be known as District 3, but it’s being rebranded as Art of the Brick.
The exhibit opens June 23, and closes Sept. 4. It’s a walk-through exhibit featuring sculptures featuring the work of New York City artist Nathan Sawaya. “It’s all unique sculptures made from LEGO bricks,” said Preast. The exhibit will feature over 100 artworks.  Pieces include a 20-ft. long T-Rex, Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting and  Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa portrait. The brickyard will be an interactive play area. Sawaya was handpicked by Penny Vinik.
Additionally, the exhibition features a gallery showcasing an innovative, multimedia collection of LEGO brick-infused photography produced in tandem with photographer Dean West.
They expect up to 300 people an hour, 2,400 people a day. The arena is working on a preferred parking arrangement. The Brick sits two blocks from Amalie Arena. It’s not ticketed and all you have to do “is get in line and come on in,” said Preast.
Family-friendly food trucks will be available outside; inside there will be merchandise and an ice cream stand.
After the exhibit ends, the building will be part of the new entertainment district that’s being built around Amalie Arena. The Art of the Brick has visited over 80 cities worldwide; this is the first time it will visit Tampa Bay.


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LOCAL FLAVOR AND FLAIR DRIVES SAVOR
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

SMG’s dedicated food division, Savor, has its roots in serving management client’s needs, most specifically when San Francisco city officials asked SMG to take over food and beverage at Moscone Center, which they managed, in 1983. Because SMG was partly owned at the time by the Pritzgers of Hyatt Hotels, it seemed only logical they could provide hotel/restaurant-quality food service at the sprawling convention center.
Keenly aware the goal was to showcase the destination, San Francisco, SMG established a brand that emphasized local talent and local tastes. That same mantra drives Savor, the official food division of SMG, today.
Shaun Beard, SMG SVP, who joined the company in 2009, loves transitioning venues to Savor food service. He loves being the “little guy” who can make it happen locally and isn’t encumbered by massive systems and processes.
What began with meeting the client’s need in 1983, was followed 10 years later by a similar scenario at the Long Beach (Calif.) Convention & Entertainment Center and Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, Beard said. “It was the same situation. They had an incumbent, national provider, but wanted to do something different,” Beard said.
‘That’s our business model — we’re the locally focused food and beverage provider,” Beard said.
SMG’s commitment to food service didn’t go beyond meeting clients’ needs, however, until CEO Wes Westley came on board and saw the opportunity, and until Aramark and Hyatt sold the company to American Capital in 2007. SMG did not bid against Aramark, a major international concessionaire, for non-SMG accounts prior to the sale, of course.
The name Savor has its genesis at the Savannah (Ga.) Convention Center, where SMG took over management in 2000 and food service was part of the deal. “We had a good culinary team there; they thought a great name other than SMG Food Service, would be Savor. It became, Savor…Savannah,” Beard said.
When the company changed ownership in 2007, it had about 60 food service accounts, all tied to management deals. Westley saw the potential and created a food service division, which officially came out as Savor, “because we can always represent where we are — Savor Providence, Savor San Francisco,” Beard said. It was a name they had trademarked in 2000.
Savor has taken on 54 new food accounts since then, the vast majority independent of management deals, Beard said. In 2007, 100 percent of SMG’s food contracts were tied to management deals. Ten years later, that’s down to 70-72 percent.
Savor had a major growth spurt in securing the food service contract at McCormick Place, Chicago, a bid separate from management, which SMG also won, Beard recalled.
In 2011, Savor won food service at the new Frost Science Museum and Aquarium in Miami, which opened this year, the firm’s first museum.
Like its management arm, food service has also grown by acquisition. In 2014, SMG purchased Premier Foods, which had food service at the Del Mar (Calif.) Fairgrounds and University of California San Diego’s Faculty Club, “two great iconic pieces of business,” Beard said. They’ve since rebranded West Coast accounts with the Premier moniker.
That same year, SMG purchased CGC Catering in Manchester, England, acquiring that firm’s racetrack business and establishing its food service in Europe.
“Both those brands brought value in the region they are in,” Beard said. When SMG added Bristol (U.K.) Arena management, it also won food through CGC. In Europe, it is all combined services, Beard added.
The Alamodome, San Antonio, long held by one of the big concessionaires, was another landmark win for Savor. “We had a great local food plan and a great local restaurant partner in our bid, which is what the city wanted, in preparation for the 2018 Final Four,” Beard said.
And they have made inroads in the university food service category, adding the University of Nebraska, Omaha’s brand new arena, and winning Baylor University’s new McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas.
It all dates back to the original philosophy established in 1983 — solving a need for the client by bringing localized, hotel/restaurant quality culinary services to the live event business.
“All I’ve done is taken that story and let more people know about it,” Beard said. People want to know where the food came from, who’s the person cooking it, are you using local purveyors — full transparency, he said. “Our clients ask us to do this. It’s a solution-minded focus. Wes saw it,” Beard said.
Savor is also quick and nimble, Beard said. “We’re not stuck with antiquated systems. We’re not burdened with an infrastructure that’s been there for 10-20 years. It’s all been brand new. We’re an efficient, customer-focused organization that can literally turn on a dime.”
Take procurement, for example, Beard said. Major concessions companies are some of the best, most sophisticated purchasers out there. “The difference with me is I go into San Antonio and say, ‘who is producing the best in this region and how can I bring it into this venue?’” Beard said. The same is true of the equipment he buys.
“At Alamodome, 100 percent of our equipment purchases were from local groups,” Beard said. “Every city is looking for something different. If it’s just dollars, that’s not my business. I provide a local experience.”
The biggest event, Savor has catered to date was when Microsoft Corp. merged five national groups into one meeting at McCormick Place in 2015. Savor served 24,000 people breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a week. They turned part of an exhibit hall into temporary kitchen to supplement permanent facilities. Over 100 managers from around the country helped support the event.
Beard is bullish on the future for Savor. He is data driven, preaching all the time that “you have to have the math before you do the magic.” But that said, the bottom line is the customer experience. He imagines the next big innovation in food service will be a quantum leap in service times.
“A lot of folks are experimenting with it now. The technology is there but social acceptance will come with the next generation, who will talk into their phones and expect the food to come. Today’s customer sees part of their experience as getting up and cruising the concourse and chatting with buddies. That’s a good experience too. But for the next generation, it will be what I need now, when and how I want it.”


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NEW FANS EMBRACE NEW DAILY’S PLACE
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Fla., was built to fill a hole in the concert space in the Northeastern Florida market. Attached to Jacksonville Jaguars’ Everbank Field, the new 5,500-capacity amphitheater and flex-field opened May 27.
“We didn’t build Daily’s Place to reach the same people who come to Jaguars games,” said Chad Johnson SVP, sales and service, Bold Events and The Jacksonville Jaguars.  “As we’ve gone through our first round of studies, we’ve found that 75 percent of the people purchasing tickets for Daily’ Place have never been to a Jaguars game.”
“The goal is to be a first-class facility for the fans and the artists,” said Johnson.
The conversations regarding the project started three years ago when Shad Khan bought the Jaguars, said Johnson. “We were looking at new and creative things we could do to drive the business forward to help overcome some of the inherent challenges that come with a small market like we have here.”
Johnson and his team started by “looking at areas where we currently aren’t delivering in the marketplace” and noticed there was gap in the 5,000-6,000-seat event space. The amphitheater idea came from those conversations.
The project is a part of a private-public partnership between Khan and the city of Jacksonville. Ninety million dollars was budgeted for Daily’s Place along with improvements to EverBank Field, split 50-50 between the two entities. The naming rights deal with Daily’s Place is for five years and there is an option to extend.
Ground broke on Daily’s Place and the flex-field in August 2016. The entire flex-field and amphitheater are under a shared-roof structure. The flex-field will be used for Jaguars practices, pregame hospitality events for Jaguars games, trade shows and community events that would require a covered space.
“The stage of the amphitheater backs up to the flex-field and those airline-hangar doors will open up,” said Johnson. Combined the venues are 160,000 sq.-ft., 94,000 sq.-ft. for the flex-field and 66,000 for the amphitheater.
Populous is the designer of the new venues. The design process took about two months, said Jonathan Mallie, principal and director of the New York office, Populous. “It was an extremely aggressive construction schedule,” said Mallie.
“The predominate architectural move of the roof-scape that that hovers over the venues really creates an iconic presence on the waterfront,” said Mallie.
Co-facility management partner Live Nation is the content provider and SMG will be the co-facility partner with Live Nation on the operational side. There are 28 confirmed shows “When we are fully operational we expect to have 40 events a year,” said Johnson.


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Sun-Soaked And Fan-Filled
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 8:00 pm

Florida had a rebound year in 2016 after a disappointing 2015. The venues on our Top Stops chart were up seven percent for the year, going from $192 million in reported gross ticket sales to $207 million. Many venue managers cite the strong line-up of touring talent, an improving economy and new found ways to manage the operating expenses and good marketing as reasons why 2016 was a step-up and most agree that 2017 is already off to a great start. Despite a series of unfortunate events, Floridians are a solid bunch and have expressed that they will not let the actions of a few take down the many.

It was good times and bad times in Orlando in 2016. While Allen Johnson, executive director, Orlando Venues, which run both Amway Center and Camping World Stadium, is happy to report that both venues were up about 10 percent in 2016, the tragic mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando where an unhinged lone-gunman killed 49 innocent victims, and the murder of singer Christina Grimmie at The Plaza Live by a deranged fan, all in one week, still weigh heavily on every Orlandian’s mind.

“As we approach the first anniversary of the unthinkable tragedy that occurred here, we reflect on those who were lost and those impacted while also how we, as a community, responded and continue to respond. We remain united in love, not hate," said Johnson.

Turning upbeat, Johnson said, “The number of shows we had in 2016 exceeded expectations. The market is extremely strong on sales and interest. We’re very pleased with 2016.”

Hot shows at Amway Center included four Garth Brooks shows, Barry Manilow, Nicky Jam, Justin Bieber and 21 Pilots. Over at Camping World Stadium the big sellers were Monster Jam, which had one of its highest grosses ever, 16 home games for Major League Soccer (MLS) team Orlando City, 10 games of the Orlando Pride, Copa América (COPA) and Guns N’ Roses.

Hurricane Matthew threatened to ruin all of Brooks’ shows, said Johnson. “It was nerve-wracking. We ended up moving Thursday night’s performance to Sunday afternoon and we moved a Friday performance to Saturday afternoon. We did two shows a day, flipped the building with sold-out crowds for a four-pack weekend, which is truly amazing.”

Food and beverage (F&B) was similarly up around 10 percent at both venues. Gross ticket sales reported to Venues Today at Amway Center were $16.8 million and at Camping World Stadium it was $11.8 million, for the period of Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2016.

At Amway Center they introduced new restaurants, Gringos Locos and Black Bean Deli. At Camping World Stadium they added a Little Caesars. The new concessions are doing really well at both venues, he said.

Ticket prices range from $60-$300 at both venues. Ticket prices were up five percent in 2016, said Johnson.

The operating budget at Amway Center was $16 million and at Camping World Stadium, $14 million.

Johnson is extremely optimistic about the rest of 2017. “We have great shows on hold and on sale,” he said. “At Amway, we have 30 shows scheduled this year which beats last year’s 26 shows,” he said. Despite losing the revenue from Orlando City Soccer, who moved into its own venue this year, Johnson is upbeat about the rest of 2017. “We’re the only stadium hosting three Bowl Games. We have the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Football, Electric Daisy Carnival and an International Champions Cup (ICC) International Friendly. It will be less busy because of the soccer team going to their new home but we’re still holding up well.”

Johnson wanted to mention that he appreciates the promoters, the patrons and the artists. “Without those three things I wouldn’t have a job.”

“We were up, way up,” said Kevin Preast, SVP, event management, Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, which runs Amalie Arena, the highest grossing venue on Venues Toady’s 2016 Florida Top Stops chart. “It was absolutely an amazing year. Everything we wanted to happen, happened.”

Hot shows included the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to play at Amalie Arena, the first-ever Barbra Streisand show to ever play in Tampa, Neil Diamond and Eric Church. Preast said hard rock and comedy were also in high demand at Amalie Arena. In total they hosted 36 concerts.

Preast lamented the end of Ringling Bros. circus. “We sent it out with style,” he said. “We set a record gross for the circus at Amalie and were up 25 percent in ticket sales. Feld announced the circus was closing about 10 days prior to our engagement. There was an absolutely overwhelming response to the news that this was the end of the line for the circus.”

Amalie Arena completed a $2 million renovation is 2016 to its Lexus Lounge. “We gutted it, redesigned it and rebuilt it from scratch. We wanted to make it bigger, better, faster and stronger,” he said. Lexus was so thrilled with the result they signed on as the sponsor of the premium lounge for another five years, said Preast.

F&B revenue has been “awesome,” up 22 percent according to Preast. “We have a great mix of national and local brands,” he said. Added in 2016 was PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality), a high-end quick-serve spot, Ford’s Garage, which serves gourmet burgers, and Rum Fish Grill. Preast credits the high volume of shows and better offerings for the 2016 increase.

Fans have embraced the full magnetometers that Amalie Arena installed, said Preast. “People want to come into a safe environment and feel good about the environment they are in. Things that happened in Orlando and Paris have made people say, ‘I’ll take the extra minute and go through a mag because I know everybody else is taking the extra minute to go through as well.’”

Preast said his outlook for the rest of 2107 is “absolutely amazing. We have Kendrick Lamar, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga coming up. The amount of high quality tour acts out in 2017 is incredible.”

Bill McConnell, GM for SMG Jacksonville, the public facilities managers of EverBank Field, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (JVMA) and the new Daily’s Place among other venues, said that EverBank Field’s performance was “a success on  multiple levels.” The venue did major renovations on their US Assure and East and West club level suites. “They were redesigned, reconfigured and introduced in the 2016 season.” Ninety million dollars was spent on the project, which included construction of Daily’s Place.

“We had to work around the construction,” said McConnell. “The cooperation and collaboration between the Jaguars, the city and SMG has been such that the venue has thrived.”

EverBank Field hosted a World Club qualifying match, a Navy-Notre Dame game, and, of course, the Jacksonville Jaguars football games.

A new concessionaire, Delaware North, took over from Spectra (concessions) and Levy Restaurants (premium) in 2016, the notion being to combine both premium and non-premium under one operator.  “Operationally it is a nice improvement,” he said

JVMA also had “a terrific year. We like to say that Jacksonville punches above its weight here in Florida and the arena continues to show that.” JVMA broke its attendance record in 2014/2015, 549,000, again in 2015/2016 with 553,000, and McConnell said that they were on track to break it again in 2016/2017, but Hurricane Matthew wiped out six Cirque Du Soleil shows. “We were on our way to setting another record,” he lamented. The good news is that Cirque Du Soleil is coming back in August.

Hot shows included Earth, Wind & Fire, Pearl Jam, Amy Schumer, Miranda Lambert, Justin Bieber, Stevie Nicks and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Improvements to JVMA included new audio-visual equipment  ($75,000), enhanced lighting including upper-fascia LED boards ($300,000), new video signage ($25,000), building automation ($100,000) and new point-of-sale (POS) systems ($40,000). “The city has been farsighted in allocating capital dollars for improvements,” he said.

McConnell said that JVMA tries to create specialness around big events to enhance fan experience by closing off the street and creating Block Parties that expand inside into the club and premium levels. They theme each night, dress up the suites and create photo opportunities with artists cutouts. “It gives people the sense of the big-event feel,” he said. Savor, the concessionaire at JVMA, also gets in on the action by customizing their offerings with specialty drinks and food.

Kathy Ramsberger, president & CEO, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando, said that the center had a great 2016. “We had 367 ticketed events and over 200 non-ticketed events,” she said. The venue is comprised of a 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, the 300-seat Pugh Theater, and a large rehearsal hall and they operate the Bob Carr Theater, which has been around since the 1920s and is about a mile away from the main complex.

“Our attendance was extremely high in 2016,” said Ramsberger. It’s only the second full year of operation for Dr. Phillips Center, which opened in December 2014. “We’ve definitely improved from year one. Big shows at Dr. Phillips Center in 2016 were “Wicked,”  “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” Chris Rock and “Dancing With The Stars Live.”

F&B is currently self-operated, but a deal with Spectra is starting July 1. “People arrive about 90 minutes early,” she said. Taking advantage of the space and the early arrivals, Dr. Phillips Center is building a restaurant. “In putting a strong eating establishment in place, we thought we could use some help,” said Ramsberger about contracting Spectra. “We want this to be their premier venue nationwide; we’re bringing in key chefs and sommeliers.”

Addition of the restaurant plus a roof garden and construction of a third venue, Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, will cost $240 million. Another new space will be the Green Room, a cabaret-style music room. Completion of all the new projects is expected by the spring of 2020.

Security is important at Dr. Phillips Center where they “screen everyone entering the building at all entry points” and magnetometers were brought in following the Pulse nightclub shootings.

Dr. Phillips Theater has a partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, and an education program for children with autism. “We’re the first art center in the world to partner with a hospital (Florida Hospital),” she said.

GM Ben Weiss at the Spectra-managed Donald L. Tucker Civic Center at Florida State University, Tallahassee, said it was a strong year and that his venue was up 20 percent in 2016 because of more content and the facility being seen “as a viable option to promoters and some good marketing.”

Hot shows were Florida Georgia Line, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly and Daniel Tosh.

Family shows were also strong at Donald Tucker Center in 2016, including Sesame Street Live!, Disney Live, Harlem Globetrotters, Monster Jam, musical “Annie” and Garden Bros. Circus. “We’re a great family show market,” said Weiss, adding that he hopes Garden Bros. will fill the void left by the closing of Ringling Bros. circus.

Ticket range was $25-$100. “The shows we market to the students we try to keep as low as possible,” he said.

The in-house F&B was also up 10 percent, according to Weiss, who said they grossed $2 million in F&B in 2016.  That’s pretty strong for a space our size, he said, referring to the 35,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall and a 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space that hosted 250 events, of which 85 percent were food related.

Weiss also believes the quality of the food offerings added to the good numbers.
“We’ve got a tremendous executive chef,” he said. The center introduced Sonny’s BBQ, a regional favorite, that did “tremendous business on our concourse,” and Outrageously Good Subs, and they created a craft beer corner that did “great, great business. The fans absolutely loved it.”

Building improvements included adding a new outdoor marquee with a large video wall on it and Florida State University accents and restrooms on the concourse. The budget was $100,000, paid for by the university.

In the wake of the May 22 Manchester (U.K.) Arena terrorist suicide bomber following an Ariana Grande concert, Weiss said they are “always looking at our security and looking at where we need to be. We work in tandem with the Florida State University Police Department and typically follow their lead.”

Robb Larson, GM, at SMG-managed Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, said that 2016 was “great” and the venue definitely was up over 2015. “It’s been an exciting year on all fronts. There is a lot of growth taking place in and around our area and it’s impacting our facility. We’re a unique location, about 20 minutes from Orlando, we have a lot of land and a lot of flexibility to the uses of the land. Flexibility is the name of the game.”

“We can handle all types of outdoor events, indoor-outdoor events and we can have multiple events taking place on the property at one time,” he said.

Osceola Heritage Park just completed a $20 million upgrade. “We added a lot of bells and whistles to make us more current,” said Larson. Improvements included a new center-hung scoreboard, LED Lighting, two new marquees to the front of the property, upgraded concession stands and upgrades to the wayfinding boards.

Another big enhancement is a new festival space. “We invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to create the festival space,” explained Larson. “We had to clear the space out, landscape and upgrade the area.” The results are already impressive — a 10-year deal has already been closed with Runaway Country Music Festival, which has already featured country heavy-hitters Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Eric Church. The festival brought in 40,000 in its first outing and Larson believes it’s still growing.

Telemundo Family Fest did well in 2016, bringing in 20,000 fans. Larson called Mecum Classic Auto Auction “our Poster Child event,” because it’s morphed into the biggest event they host over the 13 years it’s been at Osceola Heritage Park. “It started off in a corner of the property and it’s a perfect example of how our facility can operate. Now they set up 15 acres of tents and turn the arena into an auction-block TV studio.” Seventy thousand auto-lovin’ fans jam-packed the venue in 2016 for the event.

Larson also pointed out that Halsey did her tour rehearsal at the facility and a ticketed Tiny House event also did well.

Osceola Heritage Park also got into e-sports this year by hosted Smash the Record.
“That went well, we hope to do more,” he said.

Another event was the Ram Nationals Circuit Finals Rodeo. The facility just finished up year three of that 10-year deal. “It’s broadcast on CBS Sports,” he said.

F&B is doing great. We’re doing a lot of catering, we like to think we are the caterer-of-choice for the community due to our executive chef Tony Donnelly, said Larson.
SMG’s Savor is the concessionaire. They also just bought an $80,000 catering truck to move the food.

“The Grand Slam of politics” was held at the venue in 2016 when Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Barrack Obama showed up, on different days.
“Sanders was outside, Hillary was in our event center, two days later we had Trump in the arena, a couple weeks later we had Obama in the stadium. They each hit a different venue.”

Larson said dealing with Clinton’s Secret Service outfit and Trump’s team was “a challenge.”

The operating budget for the facility in 2016 was $8-$9 million. Tickets to events
ranged from $10 to $200.

“We’re excited about making a footprint in the indoor-outdoor space,” said Larson, about the rest of 2017. “We’re becoming more aggressive and we’re taking full advantage of the growth in our county. The future is very bright.”

It was “a huge rebound” year at BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla., according to Kevin Grove, VP, event programming, who said that they more than doubled their concert load from 2015 from 12 to 25. Family shows accounted for another 27 events.

“The 2016 touring cycle was great,” said Grove. “Agents and promoters all agree that the live-concert market is on an uptick.”

Highlights were Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel on the concert side and Frozen on Ice, Cirque Du Soleil Toruk and two runs of Disney on Ice on the family show side. Grove also mentioned newer artists like Twenty One Pilots and Sia helping grow the market.

Tickets ranged from $15 to $510 for a VIP experience.

F&B also had an enormous recovery from 2015 due to the increased attendance plus some new concession items brought by BB&T Center’s concessionaire Centerplate. New to the center is Chickie’s & Pete’s, which sells crab fries and chicken cutlets.

Also new are the redesigned premium clubs Corona Beach House and Lord Stanley’s Loft by Lagunitas Beer, both all-inclusive concepts with annual memberships.

Other improvements included a new POS system and roof resurfacing in 2016 and plans are in place for new retractable seating, a new building automation system, new LED lighting ribbons and improvements to the outside landscaping.

Grove said the venue relies on local enforcement, government agencies and Oak View Group’s Prevent Advisors for security advice.

Grove’s outlook for 2017 is equally upbeat. “The rest of the year looks great. We’re having Halsey play, who I expect to be big,” Grove said. “I also think 2018 is looking really strong. It’s all moving in the right direction.”

Event revenue was up 10 percent at AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, said Kim Stone, executive director and GM. “We were down a little overall because the (Miami) Heat started the season 11/30. They ended it with a huge comeback, but the slow start hurt the building,” said Stone.

Hot shows included Drake, Kanye West, Maroon Five, Adele, Barbra Streisand and Latin shows featuring Marc Anthony and Maná. Another highlight was having Ringling Bros. circus at the arena just a week after Feld announced it was closing the show, said Stone.

The annual budget at AmercianAirlines Arena “hovers at around 10 million,” she said. “We have to buy our chilled water from the county water plant for the air conditioners so our utility bills are sky high.”

F&B is doing “extremely well” despite per caps being slightly down because of the Heat’s limp start. “We were pleased with where finished,” she said.

Stone said using “business intelligence” was a big help in operating more efficiently. “Adding science to the art saved us money,” said Stone. “We use data to help study our ingress patterns and we found out that most of our guests show up from 30 minutes before kick-off to 30 minutes after, so we staggered out staff start times, from ticket takers to chefs, and it saved us a bundle on labor costs and improved our fan experience.”

The biggest improvement to the arena in 2016 was the introduction of the $6-million 601Club event space, operated with concessionaire, Levy Restaurants. “The former tenant left, we took it over and it’s a great space now and a big hit,” said Stone. Other improvements include new paint, new lighting, a new exterior paver and other restorations that cost $3 million.

Stone is bullish on the rest of 2017. “We will have our busiest July in history,” she said. “With the Heat finishing so strong there’s lots of hope in the marketplace about next year’s team. We’re cautiously optimistic.”


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MINNESOTA MADE
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

The team at Kelber Catering, the exclusive caterer for the Minneapolis Convention Center, prides itself on staying ahead of trends and customizing menus for clients. However, one item that will continue to be a mainstay—forever, if you ask the Kelber staff—is walleye.
“We’ve done walleye for five people to 4,000 people,” said Kelber Executive Chef and Culinary Director John Doody. “People have heard of it and want to try it. … A lot of times, people come here and they want the Minnesota experience.”
Loved for its clean taste and versatile preparation possibilities, the walleye is a freshwater fish found throughout the northern U.S. and Canada, and is especially prevalent in Minnesota. The state designated the walleye as the state fish in 1965.
At the Minneapolis Convention Center, Doody creates a crust for the fish from almonds; sometimes he uses pine nuts. “We dredge the fish in flour and our seasoning blend, then dip it in egg and then into our breading mixture,” the chef explained. “Then, we sautee it and finish it in the oven.”
To round out the plate, Doody creates pilaf from wild rice — another Minnesota specialty — and seasonal local vegetables.
“One of the things we’re really focusing on here, and in the industry as a whole, is sustainability and local products,” Doody said, adding that Kelber works with “just about every local purveyor in and around town.
“This is a very local dish that we’re known for in Minnesota,” he added.

Chef_Johnd_20171.jpg

Kelber Catering Executive Chef and Culinary Dir. John Doody
Minneapolis Convention Center

With his tenure at the Minneapolis Convention Center spanning 21 years, John Doody is a rare find in the culinary world, where chefs seem to change as often as seasonal menus.
“I became the executive chef and culinary director recently, when our executive chef and culinary director retired,” Doody said. “Our staff has incredible longevity, too, so we develop very strong relationships with the people we serve.”
Doody began pursuing a career in the industry at Saint Paul College’s culinary program before building a resume that looks a lot more like other chefs’—working at various restaurants, managing a dinner theater, and traveling a bit before landing back in Minnesota. He took on an on-call position shortly before being brought on as a pastry chef.
Today, Doody said he’s happy to work with a forward-thinking team at Kelber and the convention center. “One of the things I’m very proud of is that as large as we are, we have very little food waste,” he said. “Anything that does not go out at serve time, we repackage and send to the local food banks daily. If something comes back as food waste, we collect that and send it to local farms that can use it as food for pigs.”
There’s always something to do; there’s always change,” he added.


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SMG 40TH ANNIVERSARY
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

After 40 years of privatizing management of public assembly facilities, from the original Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans to the latest, Shenzhen (China) World Exhibition & Convention Center, from BOK Center in Tulsa to Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., and happily in McCormick Place, Chicago, and U.S Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, “there is still a lot of headroom in our industry,” said Wes Westley, president and CEO, SMG. Westley heads a mature company he reorganized by specialized divisions and leads a management team of seasoned professionals with an average tenure of 20 years. When Westley arrived, the company managed fewer than 30 venues. Today, it manages 232.


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SMG’S DNA SCREAMS HOSPITALITY
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

Everyone at SMG, a firm that has matured and defined an industry that privately manages publicly-owned venues, from the CEO to the front lines at venues around the world, preaches hospitality and customer and client service, tracing SMG’s genesis to Hyatt Hotels, the epitome of hospitality.
“Our senior management team is comprised of seasoned professionals; their average tenure with the company is 20 years. That expertise, level of professionalism and consistency has allowed us to develop best practices systems and procedures that set us apart,” said Wes Westley, SMG president and CEO.
Those roots and senior management team combined with an organizational structure that creates specialized divisions by type of business — stadiums, arenas and theaters, convention centers, Europe, and food — allows for a customized approach to clients. “It also allowed us to develop a team of specialized professionals for each division,” said Westley.
“The overall growth of the company is what I am most proud of. When I joined, we had fewer than 30 facilities. Today we have 232. This 40th anniversary is a milestone we all celebrate, since most of us have been with SMG for more than half of its existence,” Westley told Venues Today.
Maureen Ginty, EVP, marketing services and human resources, has been with SMG since 1991 – 26 years this month. She joined after Aramark had purchased one-third of the private management company, which was then owned by Hyatt Hotels and Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Spectrum.
“I came from a multibillion dollar organization and then they brought Wes down from multibillion-dollar Aramark. The idea was to add a little more structure to the company,” Ginty recalled.
But the trick, and SMG’s success, is to not make it too corporate. “You keep that entrepreneurial spirit. We’ve been able to inject processes and systems and approaches corporations use but in a more entrepreneurial environment and it’s really gelled,” Ginty said.
What Westley did was make SMG a more matrixed organizational structure, Ginty said. “Now it’s flatter. The decision-making is flatter.” Contract management like SMG pursues cannot survive with tier upon tier of management.
“We are close to the action,” Ginty added.
Westley was very instrumental with his vision for SMG, Ginty said of the Marine who became president in 1994 after three years in finance with SMG. “You better accept a lot of personal responsibility. That’s why Marines get stuff done. You better be that type of employee.”
Westley puts the emphasis on customer service. And he never loses track of the numbers. “You’re in business to make money. If we lose track of that, things go wrong. That’s the hard decision-making. Sometimes you’d love to do something for the short-term buzz but, in the long term, it’s not good for the company. It’s like parenting,” Ginty said.
In 2000, SMG purchased Leisure Management International and, soon after, Aramark bought Ogden Entertainment Services and spun the venue management contracts to SMG, of which Aramark was half owner by then. Hyatt and Aramark bought Ed Snider of Comcast Spectacor out in 1998.
When Aramark and Hyatt sold to American Capital in 2007, SMG was able to enter the food business in an aggressive way, bidding on non-management contracts with regularity, a prohibition when that would have been competing with the parent company. The company had always had legacy food contracts through its Hyatt hospitality roots, beginning with Moscone Center, San Francisco, but in 2007, it became a stand-alone division.
Expansion into Europe was a result of acquiring Ogden Entertainment, which had a footprint in Europe, notably with Manchester (U.K.) Arena. Westley immediately saw the need to sell the team, plug the losses and turned the arena around financially. Since, they have added numerous accounts, most recently Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, and Aberdeen (Scotland) Conference Center, both premier exhibition centers. Westley sees considerable growth potential internationally.
Another highlight is growth into management of National Football League (NFL) stadiums, a lot of that to EVP Doug Thornton’s credit. Thornton started his career with SMG as GM of the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, now Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Winning the Chicago Park District’s iconic, historic venue, Soldier Field, in 1999, two years before the renovation, was a highlight in SMG’s growth for Thornton. “It was a big market and historic stadium. The Philadelphia Convention Center was another big one,” Thornton said.
In 2015, US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, the first NFL stadium that was RFP’d within in a 10-year stretch, was awarded to SMG.
Thornton never tires of the conversations about having a third party run an NFL stadium and, with six such accounts, he has benchmarks and best practices to prove his point, but those are always sweet wins.
“The reason we were hired [in Minneapolis] was to manage the bottom line, create value, create utilization and community involvement,” Thornton said. Built with tax money, part of the thesis of these big stadiums is to make them open to the people.
On the theater side of the equation, management of The Greek, Los Angeles, was a big one. “It’s an iconic facility that everyone knows, like the Superdome,” Thornton said. “It gave us the opportunity to have SMG recognized in the L.A. market. We have a great relationship with the LA Parks and Recreation District. Last year, we returned $6.5 million of net income to the district, about $3 million more than they budgeted for.”
Size matters, but with the Greek, location is the differentiator. “Our West Coast footprint is growing,” Thornton said.

LIFTING THE SECONDARIES
Another strong point for SMG is the secondary and tertiary market arenas. Everyone at SMG will mention BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla., as a huge shining star for SMG in the middle markets. “Who would have thought Tulsa would be a hotbed for concerts?” Thornton asks. “I jokingly say we made a market there.”
Influence and connections beget good things and the advent of a National Basketball Association (NBA) team in Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Center is such a story. The Thunder arrived there after $180 million in renovations at the arena which first hosted NBA basketball when the team playing at Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, had to relocate after Hurricane Katrina. “That was a game changer,” Thornton said. “We already had the venue, we got a team. I remind the guys in OC of this all the time.”
Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, S.D., is much like Tulsa for SMG. “No one would have thought Sioux Falls would be a hotbed of concerts,” Thornton said. “They did 23 shows in that market the first year.”
It helped that SMG was involved in the design of the building, making it operationally fit for the 150,000-pounds of rigging the big shows bring. Michael Godoy, SMG VP of operations, helped the designers design the rigging grid. “We have a Facility Development Services Group Michael heads up that establishes operational best practices and consults on early stage projects like this,” Thornton said.
Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Neb., was another venue where SMG got in early. “Two great buildings, two good examples, very successful markets,” Thornton said.

MORE THAN A BOX WITH DOCKS
Gregg Caren, EVP, convention centers, is in his 19th year with SMG. When he joined SMG in 1998, the company had just 24 convention centers.
His original role was transitioning new convention center accounts, like the David L. Lawrence Center, Pittsburgh. “My genetics are sales and marketing. I was able to create a brand recognized by our event planners, associations and corporate meeting planners and trade show executives, CVBs and DMOs. We partner with about 60,” Caren said.
Today, SMG manages 75 centers totaling 15.5 million sq. ft. of rentable exhibit space, Caren said. Half of my job is business development and half is national sales, filling the venues we operate.”
For years, Caren would say there are plenty of convention centers that will probably never privatize, McCormick Place, Chicago, for example and, even before that, Cobo Convention Center, Detroit. Cobo privatized at the end of 2010, marking the first 722,000-gross-sq.-ft. exhibit space center to do so. “We managed venues larger, but those had expanded, nothing came on board that big,” Caren said.
Detroit was a bad scene at that time, Caren remembered. The state took over Cobo Center and created Detroit Regional Convention Center Authority that spent two years looking at it, committed money to redevelop the venue and looked at management options. “That was a game changer because it set a benchmark that big cities can and should be looking at this option,” Caren said.
Lo and behold, McCormick Place followed suite in 2011, though for a different reason. “They didn’t need fixing per se like Detroit did. McCormick Place had legislation that was going to change things like labor charges and pricing for food and beverage. Chicago went to private management to help guarantee the end users it was really changing,” Caren said.
Winning the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2013 created a trifecta of major market venues for SMG.
“At the end of the day, our true growth will continue to be in smaller and midsize venues, which in reality need more of our attention and help because they have more limited resources,” Caren said. Markets like Branson, Mo., and Tucson, Ariz., and Pembroke Pines Civic Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., now called Charles F. Dodge City Center, which opened in the last month, are key to SMG’s convention center business.
“Whenever I talk to groups or cities or clients, I remind everyone it doesn’t matter how big or small, at the end of the day, the venue is one of the biggest investments a city makes. Size doesn’t matter,” Caren said.

CONTENT IS KING
Marquee events are a kick for anyone in the venue business. In 2016, for example, SMG’s convention centers hosted the Democratic National Convention delegates at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Republican National Convention delegates at Huntington Center, Cleveland. The Pope showed up in Philadelphia as well, part of the World Meeting of Families, held at Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Gratifying events, in Caren’s book, include the revival of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In 2011, it was a pretty somber event, he said.
Hosting the first Super Bowl after 9/11, 2002, at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, is forever in Thornton’s mind. SMG worked with NFL, the Secret Service and the FBI to host the first event designated a National Special Security event by the President. “Those come often now. That event went off without any incidents,” Thornton said. “As [NFL Commissioner Paul] Tagliabue said, we redefined Super Bowl that year.”
Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which destroyed the Superdome and parts of the city of New Orleans among other devastation, was another defining moment in SMG’s history and expertise. They led an industry in recovery and preparation for disaster through lessons learned there. It was shut down for a year before a symbolic and triumphant rebirth. “The company was very proud of that moment,” Thornton said.
Four decades is a long time. Growth notwithstanding, SMG is most proud of its heritage accounts. “We have a 92 percent retention rate,” Ginty said. “That’s amazing. Don’t lose sight of your buildings. We have high tech approaches, but a very high touch approach, too.”
What are the big wins in Ginty’s opinion? “We just like winning,” Ginty said. “It might be nice if this was a little harder, but you don’t get points for a harder win, the question is did you win? It all impacts our future.”


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MANAGEMENT
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

STRI Group has expanded its U.K. regional ecology and environment operation by bringing in Teneille Barwick. She started her career at an environmental consultancy in the energy sector in Canada. She has also worked as a project officer for Conservation Volunteers in New Zealand. Nicole Beckett has recently completed her degree in Physical Geography and also joins STRI.

The Milwaukee Bucks have named Barry Baum SVP of communications. Most recently, Baum was chief communications officer for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. Before that, he served as a publicist for more than three years with PR firm DKC and he was a sports writer from 1994-2001 at the New York Post.

Sally Bradford is now the VP of marketing and communications at Handel + Haydn Society. Bradford spent the past five years as marketing communications manager at Hemenway & Barnes, Boston. Prior to that, she served as principal at Bradford Communications and she spent 11 years at BankBoston working as senior manager, marketing services.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) has appointed Paul Jeffrey Chandler as its new director of food & beverage. He joins HML, which is the private management and operating company for F&B at HKCEC. Chandler has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality field, which he gained through various senior positions in international hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong, U.K. and Australia. Prior to joining HML, he was director, food & beverage operations of Shanghai Disney Resort, China, and held a similar position at Hong Kong Disneyland for more than three years.

James Finn has been named EVP and head of marketing at FoxNext. Finn is a 17-year veteran at Fox, having worked across Twentieth Century Fox Film theatrical, Fox Searchlight and Home Entertainment. Fox will continue in his role as EVP, co-head of marketing at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Onexim Sports and Entertainment has named Maureen Hanlon, president. Hanlon has served as primary outside counsel to Onexim for the past eight years, while a partner at Hogan Lovells US LLP, where she has worked since 1996.

AudienceView has appointed Karen Hogg, VP, customer success. Hogg previously worked for PeopleSoft, SAP, Sierra Systems, NexJ Systems and Longview Solutions. Michael Burnett has also joined AudienceView as managing director, U.K. and Europe. Prior to joining the team, Burnett was director of sport for Ticketmaster/Live Nation. Earlier, he was founder and managing director of See Tickets from 2000 through 2012 and held key roles at Medoc and Derby County FC.

Jacksonville Symphony has selected JoLynne Jensen as VP & chief development officer. For 15 years, Jensen held several roles at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, including VP of development.  Previously, Jensen worked as a consultant guiding nonprofits.

Jaime Lawson has been named account manager at New Day Underwriting Managers. Prior to joining New Day, Lawson was employed at various leading insurance agencies in New Jersey.

Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) welcomes the addition of two national sales managers, Brad Minton and Cara Marbach. Minton joins the GWCCA after most recently serving as director of global accounts for Omni Hotels and Resorts in Washington, D.C. His resume also includes several positions with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, including Hyatt Regency (Ky.) Lexington, and at the Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center. Marbach joins GWCCA after serving as senior sales manager at Napa Valley (Calif.) Marriott. She also served in a variety of positions for Marriott International, including the Marriott Marquis Houston and the JW Marriott Austin, Texas.

Michelle Minyard has been named national sales manager at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Minyard previously served as sponsorship director for the Festival International de Louisiane and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. Minyard honed her sales skills in sales manager roles with the Hilton St. Charles Hotel New Orleans, a previous stint at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in 2004-2005, and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Music and entertainment industry veteran Chris Monaco has joined LiveStyle, Inc. as chief revenue officer, brand partnerships and sponsorships. Previously, Monaco spent four years at Universal Music Group where he was senior vice president, strategic marketing and brand development/head of new business. Before his employment at Universal, from 2008 to 2012, Monaco was the senior vice president, music and entertainment for Octagon. Prior to Octagon, Monaco was director, entertainment marketing, Pernod Ricard. Monaco will be based in LiveStyle’s Beverly Hills, Calif., offices.

Mari Riddle is the new executive director at Grand Performances. Most recently, Riddle served as program director at Community Partners in Los Angeles.  Prior to joining Community Partners, Riddle held the president and CEO position at Centro Latino for Literacy, as well as executive director roles at The Friends of the Levitt Pavilion–Macarthur Park, Telacu Community Capital and Coalition for Women’s Economic Development.

Donna Karl Sakelakos, CMP, has been named director of event services at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans. Karl most recently served as VP of event operations for Tradeshow Logic. Previously she served as the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau’s VP of client relations from 2004 – 2012. Karl began her career in the meetings industry with the American Academy of Pediatrics in Elk Grove Village, Ill. Over the course of 18 years, she rose through the ranks to ultimately serve as director, division of convention and meeting services. Karl earned her Certified Meeting Professional designation in 1992.

Spectra by Comcast Spectacor has selected Charles Saunders as their new General Manager, Spectra Food Services & Hospitality,  at the  750,000-sq. ft. Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati. Saunders has held a number of leadership roles in the hospitality industry, including the Four Seasons, Starwood, and Marriott where he served as director of food and beverage. Saunders also boasts international experience in food and beverage leadership having worked in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More recently, he finished a consulting assignment with the historic Strater Hotel, Durango, Colo. These positions called for him to introduce new dining concepts, increase food and beverage profitability, and management of international business relations.

Shane Shuhart is rejoining Nederlander Concerts as senior director of talent, effective immediately. Shuhart previously worked for Nederlander Concerts from 2008-2011 as director of talent and programmed venues from San Jose to San Diego. Most recently, Shuhart was a talent buyer for Live Nation Entertainment’s Philadelphia office where he booked shows for Live Nation’s owned and operated amphitheaters, arenas and other third-party venues throughout the Pennsylvania and New Jersey regions. He also oversaw booking for the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, The Pavilion at Montage, and the Peach Music Festival. Shuhart began his career at the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) in New York and became the territorial talent agent for APA’s northeast region when he moved to Los Angeles.

Hamlet Stepanian has been promoted to operations manager at Bittree. Hamlet’s experience with Bittree dates to 1996, beginning on the production assembly line before transitioning to a shipping and receiving role.


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THE MESSAGE IS IN THE WATER BOTTLE
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

United Center, Chicago, brands its own water bottles.
Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC), Canandaigua, N.Y., sells only eco-friendly fully-recyclable water containers.   And St. Augustine (Fla.) Amphitheater and Ponte Verde Concert Hall are going completely green and installing water stations that fill bring-your-own water bottles.
“Bottled water, long a concessions staple, has experienced somewhat of a renaissance in our concessions business over the past couple of years,” said Jaime Faulkner, CEO of E15, the analytics group owned by Levy Restaurants. “Consistent with broader consumer shifts in behavior, fans are switching from soft drinks to water at a pretty significant rate.”
Soda still accounts for over half of all non-alcholic beverages sold at Levy’s Major League Baseball (MLB) venues for example, explained Faulkner, “but its standing as the drink of choice is aggressively being challenged by the bottled water category. In fact, soda is the only non-alcoholic beverage category experiencing a negative annual trend, while water is growing 15 percent, year-over-year. Juice, energy and sports drinks are also trending nicely, but on much smaller volumes.”
Bottled water’s one percentage annual growth is even more impressive considering it was already the second most purchased non-alcoholic beverage, after soda, accounting for one-third of units sold two years ago, said Faulkner. If the respective MLB trends in non-alcoholic beverage hold true over the next few years, bottled water units sold will pull even with soda by the 2020 season.
“Many teams are exploring sub-sectoring the non-alcoholic beverage categories and breaking them out for multiple sponsorship opportunities, as opposed to the status quo of having one of the major soda sponsors cover all of the non-alcoholic beverage categories with their portfolio,” Faulkner said. Several years ago at United Center, the Bulls and Blackhawks brought in Culligan water as the official water sponsor, and put the team logos on the bottles. Culligan advertising is prominent on multiple levels of the arena and the concourses, as well. Approximately 2,500 bottles of the branded water is sold at each event.
At CMAC, Director of Venue Operations Chris Tuttle said that their plan to be more sustainable and tackle plastic water bottle waste was to initiate a partnership with Just Water, an eco-friendly water company started by actor Jaden Smith and his partner, Drew Fitzgerald.
Just Water’s water is sourced out of Glen Falls, N.Y., located just a few hours away from CMAC. “It’s a clean-water state and seemed perfect for us,” said CMAC Executive Director Lynn Freida, who was also impressed with the way Just Water’s boxed water was eco-friendly. Freida said they “made a good deal” and the price is comparable to their former water supplier’s price.
As of June 4, when Dave Matthews played, Just Water was the only water option available at CMAC.
Drew Fitzgerald, Just Water cofounder, said that he started the parent company, Just  Goods, with Smith in 2012.
Just Water debuted in 2015, backed by investors Lionel Richie, Queen Latifah, DJ Calvin Harris, the elder Smiths, and others.
Fitzgerald said that the highlight of the product is its paper-based bottle, which is made from renewable resources that can be regrown naturally. Fifty-four percent is paper from certified forests, 28 percent is plant-based plastic, 15 percent is traditional plastic and three percent is made from aluminum.
Our packaging paper comes from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests, where new trees replace the ones that are harvested, explained Fitzgerald, adding that the Just Water bottle recently improved from 53 percent to 82 percent renewable resources by using a plant-based plastic derived from responsibly-sourced sugarcane.
“We have third-party verification that with our bottle today, there is a 74 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to an average, medium weight plastic bottle,” he emphasized.
The cost of Just Water is $1.10-$1.29. Fitzgerald said that the cost of producing the bottle was “slightly higher then a plastic bottle, but we have projections that show when we get to scale the cost will be on-par with traditional plastic water bottles.”
St. Augustine Amphitheater and Ponte Verde Concert Hall took the eco-friendly water concept to the next level. “We wanted to make our venue greener,” said Ryan Murphy, GM. “Around the time of these discussion, Jack Johnson was looking to bring his only show to Florida. One of the conditions to be able to get the show was to meet rider requirements regarding green issues. This gave us the perfect reason to jump-start our initiatives.”
For Murphy, going green meant more than just an eco-friendly bottle. The goal of his team was to eliminate plastic water bottles altogether. Thus the Green Hands initiative was born. “It was a way to minimize waste,” said Megan Murphy, lead of the Green Hands project at the venues. “We transitioned to boxed water, and we set up water refill stations all over the venues and encouraged patrons to bring their own water bottles.”
The water stations have counters on them so the patrons can see how many plastic bottles are not being sent out into the landfills, said Megan Murphy, adding that at this point many thousands of plastic bottles have been saved from the scrapheap.
As part of their community outreach, the venue brought 800 reusable bottles to a nearby elementary school and installed four water refill stations at the school, each costing $2,800. The money to do so was raised at the venues by selling Green Hands reusable bottles to guests. Bottles sold between $10-$12, for various sizes.
Murphy said that the guests love the program. “It’s a happy arrangement,” he said, adding that the concessionaire, Professional Concessionaires, Inc., was a little worried at first about revenue loss but quickly came onboard. “They understand the level of goodwill generated by this program. People feel better about coming, and it’s a positive impact across the board.”
“There were so many water bottles backstage,” said Ryan Murphy. “Now we’ve got the stagehands carrying their reusable water bottles and using the water stations and no plastic bottles falling out of the trash cans.”
Murphy said that Johnson is not the only artist demanding greener venues. About half the artists he wants to book now require green initiatives, many supported by Reverb, a Portland-based company founded by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Adam Gardner of Guster. Reverb provides comprehensive, custom greening programs for music tours while conducting grassroots outreach and education with fans around the globe.
Chris Spinato, project manager and brand sponsorship, Reverb, said that the nonprofit sends a representative on tour with their clients to act as the ‘green manager’ and offers clients a ‘green rider’ that spells out the requirements for a green tour experience.
Reverb clients include Alabama Shakes, John Mayer, Dead & Co. and Zac Brown Band. Spirato said that Reverb enters into contracts with the artists, sometimes paid for directly by the tour and other times financed through sponsors like Clean Energy Advisors and reusable water bottle company Nalgene.
“Our goal is to look for ways that we can all make a positive impact on our environment and reduce our footprint,” said Spinato. “At music venues, there is currently a lot of unnecessary waste.”


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THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

For a 1923 building, there are limitations that must be worked around in order to create premium spaces.
During three years of renovations, Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, N.Y., set a new standard with its limited access areas. The one drawing the most attention has patrons entering through a porta-potty door.
“We would have many people waiting in bathroom lines, then there’d be 20 people coming out of this porta-potty door clown car style,” said Mike Luba, co-president at Madison House Presents, which runs the stadium with AEG. “We’ve tried to elaborate on that scene, thinking outside the box for our other areas.”
The Raccoon Room got its name from the family of raccoons living in it prior to the remodel, one of which is stuffed on top of the self-serve bar, which was formerly a toolshed. The space gets a new password with each event and offers views inside the stadium from small windows.
Another VIP speakeasy-type lounge, the Sign Room, is also password-protected and named after the U.S. Open’s former sign painter, who worked in the space.
Lining the stadium’s horseshoe interior and each other with unique decor and prime views of the stage, the lounges offer private restrooms, bar service and a host.
“We have a wacky place to begin with,” said Luba. “If you build something epic and deliver on a unique, special experience, people are willing to pay anything; the revenue potential is limitless.”
In the case of Forest Hills, the focus is on driving home the historical spirit of the building, which was home to the U.S. Open for 70 years.
“On some level, it’s like we’ve done the anti-arena model with the way we’ve built our speakeasies, or what others would call suites or boxes,” said Luba. “When that works, people love it.” — Lisa White


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SMG EUROPE IS ON A ROLL
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

International growth is at the forefront of SMG’s future plans. In June 2017, SMG announced management of what will become the largest convention center in the world, Shenzhen (China) World Exhibition & Convention Center, 4.3 million sq. ft. of exhibition space under one roof.
In Europe, they will open two new arenas over the next few years, Bristol Arena to the west of London, which is being developed with Live Nation and opens in 2020, and Hull Arena in the north of England, opening in 2018, said John Sharkey, SVP, SMG Europe.
The new Aberdeen (Scotland) Convention Center, which SMG was selected to manage along with the existing venue, opens in 2019.
And in January 2015, SMG acquired CGC Catering and Events. “That was a big acquisition for us. They look after a number of racecourses,” Sharkey said. SMG combined its existing venue beverage business with CGC. Typically, food is rolled into management in contracts in Europe.
“Basically from Hull to Aberdeen to Bristol, we’re on a roll,” Sharkey said.
It was just 17 years ago that acquisition of Ogden Entertainment opened up the European market for SMG. Since then, SMG has added to that core group, including Leeds Arena in England. They also manage three arenas in Poland and one in Germany.
While the UK is a fairly mature venue market, SMG is always looking for opportunities, Sharkey said.
“We’re absolutely focused on making sure we don’t have a U.S./U.K. division. We are one company. I work closely with Gregg [Caren] and Doug [Thornton] and Shaun [Beard] for a collective approach across the businesses. It lends itself well to walk in matrix,” Sharkey said.
Content is always the driver, whatever the country the venue serves. Boxing is a strong product throughout the U.K. venue market, Sharkey said. Boxing has grown as a result of venues investing in and showcasing the sport. “There is great appeal for young people to go into boxing because they see idols in big arenas,” Sharkey said.
Watershed moments for venues in Europe started when the Millennium Dome was  “republished as an arena (02 Arena), Wembley was republished, and new venues opened in Liverpool and Leeds; Belfast was significantly republished, new arenas opened in Glasgow, then two new venues in Aberdeen and Bristol,” Sharkey said.
The business was there, but adding the new arenas has changed the whole experience. “What you’re consuming has changed,” Sharkey said. He’s confident SMG Europe has a bright future.
The European marketplace is made up of modern and more dated venues; it’s not about a big hall with a big capacity. In these ever changing days, there’s a lot more competition for consumer spend and Sharkey understands that the company has to give that audience an experience they want to consume so they’ll come back and see more.
“We’re looking at kids multitasking, watching TV, on Facebook, texting, immersed in a connected world,” he said. “We have to work out what people want to consume going forward. We are in a world where people seem to want to be connected 24/7.”


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CONNECTING WITH A FLICK OF THE WRIST
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 7:00 pm

Whether its sharing contact information during a meeting or event, or participating in a light show during a concert, information-gathering wearables like klik wristbands and badges are changing the live entertainment experience.
Klik wants to connect with people, face to face. Their line of smart wearables enables people to put down their phones and participate actively in getting to know each other.
“Klik was designed for group interaction,” said Maria Koneva, account manager, klik.
“Scanning QR codes just to put someone in your contacts is an awkward interaction. So is having to pull out your phone and enter someone’s information. Klik solves that problem.”
The product comes in either a wristband or a badge, and both simplify the process of connecting. “All attendees have to do is touch their wristbands together and the contact information goes to participants' online klik profiles,” explained Koneva.
Klik is a web-based platform that can be accessed via phone or desktop. It compiles new contacts, a personal calendar of events to attend and other relevant event information. The action of clicking or bumping your wearable with someone else's allows the exchange of the information.
“All your different klik events are saved on the platform so it's possible to go back at any time and retrieve the information from a past klik event or to download a list of the contacts you made,” she said.
Klik also serves up data for the event organizer. “Often event operators are blind to what happens after someone shows up at their event,” said Koneva. “With klik, organizers can see who is in what room, how many people are in a session, where the people in the room are from. For example, if there are people from Europe in the room interacting with people from the U.S. or how many people are in the lobby during sessions and, of course, who is interacting with who at an event.” Klik also can deliver content from any session through PDFs.
“It’s important not to underestimate the value of data,” she said.
To avoid the “creepiness factor” klik does not track a guests’ particular location, only who from a set list of parameters is in a rectangular area and how many people are in that space. “We don’t know if you are standing by the window or the coffee machine,” she said. “We only want to know how many people are in the rectangular space and how long they stay there.”
Koneva said that data suggests that a healthy 60 to 70 percent of guests participate in using the device to share contact info, and a typical guest shares their contacts with another guest between five to 12 contacts per person at a 1,000 to 2,000-person event. When exchanging contacts happens through apps or social media platforms, the adoption rate is much lower, usually around 15-25 percent, she said. “The fact that it’s web-based, and not a download, is very attractive to our clients and their guests.”
Guests are given the wearable for free. The costs of the wearable can vary from $10-$25, for events between 500-20,000 people and would go lower with higher attendance, said Koneva. Built into the cost is also the on-site support and equipment to control the devices.
Blue Flame is a global brand activation and production company that has used klik.  “We first learned about klik while searching for interactive tactics to bring a creative engagement strategy to life for an event we were producing in San Francisco,” said Blue Flame creative strategist Beryl Jacobson.
Blue Flame’s clients were Silicon Valley executives, some of the most tech-savvy, innovative and creative people on the planet. “We approached this challenge by creating a concept that used LED bracelets in multiple ways throughout the event,” explained Jacobson. The registration portion of the evening was one of the smoothest registrations of guests we have ever executed. Guests who were already in our database who RSVP’d, moved through the process in less than 30 seconds. And guests who were not in the system and came as a plus-one, or a last minute attendee, took less then a couple minutes.”
“We captured event experience data on the back end, such as a way to see what products and areas were most frequented by guests and more,” he said. “The results were also very valuable to the client for targeted post-event communications and to gauge future business prospects and sales and partnership opportunities.”
The wristband also contains a color-changeable light. “We can remotely control the light in the wristband and turn them on and off, or switch color, to make a pixel,” she said. “By controlling the lights, we play with their emotions. Instead of just looking at a show, the fan is part of the show.”
This feature was used by the promoters of Taylor Swift’s last tour. Thirty thousand to 80,000 thousand fans were given a wristband at 87 shows. The bands were also employed at Super Bowl 2014 and the Sochi Olympics. The cost of the wristbands ranged $4.5 to $12 for just for the lightshow feature.
Although klik is not interested in placing a payment platform in their devices, Koneva said that the devices are RFID-friendly and an organizer could embed a payment feature.
Klik’s largest event was around 20,000 people over three days. It was a festival/conference hybrid. Currently, 75 percent of klik’s business is from conferences and 25 percent festival and special events.


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UPSCALE EATS ATTRACT
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

One of the biggest amenities in venue VIP areas is the food, which arguably can make or break the overall experience, as expectations tend to be high.
While buffets with a larger selection of dishes and top shelf alcohol used to be enough to set these sections apart, the bar has now been set higher to include action stations with on-site customized cooking, mixologists serving up custom cocktails and guest chefs providing local favorites for fans.
“The biggest trends we’re seeing are in food and service style,” said Danielle Lazor, vice president of design and development for Philadelphia-based Aramark’s sports and entertainment division. “We’re seeing a lot of customization, or the ability for guests to personalize their experience.”

Millennials are driving the move toward higher quality food with cleaner and more nutritious ingredients that are locally sourced. Many contend this is lifestyle-driven and reflects the updated spaces that offer a more comfortable, homier setting.
“We’re seeing more premium spaces that feel like a gourmet kitchen or open concept living room and kitchen experience,” said Lazor.
Today’s foodservice programs also are not always meal-oriented, as more guests are into snacking and grazing. Yet, venues still must be cognizant of other generations’ more traditional expectations.

GOING ABOVE & BEYOND
For many stadiums and arenas, it’s not about looking at foodservice programs as a checklist, but about customizing the experience as a whole.
“Each VIP has a different need or experience,” said Shaun M. Beard, senior vice president, food and beverage, at Philadelphia-based SMG’s Savor & Premier brands. “A concert-goer has different needs than a sports fan, so we have to make sure the catering and facility sales staff understands each type of person.”
Also, at big arenas or stadium shows or concerts, there are different VIP foodservice amenities than at performing arts centers or theaters with segregated premium areas.
In terms of revenue potential, every market has its own limits.
“What we do in Los Angeles differs from what we’d offer in Peoria, Ill., for example,” said Beard. “Folks will pay a premium for the right experience, but venues need to be dialed in to what the market is looking for and define what can be sold.”
In some instances, the facility’s accommodations dictate what can be accomplished.
For  example, it used to be a novel idea to include a chef’s tasting room with a convention center VIP package, but now this amenity has become more commonplace in other types of facilities.
Buildings with more limited high-end areas also have options.
“In some cases, they can take that inventory during a concert and create a club experience,” said Beard. “The venue can package a performer meet-and-greet with food and drinks, which has evolved from what buildings were potentially designed to do and maximizes the potential.”
Customization allows venues to put a fresh spin on foodservice programs, while thinking outside the box when it comes to offerings.
“As different demographics go to games, we’re seeing ballparks and stadiums make adjustments,” said Richard Schneider, COO for Delaware North Sportservice, headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y. “This includes fresher food in smaller batches and almost cooking to order in some areas, with more individual and customizable dishes.”

FOCUS ON THE FOOD
In larger stadiums and arenas, there may be multiple VIP areas that have different tiers of food and beverage amenities.
“In Dallas’ 94,000-seat Cotton Bowl Stadium, the premium seating includes suite and press box areas, along with balcony porches and two hospitality levels where foodservice is expanded,” said Ed Campbell, owner of Ed Campbell Co., Dallas.
These include a more extensive menu with traditional concessions offerings, in addition to themed dishes, such as Mexican or western barbecue. Items are served from four or five food stations.
The stadium’s hospitality party decks, which can hold up to 1,500 people, have expanded menu offerings and an enhanced cocktail service as well as high-end hors oeuvres.
“We add flowers and plants to soften the areas, which include flat screen TVs on the wall,” said Campbell.
At Dallas’ Fair Park, VIP areas are both inside and outside of the facility. The latter includes tents and temporary structures near the building.
“Once we determine what our inventory is, we put together a food and beverage program to fit the VIP’s needs,” said Campbell. “There are various options to look at in terms of adapting their plan pregame, which is the majority of requests.”
Depending on the budget, the menu may be more basic with grilled burgers and hot dogs or include upscale food presentations, such as a prime rib carving station.
Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Americrown Service Corp., which specializes in motorsports catering and concessions, customizes its menus at each of its racetracks’ catering areas.
“The menu has a regional identity, depending on the location of the racetrack,” said Chef Michael Pappas. “In Miami it’s Caribbean and Latin American driven, while Alabama’s Taladega track features Southern food and barbecue and Fontana in California has Asian cuisine.”
In each case, the focus is on fresh and locally-grown ingredients and sustainability. The goal is for each track’s VIP menu to have its own identity. This is accomplished by partnering with local food providers.
“We offer hand-made Cuban pastries from a local baker in Florida and sell fresh-baked donuts from a popular bakery in California,” said Pappas. “This keeps business in the community, while also highlighting local favorites.”
The racetracks also do scratch cooking, and will even bring fully-functioning container kitchens on the road with tented eating areas for VIPs.
The complexities of offering fresh food in a motor racing environment presents challenges.
“It seems simple, but it isn’t,” said Pappas. “We do lots of cooking with whole muscle meats and figure out ways to prepare fresh food, which we do differently at each track with similar set ups.”
A Changing Dynamic Traditionally, suite menus have offered packages with limited a la carte options, but this is no longer effective, as consumers’ palates have changed.
“They want to be able to have a hot dog, a Buffalo Chicken Slider and a salad, for example,” said Marco Fabozzi, regional director of operations for Levy Restaurants, who oversees the culinary programs at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, and NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y. “When you order packages, you’re ordering for mass quantities. Every consumer is different based on the type of event.”
Another trend is that the next wave of consumers is changing — they’re getting younger, and those individuals are more inclined to use technology to order.
“An example would be touchpad screens in premium areas, but also giving people the option to grab food from the concourse or mini food stations that is easily accessible to a suite holder,” said Fabozzi. “Perhaps the venue builds that into the price of the suite or offers it as an add-on.” 
The other challenge in foodservice and VIP/club areas is crowd sizes.
“We are still catering to the masses; it’s hard to do individualized food options for a large-scale venue,” said Fabozzi. “The question is how to keep up with speed of service, efficiency, technology and the change in consumer demand.”
The VIP consumer is changing, with trends going towards a large variety of not just food, but also seating options.
“A suite holder, or someone who has purchased a suite package, wants to be able to have a little bit of everything,” said Fabozzi. “People don’t always want to be tied to the suite, so we would need to adjust the food experience a bit, too. For premium ticket holders who want to roam, we ask ourselves the questions, how do we make it easier for them to buy food? Do we have food baked into their suite purchase so they can enjoy the Calvin Klein Club food at Barclays Center? If they’re up on the mezzanine, where are they going for light bites?”
For venues, the challenge is to make the process appealing enough for the upsell, which is not always easy.
“The VIP consumer is our most profitable consumer,” said Fabozzi. “If we as an industry or venue aren’t changing the way we interact with them, we are going to be more reliant on the non-VIP person. That person’s disposable income and purchasing power is far less than the VIP consumer. The solution is the marriage of the ticketing and sales process, along with food and beverage that is going to drive top-line revenue growth and improve revenue for the stakeholders. It’s by making more people want to buy and making the process more flexible.


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LUXURY LURES FANS
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

Festivals are no longer the domain of grungy campers who are happy to pitch a tent and grab their meals from a cooler or a hot dog from a makeshift concession stand. A ticket to a sporting event is not just divided between the 50-yard-line and the nosebleed seats anymore. Learning a lesson from their music-touring counterparts, who figured out long ago that there are plenty of punters willing and able to buy and afford the premium experience, festivals and sports have evolved.
A high-end range of possibilities for enhanced festival experiences has appeared, with many circling 2016’s Desert Trip as the new gold standard in VIP festival experiences.
Dan Berkowitz, founder and CEO of CID, said that he was positively awestruck by the unique, one-off experience that was Desert Trip, which featured a once-in-a-lifetime iconic boomer-centric line-up with Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters playing two consecutive weekends before 80,000 people. Many tickets were paired with VIP experiences that ran a vast gamut.
At Desert Trip, Berkowitz’s CID was responsible for “taking care of anyone who bought anything more than a ticket.” Which meant everything from travel packages and shuttles to luxury seats in suites and verandas to on-site safari tents and yurt accommodations. “It went remarkably well, and it’s something I will never ever forget,” he says of the Goldenvoice-promoted festival.
Memorable experiences is what the enhanced VIP market is all about, and increasingly, it’s something fans are clamoring for. According to a study by Eventbrite, “festies,” i.e. hardcore festivalgoers who attend between five to six festivals a year, represent 20 percent of all festival goers.
That demographic spends 78 percent more on a typical festival ticket than casual festivalgoers. And nearly three-quarters of them have purchased VIP tickets in the past and a third typically shell out for VIP tickets. Of those who have purchased VIP tickets, about half say they are willing to pay twice as much as general admission tickets, with perks that include access to artist lounges, better viewing areas and free drinks.
Festival add-ons come in all shapes and sizes, explained Eventbrite’s Biasha Mitchell, head of music business strategy and solutions. At this year’s BottleRock festival in Napa Valley, Calif., which included sets by Maroon 5, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Those who purchased a Platinum VIP package “had their own wine sommeliers, who did pairings and tastings with high-end wine and gourmet food experiences while watching the music,” Mitchell said. She also mentioned things like jet skis and private beach access or VIPs at the Hang Out Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala.
“Every ticket is VIP,” said Berkowtiz, about the luxury festival it produces in Mexico. The events are offered as a travel package and are inclusive of travel, food, private waiters, transport and accommodation at Barceló Resort on the Mexican Riviera Maya. “When you buy that travel package you are getting a full VIP experience,” he said. “That’s really the pinnacle of what we do.”
One trend on the rise in the VIP package at festivals is the general elevation of experiences at all strata. “Across the board, what we’re starting to see is an elevated demand for enhanced experiences period,” said Greg Patterson, Eventbrite’s director of music and live events. “You have a lot of saturation of the festival market. What used to pass for a standard VIP at a festival say five years ago has become much more of a general admission (GA) experience. Festivals are now investing in the infrastructure so that the GA attendee is experiencing an elevated version of that festival.”
This means, for example, that many festivalgoers no longer have to use a port-o-potty, have access to better food options and may be able to purchase an RIFD wristband allowing them to have seamless purchasing options.
Patterson mentioned three smaller niche music festivals in which the remote locales, quality of bookings and amenities make it seem like everyone’s a VIP.  These include FORM: Arcosanti in the desert of Arizona, Justin Vernon’s (aka Bon Iver’s) Eau Claire Festival in rural Wisconsin and Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival at MASS MOCA in the Berkshires.
“All of these are elevated experiences,” Patterson said. “They’re curated and elevated in a different way, and you’re seeing a lot more growth happen on that side. There’s more and more of these events and there’s a demand for it.”
This has also meant that VIP experience providers have had to raise their game beyond better bathrooms, food options and an elevated viewing deck. “Maybe there’s a stage in back that some of the artists who are playing the main festival go back and play,” said Patterson. “Perhaps there are cabanas or chefs or some kind of enhanced experience that you can only experience back there. That’s what we’re starting to see more of.”
One of the templates for all high-end luxury VIP offerings is CID’s “Roll Like a Rock Star” offered at the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn. “They range between $40,000 and $50,000, depending on the type of tour bus you get,” said Berkowitz. Buses are typically built for eight people. “You get golf cart transportation through- out the festival site, breakfast, lunch and dinner from the headliners’ caterer; you get the equivalent of an all-access pass; you get viewing areas at all five main stages; you get a personal concierge that’s assigned to your bus and it’s a really high-end experience.”
But it’s not just music festivals that are creating tiers and enhanced experiences. “SLO has worked with everyone from Madonna to the Pope to the Dalai Lama,” said Shelly Lazar, a pioneer in the VIP packages market who worked for Bill Graham Presents before going out on her own in 2002.
“Last year America’s Cup was in San Francisco,” said Lazar, a Bay Area resident. “So we were involved with a lot of VIP packages. You had prime viewing and secondary viewing and we did packages for each of the quarter finals, each of the semi-finals and then the final race."
Lazar noted that because a sailing audience is “more of a moneyed crowd than people going to some music festival in the middle of nowhere,” they were looking for high-end treatment. Lazar offered VIPers very high-end food, high-end liquor and champagne.
In addition to high-end food, SLO produced exclusive merchandise items, much as she does for her music VIPs, which includes bespoke designed shirts or commemorative tickets, none of which are available to non-VIPs.
And it's not just sailing that’s begun to monetize VIP experiences, it’s every type of sport there is. “Our partnerships include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Professional Golfers Association (PGA), National Football League (NFL) teams, National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), major tennis tournaments and professional bull riding,” said Zack Hall, chief marketing officer for Primesports.
Much like music, sports can enhance fan experience by giving them great access. “We can bring people closer to the action,” Hall explained.” For an NFL game it would mean field passes, for the NCAA Final Four it’s our hospitality area that’s beyond the security perimeter and, in the case of PGA, we have their professionals escort our fans through a different part of the golf operation.”
There are also experiential aspects to be had with sporting VIP packages, which can include things like getting a ride in a pace car, kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis 500 or touring the paddocks at the Kentucky Derby, Hall noted.
There is, however, one problem with sports VIP packages, which is far beyond Hall’s control and may just be in the hands of a much higher power. “You could take care of every single detail and it could be the best value, and the best package in the world but if your team loses by three touchdowns and you’re walking out of that building, you’re going to have a bad taste in your mouth.”


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SECURITY TIP OF THE MONTH
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

Profile behavior, not people.


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HISTORIC THEATERS: THE LOVE STORIES
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

No matter where you live in the United States, it’s almost certain a historic theater touched your life at one point, whether in a small town you visited or a large city with roots back to the 1800s.
  Such theaters have touched lives for centuries, and if it weren’t for the love and dedication communities, cities, nonprofits and individuals have for these landmark buildings, many would not have survived into the 21st century.
  “At the core of every historic theater is some sort of love story,” said Ken Stein, president and CEO of the League of Historic American Theaters based in Forest Hill, Md. “At the end of the day, an individual or a company or a family fell in love with that historic theater and made sure it’s still standing today.”
Examples of such love affairs exist from coast to coast. “Whether they held fundraisers, or whether they stood in front of a demolition ball… or in front of city council, there’s a love story of some sort. They are absolutely in love with that building,” Stein said.
As a result, historic theaters are thriving, booking hundreds of shows each year and making a profit. “Eighteen out of the last 20 years we made a net profit,” said John Bell, president and CEO of Tampa (Fla.) Theatre, an old one-screen movie theater that seats 1,000.
In the 1950s, dramatic rescue projects took place on theaters built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many historic venues were left vacant for decades around the 70s and 80s, haunted with ghosts of past performances or films.
“These buildings talk, and if you sit and listen, you will hear it talk to you,” said Molly Fortune, executive director at the Newberry (S.C.) Opera House.
Many restoration projects began again in the 90s, “rebirthing” the structures into their original form — all done by a labor of love.
On top of making sure renovation projects remain intact, historic theater operators are keenly aware of their competitors, which include monstrous venues, such as National Football League stadiums, new arenas, multiplex convention centers, multi- screen movie theaters and outdoor amphitheaters that sprouted up in the last 30 years.
Historic theaters found themselves in a different competitive atmosphere, looking at ways to bring the fan experience up to par with their new competition. 
Most historic venues are booking shows throughout the year, with movies, comedians, live musical performances and banquets.
If it weren’t for the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the theaters over the last six decades, such venues would not be thriving. 
Venues Today caught up with four unique historic theaters that survived incredible odds due to the labor of love.

ONE MAN, ONE THEATER AND A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
Paramount Theatre Austin (Texas)
Original name: Majestic
Year built: 1915
Number of original seats: 1,316
First renovation: 1930
Second renovation: 1970s
John Bernardoni was only 23-years-old when he fell in love with the Paramount Theatre.
"From the beginning, this was a love affair," he said. "To me, the Paramount is like a woman, and we did have a real love affair with her. The power of the love affair is what carried us against the odds and incalculable challenges."
It began in 1971, when Bernardoni's father asked him to fly from Texas to Los Angeles to bring his cousin home.
"When I was in L.A., we went to see “A Clockwork Orange” at the Pacific Theatre, which was a historic theater. At the end of the performance, I was enthralled with the ornate stenciling. We get in the car and we're driving back to Austin, and as I was on this long journey, I thought, ‘Isn't there a historic theater in Austin like the Pacific?’” he said.
When they got to Austin, Bernardoni went straight to the Paramount Theatre, which was a one-screen movie theater at the time.
“It was pretty rank. They were playing “Five Flying Fingers of Death,” starring Bruce Lee. As I was watching the movie, I made my way back to see if there was a stage house," he said. "Happily, there was a stage house."
Bernardoni knew that a stage house would allow for the theater to have live performances with a place to change in between acts or sets. 
"I stopped for a minute back there just to take it in. It had this really powerful domination over me, and I was in the midst of all the stars that played on the big screen there," he said.  
He knew immediately that he wanted to make the theater more than what it had become, which was a low-grade movie house playing Kung Fu movies.
“I thought to myself, 'I think this needs to be a performing arts center and not a Kung Fu palace,’” he said.
After the movie, he went straight to the marketing office to speak with the manager about rejuvenating the theater into something more than it had become. The two immediately formed a bond.
"He hated that it had become a Kung Fu palace," Bernardoni said.
The next four years played a crucial role in revamping and re-imagining what the theater could become.
Bernardoni was told that the Paramount was going to be torn down and a Holiday Inn would take its place on the block in downtown Austin.
"From 1971 to 1973, I worked a couple of part time jobs. I had no money, no muscle and no political pull," he said. "I had that singular laser focus burning that I was going to save that theater. Failure was possible, but I had nothing to lose."
He soon found that nobody cared about his project, saying that, "We ran into a China Wall of apathy. To most people, old buildings are old buildings."
Another problem was that in the early 70s, downtown Austin turned into a ghost town after 5:30 p.m. "No one came, because there was nothing to come back for," he said.
He persevered and joined forces with Chuck Ekerman and Steve Scott, and both men saw the glowing prospect of a performing arts center in the old, beat-up theater.
The three men formed rapport with the local newspaper, television and radio stations, and to Bernardoni's surprise, the media found saving the theater a worthy cause.
"We decided to do three test shows to see if anyone would come downtown," he said.
They booked Dave Brubeck and sold out all three shows. "The atmosphere he brought to that theater was something I'll never forget. People walked out of there electrified," Bernardoni said.
That first round of success, which ultimately proved that people were willing to visit downtown Austin for nightlife, allowed the men to book old films, including “Casablanca,” “Gone with the Wind” and “Wuthering Heights.”
As the men continued to book shows, it became apparent that a clear path to saving the theater was being formed.
In 1978, Bernardoni and partners convinced those who owned the theater to donate their share so the men could take over the lease from ABC Interstate Theaters and start applying for grants to renovate the structure.
The first round of funding rang in at $600,000. In 1979, they got two more rounds of funding with one at $750,000 and a second $600,000.
"We hired an architect, and we started in phases." Bernardoni said.
They ripped out all the seats, rebuilt the opera balconies, cleaned-up the facade, and added air conditioning and new bathrooms.
The renovations were complete in September of 1980, and the theater started hosting Broadway musicals, dance shows and performances by local artists.
For the next few years, the theater was operated by only five people, Bernardoni included, and it thrived.
"There was actually enough money to pay us all," he said.
In June of 1985, Bernardoni decided to leave the Paramount and start his own production company, feeling extremely satisfied with what he and a group of dedicated partners had accomplished.
"It was a love affair then, and I'm still in love," he said.
Fast forward to current day, and the theater hosts a whopping 275 shows a year, said Jim Ritts, who is the current general manager of the venue.
The love affair with the Paramount doesn't just belong to Bernardoni and his partners, Ritts said. It also belongs to those who have frequented the theater over the years.
"We're now on the sixth generation of people coming to the theater," Ritts said.

TAMPA THEATRE TIES COMMUNITY TOGETHER THROUGH MOVIES
Tampa (Fla.) Theatre 
Original name: Tampa Theatre
Year built: 1926
Number of original seats: 1,500
Renovation: 1976
Unlike the Paramount in Austin, the Tampa Theatre hosts only movies — classics, new releases and independent films.
It, too, went through a dramatic rescue period in the 70s, but this was not a singular love affair that saved the theater. Instead, it was a community effort by those who refused to see the magnificent structure torn down, said John Bell, general manager of the venue.
"The community rallied that the theater needed to be saved," he said. "It's turned out to be a resounding success story."
Tampa Preservation Inc. was formed, and members of the group advocated to Tampa City Council, as the city of Tampa owned the building, to let them run the building so they could operate the theater and apply for grants to make it structurally sound.
City Council approved the offer four to three, and Tampa Preservation Inc. took over the historic theater, putting love, sweat and tears into renovating the structure.
Formerly a vaudeville film house, the building has a number of challenges, including transforming it into a viable movie house with 21st Century technology.
In 2013, the film industry decided to stop producing 35 mm film, and the theater had to get creative with how it would convert to digital.
Due to the way the film house was built, the angle of the lens didn't quite work the same way with digital. A design team came in and helped the historic theater install an optical mirror that allowed digital to work in that space, Bell said.
"That allowed us to stay in the game," he said.
Now, the theater plays movies more than 600 times a year, and continues to make a profit year in and year out, Bell noted.
"We're shoehorning all this stuff to make the building work," he said.
Another challenge is working with movie distributors to ensure the Tampa Theater has access to new films on the market.
Maintaining the venue in general is an ongoing obstacle. Bell likened it to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. "By the time you're done painting one end, you're always having to go back and paint the other," he said.
Recently, the theater decided to go down to 1,250 seats, which was a decision that didn't come easy. The goal is to make theater patrons more comfortable, Bell said.
Originally, Tampa Theatre had 1,500 seats, but in the 70s, it went down to 1,440 seats. For Bell, reducing seats may hurt the gross potential initially, but he understands that venues now live in a world that's dependent on the guest experience.
"We made the decision that making the patron comfortable was important," he said. "We believe it will pay off in the long run."
Prior to Bell and the board of directors finally deciding to go down in seating, they met with the Tampa Bay Lightning staff to hear what they're doing to keep fans happy.
"They had done the best job of building fan loyalty," he said. "They talked about putting the fan at the top of the pyramid." Thus, Tampa Theatre is in the process of increasing legroom by six inches at each seat.

OUTPOURING OF LOVE GOES INTO THE PALACE THEATRE IN GEORGETOWN
Palace Theatre, Georgetown, Texas
Original name: Palace Theatre
Year built: 1926
Number of original seats: 300
Renovation and reopening: 2001
The Palace's resurrection also was due, in part, to the love affair the community had with its historic theater.
"Our theater was a movie theater first built in 1926. It was a movie theater until the 80s and then it just kind of sat," said Jessie Drollette, GM. "With multiplexes, they really couldn’t keep up with cushy seats and other amenities. Some of the people who are on our board now decided that we should start putting on stage plays."
Only 20 miles outside of Austin, the theater is located in the old town square, visible to all who pass through town.
Long-time board member Sonja Asendorf and her husband opted to retire in Georgetown, as they had several family members in Austin. The town square and theater were two of the reasons Asendorf was drawn to the community.
"It has the perfectly beautiful square in old town that had been brought back to life in the 80s," she said. "When I looked across the street, there was this dilapidated marquee."
It was love at first sight for her.
"I stopped in and they welcomed me. I happened to be a singer as well," she said.
Her efforts to save the theater began immediately, and she joined an enthusiastic group of dedicated citizens who wanted the Palace to be much more than it had become.
"From fall of 1995 through June of 1999, we did everything we could to keep the theater open in the state it was in," she said. "In 1998 and 1999, I produced and directed the talent show called “Pop Goes the Jazz”".
The theater hired an artistic director and invited the Austin jazz band to perform for Georgetown patrons.
"They were eager to come out to play in their pursuit to save this theater," she said.
It was clear after several performances and plays that the theater desperately needed a facelift. 
A lawyer named Gene Taylor moved to town with his family.
“The moment they walked past the theater and saw the for sale sign, he said that this place should be for the arts and cannot become a shoe store or a retail store,” Asendorf said. “He started a group and got enough people who were interested in saving it.” 
The restoration began in 1998, and the theater closed from 1999 to 2001, reopening its doors on Oct. 5, 2001, she said.
“We reopened with a sparkly new theater that pretty much looked like the 1936 theater we were striving to keep,” Asendorf said.
It started out as an $800,000 project, and that figure grew as the renovations began.
“We were very, very active at our fundraising efforts,” Asendorf said.
Once the theater had been repaired, the board decided they needed an artistic director and hired a talented woman named Mary Ellen Butler who had been a theater person her whole life.
“She knew how to do all the things we needed to do. She was hired in 2004,” Asendorf said. “She knew that people were most likely looking for musicals.”
To this day, Butler is still the art director and the theater now manages a $2 million annual budget.
Another quirk about the theater is that it didn’t have a back stage for actors to change costumes between acts. Actors would literally have to change in the alley behind the theater.
A tin building behind the building eventually came up for sale, and the theater bought it.
“Now you step across the alley to the tin barn to change,” Asendorf said.

A ‘CRAZED’ MAN POURS HIS HEART INTO THE NEWBERRY OPERA HOUSE
Newberry (S.C.) Opera House
Original name: Newberry Opera House
Year built: 1881
Number of original seats: 426
Renovation: 1996
The Newberry Opera House in South Carolina is one of the oldest historic theaters in America. It was built in the late 1800s.
In the 1980s, the opera house was scheduled to be torn down, but Dr. James Wiseman, whose parents ran two hotels in Newberry, would not allow the demolition.
He basically was raised at one of the hotels that faced the opera house, so he grew up looking at the structure and formed a romantic relationship with it.
“Within this love story, people thought he was crazy to try to save it,” Fortune said.
In his pursuit to bring awareness to the historic theater, he brought a bus full of people dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns to the venue to see a show. Through that effort, people started to see the theater’s viability.
A foundation was formed to save the theater and Wiseman became the chairman.
In 1992, the city vacated the building, and in 1994 the restoration project began.
“An additional 10,000 sq. ft. was added to the original building in order to create a full theatrical production facility. The total cost of the renovation was approximately $5.5 million,” states the theater’s website.
Historic theaters should not be looked at as a pastime in people’s memories, Fortune said.
“The fastest growing website in America is Ancestry.com. These buildings are touchpoints for where we’re from,” she said. “They have personality. Every person in the U.S. has a memory of being in a historic theater at one point in their life.”
Earlier this year, Wiseman was honored by the city of Newberry for the love and dedication he put into the theater.
The Newberry Observer wrote in a Feb. 11, 2017 article: “Wiseman’s devoted persistence, relentless fundraising, self-described ‘preaching,’ and loyal leadership took the lifeless shell of a building threatened by the shadow of a wrecking ball to the state of the art performing arts center we enjoy today.”


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ASK RUSS
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

The question of appropriate vehicle intrusion protection for public assembly facilities and the surrounding areas is now one of necessity. The combination of accidental vehicle incidents and the purposeful use of vehicles as weapons has reached a level that can no longer be ignored.
I understand that fixed vehicle intrusion protection can be expensive, but that does not mean there is nothing you can do. I recommend you begin by conducting a vulnerability assessment to understand the size of the problem, which is the only way to begin to work toward a solution.
Your state DHS Protective Security Agent (PSA), as well as fusion center and other first responders, are excellent resources to assist you with this process, along with reaching out to IAVM or other facility contacts.
There are a variety of ways to begin to layer in protection. If there are resources available, you can look to planters, benches and other devices to mitigate the threat. It is possible to use vehicles or other equipment to protect exposed areas.
A relationship with design and structural firms can also be a valuable asset as you look to develop your plan.
Several recent accidental vehicle incidents have created significant awareness of the vulnerabilities that we face. The SXSW incident in 2014, two Mardi Gras parade incidents in 2017, and the recent Times Square incidents are proof enough that even under normal circumstances (weather was not a factor in any of these incidents), vehicles can present a threat.
In 2014 at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Rashad Owens, age 23, drove a stolen car while drunk through barricades and into a crowd on Red River Street in Austin's downtown live music district while trying to escape police during the 2014 festival. Four people died and 25 were injured.
In New Orleans this past February, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto was jailed on charges of first-degree negligent vehicular injuring, hit-and-run driving causing serious injury, and reckless operation of a vehicle. The accident happened during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras when thousands of people filled the streets to see the floats and catch beads.
For the second time during Mardi Gras week, a group of revelers were mowed down by an out-of-control vehicle at a Mardi Gras parade in Gulf Shores, Ala. A total of 12 Gulf Shores High School band members aged 12 to 17 were injured, including three people who were in critical condition, when an SUV hit them. The driver was a 73-year-old man who did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to officials.
Add to these types of incidents the intentional and deliberate choice of vehicles used as weapons by Home Grown Violent Extremists (HGVE) inspired to deliver terrorism at a local level.
Stockholm, Sweden: A vehicle rammed into pedestrians on a Friday on one of the busiest streets in what officials called a deliberate attack.
London, England: An assailant rammed his rental car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, not far from the UK Parliament. Again this month, another such attack occurred on London Bridge.
Nice, France: July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a 20-ton truck to kill 84 people and injure more than 200, many who were women and children.
Berlin, Germany: Dec. 19, 2016, a tractor-trailer rammed into a crowd at a bustling Christmas market which was filled with holiday shoppers. 12 people killed, at least 48 wounded.
Columbus, Ohio: Nov. 28, 2016, Ohio State University student rammed his car into a group of pedestrians on the campus. He got out and lunged at passers-by with a knife.
Recent issues of ISIL magazines Inspire, Dabiq and Rumiyah all continue to call for the use of vehicles as weapons.
  "To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control of your vehicle in order to maximize your inertia and be able to strike as many people as possible in your first run," was written in an Al Qaeda magazine.
This sophisticated publicity campaign has had success and is continuing to inspire more lone wolf actors to take action at a local level.

BOTTOM LINE
The question regarding our responsibilities and obligations to mitigate vehicle intrusion in and around our facilities has been answered. We ignore these obligations at everyone’s risk.

Russ Simons is...
managing partner, Venue Solutions Group, and has been in this industry for more than three decades, working in arenas, stadiums, design, construction, safety and security. Send questions about any aspect of venue operation to askruss@venuestoday.com or mail questions to Venues Today, P.O. Box 2540, Huntington Beach, CA 92647.


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ON TERROR WATCH
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 6:00 pm

In the wake of the spate of terror incidents in the U.K. and Europe, including the Manchester attack that directly impacted our industry, venue operators and sports and entertainment producers around the world are focused on one thing: not becoming the next tragic headline.
Security professionals and operations managers are racking their brains, re-checking checklists, sharing best practices, communicating with their local law enforcement agencies and, unavoidably, breaking out their checkbooks. To put it simply, keeping events safe and ensuring public confidence costs a lot of money. The public will, ultimately, absorb those costs at the box office. But, for events already on sale and teed up, promoters, venue operators and tour producers are going to see their budgets increase by double-digit percentages, and that money will come directly from the bottom line.
Of course, no one would argue it's worth the expense, and the industry will adapt. Beyond the public safety aspect, maintaining the public trust is paramount. Even today, that trust is secure, as fans are still packing venues and attending events. But, if a skittish consumer base turns into a terrified one, all the promotion and outward symbols of security imaginable won’t make them attend live events.
Still, it’s worth noting that in America, outside of the random psycho and occasional “beef and a gun” scenario, the industry has never staged safer events at any time in its history. This is an industry that thinks about the unthinkable. By now, virtually every venue, event and public assembly facility has a well conceived plan in place for worst-case scenarios, and dedicated personnel capable of being effective communicators and implementers of that plan. That process never ends, as those in charge of safety and crowd management and public safety must continually evaluate threats, vulnerabilities, and capabilities. Thankfully, most of those who wish to do us harm are not brain surgeons. The challenge, and it’s a very real one, is to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Know that they’re watching what venues and security professionals do to thwart them, and are trying to figure out ways to get around it. The collective intelligence of our industry is its most effective defense.
Traditionally, efforts to keep out the evil-doers and their implements of destruction have begun at the door. Pat-downs and magnetometers have increasingly become the norm and, rather than regard these measures as intrusive, patrons have learned to expect—and, often, appreciate—the process. That’s good, because it’s only going to become more prevalent.
But, as venues harden as targets, terrorist tactics evolve, and the public and the industry alike have watched in horror as the perimeter has expanded beyond the confines of buildings. Backpacks, purses and even bulky clothing will draw increased attention and, at least in the case of backpacks, will likely soon be banned at large sports and entertainment gatherings. In most cases, they already are.
As venues and events move toward “airport level” security, most already have invested in some form of metal detectors, which can range in cost from a few hundred dollars to more than $5,000 for walk-through detectors. Now, as the perimeters move out, those safeguards, along with canine sweeps and Vapor Wake bomb-sniffing dogs, will move out with them. The question the venue industry is now asking is, "when are the patrons our responsibility?" In most cases, parking lots are on the venue's watch, and at least a significant portion of the entire entertainment complex footprint. At the very least, everyone—venue, team, city officials, law enforcement, promoter—should be on the same page as to who is responsible for what area. The time to ask these questions and reconcile responsibility is before the event.
Sophisticated training is on the upswing, providing better, updated techniques, and increasing in cost. Use it, and educate the public. The “see something, say something” mantra has taken hold, and today all venue employees, and a large percentage of the public, have become conditioned to observe and report abnormal behavior to police or security. Some are conditioned to act: in the event of an emergency, every venue should by now have a designated caller who can assess the situation and provide law enforcement and first responders the pertinent facts of an emergency. It is worth noting that, in an emergency, first responders will be inundated with calls, and confusion often results. Be concise, know what information is most important to communicate.
More than ever, fans need to take responsibility for their own safety, and education and information is also their greatest tool. While the Manchester event was a suicide bomber, the London Bridge attack that followed came from a van, and vehicle rammings and small arms attacks are on the rise across Europe and the Middle East.  In the coming weeks and months, new terror tactics will emerge. Security professionals thrive on planning, but the constantly evolving paradigm requires flexibility and a lack of “analysis paralysis.”Plans must be adjusted, and many venues are faced with doing things they’ve never done before.
The live entertainment industry is facing threats and challenges never before seen. Public safety is everybody’s responsibility. Find out what you can do to help in your world.


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THE JOURNEY BEGINS IN NEW ORLEANS
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 5:40 pm

Private management of publically owned venues started with a need in New Orleans. The iconic Louisiana Superdome was mired in debt, losing about $12 million in 1976.
Professional venue managers like Denzil Skinner knew there was room for a major turnaround. Skinner enlisted A.N. Pritzger of Hyatt Hotels fame to contract management of the dome for the city. The fee was based on a percentage of debt reduction, recalled Mike McGee, Barmac Consulting (formerly owner of Leisure Management International), of those early days. Interesting sidebar – a young attorney named Fred Rosen worked for Pritzger at the time. Rosen would later be tapped to turn Ticketmaster, which Pritzger also owned, around.
Not long after Hyatt entered facility management, Ed Snider, who owned the Philadelphia Flyers and built the well-run Spectrum, tired of being asked for free advice and decided to go into facility management as well. In 1981, he established Spectacor Management Inc., taking on the Centrum in Worcester, Mass., as his first management account, recalled Tony Tavares, who later worked for Snider and became president of the merged companies.
Tavares, who had worked for FMG at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y., the next big hire after Cliff Wallace was tapped to run the Louisiana Superdome, left a year later to join SMI, where Allen Flexer was president.
The list of industry heavyweights associated with SMG and its history is long and almost comprehensive. If you were a significant player in venue management, you worked for or with or sold to SMG sometime in your career. The stability of the leadership at SMG today, most of them there an average of 20 years, is one of CEO and President Wes Westley’s major accomplishments. The industry of venue management is and always will be about the people.
The merger, what was renamed SMG, was in 1986, when Facility Management Group, Hyatt’s management firm, and Spectacor Management Inc., Snider’s operation, became 50/50 partners and began expanding the footprint, Tavares recalled. “There was no valuation at the time.”
Then Aramark joined the other two, becoming a one-third partner for a valuation of $33 million, in 1991. Tavares recalls that partnership was tied to the realization competitors — LMI and Ogden Entertainment at the time — were bidding for the L.A. Coliseum with a different agenda, offering up capital for renovation.
Snider was willing to invest, Tavares recalled, but the Pritzgers said no unless they could find another partner who could put up some of the money. Charlie Gillespie at Aramark was willing and joined Snider and the Pritzgers in this new level of entrepreneurship for SMG.
But Snider eventually became anxious to de-partner, preferring his lone entrepreneur path, so in 1998, Aramark and Hyatt bought Snider out for a reported $40 million and a two-year non-compete.
In 2000, SMG grew exponentially with purchase of McGee’s Leisure Management International, which had been established in 1984, and acquisition of the facility management contracts held by Ogden Entertainment, which Aramark bought for its food service contracts.
Those purchases settled the industry down, to a large extent. Tavares recalls “Mike and I didn’t get it; how could Ogden manage buildings for the price they offered? We refused to do things on the cheap.” Their best guess was that Ogden was making it up on the food service so they were willing to take less margin.
By the time SMG acquired the Ogden and LMI accounts, several of the firm’s current leadership was in place, including Westley and Doug Thornton, current EVP of Arenas and Stadiums for SMG, who started in 1997 as GM of the Louisiana Superdome.
Thornton recalls the many changes wrought by private management at the Superdome. “Back then sports teams leases were constructed differently. Superdome was probably the first stadium to offer some of the ‘modern amenities.’ It was the first stadium to have a projection video — an eight-sided video screen; the first to have suites at a mid-tier level.” Professionalism prevailed and FMG (later SMG) was charged with selling suites and sponsorships, Thornton said.
“In the early days, private management was doing it all,” Thornton said.
In the 80s, when Peter Ueberroth commercialized sponsorships during the Olympic games in Los Angeles, teams began to realize the value of sponsorships and negotiated and took back those rights.
When Tom Benson bought the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) in 1985, his lease was one of the most favorable in the NFL, Thornton said. “At that point, SMG’s main job was to manage and maintain the asset and operate the asset for the non-football events, which is still our value proposition today.”
Between 1993-2001, SMG experienced steady growth, developing a quality operating standard and establishing a core value proposition for clients.
“SMG is the world leader, the gold standard of management firms,” Thornton said. Those legacy accounts, like the Louisiana Superdome, Moscone Center, San Francisco and Long Beach (Calif.) Convention & Entertainment Center have been joined by hundreds of new venues.
SMG also ventured into food service in a formal way when Aramark and Hyatt sold the firm to American Capital in 2007. With Aramark as an owner, SMG could not pursue food contracts independent of management deals.  Savor was born.
American Capital paid a reported valuation of $630 million to Hyatt and Aramark for the company. The time had come when the original founder, the Pritzger family, was divesting its interest in several projects following the patriarch’s death, Westley said. Aramark, being a good partner, concurred.
Westley, who was already president and had already restructured the organization, had a free rein to reimagine SMG once again.
The companies that remain in private management today are basically full service with multiple profit centers, Tavares said.
SMG is at the center of that evolution of an industry — 40 years strong and the future is bright. There is plenty of headroom still, Westley said.


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FROM THE EDITOR
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 5:25 pm

When Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, referred to the 146-year-old tradition known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a “town without a zip code,” he referred to a much bigger universe than the current traveling troupe.
Ringling’s last performance was May 21 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y. Half the sold-out arena was filled with circus family.
A group of 60 former Feld promoters and longtime venue hosts gathered the night before the last show in Manhattan, grateful to the Feld family and the circus experience for giving them the foundation needed for successful careers.
John Zamoiski, who organized the alumni party, started his career at Ringling, becoming a marketing CEO.
“Over a 40 year career, I have been able to work with incredible clients and have been rewarded by being able to provide for my family. I have started three companies and sold them….No one is more grateful than I am for what I have been able to do every day.”
While we all lament the loss of a traditional and reliable family entertainment icon, there is more, there is the loss of the world’s greatest school for marketers of all ages.
“For promoters like me, this was the most comprehensive training ground for marketers anywhere, a place where you could get your hands dirty and learn how to create excitement, negotiate deals, handle administration, develop leadership skills, and on and on and on. There was no greater place to learn to be a smart marketer. The loss of the shows from this perspective is also a true tragedy,” Zamoiski said.
A sampling of alumni includes: David Rosenwasser ran the marketing for the LA Olympics; Max Goldberg became head of marketing for Universal Studios LA; Joe Gold opened a company that now tours exhibits like the Bodies Tour to museums (Joe will tell you he went from live (circus) entertainment to dead (museum) entertainment; Ken Wachter runs the company that manages Lambeau Field for the Packers; Jeff Cogen ran the Predators and now runs the Tampa Bay Rays; Scott Zieger now runs the Broadway Division of Cirque Du Soleil; Neal Spielberg ran artist development for Warner Bros Nashville for 20 years; Jerrry Digney now has one of the biggest celebrity PR Agencies in LA (he partnered with Lee Solters); Hank Salemi runs marketing for Six Flags; Bob Collins ran Wrestlemania for 25 years with the WWE; Julie Minor Hoffman went on to become CMO of the WWE; and Frank Roach, who owned his own family show producer, TourVen, and became a professor, paying the lessons he learned from Feld forward.
And consider all the venue marketers and managers who learned how to fill an arena, host a crowd, sell a soda and pitch in wherever needed when the circus came to town. Personally, I forged bonds with many in this group when working for Amusement Business because of Feld Entertainment.
God grant you many years to celebrate the ongoing legacy of the Greatest Show on Earth.


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TALKING POINTS
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm

SarahCummings.jpgSARAH CUMMINGS
GENERAL MANAGER, COLORADO STATE FAIR, PUEBLO
HOMETOWN: Penngrove, Calif.
UNIVERSITY: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY:  As a teenager I worked at the Sonoma County Fair, in Santa Rosa, Calif. My first full-time industry position was at the Marin County Fair, San Rafael, Calif., where I worked as special projects coordinator.
FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB: Producing an annual event for community celebration is incredibly rewarding. I enjoy promoting agriculture and the fair industry, as I am quite passionate about both.  
WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT THIS: A wedding planner.
WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE WHEN YOU WERE A KID: A hair stylist.
FREE TIME PURSUITS: I enjoy scouting other events, being outdoors and hobby-level photography.
ONE DAY ESCAPE: Somewhere tropical and relaxing.
TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW:  “God, Your Mama and Me” by Florida Georgia Line.
MOST EMBARRASSING SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW: “Body Like A Backroad” by Sam Hunt.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU: To date, I am the only woman to successfully harvest a desert bighorn ram from the California White Mountains.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Never give up.
BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE: Monster energy drinks.

 

Craig_Borkon_.jpgCRAIG BORKON
ASST. DIR. OF VENUES, ORLANDO (FLA.) VENUES
CURRENT CITY: Orlando, Fla.
HOMETOWN: Boca Raton, Fla.
UNIVERSITY: Univ. of Central Florida, Orlando.
FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY: Special assistant to the executive director of Orlando Venues.
GENESIS OF YOUR CURRENT JOB: I was running Mayor Buddy Dyer’s campaign and met Allen Johnson. When the campaign was over, Allen asked me if I wanted the job.
FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB: Working with the other people in the building.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN'T IN YOUR JOB: Working with kids in a social services capacity.
MENTOR: Allen Johnson, the executive director of Orlando Venues. I’m learning from one of the best venue operators in the industry.
TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW: Anything Dave Matthews Band.
FAMOUS PERSON IN HISTORY YOU WOULD LIKE TO MEET: John F. Kennedy.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU: I never graduated college.
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: You don’t need to know where you are going in life as long as every step you take is one step higher.
IF YOU COULD HAVE AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Knowledge.
BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE: Slurpees from 7/11.
FAVORITE LIVE EVENT YOU'VE ATTENDED: The inaugural Orlando City Soccer game at Camping World Stadium in 2015. Everyone was dressed in purple; the atmosphere was incredible.

 

Jamie_Vosmeier.jpgJAMIE VOSMEIER
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING, FOX THEATRE, ATLANTA
HOMETOWN: Richmond, Ind.
UNIVERSITY: Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.
FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY: I worked for Broadway Across America in Indiana.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR CURRENT JOB: I made a passing comment through networking that I’d love to move to Atlanta. In 2006 Fox Theatre had an opening and they brought me over.
MENTOR: Charlotte Young. She gave the ability to do everything I do. She was a tough boss but she made me grow up.
TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW: “Waving Through The Window” from the Broadway show, “Dear Evan Hansen”.
FAMOUS PERSON IN HISTORY YOU WOULD LIKE TO MEET: Stevie Wonder.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU: I like to crochet.
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: Life is not fair. Fare is something you use to ride the bus.
IF YOU COULD HAVE AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Money.
BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE: “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
FAVORITE LIVE EVENT YOU'VE ATTENDED: The Rolling Stones with my dad in 1997.


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DRONES ARE CRASHING THE PARTY
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm

An unwanted guest flew—and crashed—into the upper deck of Petco Park, San Diego, after a close shave with several fans during a Major League Baseball (MLB) game between the Padres and Diamondbacks this season. That guest? A drone.
This incident, early in the current season, comes on the heels of a drone crashing in recent years at PNC Park, Pittsburgh, and a drone crash landing into the stands of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City.
Not only do these drones pose a nuisance to outdoor stadium operators, but the fear of something far more dangerous — such as a bomb-carrying device — brings drone safety to the forefront.
“If you look at what happened in Manchester (U.K.) and how ISIS is using drones to do strategic bombing, this is the next evolutionary step in urban warfare,” warns Jonathan Hunter, CEO of Department 13, a Maryland-based drone defense company. “Most people won’t even see it until it happens. People need to look at this.”
Hunter said that the majority of outdoor venues aren’t doing much to protect themselves against drones, and the federal government’s stance on drones isn’t helping matters either. Not only do drones not need to be registered, but the FAA treats them in the same category as a commercial airliner, Hunter said, which means legally companies aren’t allowed to defend themselves against the flying object.
MLB does prohibit drones around each of its ballparks, and the Padres chief operating officer told Sports Illustrated that the club vocally supports the City of San Diego’s recently enacted ordinance that enables police to enforce the FAA’s restrictions on operating drones near large public venues.
“There is some recognition from a strategy standpoint that we need to do something,” Hunter said. Department 13 has developed the MESMER system, an automated detection and mitigation strategy to stop, redirect or land drones across a range of scenarios. That strategy has amusement parks and other outdoor stadiums and venues reaching out to Department 13 to better understand how to detect drones and the next steps.
Hunter said they developed their system, called protocol manipulation, so they can “persuade” the drone’s radio to listen to them and take control of the drone, landing it safely in an area of their choosing. They chose this method because jamming a drone’s signal is illegal and shooting down a drone poses a variety of security threats. But even the Department 13 full strategy isn’t approved yet, forcing the MESMER system to right now focus on detection and monitoring. “We are working actively on Capital Hill to get language inserted to get counter drone solutions (allowed),” Hunter said.
Expect these policy changes to happen, Hunter said, when the big players — such as MLB, National Football League and Professional Golfers Association — get involved.
Still, the current legal language does allow the detection and identification of drones, tracking them as they fly. Hunter said venue operators can take steps right now in the realm of drone safety. He encourages them to contact their insurance company to make sure their liability coverage includes drones. Hunter said to set a “secure posture that prevents the use of drones,” everything from checking bags to making sure people aren’t bringing them into a venue to banning them in parking lots.
“The other thing they should start doing is advocating for the capability to protect their venue with counter-drone solutions,” he said. “There has to be more than just a detection-based solution.”


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Live Nation's Festival Passport Sells Out
 
Posted: 1 Jun 2017, 2:00 pm

DCODE Festival, Madrid, Spain, one of the festivals participating in Live Nation's Festival Passport.

Live Nation’s first ever Festival Passport, which gives fans access to over 90 music festivals for a one-time $799 fee, sold out almost immediately. Only 1,000 were made available, with one purchase per customer. The Passports also are linked to the buyer’s name, so they are nontransferable to prevent reselling.

Providing general admission access to some of the world’s largest musical festivals, including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Rock Werchter, Reading and Leeds and the Electric Daisy Carnival, the Festival Passport was positioned by Live Nation as a value for those planning to attend three or more of these events. Tickets to Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., and Lollapalooza, Chicago, are $349.50 and $335 respectively before adding in fees.

“This was a project from our marketing team, who wanted to do something special for our dedicated fest fans,” said Kaitlyn Henrich, communications for Live Nation Entertainment. “The Passports were marketed across our channels and social media and are good through the end of 2017.”

The festival passport provides General Admission (GA) access to all events. Each Festival Passport is equipped with a unique ID and powered by Front Gate Tickets, a group within Ticketmaster specializing in festival ticketing. Passport holders have unlimited access to the participating festivals and are able to attend multiple events over the same weekend.

“With GA admission to these events priced between $350 and $400, the Passport more than pays for itself,” said Henrich. “If there is a festival where GA already includes camping and parking in the Festival Passport, pass holders can contact Live Nation two weeks before the event for assistance reserving a spot.”

Users receive a Festival Passport placard to gain entry into the event, then receive a wristband similar to other attendees.

“We just found out about the Passport,” said Kirk Wingerson, marketing division manager for Orlando venues, including Amway Center and Camping World Stadium. Orlando will play host to an Electric Daisy Carnival later this year. “It’s a great value and a good opportunity to get people who are inclined to fests, rather than one-offs, to experience a real smorgasbord of an opportunity.”

“We don’t know of anyone else with a program like this or that has the scale of festivals that can make it worthwhile,” said Henrich. “When we’re looking at festivals with 50,000 to 200,000 attendees in a weekend, it puts the Passport program into perspective. This is about the ultimate exclusive festival access for our most passionate festival goers.”

The Festival Passport is valid at the following events:

Austin City Limits Music Festival U.S. – Austin, Texas
Barcelona Beach Festival Spain – Barcelona
Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival U.S. – New York
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival U.S. – Manchester, Tenn.
Camp Bisco U.S. – Scranton, Pa.
CBC Music Festival Canada – Toronto
Center of Gravity Festival Canada – Kelowna, British Columbia
Chasing Summer Music Festival Canada – Calgary
Chicago Open Air U.S. – Chicago
Citadel Festival England – London
Community Festival England – London
Contact Winter Music Festival Canada – Vancouver
Copenhell Denmark – Copenhagen
Countdown NYE U.S. – San Bernardino, Calif.
Country LakeShake U.S. – Chicago
Creamfields England – Daresbury
Creamfields Steel Yard England – London
Crystal Coast Music Festival U.S. – Atlantic Beach, N.C.
DCODE Festival Spain – Madrid
Down the Rabbit Hole Holland – Ewijk
Download Festival England – Leicestershire
Download Festival Paris France – Paris
Download Festival Spain Spain – Madrid
Dreams Music Festival Canada – Toronto
Dreamstate San Francisco U.S. – San Francisco
Electric Daisy Carnival U.S. – Las Vegas
Electric Daisy Carnival U.S. – Orlando, Fla.
Electric Forest Festival U.S. – Rothbury, Mich.
Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival Ireland – Stradbally
Escape Halloween U.S. – San Bernardino, Calif.
Faster Horses Country Music Festival U.S. – Brooklyn, Mich.
Field Trip Music & Arts Festival Canada – Toronto
Findings Festival Norway – Oslo
Firenze Rocks Festival Italy – Florence
Forecastle Festival U.S. – Louisville, Ky.
Free Press Summer Festival U.S. – Houston
FVDED in the Park Canada – Surrey
Glasgow Summer Sessions Scotland – Glasgow
Governors Ball Music Festival U.S. – New York
Graspop Metal Meeting Belgium – Dessel
HARD Summer Music Festival U.S. – Los Angeles
Heartland Festival Denmark – Kværndrup
I Love Techno Europe France – Montpellier
Independent Days Festival Italy – Milan
Jamboree in the Hills U.S. – Morristown, Ohio
Latitude Festival England – Suffolk
Leeds Festival England – Leeds
Lollapalooza Berlin Germany – Berlin
Lollapalooza Chicago U.S. – Chicago
Lollapalooza Paris France – Paris
Lovebox Festival England – London
Lowlands Festival Holland – Biddinghuizen
Main Square Festival France – Arras
Music Midtown U.S. – Atlanta
Nocturnal Wonderland U.S. – San Bernardino, Calif.
North Sea Jazz Festival Holland – Rotterdam
Ohana Festival U.S. – Dana Point, Calif.
One Love Music Festival Canada – Calgary
Paradiso Festival U.S. – George, Wash.
Popaganda Music Festival Sweden – Stockholm
Reading Festival England – Reading
Rock im Ring Germany – Nürburgring
Rock im Park Germany – Nürnberg
Rock im Pott Germany – Gelsenkirchen
Rock Werchter Belgium – Werchter
Roots Picnic U.S. – Philadelphia
Route 91 Harvest U.S. – Las Vegas
Sasquatch! Music Festival U.S. – George, Wash.
Sloss Music & Arts Festival U.S. – Birmingham, Ala.
Summerburst Göteborg Sweden – Gothenburg
Summerburst Stockholm Sweden – Stockholm
The Falls Music & Arts Festival Australia – Lorne, Marion Bay, Byron Bay and Fremantle
The Isle of Wight Festival England – Newport
The Meadows Music & Arts Festival U.S. – Queens, N.Y.
The Peach Music Festival U.S. – Scranton, Pa.
The Warehouse Project England – Manchester
Trackside Music Festival Canada – Ontario
TRNSMT Festival Scotland – Glasgow
TW Classic Belgium – Werchter
V Festival England – Chelmsford &  Staffordshire
Voodoo Music + Arts Festival U.S. – New Orleans
Watershed Music Festival U.S. – George, Wash.
Way Out West Sweden – Gothenburg
We Are Electric Weekender Holland – Eindhoven
Werchter Boutique Belgium – Werchter
Wilderness Festival England – Oxfordshire
Wireless Festival Germany – Frankfurt
Wireless Festival England – London
Woo-Hah! Festival Holland – Tilburg

 

 

 

 


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SMP 100 - MAY - AVAILABLE NOW
 
Posted: 30 May 2017, 6:00 pm

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SMP 100 CHART


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Terror Threat Not Stopping U.K. Shows
 
Posted: 29 May 2017, 8:00 pm

The entrance to 02 Arena, May 27, just before the Iron Maiden show, one of the first big events post-Manchester, U.K., bombing, just five days earlier.

REPORTING FROM LONDON - The events of May 22 in Manchester, U.K., shocked the world; not only that 22 innocent people lost their lives, but also that this cowardly atrocity was carried out in a place likely to be full of people under 18. The U.K.’s terror threat level was raised to critical following the event, meaning that another attack could be imminent, and it remained that way for the beginning of the bank holiday weekend. This meant that people attending large events over the weekend were very aware of the possible risk.

Two of the biggest events held over the bank holiday weekend were Comicon, held at  ExCel Centre, East London, which ran from Friday to Sunday and the Iron Maiden concert at the O2 Arena on Saturday and Sunday. A stall holder, Kasper Lewis, from Comicon, said that numbers were down.

“While business picked up on Saturday afternoon, the Friday and Saturday morning were unusually quiet,” said Lewis. "Another stall holder said that they sold 10 times as much on the Friday at the previous convention. There were a lot of posts on the Facebook group for this event from teenagers or young people who were nervous about coming or whose parents did not want them to come.”

O21.jpgSecuirty was tight at the 02 Arena, May 27, for the Iron Maiden show. Shown: Staffer Mario Spagiarri.

At the O2 Arena, like at the London Comicon, security was much stricter and more visible than usual. A member of staff at the O2 confirmed that the concert goers appeared to be more subdued than usual, that it was very quiet as people were queuing up to go in.

However, after speaking to some of the fans, especially older fans who had lived through the IRA attacks 30 or 40 years ago, it became clear that the British sense of ‘Keep calm and carry on’ was very present. The attitude was one of carrying on as normal and not letting the terrorists affect concert attendance for music lovers.

Attendee Chris Searle said: “It’s a one in a thousand chance as there were 22 thousand people at the Ariana Grande concert. I think people forget that we had the IRA in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and since my cousin was killed in an IRA pub bombing in Birmingham, I’ve learned that these things just happen.”

DSC08717.JPGVanessa and Shawn Lapchuck, attended the Iron Maiden show at 02 Arena and said they would not live in fear.

Vanessa and Shawn Lapchuck echoed Chris’s sentiments about the IRA attacks: “We’ve dealt with the IRA, we’ve grown up with it, we won’t let them win, but I should think younger people might be affected," said Vanessa Lapchuck. "We were at a festival last weekend, we are going to Glastonbury and Download, it won’t stop us doing what we do.”

Some of the slightly younger fans did appear to have had some apprehension, with a couple who were perhaps in their late 20s or early 30s, saying that although “you can’t live in fear,” it had crossed their minds.. “It hits you hard at every level but keep calm old British style; the police dealt with it very well; I think we are a very supportive nation.”

DSC08715.JPGChris Searle at the Iron Maiden concert, May 27, 02 Arena.

Another younger attendee, James Frost, said that “I work in security for gigs and festivals normally, and families are quite worried because it could happen anywhere at any time, although it’s not something you can be afraid of."

While the attack was devastating for all involved, the diamond in the ashes is the amount of support shown to the people of Manchester, with vigils being held in other parts of the U.K., and hundreds of thousands of pounds being raised to support victims’ families. The British people have suffered a blow, but they have also come together; the feeling was defiantly one of support, stiff upper lip, and quiet acceptance, rather than anger. Fighting terror, not with hate and fear, but with support, is something to be proud of.


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Shuhart Rejoins Nederlander Concerts
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 8:00 pm

05-24-17_Shane_Shuhart_200x145.jpgShane Shuhart

Shane Shuhart is rejoining Nederlander Concerts as senior director of talent, effective immediately. Shuhart previously worked for Nederlander Concerts from 2008-2011 as director of talent and programmed venues from San Jose to San Diego. 

Most recently, Shuhart was a talent buyer for Live Nation Entertainment’s Philadelphia office where he booked shows for Live Nation’s owned and operated amphitheaters, arenas and other third-party venues throughout the Pennsylvania and New Jersey regions. He also oversaw booking for the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, The Pavilion at Montage, and the Peach Music Festival.

Shuhart began his career at the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) in New York and became the territorial talent agent for APA’s northeast region when he moved to Los Angeles.
 


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Ringling Circus Brings the Curtain Down
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 8:00 pm

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson leads the crowd in celebrating Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey's last show.

REPORTING FROM UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The need for circus inserts on the arena floor and elephant doors to the arena bowl left the building along with a franchise that anchored arena bookings worldwide, Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus (RBBB). RBBB’s blue unit, the original circus to tour by train and produced by Feld Entertainment, took its final curtain call here Sunday (May 21) at NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The last performance of 17 during the run, three of them on Sunday, drew 10,083, with a lot of industry professionals and circus alumni included in the masses who made the trip to see this show. Some also attended the last performance of the red unit, originally created for famed lion and tiger whisperer Gunther Gebel-Williams, which closed for good at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, R.I., two weeks earlier.

Kenneth Feld, chairman of Feld Entertainment, was joined by his family during opening remarks at the last show, saying the circus family has “always been an inspiration to us and should be an inspiration to everyone on how we conduct our lives. It has been incredible to have this experience, to see how this ‘town without zip code’ works, how they pull together day in and day out. No matter what it is, they rise to the top. They’re the reason this is the Greatest Show on Earth.”

In the 50 years the Felds have owned the 146-year-old RBBB, a quarter of a billion people have seen the show, Feld said. “I’ve learned that perseverance makes the impossible possible.”

youngandold600.jpgYoung and old came to Long Island to share in the bittersweet ending to the Greatest Show on Earth, with a reported performance attenance of 10,083.

During media day on Friday, May 19, and again at the last show Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson and tiger trainer Alexander Lacey encouraged the fans to support circuses, zoos and any other means of seeing these magnificent circus animals and acts so that joy and that education about these magnificent wild animals will not be lost to our young.

At the end of the performance, Iverson called everyone in the cast and crew to the arena floor for a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne, letting everyone be part of a circus tradition.

It was “the hardest night” for Bill Powell, VP at Feld Entertainment. “It’s bittersweet in the sense that for 38 years I gave birth to every RBBB that came out of Tampa/St. Pete, Fla. I knew how important it was to have a full house and have the cast energized. To see this tonight and see it closed, in one sense it’s heartbreaking. In another sense, I am so proud of having been a part of something that has gone on for 146 years.”

About 60 alumni of Ringling, most of them regional promoters at the beginning of their careers, gathered in Manhattan Saturday night before the last show, sharing memories and lessons learned, along with innumerable road warrior stories.

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Feld Entertainment's Bill Powell and The Gold Group's Joe Gold at the alumni dinner. Below, Powell spreads the joy with his box of red noses and the group is all game. (VT Photo)

rednose600.jpgJoe Gold, who joked that he went from live entertainment to dead entertainment as a promoter of museum exhibits through his Gold Group, said working for the circus “taught me to be a man, to balance my life’s work and family. I have a business now and I treat my employees like family, just like the circus.”

Russ Simons, Venue Solutions Group, has been on the venue side of hosting and marketing the circus all his career. He attended both closing weekends, first in Providence, then here.

As the night wore on, talk turned to the practical side of what we will now miss. New buildings, Simons noted, have been designed with the circus in mind these past five decades. For instance, you have to plan for circus inserts (anchors in the floor to accommodate rigging in spots specifically for circus acts). No other shows use those circus inserts, to his knowledge. They are in unusual places and need to be included in original construction, especially if the arena has ice. They cannot be added later at the risk of bursting a pipe.

He recalled at the Nashville Arena (now Bridgestone Arena), they had 64 anchors just for the circus. “It is one of the first things you do, consult with the circus,” Simons said of building design and planning for use of an arena.

Mike McGee, Barmac Consulting, when asked what hosting the circus required of an arena manager, listed, off  the top of his head: “Access to water, housing, ventilation, solid waste disposal for animals. Ceiling height of 45 feet minimum, approximately 17,000 square feet of performance area, lighting capable of  delivering a black out situation to instant on,  adequate power (guessing 1,200 amps-—3 phase,) adequate shore power for any traveling trailers, reasonable proximity to a  rail yard (no other show travels by train), adequate concourse power (30-50 amp breakers) for merchandise and traveling F/B concessions, show office, F/B Merch office area, area for Pie Car, area for Clown Alley, wardrobe and costume storage, nearby parking for show vehicles, dressing areas, adequate sound system, minimum 8-12 spotlights. If performing on an ice surface (as it was here) you would need rubber matting on backstage floor areas to protect the skating blades when the performers come off the ice.

“Also, you need to make sure inserts can support the stress and weight loads and are properly anchored into the floor, which is critically important when the inserts are positioned in an ice floor.”

This litany has been the Bible for arena managers for five decades.

The newly-renovated Nassau Coliseum (it has the inserts from its prior design) had only been open 35 days when it hosted this historic event. Not only did they have a nearly sold-out run of circus performances, they also hosted Metallica in the middle of the run, requiring they move the circus out completely, move Metallica in, then out, and move the circus back in.

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Matt Felker, Chris Giacalone, and Matt Garrick, director of events marketing and sales at Nassau Coliseum, the day of the last show. (VT Photo)

Matt Felker, GM at the arena for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and AEG Live, noted Metallica was a big show and theirs was the only arena date on the band’s stadium tour. That event drew 14,878 fans.

Ringling had 20-25 trucks of gear and the circus compound was in the attached exhibit hall at the arena. The last circus performance before Metallica ended at 9:30 p.m. “We had the floor at 3 a.m. First, we had to do ice work with the Zamboni to prepare for the stage (the show was in the round).” Load in for Metallica started at 9 a.m. Load out took less than four hours. At 8 a.m., the circus was moving back in.

It took 20-25 operations crew and well over 100 stage hands to pull it off.

Nick Vaerewyck who books the venue, noted 17 of the first 29 shows  here were Feld Entertainment’s circus and another four were Feld’s Monster Jam. It is a major franchise for arenas.

Booking Metallica was a highlight of his career, though. Vaerewyck cited a good relationship with AGI, Metallica’s agent. He put the offer out there, with the added enhancement that it was a new building. Though Metallica was on a stadium tour with an end-stage configuration, they took the bait and brought in the stage they last used in Denmark for an in-the-round performance at Nassau Coliseum.

“Metallica was a heavy, heavy show. You couldn’t mix the two productions," he added. “Nothing from the circus could stay. And all this is over ice, too. Our ops team is not too happy with me, but it’s a good story to tell.”

Seeing the last circus, though, that was “a pretty amazing moment,” he said.

Chris Giacalone, who is director of food and beverage for Levy at Nassau Coliseum, prepared a kid-friendly menu for the circus performances and instituted all the space-saving devices he could to ease congestion in the hallways. Concourses were lined down one side with merchandise carts and the other with concessions stands.

The $6 hot dog from Nathan’s Famous was the hit he expected, though he took the specialty dog, Nathan’s Long Island Duck Dog, off the list because it wasn’t kid friendly.

Throughout the industry, kudos have flooded in to Feld Entertainment for bringing the franchise that is The Big Show to circus folks, to arenas worldwide. “I’ll miss it,” said Lee Zeidman, Staples Center, Los Angeles. “I’ll miss how it evolved. I’ll miss seeing the troupes come in. I’ll never forget the elephant walk right before Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service. I grew up with the circus. I won’t miss the smell.”

“We had this one dear friend who is not here with us now,” Powell said during the alumni dinner. “I’m forever hopeful it will come back.”

Feld Entertainment, he noted, did not sell the circus. The intellectual property still belongs to the organization. Feld Entertainment owns Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, The Greatest Show on Earth forever more.

“Anything can happen in the future,” Powell said.


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New Orleans Simulates Emergency
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 6:00 pm

The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) joined local, state and federal public safety officials to host the first full-scale exercise of the City Assisted Evacuation system at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. 

New Orleans Office of Homeland Security turned the city’s convention center into a “movie set” May 17 when it took up an entire exhibition hall to simulate a hurricane emergency center to better prepare community members for disastrous storms.

“We needed to be able to replicate that environment,” said Aaron Miller, director of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “A venue like the convention center is the only place that you can do that.”

Such evacuation exercises are key to help people successfully escaping destructive hurricanes such as Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005, killing roughly 570 people and destroying 130,000 housing units in the city.

“New Orleans' main threat every year is from hurricanes,” Miller said.

The Union Passenger Terminal (UPT) is where evacuees will go in the event of big storms, so Miller’s office — along with state and federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — utilized the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to build a replica of the UPT for the exercise.

A total of 109,000 sq. ft. of the 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space at the convention center was used for the event.

The UPT is the main hub of transportation in New Orleans, making it the perfect place for people to go for an evacuation, Miller said. However, authorities can’t on any given day shut down the UPT for training, and that’s why the convention center was used instead.

“One of the things we wanted to do is replicate the space that we normally work in. We had the convention center set up soft walls that replicate the (passenger) terminal walls,” Miller said. “We had entrances to the UPT doors that are usually there. By having the doors of the convention center hall in the right place, it worked out well. It’s almost like creating a movie set.”

Nearly 500 volunteers showed up to take part in the exercise, acting as community members, and more than 100 first responders and nonprofit workers also played roles in the evacuation plan, Miller said. Volunteers were given free parking and lunch for their time. The exercise took about eight hours to complete.

The floor plan was set up in a queuing system with a line where community members who needed assistance could register. Rooms also were set up for those who would need medical treatment.

“We had a space where people registered their pets,” Miller said.

The entire space was designed to assist an estimated 35,000 residents in need of evacuation assistance. The population of New Orleans is roughly 397,000. The entire metro area has nearly 1.2 million people, but it’s those with medical needs, no cars and multigenerational homes that make up the identified 35,000 who would go through the evacuation system, Miller said.

The convention center is no stranger to emergency preparedness, said Brett Slocum, assistant director of public safety at the New Orleans Earnest N. Morial Convention Center.

“This required preparation for us in public safety,” he said. “We regularly work with the city and state. They are not foreign partners to us at all. We work with them in this building all the time.”

The convention center staff all followed procedure as given to them by Miller’s team.

“This was really specific to them. We provided coordination with our sales team and our event team. We had limited action. They knew exactly what to do,” Slocum said. They were very well organized.”

The evacuation exercise cost $500,000 to conduct — funded by grant money from U.S DOT Federal Transit Administration.

The biggest, and most worrisome, hurricane since Hurricane Katrina was Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Luckily the hurricane didn’t hit NOLA as hard as many expected, Miller said.

“It glanced us. We didn’t end up receiving the largest affects. Since 2008, the city has not implemented the city’s evacuation plan,” Miller said, noting why it was so important for last week’s evacuation.

Since Hurricane Katrina ripped through NOLA, the city now has a new $14-billion levy system to protect it from flooding, such as the roughly 15 feet of water that engulfed parts of New Orleans.

Additionally, a $2-billion drainage system also was built to move water out of the city, Miller said.

“The most important lessons that we learned is you have to reduce the risk, and you have to remove the barriers for people in this community,” he said.
 

 


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U.K. Gets “Manifesto For Music Venues”
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 6:00 pm

Paul McCartney plays at the 100 Club in 2010, a historic Grassroots Music Venue that was threatened with closure. (Photo Credit: ©2010 MPL Communications/MJ Kim)

Grassroots music venues in the U.K. are in trouble, and the MusicVenue Trust (MVT) aims to do something about it. The four-year-old organization has put together a “Manifesto for Music Venues” that it hopes will spur political action — and hopefully free up some federal funds to keep clubs open that support live music.

“This started out as a personal project of our CEO, Mark Dayvd, who is the co-owner of a grassroots music venue (GMV) in England called Tunbridge Wells Forum, and his partner, who were quite concerned, not just about the difficult position they were in as venue owners, but also how expensive it was to run one and the future and sustainability of their club if they were to step away,” said Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the MVT.

“At the same time, they were looking around at other venues that were closing or being bought up for redevelopment into condos and talking with people in the music industry about how hard it was to make a living running a music venue.”

Looking forward to the June 8 snap general election, the MVT held a “Manifesto for Music?” panel last Thursday (May 18) to lay out the three planks of its platform for a group that included some members of the UK political establishment such as Baroness Maggie Jones (Labour), Joe Miller (Conservatives), Lord Tim Clement-Jones (Lib Dem) and Amelia Womack (Green).

Those three commitments the MTV is looking for are:
?Reform Cultural Funding - Invest in GMV Infrastructure
?Take Action to Increase and Reward Private Investment
?Cut Red Tape and Reduce Costs

“Part of the difficulty of running these venues is that legislation is being created that is negative for them that nobody is talking about,” said Whitrick. “So the MVT was started as a voice of these disparate venues — many run by quirky people around the U.K. — that could unite to help them in the long-term goal of raising money to buy their buildings so if people want to retire they could be sustained as venues into the future and not subject to market forces that might see it as more beneficial to sell them to someone who will turn them into restaurants or apartments.”

The Manifesto notes that less than 3 percent of GMV have received any external funding over the past decade, with less than 1 percent going to below 500-capacity clubs.

Part of the group’s goal is discussing how to make the GMV’s more attractive as social investments after the group’s founders realized that the venues were being perceived more as bars than as culturally relevant arts venues.

Whitrick said the venues covered by the MVT contribute to a U.K. music industry that generates £4.1billion ($5.3 billion) to the U.K. economy on an annual basis. In a statement, Dayvd added, “In 2016, U.K. artists accounted for seven of the year’s top-10 best-selling artist albums in the world. If we want future UK musicians to continue to produce that music for us, they, and the technicians, crew, promoters, security who work with them, deserve world-class Grassroots Music Venues to create, develop and grow that music.”

Those huge figures might explain how the organization has gotten a boost from a number of prominent musicians, including Sir Paul McCartney, who said in a support statement: “Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues, my career would have been very different. Artists need places to start out, develop and work on their craft and small venues have been the cornerstone for this. If we don’t support live music at this level then the future of music in general is in danger.”

The statistic that helped the MVT really get attention, though, was a survey the group did two years ago that found that 35 percent of the GMVs in London had closed between 2007 and 2015, a number that was a “real wake-up call” to people who thought of these types of music venues as a fluid, organic mass, with new ones popping up to replace the old ones as they shut down.

“We’re very lucky that the U.K. has a music heritage that has been organic and provided a place for the stars of tomorrow to grow,” said Whitrick. “But enthusiasm is not enough to pay the bills. The map [of closed venues in London] gave a sense of the demise of venues around the country, including some small towns, that if they lose a venue, they have nothing.” The MVT only had funds to do the survey of London, but Whitrick said the figures are indicative of a larger national trend.

At last week’s event, she said the MVT mostly wanted to ask the political parties to “get out of the way and stop making life difficult for those entrepreneurs who want to run these venues.” The MVT is looking to establish a Culture and Heritage Tax Relief to ease the burden on small venue owners, as well as expand the existing Research and Development Tax Relief to specifically include development of new talent.

With fewer than three percent of GMVs getting any government funding over the past decade, Whitrick said that audiences and artists are not getting the same kind of experience they might be getting in larger, more well-funded rooms. That led to a request for funding that has gotten some significant support from the technical side of the industry.

“What we need is a small amount of cash to make [these upgrades] and enable companies that are keen to invest in that get on board,” she said, nodding to the type of cultural funding that is typically lavished on the opera, ballet and other arts institutions. “If a small portion of that goes to GMVs, you would have a huge geographical reach because these venues are all across the U.K.; you would drastically improve the experience of what goes on there for the performer and audience.”

Whitrick said the figure the MVT is after is “not even one-tenth” of what the top arts organizations in the UK get on an annual basis, a number that would be enough to radically overhaul more than 100 GMVs. They are seeking £3.6 million ($4.7 million) in-kind and matching funds from manufacturers from the technical side of the industry — with commitments from the UK’s light and sound supplier White Light Ltd., as well as Martin, Shure, Yamaha and D&B Audiotechnik — who have offered their services below cost in order to help bridge the gap between large concert hall sound and lights and the inferior technical set-ups in GMVs. The MVT is looking for government to supply around £4.75 million ($6.1 million) in matching funds across five years to venues that are dedicated to developing up-and-coming artists.

“We’ve gone about it in two ways,” she said. “We’ve gone directly to the government and also made an application to Arts Council England for a pilot project for the first 11 venues, and we’re currently waiting on their decision.” The math in favor of MVT’s requests, she said, is pretty simple: for every £10 ($12) spent at a GMV, £17 ($22) is spent elsewhere in the nighttime economy on bars, restaurants, public transport and taxis and the average GMV in the UK invests more than £300,000 ($388,000) every year in presenting new artists.

The MVT has gotten some support from a handful of British MP’s including Kerry McCarthy, who said in a statement, “Small venues have always played a fundamental role in breaking and nurturing new music – their survival is important for ensuring that successful bands continue to emerge from the grassroots. Critically, they also help sustain the cultural scenes and creative economies of many towns and cities, creating employment and attracting people into city centers.”

With their requests in place, Whitrick said the MVT is now looking at tax cuts to spur investment and moving to get GMVs treated more like traditional arts organizations. “The takeaway was that for a relatively young organization, even if we don’t get direct results, the issues are now being recognized and talked about,” she said. “Whereas, in the past, it would only be a discussion about concert halls and theaters. Now it’s about turning words into action and getting politicians to actually do something.”


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Norfolk Exploring Improvements with OVG
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 5:35 pm

Scope Arena, Norfolk, Va. at twilight.

Built in 1971, Scope Arena, Norfolk, Va., is ripe for renovation and expansion.

John Rhamstine, director of cultural facilities, arts & entertainment, for the city of Norfolk, which runs the SevenVenues of Norfolk, of which Scope Arena is one, said they were in the beginning stages of the project.

“We’re hopefully going to work hand-in-glove with Oak View Group (OVG) to take a look at what we may be able to do to Scope in the future,” said Rhamstine.

Currently, using the largest configuration, Scope Arena can hold 13,600 people. Rhamstine’s hope is to add 5,000 seats. Despite $15-$20 million of improvements over the years, Rhamstine believes the aging arena is due for a major renovation. “The primary driver of what we are looking at is expansion of the seating capacity and how that can be affected,” he said.

Rhamstine said picking up 3,000-5,000 more seats would be ideal, with the goal being to set Scope Arena apart from the other venues in the market.

Rhamstine said plans to expand the arena go back to 2004 when the city hired architectural firm Ellerbe Becket to do a study. That study proved too expensive to pursue. Scope Arena tried again in 2012, hiring Populous to do a study to expand the restrooms and concessions. That wrapped in 2014, but bids came in much higher than expected and that work did not get done either.

“We’ve been in a holding pattern ever since,” said Rhamstine, whose wait looks to be over now that Peter Luukko, chairman of OVG’s Arena Alliance, is interested in the project.

“Peter was here to see his son play hockey,” said Rhamstine about how OVG got involved in Scope’s destiny. “We sat down and chatted, and then he met with the mayor and things just took off from there.”

Luukko said the Scope Arena project reminds him of the KeyArena project that OVG has a bid on in Seattle. “They both have these iconic free-standing signature roof structures,” he said. “Scope’s roof is a big part of the community and the community loves the roof.  This means that in order to increase capacity, the best approach is to dig down.”

The city’s previous studies indicated that digging down would be possible, but that further studies would be needed, said Luukko.

OVG has entered into a predevelopment agreement with the city and OVG has already brought in Populous, International Facilities Group (IFG) and Live Nation to support the project. “Live Nation will play an important part in the process as a potential content provider,” he said.

The city has already committed $100,000 for another study to look at expansion of seating, other improvements and the costs associated with achieving those goals. A Request For Proposals will be going out shortly, according to Rhamstine, who expects OVG to be involved in that process.

There are no estimates for what the renovation might cost. “The city has enhanced and improved a number of large projects in the past five years, and our hope is that a public/private partnership can be formed and most of the improvements can be paid for by using outside equity,” said Rhamstine.

Luukko said it was too early to discuss how the renovation will be paid for. “First we have to assess the costs and find the most cost-effective way to make the building serviceable and important in the marketplace, and then we’ll look at ways to pay for that,” he said. “We’ll look at all kinds of financing solutions and look at what kind of an event-load can be there, sponsorship opportunities, naming rights and what kind of VIP premium spaces can be built.”

Luukko laughed when asked about a ‘typical’ revenue split when entering into a public/private partnership. “There is no formula,” he said. “It all depends on how the building is financed; it goes city by city.”

Rhamstine also said the renovation would help Scope Arena compete against a new arena being built in Virginia Beach and stay viable against “a number of existing facilities actively competing in this market.”

Luukko is not concerned at all with competition from Virginia Beach. “Our focus is renovating Scope,” he said. “It’s an existing facility that’s been there for many, many years. It just needs to be updated and then it will be very serviceable.”

Aside from increasing the seating capacity, Rhamstine said that they also want to take a look at VIP areas, luxury boxes and improvements to the loading dock.

“We’re really excited and are looking forward to a great partnership with OVG,” added Rhamstine. “The city is going to be a very willing partner.”

 


 


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New Rams Stadium Loses 2021 Super Bowl
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 4:00 pm

Interior of the delayed LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park.

National Football League (NFL) team owners unanimously voted at their spring meeting in Chicago, May 23, to move Super Bowl LV, which will take place in February 2021, from Los Angeles to Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla., after it was announced earlier this week that the new stadium being built for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers is being delayed by a year.

Last May, the NFL announced that the new Rams and Chargers stadium in Inglewood, Calif. would host the 2021 Super Bowl but delays at the new stadium have dashed that dream. The NFL team owners did agree to tentatively let the stadium host the Super Bowl in 2022 should the project's new completion date in 2020 be met.

While the news of the delay is not getting hallelujahs from one group, namely the teams building the new $2.6 billion home to the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, it was met with delight by operators of the temporary homes of the two teams, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Rams) and StubHub Center (Chargers), both in Los Angeles.

The Rams put down stakes at LA Coliseum for the 2016 season after moving from St. Louis, while the former San Diego Chargers will kickoff their stay at StubHub Center in the summer. Both teams already had options in place to continue playing at their temporary venues.

“I was told on May 17, that the Rams would be exercising their fourth year option,” said an elated Joe Furin, GM, L.A. Memorial Coliseum. “Obviously, it’s an additional year of revenue. More importantly for us, a fourth year of having the Rams solidifies the experience the fan base has with the Coliseum.” Furin did not disclose a dollar figure for the extra year of revenue but did offer that it will be “a significant amount.”

The fans will remember that they saw their favorite team here and had a great experience here, he said proudly. He recalled that from an operational standpoint, they “nailed it” after a first-game fumble where they learned they needed more water, more hawkers and more medical staff for overheated guests.

There were also questions about how the stadium would handle back-to-back University of Southern California college football games on Saturdays, followed by Rams games on Sundays.

“We had nothing to worry about,” he said. “We had 70,000 people one day and another 70,000 the next, and it all ran like clockwork, so adding a fourth year of the Rams doesn’t present any new operational challenges. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing successfully.”

“We talked about the potential of a third year when we first started talking to the Chargers,” recalled equally thrilled Katie Pandolfo, GM, StubHub Center. “There are so many unknowns with construction, and if the stadium in Inglewood was done by 2019, no one knew if it would be ready for preseason, or opening day in September, or if they’d play in the temporary stadiums for the first month or so, and then move into Inglewood. It was always in the back of my mind they’d still be here for the 2019 season.”

“We’re just getting ready to host our first year of Chargers,” said Pandolfo, full of anticpation.

“This means the Chargers will be crashing on the (LA) Galaxy’s couch for one more year,” she said, laughing. “This means we will manage both teams for three years, instead of two, which I’m excited to do.”

Major League Soccer’s (MLS) L.A. Galaxy is the tenant team of StubHub Center and the MLS season can stretch out till December based on how the team does, which means there is a strong possibility Pandolfo will have to navigate going from a soccer stadium one day to a football stadium the next.

“We’re accustomed to tight turn-arounds on the field because we had two MLS teams here at one point,” pointed out Pandolfo. “We’ll have to wash out the soccer lines and paint football lines and transform the stadium. We’re ready.” Pandolfo said they have an in-house turf crew that will do the job and doesn’t expect any major cost to the process of changing the field.

As for the benefits of having the NFL team at StubHub Center for an additional year, Pandolfo said that while she has no exact numbers since the Chargers have yet to play at the stadium, she does expect a bump to food and beverage due to the quarter-period setup in football, meaning more breaks to sell product, and she sees the potential for slightly higher parking fees based on the NFL culture of tailgating. “Football is a four-hour event, it’s not just 90 minutes,” she said. Levy Restaurants is the stadium concessionaire.

Pandolfo also thinks the extra year will benefit her new tenant. “The Chargers will have an environment here that’s different from any other NFL stadium and to have that for an extra year will be good for the team,” she said. “This will give the Chargers the ability to build up their fan base here in LA.”

Normally rain-starved, Southern California saw record-setting rainfall in late 2016 and early 2017, more than it saw in the five years leading up to it.

Southeast1.jpgRendering of the Southeast view of the new LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park.

“The rain fell during the mass excavation period of construction when no other work could proceed in wet conditions,” said a statement from the project’s development team, Legends Project Management and Turner AECOM Hunt. “As a result, we experienced significant delays and lost the better part of two months from early January into the beginning of March. In the best interest of the project, we have decided to move the opening date to summer of 2020. This is a stadium that Angelinos, visitors and world-class athletes will celebrate for years to come, and we are committed to making sure this venue is exceptional from the day it opens.”

While making the best of a bad situation, there’s little doubt the delay will have a meaningful impact on the financer, Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his investors, and the Chargers as well. Reports are that each team stands to lose $150 million in revenue due to the construction delay, and both will have to absorb the costs of staying in their makeshift LA venues — Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Rams, StubHub Center for the Chargers — for an extra year.

Northeast_Rams2.jpgRendering of the Northeast view of LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park.

The new Rams and Chargers stadium, currently called LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park (LASED), will surely change names after naming rights have been bought (see here). The 70,000-seat stadium and 300-acre entertainment district is being built on the site of the retired Hollywood Park Racetrack, Inglewood, Calif. In addition to being the new home of both L.A. Chargers and L.A. Rams, it will also feature other sporting events, major concerts and other entertainment year-round.

“We are 95 percent complete with the deep foundations and the drill piers that are 80 to 90 feet deep that are underneath the stadium bowl itself,” said Dale Koger, SVP, managing director for Legends Project Development, on a conference call. “We are about to begin the shallow foundations and we’re about to begin our retaining wall, which are the critical path items that are next to come.”

“It was a super aggressive schedule,” he said. “We anticipated no more than about 30 rain days in the entire 36 months or so of construction. We encountered almost double that in two months (January-February), which came at the most critical time.”

“Our promise is to deliver a transformational district...we owe it to NFL fans, partners of the project, the cities of Inglewood and Los Angeles, and the NFL to get this right,” said a statement from LASED.

As for the revenue loss, Demoff said he couldn’t give an exact number but that “certainly, there will be a revenue hit and there will be an added expense hit.”

    


 


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Hot Tickets for May 24, 2017
 
Posted: 24 May 2017, 2:00 pm

New Kids On The Block perform at Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas.

It’s a blast from the past as New Kids on the Block kicked off The Total Package tour May 12, at the Schottenstein Center, Coloumbus, Ohio. This North American tour consists of 43 dates wrapping up July 16, at the Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Fla. After learning from past tours that collaboration is key to a successful tour, Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul are joining the New Kids for this special 90’s experience. The trifecta of icons performed their way onto our Hot Tickets chart this week grossing over $650,000 with ticket prices ranging from $30-$200. The Live Nation-promoted event will be bringing the Total Package to fans May 26, at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix.

Barbra Streisand showed up on our Hot Tickets chart twice this week with appearances at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y., May 5, and Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., May 6. With over 25,000 fans in attendance, Streisand charmed both sold-out audiences with her unique blend of personal stories and powerful songs, and with ticket prices ranging from $100-$600, grossed nearly $7 million.


HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between April 25-May 23.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $5,098,611; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 55,707; Ticket Range: $97.17-$48.59; Promoter: Kilimanjaro Live; Dates: May 1-3; No. of Shows: 3

2) Barbra Streisand
Gross Sales: $3,682,129; Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Attendance: 14,464; Ticket Range: $615.50-$104.50; Promoter: In-house; Dates: May 6; No. of Shows: 1

3) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $3,372,209; Venue: The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.; Attendance: 32,347; Ticket Range: $205-$39.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 29-30; No. of Shows: 2

4) Barbra Streisand
Gross Sales: $3,119,293; Venue: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.; Attendance: 11,435; Ticket Range: $616-$105; Promoter: In-house; Dates: May 5; No. of Shows: 1

5) WWE
Gross Sales: $1,905,365; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 26,024; Ticket Range: $453.47-$32.39; Promoter: Triple A Entertainment; Dates: May 8-9; No. of Shows: 2

1) Mother's Day Music Festival
Gross Sales: $859,716; Venue: Atlantic City (N.J.) Boardwalk Hall; Attendance: 11,603; Ticket Range: $137-$47; Promoter: Platinum Productions; Dates: May 13; No. of Shows: 1

2) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $693,755; Venue: Peoria (Ill.) Civic Center Arena; Attendance: 10,568; Ticket Range: $89-$25; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 12; No. of Shows: 1

3) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $679,563; Venue: SNHU Arena, Manchester, N.H.; Attendance: 10,675; Ticket Range: $89-$18; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: April 29; No. of Shows: 1

4) New Kids On The Block
Gross Sales: $657,323; Venue: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Attendance: 9,516; Ticket Range: $199.95-$29.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 13; No. of Shows: 1

5) Shawn Mendes
Gross Sales: $607,881; Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin; Attendance: 12,228; Ticket Range: $64.62-$39.34; Promoter: Semmel Concerts Entertainment, FKP Scorpio Konzertproduktionen; Dates: May 3; No. of Shows: 1

1) Tim McGraw, Faith Hill
Gross Sales: $1,918,295; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 15,916; Ticket Range: $139-$79; Promoter: In-house, CAA; Dates: May 5-6; No. of Shows: 2

2) Chris Rock
Gross Sales: $865,926; Venue: Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, Texas; Attendance: 10,356; Ticket Range: $125-$49.50; Promoter: In-house, Live Nation; Dates: May 12-13; No. of Shows: 2

3) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $650,722; Venue: Santander Arena, Reading, Pa.; Attendance: 8,500; Ticket Range: $89-$35; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 18; No. of Shows: 1

4) Arijit Singh
Gross Sales: $578,174; Venue: Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, Texas; Attendance: 4,964; Ticket Range: $315-$70; Promoter: Roshni Productions; Dates: April 28; No. of Shows: 1

5) Guy featuring Teddy Riley
Gross Sales: $428,211; Venue: Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, Texas; Attendance: 6,101; Ticket Range: $89-$39.50; Promoter: G-Squared Events; Dates: May 6; No. of Shows: 1

1) Wicked
Gross Sales: $3,960,259; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 40,343; Ticket Range: $195-$25; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust, Broadway Across America; Dates: May 2-14; No. of Shows: 16

2) Phantom of the Opera
Gross Sales: $1,779,963; Venue: Plaza Theatre, El Paso, Texas; Attendance: 23,873; Ticket Range: $125-$45; Promoter: Jam Theatricals; Dates: May 3-14; No. of Shows: 15

3) Book Of Mormon
Gross Sales: $1,436,703; Venue: Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, Wis.; Attendance: 17,581; Ticket Range: $135-$45; Promoter: In-house, Broadway Across America; Dates: May 9-14; No. of Shows: 8

4) Finding Neverland
Gross Sales: $1,358,933; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 19,944; Ticket Range: $150-$30; Promoter: Broadway Across America; Dates: May 16-21; No. of Shows: 8

5) Motown The Musical
Gross Sales: $763,412; Venue: DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Attendance: 12,549; Ticket Range: $90-$35; Promoter: Broadway Grand Rapids; Dates: May 2-7; No. of Shows: 8

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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Arena Industry Unites to Fight Fear
 
Posted: 23 May 2017, 11:00 pm

Manchester police speak to two distressed concertgoers as they fled Manchester Arena following the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert, Monday night.

Venue operators around the globe are being vigilant in the wake of the May 22 terrorist attack outside the Manchester (U.K.) Arena that killed 22 people and injured more than 100 following an Ariana Grande concert.

In North America, venue operators are reassuring patrons and the media that they are taking all possible precautions and, given the parameters of the Manchester event, expanding venue perimeters to take into account the public areas in the footprint of the building.

DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES

Prevent Advisors’ VP of Security Mike Downing, a former LAPD deputy chief and commanding officer of the Counter-Terrorism & Criminal Intelligence Bureau, said that the sophistication of the attack in Manchester, including the location and timing, “indicates some pre-operational surveillance and planning as part of the attack cycle.” Given that such surveillance likely took place, Downing encouraged venues operators and security personnel to “keep an eye out” and “profile behavior, not people, behavior that is suspicious, that has the nexus of crime, or pre-operational planning.” In the case of Manchester, “this [surveillance] could have been done days, weeks or even months in advance.”

Among the defensive strategies and counter-measures Downing suggests are “counter-surveillance strategies, looking outward at the perimeter,” along with the use of zoom cameras focused on potentially vulnerable areas and times, decoy law enforcement cars, and Vapor Wake dogs. And even though the Manchester attack was a suicide bombing, Downing stresses facility and security personnel be mindful of other tactics employed recently, such as vehicle ramming of public areas, small arms attacks, other IEDs and vehicle bombs, and the use of drones.

While reports of ticket refunds are virtually non-existent, some venues are responding to the Manchester attack by banning backpacks, conducting interior and exterior canine sweeps, and increasing engagement with law enforcement. And, though there is talk of some artists, agents and managers asking for (and receiving) reassurance as to security levels, no shows have been canceled in North America.

VENUES REACT

For the most part, the already heightened post-Bataclan security profile for North American venues is just heightened even more, and venues are communicating, working together, and sharing best practices.

“This was a recent occurrence, but this is not a new process,” Downing pointed out. “We are not dependent on these incidents to trigger security, it’s an ongoing process, planned, consistent, and constantly curated.”

Nick Eaves, chief venues and operations officer for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which includes Air Canda Centre, Toronto, agreed. “These sorts of things are in our mind all the time. We didn’t make radical changes [because of the most recent, high profile terrorism attack].”

But he is working closely with Toronto Polict Service, particularly in the public space known as Maple Leaf Square around Air Canada Centre, which includes restaurants and residential towers and is next to a main rail station. Like Manchester, it is a downtown setting “we don’t own or control,” Eaves said, but the Toronto police work closely with the arena when events occur.

“The evolving piece [of security protocols at the arena] is resource sharing with the Toronto police,” Eaves said.

Lee Zeidman, president, Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live, Los Angeles, is also dealing with an urban environment, a campus that includes other theaters and clubs, the Los Angeles Convention Center, hotels, retail and restaurants. You can only extend the perimeter so far and “we are not a military installation,” he said.

But they are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of guests and clients, “first and foremost in ‘see something, say something,’” he said. “We’re big on that.”

AEG also sees to it that in-house security and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) personnel are visible in and around the campus, well beyond the arena doors.

“It’s a matter of education and visibility,” Zeidman said. “We host thousands of people on a nightly basis. We’re no different than a mall or movie house. We have to stay vigilant, be aware and train the staff.”

AEG, LAPD and other security staff have weekly meetings and are up on the latest innovations in security protocol, he said. He has taken a renewed interest in an app the LAPD instituted in December of 2016 called “I watch,” which allows citizens to report unusual activity to the police.

GRANDE OFFICIALLY CANCLES EUROPEAN TOUR

Post attack, Grande has canceled the European leg of her Dangerous Woman tour through June 5, where she was due to play at Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland.

Barnaby Hooper, communications director at 02 Arena, London, where Grande was supposed to play two back-to-back shows on Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26, confirmed the cancellation.

“We just got word. The London shows are canceled,” he said Wednesday night Greenwich Mean Time. “Ticket holders for the London shows should contact their point of purchase for a refund.”

Grande’s official statement: “Due to the tragic events in Manchester, the Dangerous Woman tour with Ariana Grande has been suspended until we can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost. The O2 shows this week have been canceled as well as all shows through June 5 in Switzerland. We ask at this time that we all continue to support the city of Manchester and all those families affected by this cowardice and senseless act of violence. Our way of life has once again been threatened, but we will overcome this together. Thank you.”

Hooper said that two Iron Maiden shows, scheduled for Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, were likely to proceed, albeit with heightened security measures.

“We will have a proportionally increased, very visible police presence,” he said.“We have a very tight security process anyway and this had previously been enhanced with metal detectors and bag searches already in place.”

Hooper also said that they are asking all those coming to The O2 to allow extra time for enhanced security checks.

Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium, which was to be Grande’s next stop after The O2, has similar plans. “We will increase our security for the next shows,” said Jan Ean Efbroeck, one of the managers of the Sportpaleis, who also said that, “we will start a campaign to assure our guests that they will be safe here at Sportpaleis.”

Efbroeck and Hooper both said it was too early to assess the financial impact of losing the Grande shows, and that all the ticket buyers would get refunds. “I believe we have insurance for an event like this,” said Efbroeck. Hooper was unclear if The 02 had similar event-cancellation insurance.

THE COST OF TERRORISM

As previously reported in VT Pulse (May 23 special report), entertainment insurance premiums related to live events are likely to increase. “I haven’t heard about an immediate impact on premiums but, typically, when an event like this happens, the market gets fearful and limits terrorism coverage while increasing costs,” said Paul Bassman, president/CEO of Ascend Insurance Brokerage.

Bassman said a “wide range” of options are offered when it comes to covering terrorism.  Terrorism is initially excluded on most event cancelation policies, however it can be covered by endorsement, or by purchasing a separate terrorism policy.  Terrorism is clearly defined in the policy as, ‘any form, fear, threat, or acts of terrorism are expressly excluded from coverage.' 

Options to cover acts of terrorism can range from removing the exclusion altogether to buying coverage limited to incidents that occur near the venue and close to the event date.

The impacted event “still has to meet the test of a proper cancellation, but if it does, it’s typically a pretty broad policy offered, as broad as removing the terrorism exclusion altogether, to limiting coverage for acts of terrorism based on time—the number of days before the event—and distance—within a certain number of miles from the venue,” Bassman explained.

Bassman said typical industry rates for terrorism coverage would be about .15% to .25% on terrorism coverage, or about $15,000 to $25,000 on a $1 million policy. He added that such coverage is becoming increasingly common for touring artists and festivals to carry.

“I can’t speak for [Grande’s tour], but if she has terrorism coverage on her touring policy, she could definitely make claims,” he said. “There were a lot of artists on tour in Europe when [the Bataclan incident] happened, and they made claims for terrorism all over Europe as travel was restricted; shows were being canceled left and right because of concern that they weren’t protected properly. I’m sure that will happen in this instance as well."

Take That, scheduled to play Manchester Arena May 25, 26 and 27, was postponed because the venue is still an active crime scene. The next scheduled event, KISS, May 30 and touted as their only confirmed show in the north of the country for 2017, was still on the schedule as of Wednesday, May 24. — Linda Deckard and Brad Weissberg contributed to this story.


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LA Coliseum To Get $270-Million Makeover
 
Posted: 23 May 2017, 5:50 pm

Rendering of the exterior of the $270-million facelift for Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (The Coliseum) is getting a long-overdue facelift. A big-money naming rights deal will follow, reportedly with United Airlines, though that is not confirmed as of now.

Capacity will go from 93,607 to 77,500 due to such improvements as added aisles, widened seats and increased legroom in many sections and the construction of a new Scholarship Club Tower on the stadium’s south side that will include suites, loge boxes, club seats, a new concourse and a new press box. With 16,000 seats removed, a reseating of current season ticketholders will be necessary.

Built in 1923, The Coliseum is a Los Angeles institution. Currently, the venue is the home of the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans football team and temporary home to The Los Angeles Rams who have been playing at the facility since 2016, and just picked up their option for the 2019 season due to delays in the construction of their new home in Inglewood, Calif.

The renovation is being funded entirely by USC Athletics from The Coliseum restoration gifts, sponsorship revenue, non-USC events at The Coliseum and donor-naming opportunities. It will not require any student fees or general university, local, state or federal funds. With an annual budget of $100 million, USC Athletics is one of just seven self-sustaining National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I programs in the nation, which means it receives no funding from tax appropriations or student fees.

Naming rights have been explored since 2013 when USC took possession of the building but stalled out. “Prior to USC taking over management of the building, the Coliseum Commission had already reached out to solicit a naming rights deal with many companies but nothing ever came to fruition. It then became our right to pursue a deal,” said Joe Furin, GM, Los Angeles Coliseum.

Although on the stove since 2013, over the last six months, with the renovation plans well underway, USC moved getting a sponsor to the front of the burner. “We had to really understand the exposure and the assets we had before aggressively moving on it,” he said. “The renovations definitely have moved the needle on what a package could be worth.”

It’s been reported that United Airlines is close to a deal to nab the naming rights — $70 million dollars for 15 years — but Furin was unable to confirm the reports yet.

“The news that’s out is premature. Nothing is finalized yet by any means,” said Furin. He did verify that the venue "has been in discussions with multiple corporate partners but no deal has been agreed upon yet."

LA_Coliseum1.jpgA Trojan and Traveler, the horse, revving up the crowd at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The renovations will be done in phases. In April they removed the video boards to make way for brand-new high-def boards.

The next phase will commence January 2018, to be completed prior to the 2019 season and will involve improvements to the south tower, which includes the premium spaces, suites, club seats, a new press box and a complete restoration of the historic peristyle — the famed arches — the replacement of 75,000 seats, increased WiFi and new railings.

Otis_Booth_Press_Box1.jpgRendering of the Otis Booth Press Box in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The press box already has a name — The Otis Booth Press Box, named after the late Franklin Otis Booth, Jr., a newspaper executive, investor and rancher. He is the great grandson of General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times.  Booth’s commitment to philanthropy during his life has benefited many institutions in the Los Angeles area.

“The Otis Booth Foundation is proud to once again support USC in the renovation of one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States," said Palmer Murray, vice president of the Otis Booth Foundation. "The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has a special place in history and we felt this was a wonderful opportunity to honor Otis’ legacy, as he so passionately supported the City of Los Angeles.”

“The improvements will really turn this old building into a modern state-of-the-art facility,” said Furin. “The Rams will get the benefit, the fans will benefit and we’ll hopefully get another 94 years out of the venue.”

 

 


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Nebraska State Fair Goes Solar
 
Posted: 23 May 2017, 3:00 pm

Aerial view of Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island, where solar panels were recently installed.

The Nebraska State Fair board have approved a deal to add solar panels to the Nebraska Building, where the fair’s administrative offices are located.

Although contractors from J-Tech Solar, provider of the panels, estimate it will save the Grand Island, Neb., fair $3,000 to $3,500 in electrical utility expenses, the main goal of the project is to educate attendees and further its sustainability commitment.

The fair began recycling used fryer oils in the 1990s and progressed to become a Zero Waste Event in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It recycles 90 percent of aluminum, cardboard, plastic bottles, paper and livestock bedding. In 2016, this included 1.56 tons of plastic; 2.53 tons of cardboard; 4.91 tons of co-mingled plastic, cardboard and aluminum; 1,033 tons of animal waste and bedding; 900 gallons of used fryer oil; 1,088 pounds of aluminum cans; and 1,300 pounds of food waste compost.

As part of the agreement, J-Tech Solar, a subsidiary of J-Tech Construction with offices in Lincoln and Grand Island, Neb., also has a sponsorship deal to serve as the fair’s sustainability partner for the next 10 years, paying $7,500 a year for a sustainability tent and $10,000 in kind for the solar system as part of the arrangement.

“J-Tech approached us to become involved with a sustainability pavilion, and we put together a sponsorship for its naming rights,” said Shaun Schlief, fair marketing and sponsorship director. “Through that conversation, we talked about putting solar panels on the Nebraska Building, which houses our administrative offices and Raising Nebraska exhibit.”

J-Tech installed an array of solar panels on the building’s south side free of charge as part of the agreement.

“I designed a 24.6 kw per hour system, which is the maximum for a meter in Nebraska,” said Drew Coffey, J-Tech Solar’s head of solar design and procurement. “With this system, the fair will pay $3,300 in energy costs annually, which means the return on investment is about 10-1/2 years; these systems are designed to last 40 to 50 years.”

The system includes 280W Canadian Solar CS6K Premium Modules; Enphase M250 Microinverters; an S-5 Standing Seam Roof Mount; and an Enphase Envoy-S Communications System.

“The fair facility managers have been big advocates for pushing sustainability, and much of the motivation is to promote the event to a younger crowd,” said Coffey.

The fair’s Marketplace Sustainability Pavilion, covered by a canopy of scrap fabrics treated with a chemical to improve air quality, includes exhibits that highlight ways to give new life to building and agricultural materials; explores sustainable practices for urban and agricultural resources; and includes information on recycling and waste management.

“We do a lot of education at the state fair on recycling, composting, wormaculture and sustainable practices people can do at home, on the farm and in their community and workplace,” said Jaime Parr, fair facilities director. “The solar project also has a real-time phone app we can link to our website to see how much energy is being generated by our solar panels and the impact on our carbon footprint.”

“We’re hoping to get more solar in the Grand Island community with this project,” said Parr. “We’re tapping into the municipal grid and hoping to clear a path so citizens can do the same on their own.”


 


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Terrorism Hits Outside Manchester Arena
 
Posted: 23 May 2017, 1:00 pm

A U.K. Police Officer comforts a young girl outside Manchester (U.K.) Arena after a terror attack outside the venue last night.

Amid the pink balloons and ponytails, terror landed on the touring industry yesterday. The event occurred just outside the front doors of Manchester (U.K.) Arena at about 10:30 p.m. local time during the opening night of Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman European tour.

Guy (Chip) Chipparoni, who is handling communications for SMG, which has managed the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena since it opened in 1995, said the staff has set up operations outside the venue, which is still an active crime scene. He emphasized the incident took place outside the arena, in a public space that connects the Victoria Station train station, retail and restaurants and the arena.

Following the blast and during egress from the building, the venue made public announcements asking concertgoers to be calm and patient. The venue is well and professionally staffed, he said, and John Sharkey, SMG Europe, is on the scene.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed 22 people, including children, and injured dozens more. Unlike the 2015 attack that saw 90 people lose their lives during the Eagles Of Death Metal show at the Bataclan in Paris, the Manchester tragedy took place outside the venue as fans (and parents picking them up) exited the building following the show. Given Grande’s demographic, there were a lot of young people in the audience, many of them rushing to find their parents.

As security and counter-terrorism experts have warned, and recent events around the globe have shown, the focus of the terrorists has shifted from the harder targets inside venues to the softer targets on the perimeter.

Similarly, the industry must adapt, directed by its security professionals. Prevent Advisors, a division of the Oak View Group, led by Chairman Bill Bratton, former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief and New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner, along with CEO Chris Robinette, a former Green Beret and COO Ben Tolle, also in Special Forces, and VP of Security Mike Downing, a former LAPD deputy chief and commanding officer of the Counter-Terrorism & Criminal Intelligence Bureau, bring critical insight to an industry which, for decades, had dealt with problems mostly related to in-venue crowd management and drug and alcohol issues.

Their message has been consistent, encouraging venues to look outward beyond the venue walls when considering the security plan. The Manchester incident further reinforces the message that terrorists are “looking outside,” and are not trying to penetrate existing security measures that have traditionally been focused inside the venue walls. “Expand your perimeters,” Prevent Advisors’ Tolle noted on a call to members of OVG’s Arena Alliance consortium of venues. These softer targets that will surely harden up in the coming days include parking lots and mass transportation drop-off areas, now clearly a target for vehicle rammings of pedestrians, IEDs, and suicide bombers such as the one in Manchester.

Much of the focus should be on giving the appearance of a well-protected event and venue. In addition to ample and visible security personnel, Prevent suggests contacting local police enforcement to ask for additional manpower and decoy cars at events, and to coordinate with transportation authorities. They also suggest all personnel to be on high alert for “abnormal behavior” (dress that is not appropriate for the weather or event, or large bulky items) and to utilize dogs. Given that Internet chatter often precedes terrorist attacks (some media reported a foreboding twitter post four hours before the Manchester attack), venues and events should take measures to “geo-fence” their location to monitor social media for key terms.

Meanwhile, the magnitude of the tragedy and its implications on the industry are beginning to sink in, especially with SMG. Maureen Ginty, SMG EVP, marketing services and human resources, told Venues Today in an email, “We all feel that this was just a horrendous tragedy, and have the utmost concern for everyone who is affected by this deplorable incident.”

Doug Thornton, SMG EVP, stadiums and arenas, wrote: “We are not in a position where we can comment just now. As you know, this incident is still under investigation and all officials are still trying to gather facts.”

SMG also posted a message on their website immediately after the incident: “On Monday evening at approximately 10:30 p.m., an incident occurred in a public space outside of Manchester Arena (UK) as attendees were exiting the Ariana Grande concert. Arena management continues to assist law enforcement officials in their investigation. ….”

Because it is an ongoing investigation, SMG deferred comment until the investigation is further along.

In the short term, the industry is moving forward, if skittishly. Marc Geiger, worldwide head of music for William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, sees “increases” across the board. “Security costs, insurance [costs] and time to enter a venue will all go up immediately, everywhere,” he tells Venues Today. “Metal detectors and more will start where they don’t have them and police costs will be added. That will happen regardless, worldwide.”

Another cost surely to increase is entertainment insurance premiums related to live events. “I haven’t heard about an immediate impact on premiums but, typically, when an event like this happens, the market gets fearful and limits terrorism coverage while increasing costs,” said Paul Bassman, president/CEO of Ascend Insurance Brokerage.

Bassman said a “wide range” of options are offered when it comes to covering terrorism.  Terrorism is initially excluded on most event cancelation policies, however it can be covered by endorsement, or by purchasing a separate terrorism policy.  Terrorism is clearly defined in the policy as, ‘any form, fear, threat, or acts of terrorism are expressly excluded from coverage.'  Options to cover acts of terrorism can range from removing the exclusion altogether to buying coverage limited to incidents that occur near the venue and close to the event date.

The impacted event “still has to meet the test of a proper cancellation, but if it does, it’s typically a pretty broad policy offered, as broad as removing the terrorism exclusion altogether, to limiting coverage for acts of terrorism based on time—the number of days before the event—and distance—within a certain number of miles from the venue,” Bassman explained.

Bassman said typical industry rates for terrorism coverage would be about 1.5$ to .25% on terrorism coverage, or about $15,000 to $25,000 on a $1 mm policy. He added that such coverage is becoming increasingly common for touring artists and festivals to carry.

“I can’t speak for [Grande’s tour], but if she has terrorism coverage on her touring policy, she could definitely make claims,” he said. “There were a lot of artists on tour in Europe when [the Bataclan incident] happened, and they made claims for terrorism all over Europe as travel was restricted; shows were being cancelled left and right because of concern that they weren’t protected properly. I’m sure that will happen in this instance as well, because there will probably be travel restrictions and shows cancelled all over Europe.”

Take That, scheduled to play Manchester Arena May 25, 26 and 27, has been postponed. The next scheduled event, KISS, May 30 and touted as their only confirmed show in the north of the country for 2017, is still on the schedule as of Tuesday, May 23.

Ever since the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the mayor of that city has been particularly keen on security. That makes Allen Johnson’s job easier as director of Orlando Venues. Both he and the police chief answer to the mayor.

His first reaction to the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena is that “it happened outside the venue,” but, that said, he has been consciously pushing the “front door” of Amway Center and Camping World Stadium beyond the gate, even beyond the ballards out front.

“Our ‘front door’ is not the front door,” he said. “It’s the parking garage, it’s the people who park downtown and walk in. We’ve extended our perception of our front door to include quite a few things.”

It’s a key ingredient to customer service and the patron experience in today’s world, when there are people who care nothing for their own life or the lives of others. How do you stop that?

“We have police outside in places we normally wouldn’t for fear of interrupting patron or traffic flow,” Johnson said. “At all major events, we have SWAT units inside or near the entrance.” The SWAT teams are fully outfitted, right down to long rifles and, while there is concern such a visible presence would be a deterrent to fun-seeking sports and concert fans, it has proven to be something patrons appreciate, Johnson said. “Remember, it’s already happened here.”

When the National Basketball Association went to mandatory wanding, Orlando Venues invested in magnetometers. Generally speaking, concert promoters are fine with the extra security cost. It’s the world we live in, Johnson said.

He recalled travelling to Europe with the Orlando Magic, where he talked with one of the security guards at the O2 Arena. The guard told Johnson to remember, you ‘Yanks’ have been dealing with this since 2001, we’ve been dealing with it since the 60s.

Orlando has gone further, taking some more extreme steps about which Johnson declined to tip their hand, though he did refer to other more common steps, like bomb-sniffing dogs which are becoming more common at venues. “You have to make your venue a hard target and you have to extend the front door,” he said.

Grande’s next stop is supposed to be at the O2 Arena, London, on Thursday, May 25, and Friday, May 26. Barnaby Hooper, 02 Arena, communications director, said, “Isn’t it just awful. We’re in total shock. We’re all saddened by the terrible tragedy in Manchester. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and their families.”

“Ariana is due to perform at The O2 on Thursday and Friday,” he said. “We’re awaiting confirmation, but it is highly likely the shows will not go ahead.”

“As soon as I have further information I will share it,” he said, adding, “Regardless of whether these shows go on, security is always tight at The 02.”

Grande was due at Sportspaleis, Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday night, May 28. Ineke Geert at the Sportspalies said, “Our hearts are with the victims and people in Manchester. This is a terrible tragedy. It is completely up to Ariana Grande and her team to decide if they want to play the show here on Sunday night but at the moment it sounds like the show will be canceled.”

“Security at Sportapleis is our number one concern,” she said. “If the show does go on, we will take every precaution we can to ensure the safety of our guests.”

Wouter Bruyns of the Antwerp police said, "We are still at threat level 3 and we are monitoring the situation closely. We are on high alert in all busy areas. This attack does not mean we will now have extra police protection for large venues as a standard. It will mean extra vigilance."

It has been reported that Grande has canceled the rest of her European tour.

 


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Chandler To Head F&B Team Of HKCEC
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 8:00 pm

Paul_Jeffrey_Chandler__Director_of_FB_(HML).JPGPaul Jeffrey Chandler

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) has appointed Paul Jeffrey Chandler as its new director of food & beverage (F&B). He joins HML, which is the private management and operating company for F&B at HKCEC.

Chandler has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality field, which he gained through various senior positions in international hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong, U.K. and Australia. Prior to joining HML, he was director, food & beverage operations of Shanghai Disney Resort, China, overseeing the preopening plans and daily operations of all in-park outlets, hotel restaurants and banquet services. Before relocating to Shanghai in 2012, he held a similar position at Hong Kong Disneyland for more than three years.
 


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Jessicake and Bubblieisha Hit the Road
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 8:00 pm

The promotional poster for Shopkins Live!

Anthony Ottaviani, The Dome Arena, Henrietta, N.Y., is thrilled to be welcoming Shopkins Live! as his first family show to the newly-renovated arena and just as pleased it’s such a hot property. The Dome Arena is among the first dates of the Sept. 14-April 28 bookings announced this month.

Generally speaking, the new family show, based on the number one toy for girls in North America produced by Moose Toys out of Australia, is playing soft-seat theaters, but Ottaviani aggressively pursued his agent at APA to buy the show. It will help bring families to the 40-year-old Dome, which was bought two years ago and refurbished to the tune of $10 million, reopening a month ago with Flogging Molly.

Gilles Paquin, Koba Entertainment, is building the Shopkins family show now. He has the North American rights to the tour and is negotiating for global rights. “Nobody has toured this show anywhere yet. Ours is the premiere live tour ever.

Koba is selling the show to promoters and venues and Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, N.J., is also one of the buyers. Ed Kirchdoerfler, GM,  booked two shows for Sept. 17.

Admitting he initially did not know what a Shopkins was, it didn’t take long to find someone in the office with young daughters. A subsequent trip to the toy store revealed more of the merchandise and general elation when shopkeepers heard the show was coming to town.

Shopkins Live! is in keeping with trends in family shows that Kirchdoerfler has noted of late – bigger productions, higher ticket prices, VIP programs. Mayo PAC presents a dozen family shows a year, and there was a day when tickets were $12-$15. Shopkins is more in the $29-$100 range, with the last being the meet-and-greet VIP experience.

It is selling well, he said. He sells family shows on a loose subscription basis. Anyone who buys five shows is considered a family show series subscriber.

Bigger productions like Shopkins Live! and VStar’s Paw Patrol Live! have raised the level of expectations for families, Kirchdoerfler believes. He said it is selling well, even though they have not yet announced the family show series. “I’m feeling good about the show,” Kirchdoerfler said. “We’re getting a nice number without even putting it out there.”

It looks like Shopkins Live! will travel with two semis, two tour buses and 23 people in cast and crew. Set up will be in the five-hour range.

The show will run for 90 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. The Shoppies and Shopkins characters will have an all new storyline, original pop music and video highlights as Jessicake, Bubblieisha, Peppa-Mint and friends prepare for Shopville’s annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.”

“We’re at 79 dates now, but it looks like we’ll add quite a few more – 10 for sure,” Paquin said. “Right now, we’re on the road for four months, but it looks like it could be for a year in North America.”

Paquin is working on partnering with a merchandise company and said there will be tour specific Shopkins merch.

“This has longevity. We’re looking at this for five years at least,” he said of the property.

While Shopkins are not on TV at all, they are a viral phenomenon. A new DVD is coming out before the tour launches. The website is Shopkinslive.com.

Paquin agrees with Kirchdoerfler that the quality of theater family shows is up considerably. “There are less tours but longer tours.”


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Two Retirees Talk Lessons Learned
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 8:00 pm

Bob Johnson,  New Orleans Ernest Morial Convention Center and Mack Stone, Columbia (S.C.) Metropolitan Convention Center

Two longtime GM’s currently running convention centers have announced their pending retirements, future plans and lessons learned this month. Two things remain the same in both their opinions: This is a relationship business and construction/expansion is a constant at convention centers.

Bob Johnson will retire after 10 years as general manager and president of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Sept. 25. The date marks the convergence of his 70th birthday and his 10th anniversary at the convention center, “two milestones in the same week.”

His go-forth plan is to try out retirement, see how it fits and then either go back to work or enjoy a new lifestyle. Tuesday, Sept. 26, he and his wife will start a 30-day road trip, which should be a good   test.

Mack Stone’s last day as VP and GM of the Columbia (S.C.) Metropolitan Convention Center is June 30. At 67, he’s still interested in keeping a finger in the business and expects this last chapter to be similar to the first few – answering the call from colleagues in the industry.

He likes to tell the story of attending his first IAVM District 5 meeting when he was about 30. Les Timms, his first boss and mentor in the business, encouraged him to get involved in IAVM. The first person he met was industry veteran Steve Camp, who was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the time. “I told him to give me a call if he ever decided to leave Myrtle Beach. I’d love to move there,” Stone said. Eight months later, he called with just that news.

For Johnson, his career has centered around returning home to New Orleans. A native of North Carolina with a wife from Virginia, he started in the business at Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1971 as an event coordinator.

In 1982, he moved to New Orleans to open UNO Lakefront Arena, before moving over to the Louisiana Superdome in 1985. In 1995, Johnson moved to Philadelphia where he worked for SMG corporate, overseeing arenas and stadiums, but the lure of the Big Easy won out and in 2007 he returned to manage the New Orleans Convention Center.

Neither man has been replaced yet, both expecting a national search combined with a close look at internal candidates. And both spoke of expansion plans they will miss being part of.

Johnson said you simply have to have “cathedral thinking.” Historically, cathedrals took 200 years to finish. One man could not claim the fame. He has overseen the redevelopment of parts of Convention Center Boulevard, with construction of Urban Linear Park expected to start mid to late summer.

The biggie is the new headquarters hotel and mixed-use development, which has had a few starts and stops and is about to start again. It will be a billion-dollar baby, most of it private money.

Other than major expansion projects during his tenure, which included completion of a $50 million renovation of the Great Hall that includes a 60,000-sq.-ft., column-free ballroom, he is most proud of the shift in the culture of the convention center and the city in general. Post several traumas, beginning with 9/11 and continuing with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the recession of 2008 and the Gulf oil spill of 2010, the citizenry of New Orleans was recoiling.

“We had to keep chipping at the armor. As a destination city, we depend on the resiliency of its people that has made New Orleans a city celebrated as a world icon,” Johnson said. Looking in the rearview mirror, he sees that customer service and world-class performance levels are back.

Lessons learned in his diverse career? “Be flexible and don’t bow to political dogma, whether university, city or state. You have a business to run.”

The biggest change? Technology. But when you get through that, it’s still a relationship-driven business; it’s still about entertaining and taking care of people, Johnson said.

Stone cited expansion talk in Columbia that is heating up again just as he is retiring. He is a veteran of construction projects and likes the challenges.

His career began when he badgered Les Timms of the Greenville (S.C.) Memorial Auditorium, to hire him and train him so he could move home to Greenwood, S.C., to manage the under-construction Lander University arena, which was opening in the fall of 1977. “I aggravated him to death. I wanted in this industry,” Stone recalled. Neither building exists today.

The young manager mimicked what was done in Greenville, right down to putting Greenwood letterhead on Greenville contracts, all with Timms’ encouragement. “It was a small operation. There were only four of us,” Stone said.

From there, Stone and his wife, Amy, went to the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Convention Center after that call from Camp. Five and a half years later, he got another call, from Clyde Hawkins at the Tivoli Theater, Chattanooga, Tenn., who thought of Stone for a new venue under construction. Six years later, it was a call from Phoenix Civic Plaza, but Mack and Amy hungered for family and home and three years later returned to South Carolina.

After a sojourn in the trade show business, “Steve Camp calls me again and asks if I’d consider a job at a new convention center under construction in Columbia,” Stone said.

It’s about relationships. Running a convention center requires strong relationships with subcontractors, staff and clientele, Stone said. He agrees the main force for change is technology.

His advice? Be nice to people. You never know when you will meet that person again but, if you’re in this business, you will meet them again.

Columbia Metro Convention Center is busy, hosting 360 events and working three shifts most of the fall and winter. But in the summertime, when there is a lull, Stone likes to send a convention center crew on the road to visit other buildings. Usually, there is suspicion on the other side — why-are-you-here thinking.

But once the Columbia contingent shares their stash of contracts and systems and processes and asks for comparisons, they get involved and share information.

They invariably bring back ideas, which is great, but Stone has an ulterior motive. “It’s really a selfish thing we started, because they usually come back realizing it’s not as bad as they thought it was in Columbia,” Stone said. “Everyone has issues.”

It’s a small industry and communication is as important as relationships.


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Live Nation Takes Over Philly's The Met
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 7:00 pm

Rendering of the soon-to-be new and improved Philadelphia Opera House (The Met).

The historic Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia, is about to get a much-needed facelift after a big-time developer decided to invest millions into renovating the structure that was built in 1908.

Slated to open at the end of 2018, Real Estate Developer Eric Blumenfeld has partnered with Live Nation to manage the 3,500-capacity venue that takes up an entire city block. 

Roughly $45 million will be invested to resurrect a building that has “the best acoustics on the East Coast,” said Geoff Gordon, regional president of Live Nation.

“The venue and the bones of it are remarkable,” Gordon told Venues Today.

The structure was built by Oscar Hammerstein and became dormant in the late 80s and mid 90s before a church moved in.

Now, the opera house — located on the bustling redeveloped North Broad Street — will be restored by Blumenfeld’s EB Realty Group to its original structure along with all the bells and whistles needed to host concerts and entertainment acts.

“I am over the top, beyond belief excited,” Blumenfeld said about the 110,000-sq.-ft. structure. “Words cannot describe my level of excitement. I have been working on this project for a long, long time.”

Renovating the building and giving it “the respect it deserves” brings out the passionate developer-side in Blumenfeld.

He feels The Met’s facelift will add to all the other efforts — and money — he’s put into North Broad Street, which includes the redevelopment of old factories and the Divine Lorraine Hotel, which is three-and-a-half blocks from the opera house.

Management of The Met adds to the list of venues Live Nation oversees in Philadelphia.

“The city is absolutely growing by leaps and bounds,” Gordon said. “With the addition of the Fillmore Philadelphia, the comedy club and the Tower Theater, this venue (The Met) fits right in line with our other venues.”

Economic drivers in Philadelphia include Comcast housing, its national headquarters in the city, as well as many young adults moving downtown, Blumenfeld said.

“Philadelphia has really been on the rise as a city for the last 10 years,” he said. “More and more people are wanting to live downtown. If you compare us with other major metro areas, the quality of life is really amazing.”

Much of the success of North Broad Street, in particular, is credited to Blumenfeld’s dedication to revamping old, shut-down buildings into apartments and restaurants.

“Twelve years ago, when we started developing on North Broad Street, there were factory-type buildings and we made them residential communities,” Blumenfeld said. “These are buildings that were basically vacant for 10 to 20 years.”

Many of those vacancies now have mixed-use development, including retail, residential and dining.

“We have continued to outpace other cities in creating a really great dining scene,” Blumenfeld said, highlighting that he spends a good chunk of his time working with restaurateurs and chefs trying to find the perfect structural fit for new cuisine offerings.

“When you think about great neighborhoods, they’re about people, they’re about nightlife and restaurants and entertainment,” he said.

As such, Philadelphia also has turned into a city that musical artists want to visit.

“There was sometime ago when Philadelphia used to be a ‘maybe’ stop (for artists), then it was a ‘yes’ stop, and now it’s a ‘definitely’ stop,” Gordon said.

Both Gordon and Blumenfeld feel the booking power of The Met will be super strong.

“What we’re doing is giving people a reason to come and visit,” Blumenfeld said. “How do you reimagine a guest experience by just going to a concert? That’s what we’re trying to create.”

 


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USF Sun Dome Changes Management
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 6:10 pm

Exterior of USF Sun Dome, Tampa, Fla.

The management at USF Sun Dome, Tampa, Fla., is changing. Spectra, which has been managing the property for the last five years, is out, as of June 30 and Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties (TBEP), an offshoot of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment (TBSE), is taking over July 1. TBSE is the entity that runs neighboring Amalie Arena.

It’s a five-year deal between USF Sun Dome and TBEP. Rhett Blewett, who has been a member of TBEP for the past 10 years has been tapped to oversee building and event operations at USF Sun Dome.

“We’re going to be taking on and managing the USF Sun Dome,” said Kevin Preast, SVP, event management, TBSE. “We created TBEP to oversee the management and programming of the USF Sun Dome.”

“Since Mr. Vinik bought the team (Tampa Bay Lightning) in 2010, the brand re-creation of the Lightning and Amalie Arena, led by Mr. Vinik and our CEO Steve Griggs, has been phenomenal.”

“USF Sun Dome came to us and said that their management contract with their current vendors was expiring and asked us to take a look at it,” he said. “They were very interested in the transformation of our organization and our brand and wanted to see if we would be interested in helping them make the same transition.”

“Spectra is very proud of the business that we have built at the USF Sun Dome over the last five years,” said Trent Merritt, GM, USF Sun Dome. “Following the 2011/2012 renovation, we undertook a highly successful rebranding campaign and subsequently took the venue to a nationally ranked Top 5 University arena and a Top 2 ranked arena in the state of Florida each year, with respect to bookings.”

“In doing so, we also exceeded the arena’s financial goals each and every year by a significant margin,” he said. “While we are disappointed in the decision to change management companies, we wish the best for the Sun Dome moving forward."

USF Sun Dome is a 55,000-sq.-ft., multipurpose facility on the campus of the University of South Florida. The building is approximately 37 years old and it is located on the southeastern side of the USF campus; it is home to the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams.

It currently hosts approximately 300 different events each year.

 


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Jaguars' Daily's Place To Open May 27
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 5:50 pm

Rendering of the new Daily's Place flex-field and amphitheater, Jacksonville, Fla

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Everbank Field, Jacksonville, Fla., are saying hello to the new 5,500-capacity amphitheater and flex-field, which are connected to it via sky bridges, and will open May 27, with a concert by Tedeshi Trucks Band.

Called Daily’s Place, the new venue was built to fill a hole in the 5,000-6,000-capacity space in the Northeastern Florida market.

The conversations regarding the project started three years ago when Shad Khan bought the Jaguars, said Chad Johnson, SVP, sales and service, Bold Events and The Jacksonville Jaguars.  Bold Events is a sister company of the Jaguars, formed for the purpose of planning events and concerts at both Daily’s Place and EverBank Field.

“We’ve been steadily investing in the facility to improve the fan experience and investing in the community to strengthen our relationship with our fans,” he said. “We were looking at new and creative things we could do to drive the business forward to help overcome some of the inherent challenges that come with a small market like we have here.”

161107_16x9_Jax_Images3.jpgRendering of the interior of the new Daily's Place amphitheater.

Johnson and his team started by “looking at areas where we currently aren’t delivering in the marketplace” and noticed there was a gap in the 5,000-6,000-seat event space. The amphitheater idea came from those conversations.

“We have a great arena, a great football stadium and a smaller outdoor amphitheater that only seats 3,700,” he said. “We noticed there was a market for these 5,000-6,000-seat performances but not a venue to host them.”

The project is a part of a private-public partnership between Khan and the city of Jacksonville. Ninety-million dollars was budgeted for Daily’s Place along with improvements to EverBank Field, split 50-50 between the two entities. The naming rights deal with Daily’s Place is for five years and there is an option to extend.

Phase one of the project were improvements to the stadium including enhancements to their US Assure Clubs, which sit on the 50-yard line, and the East and West Clubs got full renovations. Both projects were completed for the 2016 National Football League season.

Phase two, Daily’s Place and the flex-field, broke ground for 2016. The entire flex-field and amphitheater are under a shared-roof structure. The flex-field will be used for Jaguar practices, pregame hospitality events for Jaguars games, trade shows and community events that would require a covered space.

“The stage of the amphitheater backs up to the flex-field and those airline-hanger doors will open up,” said Johnson. Combined, the venues are 160,000 sq.-ft; 94,000 sq.-ft. for the flex-field and 66,000 for the amphitheater.

Populous is the designer of the new venues. “Populous has been working with the Jaguars for several years,” said Jonathan Mallie, principal and director of the New York office, Populous. The design process took about two months. The contractor was Hunt Construction.

“It was an extremely aggressive construction schedule,” said Mallie, who added that digital modeling allowed them to expedite the construction.

Mallie said that he looked at the challenges of designing around an existing facility as opportunities. “The new venues work off the south end-zone of EverBank Field and make a movement toward the waterfront and this allowed us to connect EverBank Field to the waterfront and greet the public.”

“The predominate architectural move of the roof-scape that hovers over the venues really creates an iconic presence on the waterfront,” said Mallie.

Co-facility management partner Live Nation is the content provider, and SMG will be the co-facility partner with Live Nation on the operational side.

There are 28 confirmed shows including Train, Incubus, Journey and Asia, Matchbox Twenty and Kings of Leon. Johnson expects to add more events to coincide with home games for the Jaguars. “When we are fully operational, we expect to have 40 events a year,” he said.

There are three levels of seating at the amphitheater including premium lounges and premium loge sections, with couches and in-seat service.

The concessionaire will be Delaware North, who also services EverBank Field. “We will serve everything from healthy options to grab-and-go snacks,” said Johnson. 

The resources and infrastructure of EverBank Field will be shared by the new venues and all ingress will be done through the gates of EverBank Field.

“The goal is to be a first-class facility for the fans and the artists,” said Johnson. “We have a unique state-of-the-art back-of-house where we created patios for the artists to enjoy the great Florida weather.”

Initial studies suggest that Johnson and his team were right-on in their assessment that the area needed a venue such as Daily’s Place. Tickets are selling briskly — and to people who’ve never stepped foot in EverBank Field.

“We didn’t build Daily’s Place to reach the same people who come to Jaguars games,” said Johnson. “As we’ve gone through our first round of studies, we’ve found that 75 percent of the people purchasing tickets for Daily’s Place have never been to a Jaguars game.”

 

 


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USGA Turns Courses Into Pop-Up Venues
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 3:00 pm

The 117th US Open Championship will be played in a pop-up venue at Erin Hills, Hartford, Wis.

For one week in June, the United States Golf Association (USGA) turns an otherwise idyllic golf-course setting into a full-fledged venue, catering to the expectations of modern fans with a growing set of modern amenities. For this, the 117th US Open Championship, June 12-18, the USGA gives Erin Hills, Hartford, Wis., its first run as a US Open host, morphing a 652-acre property into a seven-day city and welcoming 35,000 patrons per day.

And it takes months to make it happen.

With a build starting March 15, it will take the USGA’s vendors three months to build for an event that includes the four-day championship and three days of practice rounds and then another two months for the tear-down and restoration process.

“It is pretty remarkable how quickly everything goes up,” said Eric Steimer, USGA 2017 U.S. Open Championship manager. “When you start to look at the bigger picture of what goes on outside the ropes, there are all of these pieces that come in to put on a championship of this size and scope and Erin Hills allows us a lot of great things because it is such a big piece of property.”

Relatively new in the golf world, Erin Hills didn’t even start forming until 2004 and has only been open for about 10 years. But that served to help the rolling hills design plans for a major championship by ensuring it had a plan for welcoming tens of thousands of fans while transforming into a venue.

“We can get the 18 holes right, but let’s think beyond the rope lines, how fans are going to navigate, where we are going to put them, how does that factor into how you design this golf course,” Steimer said. “It was all contemplated when it started in 2004.”

This June, the USGA will set up 400,000 square feet of tented space, 500,000 square feet of flooring, over 100 office trailers, 20 miles of fiber-optic cables and 15 miles of temporary fencing. The USGA predicts $120 million of estimated economic impact for southeastern Wisconsin with about $65 million for the greater Milwaukee metro area, as the course rests just northwest of the downtown area. The bulk of that economic impact comes from contractors setting up and tearing down the venue, as well as tourism-related spending by visitors.

Much of the temporary infrastructure rests in “fan central,” a location that includes the 39,000-sq-ft. merchandise pavilion at the main gate. At Erin Hills, fans will park offsite and a bus will drop them off at fan-central, meaning roughly 90 percent of traffic will come and go via one location. “It allows the vast majority of fans to walk through a centralized location and experience all the different activations we have onsite to optimize the fan experiences as opposed to having to walk to the opposite end of the course,” Steimer said. “It is all right there for them.”

Fan-central includes activation spaces for key sponsors American Express and Lexus, as well as a USGA member experience and golf-innovation tent. To handle the food and beverage needs, such as the estimated 100,000 hot dogs and 365,000 12-ounce beers, the USGA contracts with Levy Prom to manage all the fan concessions and then Ridgewells Catering for all corporate hospitality. “We break it up between the two companies,” Steimer said, “but both groups have to do a lot of local sourcing, whether a pretzel, bun or a hot dog.”

Every site sets up differently, but with the USGA returning to locations multiple times, dropping into a new course required “throwing darts at the wall to see what sticks” in terms of designing the pop-up experience.

With the fan-central location figured out, the USGA plans to dot the rolling hills with grandstands. “If we could build a grandstand around every green and some of the tees, that is the goal,” Steimer said. “We are able to get the vast majority of grandstands behind the greens.” Erin Hills will feature roughly 3,000 seats behind the 18th green, the pinnacle-finishing hole of the tournament. Another 1,200 seats will fit behind the par-three, ninth hole and expect anywhere from 400 to 1,500 seats at other locations.

The USGA plans to allow for about 50 percent of the anticipated crowd to be seated in grandstands at one time. “We are confident we could sell more tickets, but we are not about trying to maximize sales; we want it to be a good spectator experience,” Steimer said.

With a one-time event coming to Wisconsin, the USGA varies its ticketing options, everything from a $325,000 hospitality package a larger corporation may purchase for its own 40-foot by 40-foot tent to general admission fan tickets that allow access to the grounds and stands. In between, there is a bit of everything, from smaller, exclusive hospitality tents, shared premium tents, daily and weekly suites and tickets to the Trophy Club or 1895 club.

While most sports’ major events require a ramping up of sorts to pull off, the USGA moves its annual championship around the nation to courses in completely different terrains and regions, requiring planning based on specific course layouts. It all happens to turn 18 holes of golf into one of the nation’s premier pop-up venues.
 


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Hot Tickets for May 17, 2017
 
Posted: 17 May 2017, 2:00 pm

The Weeknd, playing his Starboy: Legend of the Fall tour set at Philips Arena, Atlanta.  (Photo credit: Lauren Arum Photography)

Phase one of The Weeknd’s 2017 world tour Starboy: Legend of the Fall launched Feb. 17, in Stockholm, Sweden, and is set to wrap up in summer as part of the Lollapalooza Festival at the Hippodrome de Longchamp, Paris, July 22. The Canadian singer, whose given name is Abel Tesfaye, made a stop at Philips Arena, Atlanta, May 13 and, along with support acts Rae Sremmurd, 6lack and rapper Belly, entertained a packed house grossing $1.4 million. With smoke, lights, laser lighting and a stage that resembles parts of a spaceship, the 15, 000 fans in attendance were treated not only to great music but a nonstop blast to their senses. The Weeknd will make his next stop May 18, at the Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

Neil Diamond showed up on our Hot Tickets chart this week with his own stop at Philips Arena, April 30. The Live Nation-promoted event, with ticket prices ranging from $30-$150, grossed $1.2 million and saw over 12,000 fans in attendance. Celebrating his five-decade career, the rock and roll Hall of Fame member embarked on his 50 Year Anniversary World Tour in April and will be on the road through the middle of August. Diamond can be seen next at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa, May 21.

 HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between April 18-May 16.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Luke Bryan
Gross Sales: $1,623,816; Venue: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.; Attendance: 30,272; Ticket Range: $190-$34.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 5-6; No. of Shows: 2

2) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $1,372,064; Venue: Philips Arena, Atlanta; Attendance: 15,087; Ticket Range: $150-$39.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 13; No. of Shows: 1

3) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $1,322,826; Venue: U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati; Attendance: 16,736; Ticket Range: $129-$29; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: April 22; No. of Shows: 1

4) Def Leppard
Gross Sales: $1,281,677; Venue: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.; Attendance: 15,236; Ticket Range: $149.50-$49.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 27; No. of Shows: 1

5) Neil Diamond
Gross Sales: $1,207,287; Venue: Philips Arena, Atlanta; Attendance: 12,235; Ticket Range: $149.50-$29.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 30; No. of Shows: 1

1) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $1,081,681; Venue: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.; Attendance: 14,447; Ticket Range: $89-$27; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 6; No. of Shows: 1

2) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $924,965; Venue: Jacksonville (Fla.) Veterans Memorial Arena; Attendance: 13,854; Ticket Range: $89-$18; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 5; No. of Shows: 1

3) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $857,408; Venue: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Attendance: 11,574; Ticket Range: $89.50-$22.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group, AEG Presents; Dates: May 11; No. of Shows: 1

4) Dierks Bentley
Gross Sales: $477,341; Venue: Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kan.; Attendance: 9,014; Ticket Range: $59.75-$29.75; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 5; No. of Shows: 1

5) Dierks Bentley
Gross Sales: $464,681; Venue: Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.; Attendance: 10,513; Ticket Range: $51.80-$17; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 29; No. of Shows: 1

1) Shlomo Artzi
Gross Sales: $489,059; Venue: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York; Attendance: 4,995; Ticket Range: $293-$44; Promoter: Cenit Productions and Entertainment; Dates: April 26; No. of Shows: 1

2) Julianne & Derek Hough: Move Live on Tour
Gross Sales: $401,008; Venue: Radio City Music Hall, New York; Attendance: 5,945; Ticket Range: $119-$30; Promoter: Live Nation, MSG Live; Dates: May 6; No. of Shows: 1

3) Radio Disney Music Awards
Gross Sales: $395,120; Venue: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles; Attendance: 5,165; Ticket Range: $179.75-$59.75; Promoter: ABC Cable Networks Group; Dates: April 29; No. of Shows: 1

4) Pepe Aguilar
Gross Sales: $379,147; Venue: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles; Attendance: 4,476; Ticket Range: $175-$35.55; Promoter: Nederlander Concerts; Dates: April 22; No. of Shows: 1

5) Pure Sydney
Gross Sales: $377,974; Venue: Hordern Pavilion, Sydney; Attendance: 5,526; Ticket Range: $79.78-$68.30; Promoter: Pure Music; Dates: April 22; No. of Shows: 1

1) Matilda
Gross Sales: $1,532,424; Venue: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Attendance: 23,501; Ticket Range: $85-$35; Promoter: In-house, Broadway Across America; Dates: April 25- May7; No. of Shows: 16

2) The King and I
Gross Sales: $1,102,560; Venue: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami; Attendance: 13,942; Ticket Range: $175-$29; Promoter: In-house, Broadway Across America; Dates: May 9-14; No. of Shows: 8

3) Paw Patrol Live!
Gross Sales: $744,973; Venue: ICC Darling Harbour Theatre, Sydney; Attendance: 21,946; Ticket Range: $59.50-$29.50; Promoter: TEG Life Like Touring ; Dates: April 20-23; No. of Shows: 11

4) Mamma Mia
Gross Sales: $730,075; Venue: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, Wis.; Attendance: 9,407; Ticket Range: $130-$45; Promoter: Broadway Across America, In-house; Dates: May 12-14; No. of Shows: 5

5) Riverdance
Gross Sales: $598,706; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 9,177; Ticket Range: $85-$30; Promoter: Broadway Across America; Dates: May 5-7; No. of Shows: 5

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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BOTS Fines Announced in New York
 
Posted: 16 May 2017, 3:00 pm

The state of New York has fined six ticket brokers $4.19 million over BOTS act violations.

Settlements with six ticket brokers that illegally purchased and resold hundreds of thousands of tickets in New York State since 2011, including on-ticket resale platforms like StubHub and Vivid Seats, were recently announced by the state’s Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The settlements require the six companies to pay a combined total of $4.19 million in disgorged profits and penalties to the state.

Five of the companies – Renaissance Ventures, LLC (d/b/a Prestige Entertainment) of Connecticut; Ebrani Corp (d/b/a Presidential Tickets) of New York; Concert Specials Inc. of New York; Fanfetch Inc. of New York; and BMC Capital Partners, Inc. of New York – violated New York’s ticket laws by using illegal software known as ticket “bots” to purchase large numbers of tickets on websites such as Ticketmaster.com before the tickets could be obtained by consumers. After obtaining the tickets illegally, resellers then resold them at a large profit. Five of the companies – Prestige Entertainment, Presidential Tickets, Concert Specials, Fanfetch and JAL Enterprises, LLC (d/b/a Top Star Tickets) of Massachusetts – each illegally sold tickets to events in New York over the last several years without first obtaining the required license. Prestige Entertainment paid $3,350,000, Concert Specials paid $480,000, Presidential Tickets paid $125,000, BMC Capital paid $95,000, Top Star Tickets paid $85,000, and Fanfetch paid $55,000.

The settlements require that the companies and their principals maintain proper ticket reseller licenses to resell tickets to New York events, abstain from using bots and pay penalties for having operated illegally. The Attorney General also announced a settlement with a seventh company, Componica, LLC, of Iowa, that developed software libraries used by ticket bots to try to get around tests that websites use to determine if a user is a human or a bot (often referred to as “CAPTCHA” tests). Componica has agreed to not develop or use software to bypass security measures on ticketing websites.

“This is a continuation of the dialogue that’s been coming out of New York,” said Joe Cassitto, head of broker relations for New York City-based TixPix, a no-fee ticket broker. “They’re trying to do anything reasonable to even the playing field for casual fans and people doing this for a living; they’re also looking for transparency.”

Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation found that Prestige Entertainment ran one of the country’s largest ticket purchasing and reselling operations and used at least two different bots and thousands of credit cards and Ticketmaster accounts to purchase tickets to New York shows. Prestige Entertainment also bought IP addresses from online IP proxy services to evade detection of its bots by the retail ticket marketplace. In one transaction, the company purchased 1,012 tickets to a 2014 U2 Concert at Madison Square Garden in one minute.   

San Francisco-based ticket broker StubHub had no comment on this topic.

The National Association of Ticket Brokers has long taken a position against bot use and supported legislation to stop bots.

“We’ve advocated for open markets, but these need to be free of deceit and fraud,” said Gary Adler, counselor with the NATB.

He added the bot situation gives the industry a black eye, and ticket resellers are an easy target for people to dislike.

“It hurts our members because they have less access to tickets to sell or resell,” said Adler. “While bots are the target, this is not the problem in terms of people’s access to tickets. Getting rid of bots is not the panacea for getting tickets into fans’ hands.”

Adler said hold-backs and lack of ticket availability to the general public need to be transparent so ticket brokers don’t get blamed for scooping up the inventory.

“Getting rid of bots will not improve ticket availability,” he said.

“In response to the news/case overall, in TicketCity’s 27 years of business, the use of illegal activity to obtain or resell tickets has never been condoned on our platform, and we list this in our Terms & Conditions,” said Shannon McKinley, the Austin, Texas company’s director of PR/communications. “We’re an online marketplace that supports a free market model for the ticket industry and believe open competition always leads to the best consumer experience. We will continue to form decisions that support making ticketing a fair and transparent place so that fans can continue to enjoy their favorite events. That said, ticket resellers are expressly prohibited from selling tickets unfairly obtained on TicketCity.”

Cassito said venues, artists and teams can do a better job in deterring the secondary market. “For the secondary market, it’s a matter of adjusting to different delivery methods, but there will always be an opportunity for people to profit from buying and selling tickets as long as venues, artists and teams create it by offering a price that is indicative of the demand,” said Cassito.

Since releasing its report on the concert and sports ticket industry titled Obstructed View: What’s Blocking New Yorkers From Getting Tickets in January 2016, the New York Attorney General’s office has announced settlements with 15 businesses involved in the illegal ticket trade, including resellers, facilitators and software developers, for a total of $7.1 million. The office’s broader investigation into the secondary ticketing industry remains ongoing.

In 2016, New York enacted legislation called for by Attorney General Schneiderman that added criminal penalties for bot use to the existing civil penalties. That law took effect in February 2017. The settlements announced to date involved misconduct committed before the new law took effect.

“If the industry tries to stop ticket resellers by putting caps on ticket purchasing and reselling or making it illegal, it will drive up ticket prices and lead to less consumer protection,” said Adler.


 

 


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Spanish Language Sports App Launches
 
Posted: 16 May 2017, 3:00 pm

Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia, where FIFA games will soon be televised on Telemundo's Spanish languge app.

(Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in SportTechie.com)

For the first time, a U.S. network will be offering a stand-alone Spanish-language sports app on connected TV devices as Telemundo is launching the Telemundo Deportes EN VIVO app.

Telemundo Deportes EN VIVO is available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV in addition to being Chromecast enabled. Customers who have any of these devices can use their paid TV credentials to sign into the app and view content.

The app features broadcasts a variety of live sporting events, including the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Russia in 2018, CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, Liga MX, Premier League, boxing and NASCAR.

In addition to live streaming games, the app can show viewers highlights, event schedules, previews and replays.

“We are committed to continue enhancing Telemundo Deportes’ multiplatform offerings, so fans can have access to their favorite sports events whenever they want and on the screen of their choice,”  Joaquin Duro, the Director of Digital Sports for Telemundo Deportes, said in a statement. “As the Telemundo Deportes EN VIVO app continues to attract our viewers, we are excited to offer them more ways to consume our content across all devices.”


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Spectra Lands Three New Accounts
 
Posted: 10 May 2017, 5:30 pm

Ford Idaho Center, Nampa, one of three new Spectra contracts announced this week.

Spectra released three big, back-to-back announcements about new accounts it recently landed at three new venues, and it also signed an extended contract with a facility it currently serves.

The company specializes in venue management, food services and hospitality and ticketing and fan engagement under the business name Spectra by Comcast Spectacor.

Since the beginning of the year, the Orange County Soccer Club, Irvine, Calif., has been working with Spectra on goals for its food and beverage offerings.

The soccer team recently was rebranded, so bringing on a concessions partner with deep knowledge about venue operations was important, said Kelly Salmieri, vice president of marketing and community relations for the soccer club.

“We were looking for a national partner that understands what it takes to run a venue and what it means to elevate the fan experience,” she said. “Bringing local vendors in is important to us.”

Spectra is charged with hiring local food and beverage concessionaires, and it fit the bill for the soccer team’s first game May 6, Salmieri said.

“We just opened our first home opener at the Orange County Great Park in downtown Irvine,” Salmieri said. “From this first game, fans really enjoyed burgers and turkey legs. They also had a corn-on-the-cob stand.”

The soccer club has seen a lot of changes recently after it was sold to James Keston last September. The club was rebranded from the Los Angeles Blues into the Orange County Soccer Team under the United Soccer League.

“We make it a priority to create new and exciting food concepts that infuse local signature flavors, and attempt to source locally when it is possible,” Spectra SVP of Business Development and Client Relations Todd Glickman said.

The company also recently signed to provide food and beverage service to the Charleston (S.C.) Gaillard Center.

Spectra will provide preshow dining at the 1,800-seat Maratha and John M.Rivers Performance Hall along with specialty bars throughout the lobbies and catering and bar offerings to the patron boxes.

It also will provide cuisine for various events at the center’s 16,000 sq. ft. of ballroom, exhibition and banquet space.

“Charleston’s rich culinary traditions and the low country’s bounty of locally-sourced ingredients provide our team with inspiration and enthusiasm as we design our plans for the Gaillard Center,” Spectra’s Regional Vice President John LaChance said in a statement.

Additionally, Spectra will now manage and provide ticketing and fan engagement at Nampa, Idaho’s City Civic Center, where they had already been servicing Ford Idaho Center, which includes Ford Amphitheater, Ford Arena and Ford Idaho Horse Park.

“After a successful first year of providing the same services to the Ford Idaho Center, Nampa City Council was compelled to hire Spectra to manage its 640-seat civic center,” said Ember Gutierrez, marketing director, Ford Idaho Center. “It’s a really, really nice building and seemed like the perfect tie-in for us.”

The deal also included an extended contract for the company to manage Ford Idaho Center, which means Spectra will now manage and provide ticketing and fan engagement to both venues until Sept.30, 2027.

“They are a terrific community partner and, with their integrated services of managing the venue and providing ticket sales, they continue to seek new opportunities for generating excitement around our facility,” said Nampa Mayor Bob Henry in a statement.

The Ford Idaho Center arena can seat up to 9,500 people, and the Ford Amphitheater can hold up to 10,600. Both are less than five miles away from the civic center.

“With it being less than five miles away, it’s a great little venue that offers all the things we don’t offer,” Gutierrez said.

The center also has a horse park and sports center.

“By adding the civic center to our roster of facilities, we can create new solutions that will unlock incremental value for our clients and their customers at both properties. We look forward to new opportunities that will generate excitement to the region,” Tim Sovona, general manager of the Ford Idaho Center, said in a statement.
 


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AEG Makes Friends (Arena)
 
Posted: 10 May 2017, 4:00 pm

AEG will operate Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden.

AEG Facilities is expanding its range in Stockholm, Sweden, once again. In a deal with Arenabolaget in Solna AB and property company Fabege, the Los Angeles-based AEG Facilities will manage Friends Arena in Stockholm as part of a long-term, 10-year agreement.

The area’s largest multipurpose stadium — located in Solna, just five miles north of Stockholm — seats 50,000 and has a capacity of 75,000. It is home to the Swedish National Soccer Team, the AIK Soccer Club, as well as concerts, family shows, sports and other special events. It is also an opportunity for AEG to develop a powerful portfolio of venues that could help nurture talent and events from start-up to mega-success.

“There are two stadiums with retractable roofs in this market — one run by AEG since 2003, Tele2Arena, which seats 30,000 and has two home teams — and this one, which was built by the Swedish Soccer Association,” said Marie Lindqvist, CEO of AEG operations in Sweden. “We were contacted by the owners who wanted to know if we wanted to run Friends along with the four other arenas we operate in the area.”

Friends Arena joins the other venues operated by AEG in Stockholm, which include Tele2Arena, Ericsson Globe (16,000 cap.), Söderstadion (13,000 cap.), the Hovet (9,300 cap.) and the hockey stadium Annexet (3,700 cap.). AEG has run the last four venues since 2008 and Lindqvist said from the company’s point of view, it was an opportunity to add to their portfolio of venues with different capacities in the market.

Klaus Vikström, executive vice president of Fabege and a board member of Arenabolaget, said his company approached AEG about the opportunity when the former operator, France’s Lagardere, had taken Friends Arena as far as possible in the market. “The competition in Stockholm is very strong and someone who controls all the arenas has a better platform to place the right concert in the right area,” he said. “We didn’t see [AEG] as competition, we saw an opportunity for them to take it to the next level.”

With the vast reach AEG has, Vikström said the company can help make Friends Arena competitive in a market that extends beyond Stockholm to Copenhagen, Hamburg and beyond. “Europe is much smaller than the states in terms of land, and in order to compete Europe-wide and worldwide, AEG makes it a much stronger attraction to big concerts and managers.”

AEG Facilities will provide full management services to Friends Arena, including event programming, vendor venue services, advertising and marketing, while overseeing event-day operations. In addition, Lindqvist said AEG can now also offer packages to potential sponsors that will span more than one venue. “We can offer one or more venues for bigger events, for international championships when we work very closely with the city to offer this opportunity to take advantage of the modern arena infrastructure we have,” she said. “In developing sponsorships we can offer premium opportunities to have a lot of content at adjoining arenas.”

Lindqvist concurred that while AEG runs multiple arenas in Stockholm, the competition in the market is all over Europe and the addition of Friends makes their offerings in the city much stronger by presenting a variety of opportunities for potential partners and clients. For instance, the ability to offer sponsors and events more than one venue at a time makes sense for AEG, which hosts 350 events a year across all six buildings. “We can sell across the arenas with a very good mix of sports, music and family shows,” said Lindqvist of the deal, the terms of which were not made public.

As with any such consolidating action, Vikström said the AEG deal will also help reduce some redundancies and create efficiencies. “To keep costs at the right level if you have two grass lawns you don’t need two cutters,” he said. “You don’t need two CFOs, and if you look at the other side, there’s a bigger economic benefit and a big win for an operator with a fantastic variety of the best and most modern arenas in the country."

Friends Arena is anchored by the Mall of Scandinavia, the biggest mall in the region at more than one million square feet, and next to the newly developed city district, Arenastaden, which has more than a million visitors a month and one million square feet of shops.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the new deal for AEG is a unique opportunity to work with their many partners to help acts and events play their way up from the smaller venues to Friends Arena over time. “That’s how we work,” she said. “For example, in eSports and EDM we have acts that started out in the smaller venues and have grown into the bigger arenas. That’s our plan for Friends as well.”


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Ticketmaster's Verified Fan A Success
 
Posted: 10 May 2017, 2:25 pm

Promo for Harry Styles North American tour powered by Ticketmaster's Verified Fan.

Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan is being touted as a hit, despite some disappointed Harry Styles fans.

Styles, one of the members of the U.K.’s biggest selling boy band, One Direction, announced a solo album and tour April 28. The Live Nation-produced concerts are scheduled at 13 smaller North American venues, starting Sept. 19, at The Masonic, San Francisco, and ending Oct.14, at Comerica Theatre, Phoenix.

The total amount of tickets is roughly 45,000, which is not many available seats considering Styles and his band played stadiums. Hundreds of thousands of people vied for those 45,000 tickets, according to Ticketmaster, which was inevitably going to lead to heartache and questions for Ticketmaster as The Verified Fan onsale was the only way to purchase tickets for Styles' North American tour dates.

Some fans were so upset with the process that Ticketmaster felt compelled to issue an “open letter” to quell the storm. Ticketmaster said it believes 95 percent of tickets went to real Harry Styles fans, with just 2,000 tickets having so far been reposted for resale. “That means less than five-percent of all tickets are posted on resale sites,” said the letter, telling disappointed fans, “even if you did everything right and pushed the button exactly at 10 a.m., so did hundreds of thousands of others.”

“Ticketmaster Verified Fan has seen a really great response from both fans and the industry, so things are going well,” said David Marcus, EVP, Head of Music, Ticketmaster. “To date, we’ve had about 1.5 million fans register using Verified Fan.”

“Harry was looking at a massive amount of demand relative to a comparatively tiny amount of supply,” explained Marcus. “Our goal was to maximize the number of actual fans who got tickets, and we succeeded. Ninety-five percent of the tickets we distributed went to actual fans. Without the Verified Fan platform, we would have expected a vastly different volume of tickets would have been acquired by scalpers and bots, leaving fans with no choice but to buy tickets from resellers at inflated prices.”

When Venues Today checked secondary market websites, numerous sellers had Harry Styles tickets at many different, vastly inflated, price points.

“We warn fans against speculative or fake tickets that show up on secondary ticketing sites and aren’t real," said Marcus. “ Sometimes we even see tickets posted on secondary sites before on sales happen. Ticketmaster never allows spec tickets on TM+ (Ticketmaster’s secondary ticketing platform). Having said all that, the purpose of Verified Fan is not to eliminate resale. The purpose is to identify fans who we think, based on our data, are more likely to value the experience of the show over the arbitrage of flipping a ticket. We know that 95 percent of Harry Styles tickets went to fans and we saw less than five percent of tickets posted on resale sites. That suggests to us we were very successful here.”

“For Harry Styles, there were a few hundred thousand fans trying to buy 45,000 tickets,” he said. “Demand was intense and we discussed the best way to manage the inevitable disappointment that would result. Remember, this was the only way to buy a ticket for this under-play tour. As a result, everyone involved felt that this fanbase would be more disappointed if they didn’t get a shot at tickets, and so we collectively decided to give every Verified Fan an opportunity. In this unique instance, with this unique fanbase, it seemed like the fairest way to manage the onsale."

Brandon Paredes, Box Office manager, Comerica Theatre, is a fan of Verified Fan. Comercia Theatre is a 5,000-seat venue.

“With only so many tickets to go around there was always the possibility that fans who wanted to see Harry Styles would not get tickets,” said Paredes. “That is no reflection on Verified Fan. The concert here at Comerica sold out right away and some fans missed out on tickets. We’re a small venue.”

“From the consumer's perspective, Verified Fan is a way to try to prevent scalpers from loading up the system with their bots and making it impossible for people to purchase tickets,” he said.  “There were lots of people who signed up for the presale on Verified Fan. They (Ticketmaster) tried it (Verified Fan) out and I think it was pretty successful, but I wasn’t the one who tried to buy tickets and didn’t get them.”

“We were getting calls 10 minutes after the onsale and had to tell people that unfortunately the tickets had already all been sold,” said Paredes, who thinks the future is bright for Verified Fan, regardless. “It seems like Verified Fan solves a problem.”

Marcus said that the response has been overwhelmingly positive and fans are happy to register since it helps to remove bots and scalpers from the ticket-buying equation.

“We recognize that it’s a new process for fans and we’re working hard to educate and build awareness on how it works,” said Marcus. “Now, this doesn’t fix the supply and demand challenge and doesn’t mean every fan will get a ticket, so it’s still upsetting not to get tickets to a show. But Verified Fan does level the playing field so a fan is up against another fan – instead of a bot – who wants the same ticket.”

So far, Verified Fan has supported a little over 30 tours, including Ed Sheeran, Twenty One Pilots, Linkin Park, Depeche Mode, Harry Styles, Norah Jones, and The 1975. The stable of future shows and artists committed to using Verified Fan is just as rich with heavy-hitters. “We’re excited about what we have in the pipeline, but can’t share any specifics right now,” said Marcus. 

“At its core, Verified Fan helps content owners like artists, promoters, and venues make sure their tickets are more likely to be purchased by actual fans,” he said. “That is a fundamentally new level of control that previously wasn’t available to artists and their touring partners.

Marcus said that Ticketmaster has also tied the program to a “gamification” layer that allows tours to reward their most engaged fans – biggest social promoters, music purchasers, etc. – with better access to tickets. “The ability to activate a fanbase and engage them in the tour and music release in return for a better seat is a brand new opportunity,” he stressed.

Kevin Neal, Hawks Tickets, does not think Verified Fan will thwart many determined secondary brokers. “First, no one knows, but it’s assumed that Verified Fan blocks someone from using the same IP address to sign up for the program,” he surmised. “Okay, but that’s not going to stop anyone from creating various accounts using different names and different IP addresses. There are plenty of programs that change your IP address every few seconds. It’s all going to depend on how deep Ticketmaster’s safety-nets go.”

Neal compared Ticketmaster’s attempts to stop the scalpers and bots to a chess game. “Every time Ticketmaster makes a move to make sure the tickets get into the right hands, the people buying up all the tickets are going to have their next step. It’s a game that will go forever.”

Ticketmaster is rolling out Verified Fan to artists for whom it makes sense given the demand profile of their tour, the risk of abuse by bots and scalpers, and the expectations of the fan base. “We expect the platform to evolve dramatically over the coming year, and are excited for what we expect it to become,” said Marcus.

“When we turn our attention to who is buying the ticket and prioritizing that over when they are buying the ticket, ie., how fast do they get through the shopping experience, we can delight fans and make ticket-buying fun again,” Marcus added. “That is the future of Verified Fan.”

 

 


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Live Streaming of EFL and NFL Announced
 
Posted: 10 May 2017, 2:00 pm

English Football League ref Simon Hooper, soon to be streaming on EFL's iFollow platform. (Photo courtesy: EFL, Daniel Hambury/EMPICS Sport)

(Editor's note: This story previously appeared in SportTechie.com)

The English Football League (EFL) just made it a lot easier for their overseas fans to keep up with the action. On Wednesday, it unveiled a new live streaming platform called iFollow. The platform represents an opportunity for EFL fans outside the U.K. and Ireland to view their favorite teams' games live.

The announcement comes on the heels of research conducted by the EFL which showed over half their fans reside in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“The new iFollow platform represents a potentially significant new revenue stream for clubs, while enabling enhanced engagement with existing fans now living abroad,” said EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey in a statement. “iFollow will also present the EFL with an important opportunity to stimulate the interest of new groups of supporters who follow our clubs overseas which, in turn, will help support the growth of our competitions on the international stage.”

Streaming will begin at the start of the 2017-18 EFL season and subscribers will pay an annual fee to watch the up to 46 live games. Not all of the league’s teams have opted in to the service and those who haven’t will provide their own digital services.

The live streaming of matches will be available from the start of that season in conjunction with a new digital presence for clubs via official websites and apps. NeuLion developed the integrated streaming service alongside U.K. company Realise, which built the club websites.

Not to be outdone by their European counterparts, The National Football League (NFL) continues its splicing of digital rights as it locked in a global partnership with Verizon to live stream the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens from Wembley Stadium in London next season. The overseas Week 3 match-up on Sept. 24 is part of the NFL’s recurring International Series.

As the the league’s exclusive digital partner, Verizon will live stream the game across its platforms including AOL, go90 and Complex. The lone game cost Verizon $21 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, which also first reported the live streaming news.

The Ravens and Jaguars will also be available on the NFL Mobile app (web/mobile) to Verizon customers along with the NFL app on Xbox One and Windows 10. Television stations in both of the local markets will also air the game in addition to Sky Sports in the U.K.

Over the past two seasons, the NFL has continuously experimented with different live streaming partnerships, first inking a one-game deal with Yahoo for a regular season match-up again in London during 2015. Twitter and the league partnered around a live streaming package this past season, with the social platform paying a reported $10 million across 10 regular season games. For this upcoming year, Amazon recently became the league’s live streaming partner for a reported $50 million.


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Hot Tickets for May 10, 2017
 
Posted: 10 May 2017, 2:00 pm

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers playing to a packed-house at Phillips Arena, Atlanta. (Photo credit: Donna Permell/Prime Phocus)

After a three-year hiatus from touring, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the road April 20, kicking off their 40th Anniversary tour at Chesapeake Energy Center, Oklahoma City, Okla. The iconic rock and roll band made two appearances on our Hot Tickets chart this week with a show at Philips Arena, Atlanta, and Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas. With ticket prices ranging from $50-$150, the Live Nation-promoted events had a combined gross of nearly $3 million with over 26,000 fans attending both shows. While dates are still being added to the tour, Petty and his Heartbreakers are currently scheduled to be on the road through mid-September. Their next stop is May 12, at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo. Petty has announced that this may be the band’s last big tour, so catch them while you can.

Coming off of his epic 20-month One World Tour, Ricky Martin is joining the ranks of artists such as Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears as he launched his All In Las Vegas residency at Park Theater at Monte Carlo April 8-15. The six-show run grossed over $1.7 million and saw an attendance of nearly 20,000 fans. The Latin superstar, his band and 18 dancers will continue to entertain audiences in Las Vegas through Sept. 23.

HOT TICKETS is a weekly summary of the top acts and ticket sales as reported to VT PULSE. Following are the top 20 concerts and events, the top 5 in each seating capacity category, which took place between April 11-May 9.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $1,613,232; Venue: American Airlines Center, Dallas; Attendance: 15,144; Ticket Range: $160-$34.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 4; No. of Shows: 1

2) The Weeknd
Gross Sales: $1,526,289; Venue: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia; Attendance: 15,856; Ticket Range: $149.34-$28.78; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 25; No. of Shows: 1

3) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Gross Sales: $1,390,720; Venue: Philips Arena, Atlanta; Attendance: 14,510; Ticket Range: $149.50-$49.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 27; No. of Shows: 1

4) iHeartCountry Festival
Gross Sales: $1,369,500; Venue: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas; Attendance: 12,430; Ticket Range: $400-$25; Promoter: iHeartMedia & Entertainment; Dates: May 6; No. of Shows: 1

5) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Gross Sales: $1,340,655; Venue: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas; Attendance: 12,053; Ticket Range: $149.50-$49.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: May 2; No. of Shows: 1

1) Tini - Got Me Started Tour
Gross Sales: $649,869; Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin; Attendance: 8,835; Ticket Range: $108.86-$43.50; Promoter: Concert Concept Veranstaltungs; Dates: April 18; No. of Shows: 1

2) Jason Aldean
Gross Sales: $564,973; Venue: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Attendance: 9,453; Ticket Range: $70.25-$35.25; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 28; No. of Shows: 1

3) Florida Georgia Line
Gross Sales: $543,245; Venue: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Attendance: 8,490; Ticket Range: $73-$27.75; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 20; No. of Shows: 1

4) Panic! At The Disco
Gross Sales: $526,883; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,884; Ticket Range: $59.50-$39.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: April 12; No. of Shows: 1

5) Rock Meets Classic 2017
Gross Sales: $503,235; Venue: Hallenstadion, Zurich; Attendance: 1,899; Ticket Range: $395-$136.90; Promoter: Good News Productions; Dates: April 18; No. of Shows: 1

1) Backstreet Boys
Gross Sales: $1,768,079; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 12,414; Ticket Range: $294-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: April 12-15; No. of Shows: 3

2) Ricky Martin
Gross Sales: $1,734,939; Venue: Park Theater at Monte Carlo, Las Vegas; Attendance: 19,630; Ticket Range: $250-$59.50; Promoter: Live Nation, MGM Resorts; Dates: April 8-15; No. of Shows: 6

3) Backstreet Boys
Gross Sales: $1,709,983; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 12,725; Ticket Range: $294-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment; Dates: April 19-22; No. of Shows: 3

4) Eric Church
Gross Sales: $1,417,915; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 16,841; Ticket Range: $99-$59; Promoter: WME , In-house; Dates: April 27-28; No. of Shows: 2

5) Backstreet Boys
Gross Sales: $1,200,019; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 8,977; Ticket Range: $294-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: April 26-28; No. of Shows: 2

1) Wicked
Gross Sales: $1,778,912; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 20,017; Ticket Range: $195-$25; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust, Broadway Across America; Dates: April 12-16; No. of Shows: 8

2) Matilda
Gross Sales: $1,493,124; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 25,122; Ticket Range: $125-$30; Promoter: Broadway Across America; Dates: April 18-23; No. of Shows: 8

3) The King and I
Gross Sales: $1,228,119; Venue: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Attendance: 17,266; Ticket Range: $90-$39; Promoter: In-house; Dates: May 2-7; No. of Shows: 8

4) Finding Neverland
Gross Sales: $835,021; Venue: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, Wis.; Attendance: 13,139; Ticket Range: $125-$45; Promoter: Broadway Across America, In-house; Dates: April 17-22; No. of Shows: 8

5) Kinky Boots
Gross Sales: $793,475; Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Fla.; Attendance: 10,361; Ticket Range: $125-$35; Promoter: In-house; Dates: April 11-16; No. of Shows: 8

The Weekly Hot Tickets chart is compiled by Monique Potter. To submit reports, e-mail HotTickets@venuestoday.com or fax to (714) 378-0040.

 


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Merch Decorates Playoff Arenas
 
Posted: 9 May 2017, 7:00 pm

Seats covered with free T-shirts for fans at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland. 

Fans bathe in a sea of gold in Nashville, as the Predators slide through the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs inside Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn. Then there’s the yellow and white that blankets the wine-colored seats in Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland.

As NHL and National Basketball Association (NBA) teams march through their respective playoff pushes, in-arena promotions step up to provide something special for fans to mark the occasion, such as a T-shirt draped across every single seat in the arena.

“It helps transform the arena bowl into something different,” said David Kells, senior vice president of booking for Bridgestone Arena. “It is a different time for the fans and players and it is another exciting visual when you come out for morning practice and now the arena is gold. You know it is the big-time now.”

The Predators take the opportunity to embrace the T-shirt laden arena on social media throughout the day while giving fans that ‘aha’ moment when they enter the bowl and see the blue seats transformed. For those tuning in on television, the all-gold offers a distinctive look, one that then spills into the city the next day. “After the fact, you see people at the gym or walking the street and they have the ‘I was there kind of shirt,’” Kells said.

unspecified1.jpegT-shirts wrapped around seats at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, for fans to discover.

In Cleveland, at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers may be hitting the hardwood and not the ice, but they have the same strategy, if not stepped up. The Predators have done T-shirts for the opening game of each of its playoff series, while the Cavs have done a different shirt for every home game of the playoffs. “When you hit the playoffs, everyone’s energy shifts,” said Tracy Marek, Cavaliers’ chief marketing officer. “Everything is more intense and we work hard on unity. We want to make sure our building looks really together. If they are all dressed in the same shirt, there is a camaraderie that comes with that.”

Marek said the Cavs work hard to ensure there is a home-court advantage and that the giveaway shirt doesn’t look anything close to the color the opposition will wear. “We work really hard so our building looks different.”

But it is more than shirts. The Cavs drape both a shirt and a rally towel on every seat for every game. And they’ve also added PixMob LED light-up bracelets at times, as have the Predators. “Our guest services teams come in here really early sometimes and take the time to go seat by seat,” Marek says. “It doesn’t look like it was tossed there, they lay them out so every seat has a presentation. It is an amazing environment to look at.”

The Cleveland shirts follow the team mantra of “Defend the Land” and tie to social media and other marketing pushes that have become a key piece of Cleveland’s fan base. “I think it is really about being able to come into the building and set a standard,” she said. “We are very proud of our fans and energy.”

In Boston, the Bruins, now eliminated from the NHL playoffs, opted to do something a little different from the T-shirt norm, going with rally towels every game and a large flag that passes through the lower bowl during player introductions.

Chris DiPierro, Bruins’ director of marketing, said the gold rally towels provide that interactive element, along with a consistency for fans since they have done the towel for every playoff game since at least 2009, including two Stanley Cup Final runs. With gold seats already in TD Garden, Boston, DiPierro said they simply hand the towels out at the turnstiles.

Whether towels or T-shirts, the promotional piece not only unifies an entire building, but it provides teams an added sponsorship opportunity. “We put different partners on the towels each game,” DiPierro said. “Our existing partners definitely like to jump on when we get to the playoffs and there is also an opportunity for new partnerships. Our guys will be out looking for new partners and this is a good opportunity to get involved in the excitement of the playoffs.”

Marek said the Cavs’ corporate partnership team has a selection of partners “super excited” for the opportunity to get involved and the marketing team has promotional ideas and collaborating partners planned out well in advance. “They want to be connected most to the fans,” she said.

Across both the NBA and NFL, the allure of the playoffs gives everyone a chance to step into the game. From additional celebrities jamming on the in-arena stage in Nashville to the 12,000-strong outside Quicken Loans Arena in the Gateway Plaza, just to be near the game, playoffs bring another level of intensity. And from yellow shirts in Oakland’s Oracle Arena to the white-out seen in Houston’s Toyota Center or the gold in Nashville and yellow in Cleveland, teams love the look of an entire arena bathed in unity.


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UMG’s Monaco Moves to LiveStyle
 
Posted: 9 May 2017, 5:00 pm

05-10-17_ChrisMonaco_200x145v21.jpgChris Monaco

Music and entertainment industry veteran Chris Monaco has joined LiveStyle, Inc. as chief revenue officer, brand partnerships and sponsorships. Previously, Monaco spent four years at Universal Music Group where he was senior vice president, strategic marketing and brand development/head of new business.

Before his employment at Universal, from 2008 to 2012, Monaco was the senior vice president, music and entertainment for Octagon. Prior to Octagon, Monaco was director, entertainment marketing, Pernod Ricard.

Monaco will be based in LiveStyle’s Beverly Hills, Calif., offices.

 


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Conference centers revamp to provide connectivity
 
Posted: 1 May 2017, 8:00 pm

Addressing profound changes in how their customers are approaching learning, many conference centers are in a process of reinvention

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Convention centers design for a sense of place
 
Posted: 4 Apr 2017, 8:00 pm

Many convention centers are striving to reflect and showcase their locations.

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Groups in Greater Boston utilize college campuses
 
Posted: 31 Oct 2016, 8:00 pm

An exceedingly intelligent choice for meetings and events.

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CEIR Releases Third Report in Attendee Retention Insights Series
 
Posted: 24 May 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 24 May 2016 ? The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced today the release of the third report in its newest series, 2016 Attendee Retention Insights Part Three: Education Content that Builds a Loyal Alumni Attendee Audience. This landmark body of research offers organizers a comprehensive resource to help understand the profile of attendees that visit an exhibition repeatedly and the content that turns them into loyal customers.

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CEIR Releases Second Report in Attendee Retention Insights Series
 
Posted: 10 May 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 10 May 2016 ? The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced today the release of the second report in its newest series, 2016 Attendee Retention Insights Part Two: Exhibition Floor Features that Build a Loyal Alumni Attendee Audience. This landmark body of research offers organizers a comprehensive resource to help understand the profile of attendees that visit an exhibition repeatedly and the content that turns them into loyal customers

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Fourth Annual IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum Another Sold Out Event
 
Posted: 4 May 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 4 May 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) celebrates another successful Women?s Leadership Forum on 26 April 2016 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. More than 200 attendees sold out this year?s event which featured education sessions for women at all stages of their career.

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IAEE Now Accepting Applications for 2016 Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund Grants
 
Posted: 3 May 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 3 May 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) has opened the application process for the 2016 Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund Grants, which aid qualified professionals in their pursuit of continuing education and career development in the exhibitions and events industry.

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IAEE Now Accepting 2016 Helen Brett Scholarship Applications
 
Posted: 2 May 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 2 May 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and EventsTM (IAEE) has opened the application process for the Helen Brett Scholarship awards in 2016. The scholarship serves to promote the exhibitions and events industry by attracting college-level students into the field of study and encouraging their pursuit with financial support.

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Conference center education shifts dramatically
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2016, 8:00 pm

The times they are a changin’, and all for the better from this reporter’s perspective.

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CEIR Debuts New Report Series Focusing on Attendee Retention
 
Posted: 28 Apr 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 28 April 2016 ? The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced today the release of the first report in its newest series, 2016 Attendee Retention Insights. Reports from this exciting new, landmark study offers organizers a comprehensive resource to help understand the profile of attendees that visit an exhibition repeatedly and the content that turns them into a loyal fanbase. The series consists of five reports, beginning with Part One: Basics for Creating Your Attendee Retention Strategy: Tracking, Profiling and Why They Come Back.

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IAEE Public Events Council Releases 2016 Survey Report
 
Posted: 26 Apr 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 26 April 2016 ? Today, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) Public Events Council released its Public Events Industry Report: 2015 Results. In 2009, the Public Events Council distributed a survey to public event organizers across 22 public events industry sectors to examine overall industry performance. The report identified which public events industry sectors fared well, which sectors struggled and their expectations for the future. As a follow-up to the benchmark report, the survey is repeated annually with subsequent reports detailing individual and comparative statistics over the years.

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Your Industry - Your Voice!
 
Posted: 22 Apr 2016, 1:00 am

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CEM Week - Register Now!
 
Posted: 18 Apr 2016, 1:00 am

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2016 CEIR Index Report Now Available
 
Posted: 13 Apr 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 12 April 2016 ? Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released the 2016 CEIR Index Report. The CEIR Index analyzes the 2015 exhibition industry and provides a future outlook for the next three years. Despite widespread pessimism and deceleration of activity during the fourth quarter, the U.S. economy still displayed significant signs of strength in 2015, led by personal consumption and residential construction. These strengths were offset partially by deterioration in energy development and net exports to produce real GDP growth of 2.4%. According to CEIR?s current projection, 2016 growth will be about the same, or perhaps slightly weaker as the trade gap widens further, before GDP accelerates in 2018 (see Figure 1).

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IAEE Renews Reciprocity Agreement with JEXA
 
Posted: 5 Apr 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 5 April 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) and the Japan Exhibition Association (JEXA) announced the renewal of a reciprocity agreement to benefit members of both organizations. Originally signed in 2012, the agreement renews the commitment of IAEE and JEXA to promote and develop the exhibitions and events industries in their respective countries through membership collaboration.

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IAEE Announces New Chapter in India
 
Posted: 4 Apr 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 4 April 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) announces the addition of its latest chapter in Asia, the IAEE India Chapter. The IAEE Board of Directors approved the creation of this new chapter during its meeting held 31 March 2016 at the HITEX Exhibition Center in Hyderabad, India.

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Convention centers transform to meet attendees’ needs
 
Posted: 1 Apr 2016, 8:00 pm

Generic big-box convention centers seem to be going the way of the buggy whip and typewriter.

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IAEE MATSO Council Adds New Content for May Meeting
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 31 March 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) MATSO Council?s program for this year?s MATSO Spring Program on 23-24 May 2016 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. will focus on exchanging information that address challenges, share best practices and understand the changing landscape of Tier 1 cities.

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IAEE Awards Jacqueline Russo with 2016 Woman of Achievement Award
 
Posted: 30 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 30 March 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) proudly congratulates Jacqueline Russo, Vice President of Kuehne + Nagel, Inc., as this year?s recipient of the IAEE Woman of Achievement Award. This award recognizes a woman who has led the way in the advancement of women in the exhibitions and events industry, exhibited outstanding leadership, and made significant contributions to the industry and her community.

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CEIR Releases New Industry Insight Series Report Written by Candy Adams
 
Posted: 29 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 29 March 2016 ? Today the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces a new Industry Insight Series report, 99 Cost-Savings Tips and Tricks for Exhibit Managers written by Candy Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMP, CMM, a revered and well-known exhibition industry veteran and owner of ?The Booth Mom? Trade Show Consulting.

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IAEE Announces 2016 Krakoff Leadership Institute
 
Posted: 28 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 28 March 2016 ? Registration is now open for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) Krakoff Leadership Institute (KLI) to be held 7-9 August 2016 at The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach, Calif. The program is open to IAEE members interested in enhancing their strategic skills, and broadening their knowledge as current and future leaders in the exhibitions and events industry.

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IAEE Congratulates its 2016 International Excellence Award Recipient
 
Posted: 17 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 17 March 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) congratulates Edward J. Krause III (Ned), President and CEO of E.J. Krause & Associates, Inc. (EJK) as this year?s recipient of the IAEE International Excellence Award. The IAEE International Excellence Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made exceptional strides in creating, launching and managing an international event in the exhibitions and events industry on an international scale.

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CEIR Releases Final Digital Toolkit Report
 
Posted: 15 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 15 March 2015 ? Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced the release of the final report in the CEIR Digital Toolkit series. The new report, entitled Focus Report on Exhibition Organizer Onsite and Post-event Offerings provides an in-depth look at attendee preferences compared to business-to-business exhibition offerings for show mobile apps, as well as other onsite digital amenities and post-event digital communications.

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IAEE MATSO Council Announces City Working Group Initiative, Finalizes Governance Procedures
 
Posted: 9 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 9 March 2016 ? The International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) MATSO Council announced it will resurrect city task force updates following a recent council meeting that focused on future programming and governance procedures.

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IAEE Announces 2016 Call for Nominations for Individual Awards
 
Posted: 8 Mar 2016, 1:00 am
DALLAS, 8 March 2016 ? Today, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events? (IAEE) has opened the Call for Nominations for its annual awards program to recognize exceptional professionals in the exhibitions and events industry. Industry professionals who meet the outlined criteria may be nominated for any of the awards listed below, and recipients will be honored at Expo! Expo! IAEE?s Annual Meeting & Exhibition to be held 6-8 December in Anaheim, Calif.

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Conference center experts weigh in on five hot trends
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2015, 8:00 pm

Here is the top feedback when it comes to staging cutting-edge conference meets.

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Convention center tradeshows focus on interaction
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2015, 8:00 pm

Are you fully engaging your attendees?

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State College brims with entertaining endeavors
 
Posted: 30 Oct 2014, 8:00 pm

When it comes to putting fun on the agenda, State College is one smart choice.

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AEG Live acquires two historic Virginia theatres
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Those theatres are The National Theatre in Richmond and The NorVa Theatre in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Earl R. Williams
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Earl was employed with Kimble Glass Co. and later Ball State University as Conference Director and General Manager of Emens Auditorium.

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Yarra, Australia, creates venue soundproofing fund
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
The city house 500 venues, 50 of them live music venues.

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Watch: Hugh Jackman talks about ticketing
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Hugh Jackman and the show's producer are making sure pricing allows anyone that wants to see his new play will not have to worry about scalpers.

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Ebola and the venue industry
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
IAVM is actively monitoring the impact of recent Ebola incidents. At the direction of Chair Kim Bedier, CFE ? in collaboration with our Industry Affairs Council and key IAVM staff ? an Ebola task force has been formed to work on relevant communications to the IAVM community.

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Wesley Burtch Dickson
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Wes founded his business, Advanced Equipment Corp., in 1957. In 1959, the business moved to Orange County, California.

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The Firestation Centre launches its neo-ticketing project
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
With its new project, the venue wants to find out if it will sell more tickets, if guests will get better deals, and if artists will earn more.

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Can a team have too much talent?
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Yes, and here?s why having too much talent on a team is bad.

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Shared activities make experiences more intense
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Here?s some scientific support on the value of live experiences.

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New Miami convention center and hotel approved
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
The new development will be on the site of the old Miami Arena.

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Session proposals wanted
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Please submit your session ideas for IAVM?s conferences. Presentations cannot be sales pitches, and if your topic is selected, IAVM will contact you concerning the coordination of the session speaker/panelists.

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Close encounter of the third kind with Google Glass, part 2
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
More from Portland?5?s Joe Durr about this ?cool? technology product.

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The Marvel Experience lets you save the world
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
The event will incorporate augmented reality, multiperson gaming, and RFID tracking for full fan immersion.

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VenueConnect's environmental impact was minimal
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
VenueConnect's is the first conference that the Oregon Convention Center has measured the water, waste, and energy statistics.

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Upcoming webinars
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
These two, free webinars next week will focus on becoming a CFE and the Mentor-Connector Program.

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Elmer Randolph 'Randy' Pugh
 
Posted: 16 Oct 2014, 2:57 pm
Randy was employed with the City of Virginia Beach as the Operations Supervisor of the Pavilion Convention Center from 1980-1999.

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Cookie-cutter conference centers are a thing of the past
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2014, 8:00 pm

Today's conference centers are more about standing out than fitting in.

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Five U.S. convention center highlights
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2014, 8:00 pm

A look at major convention center projects in Green Bay,  King of Prussia, New York, San Antonio and San Diego.

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Convention centers adapt to tradeshows of today
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2014, 8:00 pm

Modern convention centers are about experience as much as setting.

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Scheduling events at Florida colleges and universities is a smart choice
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2014, 8:00 pm

Educational facilities throughout Florida give attendees a chance to relive the college experience.

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IACC Americas Conference Sees Attendee Uptick
 
Posted: 18 Mar 2014, 8:00 pm

The 2014 IACC Annual Conference reported it has attracted the most registered attendees since 2008.

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State College, Pennsylvania, is a happening, business-savvy hub
 
Posted: 27 Oct 2013, 8:00 pm

State College, home to Pennsylvania State University, welcomes groups with its vibrant ambiance and excellent on-campus (and off-site) facilities.

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A Q&A with Mark Cooper, new CEO of the International Association of Conference Centres
 
Posted: 24 Apr 2013, 8:00 pm
IACC's new CEO shares his insights on the events industry

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A quick take on recent openings and upgrades in the world of conference centers
 
Posted: 24 Apr 2013, 8:00 pm

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Get Smart
 
Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 7:00 pm
On the fence about booking a college venue? These benefits might convince you.

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School Spirit
 
Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 7:00 pm
College stadiums and arenas are a classic choice for large groups

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Areas of Study
 
Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 7:00 pm
University meetings think outside of the classroom

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Billboard.biz Has Moved! Here's How to Get to Our New Site
 
Posted: 26 Jan 2013, 4:00 pm
On Saturday, January 26, Billboard.biz took a bold step forward in its evolution: Along with Billboard’s fully revamped magazine, newly launched iPad app and the relaunched Billboard.com, the all-new Billboard.biz has exciting new features and functionalities that will allow us to lead the essential conversations around the music business and its community in better and bigger ways than ever before. But we've moved servers -- here are details on where to find us while until our migration is complete.

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A Preview of This Week's Billboard
 
Posted: 25 Jan 2013, 6:29 pm
Justin Bieber has granted only one major interview for the Jan. 29 release of his new album Believe Acoustic. Billboard got it. In his fourth cover story for us, Bieber opens up to editorial director Bill Werde.

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Exclusive: HSN Partners With Las Vegas' Venetian On Concert Series
 
Posted: 25 Jan 2013, 3:33 pm
HSN is taking its Live music division on the road with a Las Vegas residency at the Venetial Resort Hotel Casino.The series kicks off Feb. 8 with Michael Bolton, who will debut his new studio album, "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A." with Motown greats Smokey Robinson, Valerie Simpson and Martha Reeves as well as Kelly Rowland and Melanie Fiona

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............................................................



Exclusive: HSN Partners With Las Vegas' Venetian On Concert Series
 
Posted: 25 Jan 2013, 3:33 pm
HSN is taking its Live music division on the road with a Las Vegas residency at the Venetial Resort Hotel Casino.The series kicks off Feb. 8 with Michael Bolton, who will debut his new studio album, "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A." with Motown greats Smokey Robinson, Valerie Simpson and Martha Reeves as well as Kelly Rowland and Melanie Fiona

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............................................................



Coachella 2013 Lineup: Blur, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers Headlining
 
Posted: 25 Jan 2013, 12:35 am
Blur, the Stone Roses, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers top the lineup for the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was unveiled late on Thursday night (Jan. 24). The annual fest is set to once again take over Indio, Calif. on consecutive weekends, this year from Apr. 12-14 and Apr. 19-21.

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Ticketmaster Canada Names Patti-Anne Tarlton SVP/COO
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 6:09 pm
Ticketmaster Canada has appointed Patti-Anne Tarlton senior VP and chief operating officer. In turn, current COO Tom Worrall will become chairman of Ticketmaster Canada.

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Exclusive: Flaming Lips to Star in Hyundai Super Bowl Commercial
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 4:32 pm
When the Flaming Lips formed nearly 30 years ago, the notion that the group would be performing a song called "Sun Blows Up Today" in a Super Bowl ad would have been as surreal some of their lyrics. But that's exactly what will happen when the group stars in one of Hyundai's four spots during the big game,  a 60-second commercial that will feature the band on-camera performing a brand-new, custom-written song bearing that name.

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............................................................



Exclusive: Flaming Lips to Star in Hyundai Super Bowl Commercial
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 4:32 pm
When the Flaming Lips formed nearly 30 years ago, the notion that the group would be performing a song called "Sun Blows Up Today" in a Super Bowl ad would have been as surreal some of their lyrics. But that's exactly what will happen when the group stars in one of Hyundai's four spots during the big game,  a 60-second commercial that will feature the band on-camera performing a brand-new, custom-written song bearing that name.

Read the full article

............................................................



Pepsi, Vevo to Spotlight Best New Artists, 'X Factor' Winner Tate Stevens During Grammys
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 12:54 pm
Pepsi has announced collaborations with Pandora and Vevo for the Grammy Awards. With Vevo, Pepsi will produce a video series based around the Best New Artists nominees; and with Pandora the company will curate a Best New Artist mixtape as well as genre stations.

Read the full article

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Mnet America Hosting Grammy-Week Party With K-Pop Star Ailee
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 9:43 am
Billboard can exclusively reveal when, where and who will be at Mnet America's 1st Annual Pre-Grammy Party featuring a K-pop starlet, YouTube sensation and "The Voice" contestants.

Read the full article

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13 Points to Watch at MIDEM 2013
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 8:00 am
As the world's largest trade fair for the music industry, MIDEM can be daunting to navigate. Last year's gathering drew more than 6,850 attendees from 77 countries, representing 3,120 companies, including 155 startups. So, how best to manage MIDEM?

Read the full article

............................................................



13 Points to Watch at MIDEM 2013
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 8:00 am
As the world's largest trade fair for the music industry, MIDEM can be daunting to navigate. Last year's gathering drew more than 6,850 attendees from 77 countries, representing 3,120 companies, including 155 startups. So, how best to manage MIDEM?

Read the full article

............................................................



13 Points to Watch at MIDEM 2013
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 8:00 am
As the world's largest trade fair for the music industry, MIDEM can be daunting to navigate. Last year's gathering drew more than 6,850 attendees from 77 countries, representing 3,120 companies, including 155 startups. So, how best to manage MIDEM?

Read the full article

............................................................



Downtown Sells Label to Cofounders, Focuses on Publishing
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2013, 7:00 am
Downtown Music LLC, the privately held parent company of Downtown Records and Downtown Music Publishing, today announced the sale of its recorded music business to cofounders Josh Deutsch and Terence Lam.

Read the full article

............................................................



Justin Timberlake Sets Live Return for Super Bowl Charity Show
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 6:54 pm
Less than one month after the singer-turned-actor exploded back onto the music scene with "Suit & Tie," featuring Jay-Z, Timberlake will perform his first solo concert in several years during Super Bowl weekend.

Read the full article

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Black Keys File Third Lawsuit Against 'Soundalikes' in TV Commercials
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 6:50 pm
After settling two lawsuits with Pizza Hut and Home Depot in December over alleged use of its songs in commercials, the Black Keys have filed a third lawsuit -- this time, against Pinnacle Entertainment, which runs casinos throughout the United States, and Manhattan Production Music, a company that creates music for commercial advertising.

Read the full article

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Exclusive: Verizon Teams With Jill Scott for Black History Month Campaign
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 6:24 pm
Verizon has teamed with Jill Scott for a multi-tiered print, TV and online advertising campaign to coincide with Black History Month, a rare artist endorsement deal for both parties, Billboard has learned.

Read the full article

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Madonna's 'MDNA' Tour Makes Billboard Boxscore's All-Time Top 10
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 6:05 pm
The globe-trotting "MDNA" tour marks Madonna's ascent into the elite ranks of touring acts -- and makes her the top touring female artist of all time.

Read the full article

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Ultra Music and Sony Announce Partnership, Patrick Moxey Named President of Electronic Music
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 3:48 pm
Sony Music and Ultra Music -- the electronic/dance record label, publishing house, management company and media platform owned and operated by Patrick Moxey -- have announced a globe-spanning strategic partnership between the two companies. As part of the deal Moxey was named president of electronic music for Sony Music Worldwide.

Read the full article

............................................................



Ultra Music and Sony Announce Partnership, Patrick Moxey Named President of Electronic Music
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 3:48 pm
Sony Music and Ultra Music -- the electronic/dance record label, publishing house, management company and media platform owned and operated by Patrick Moxey -- have announced a globe-spanning strategic partnership between the two companies. As part of the deal Moxey was named president of electronic music for Sony Music Worldwide.

Read the full article

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Searching For The Next 'Sugar Man'? Try 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 1:30 pm
This year's Sundance had a half-dozen music-driven docs, including: Dave Grohl's "Sound City," "History of the Eagles, Part One," "Pussy Riot -- A Punk Prayer," "Narco Culturo" and "Mussel Shoals" -- all fine films. But the power of Morgan Neville's "Twenty Feet From Stardom," a story chronicling of the lives of background singers who sang on era-defining records from the 1960s into the 1990s, is such that it transcends the typical music documentary ecliciting gasps of disbelief, spontaneous applause and tears. It's a winner.

Read the full article

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Exclusive: SFX Acquires ID&T, Voodoo Experience
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 8:05 am
SFX Entertainment has added five new companies to its portfolio, including Voodoo Experience and ID&T -- the largest dance-event promoter in the world -- according to its president Robert F.X. Sillerman. While recent chatter has hinted that Insomniac Events, the producer of Electric Daisy Carnival, would imminently announce a sale to Sillerman, the ID&T news might make that less likely -- although Sillerman didn't rule it out...

Read the full article

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Building the $100 Billion Dollar Music Business: Guest Post by Tom Silverman
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2013, 8:00 am
In this guest post, New Music Seminar/Tommy Boy Entertainment founder Tom Silverman describes how we can grow the music business into one that reaches $100 billion in annual retail revenue in the next decade.

Read the full article

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Three Directors Step Down at Sirius XM Radio as Liberty Media Takes Control
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 4:50 pm
Leon Black, Lawrence Gilberti and Jack Shaw resign from the board of the satellite firm.  

Read the full article

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Billboard's New iPad App: Try It Now for Free!
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 3:59 pm
Along with our fully revamped glossy magazine, which we unveiled today, Billboard has also introduced the new iPad edition of Billboard -- the complete weekly magazine reinvented for your iPad with interactive extras. Subscribe today to experience this week’s issue absolutely for free!

Read the full article

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Exclusive: Lionel Richie Signs With Red Light Management
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 3:08 pm
Legendary hit maker Lionel Richie has signed with Red Light Management for representation, Billboard.biz has learned. This is the second major signing of the young year for RLM, which recently added Tiesto to its growing list of clients.

Read the full article

............................................................



Exclusive: Lionel Richie Signs With Red Light Management
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 3:08 pm
Legendary hit maker Lionel Richie has signed with Red Light Management for representation, Billboard.biz has learned. This is the second major signing of the young year for RLM, which recently added Tiesto to its growing list of clients.

Read the full article

............................................................



Exclusive: Kobalt Launches Label Services Division, Preps New Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Release
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 2:07 pm
Not only did Kobalt sign a deal with Dave Grohl this week ( the company is also formally introducing a new Label Services division that will handle digital and physical releases for independent artists as well as Kobalt clients. Though the division has quietly released several albums in recent months, it will gain major attention next month with the release of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Push the Sky Away,” due out Feb. 18 through Kobalt Label Services  and Cave’s Bad Seed Ltd.

Read the full article

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Clive Davis To Speak At SXSW
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 12:34 pm
Clive Davis will speak at South by Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference and Festival on Thursday March 14, the festival announced today. His speech comes shortly after the release of his new autobiography “The Soundtrack of My Life.”

Read the full article

............................................................



Live Nation Strikes Deal to Host Concerts at London Olympic Stadium
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 11:00 am
Live events giant Live Nation has struck a deal that gives it exclusive rights to organize concerts and music festivals in the British capital's Olympic Park and Olympic Stadium this summer.

Read the full article

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Two Voices of the Rolling Stones Meet for the First Time at Sundance Screening
 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013, 10:32 am
Lisa Fischer has sung female lead parts for the Rolling Stones on every tour since 1989, but it wasn't until film director Morgan Neville assembled a meeting of backup singers at Sundance that Fischer and Merry Clayton, a crucial vocalist in the music of Mick Jagger and the boys, would be in the same room together.

Read the full article

............................................................



Welcome to the New Billboard
 
Posted: 21 Jan 2013, 7:00 pm
The Jan. 26 edition of Billboard features a cover-story interview with Prince, but that world exclusive is accompanied by something else: A whole new magazine. This week, Billboard relaunches, and from the new logo on the front cover to the information packed graphic on the back page, the magazine is dedicated to the delivery of business journalism that leads and informs the essential conversations around the music and businesses it covers.

Read the full article

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Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson Add Soaring Voices to Obama's Inauguration
 
Posted: 21 Jan 2013, 4:22 pm
The inauguration of the President of the United States is a celebrated event indeed, even if it's effectively the follow-up to what was a landmark occasion four years ago. But if there's anyone who can bring the (white) house down, it's one of America's most beloved singing ladies, the first "American Idol," a songwriting legend and a showstopping choir.

Read the full article

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Warner Music, NMPA Reach Agreement on Royalty Rate for Music Videos
 
Posted: 21 Jan 2013, 2:43 pm
The Warner Music Group has become the second major label to agree to pay songwriters and publishers a royalty from revenue they derive from music videos, in a deal negotiated by the National Music Publishers' Association.

Read the full article

............................................................



Tim Leiweke on AEG Sale: 'We're Getting Down to the Final Straws'
 
Posted: 21 Jan 2013, 2:42 pm
The sale of Anschutz Entertainment Group is “taking longer” than expected, AEG CEO, Tim Leiweke told Billboard.biz, but not due to lack of interest. While Leiweke declined to mention who the serious bidders were, he did indicate that the field has narrowed.  “We’re getting down to the final straws here,” he said.

Read the full article

............................................................



Tim Leiweke on AEG Sale: 'We're Getting Down to the Final Straws'
 
Posted: 21 Jan 2013, 2:42 pm
The sale of Anschutz Entertainment Group is “taking longer” than expected, AEG CEO, Tim Leiweke told Billboard.biz, but not due to lack of interest. While Leiweke declined to mention who the serious bidders were, he did indicate that the field has narrowed.  “We’re getting down to the final straws here,” he said.

Read the full article

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'Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer,' 'Twenty Feet From Stardom' Sell At Sundance
 
Posted: 21 Jan 2013, 6:17 am
Add “Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer” to the growing music-centric documentaries sold at the Sundance Film Festival. HBO Docs acquired U.S. TV rights to the political documentary that received its world premiere Jan. 18. "Twenty Feet From Stardom," which tells the stories of several prominent backup singers, sold on Thursday to Radius and the Weinstein Co.

Read the full article

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Kim Dotcom Launches Mega, New File-Sharing Service
 
Posted: 19 Jan 2013, 4:09 pm
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has unveiled a new file-sharing website called Mega. "As of this minute one year ago #Megaupload was destroyed by the US Government," Dotcom tweeted on Saturday, along with a link to the new site.

Read the full article

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Dave Grohl's Sound City Players Tear It Up at Sundance
 
Posted: 19 Jan 2013, 2:05 pm
Hours after his "Sound City" documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Dave Grohl took 800 fans on a three-hour musical odyssey at Park City Live that emphasized his personal connection to the Van Nuys, Calif., recording studio his film chronicles.

Read the full article

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Obama Inauguration Music Guide: Katy Perry to Q-Tip
 
Posted: 19 Jan 2013, 1:41 pm
Just as Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration drew stars from Beyonce to Aretha Franklin, the president's re-election has led to another can't-miss week for music fans. We've hiked through Capital Hill's extensive inauguration schedule to bring you a list of the week's biggest balls.

Read the full article

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Sony/ATV's Martin Bandier on New, 'Quite Reasonable' Pandora Deal
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 7:00 pm
Sony/ATV pulled a major coup earlier this week by negotiating a higher royalty rate from Pandora. Chairman/CEO Martin Bandier spoke with Billboard.biz about the deal.

Read the full article

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Backbeat: The Surreal APAP Convention Hall: From Tibetan Monks to Lez Zeppelin, Branson On the Road to Slask
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 6:00 pm
In many regards the convention hall at the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters in New York CIty resembles nothing so much as a Fellini film. Here, Tibetan Monks, Polish folk dancers, Lez Zeppelin and, of course, a golden praying mantis, all man booths before thousands of curators, agents, and promoters from across the country who trod the Hilton New York's carpeted aisles looking to book their 2014-2015 seasons.

Read the full article

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Six Music-Related Issues Facing This Administration and Congress
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 4:45 pm
From performance royalties to deciding how musicians travel with their instruments on airplanes, numerous issues central to the music industry are alive Washington D.C. as the city prepares for the president inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Read the full article

............................................................



Six Music-Related Issues Facing This Administration and Congress
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 4:45 pm
From performance royalties to deciding how musicians travel with their instruments on airplanes, numerous issues central to the music industry are alive Washington D.C. as the city prepares for the president inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Read the full article

............................................................



Prince to Be Honored at Billboard Music Awards on May 19
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 4:00 pm
The 2013 Billboard Music Awards are returning to Las Vegas on Sunday, May 19 and will honor the legendary artist Prince during a live ABC broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Read the full article

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Beyonce, Katy Perry, More Head to D.C. for Packed Slate of Obama Inauguration Events
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 12:58 pm
Kelly Clarkson is a multiple nominee at next month's Grammy Awards, but what she's really excited about is another event where she'll be joined by Beyonce, Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Usher and Brad Paisley. Oh, and the president.

Read the full article

............................................................



CD Baby Parent Company AVL Digital Group Sold
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 10:44 am
AVL Digital Group -- the parent company of CD Baby, Disc Makers and other self-publishing platforms -- has been sold to Stephens Capital Partners, a private equity group based in Little Rock, Arkansas, Billboard.biz has learned.

Read the full article

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NARM Names Muve Music's Jeff Toig, Dimple Records' Dilyn Radakovitz to Board
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 10:34 am
Muve Music senior VP Jeff Toig and Dimple Records founder and owner Dilyn Radakovitz have joined the board of directors of both NARM, the music business trade association, and digitalmusic.org, its digital initiatives arm.

Read the full article

............................................................



Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels Presenting 'Garden of Laughs' Benefit Comedy Showcase
 
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 10:13 am
At the height of his lowest point, Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels says he considered suicide. Before leaving the world, however, he wanted to publish an autobiography, his life story beyond music; a conversation with his mother shortly thereafter revealed more information than he had bargained for.

Read the full article

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Backbeat: Carrie Underwood Celebrates No. 1 With 'Blown Away' Co-Writers Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 4:46 pm
Carrie Underwood joined Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins, the two songwriters who penned "Blown Away," at the CMA offices on Wednesday to celebrate their song hitting the top of the charts.

Read the full article

............................................................



Elizabeth Sobol Named Decca Label Group President and CEO
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 12:15 pm
Elizabeth Sobol, current managing director at IMG Artists North America, has been named Decca Label Group's president and CEO. Sobol will report to Universal Music Group International's chairman and CEO Max Hole, who was promoted to that position last week.

Read the full article

............................................................



HMV Shutters Irish Operations, Appoints Receivers as Staff Stages Sit-In
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 11:45 am
Staff at two HMV stores in Ireland have staged sit-in protests to secure their wages following the closure of the company’s 16 Irish stores, according to reports. HMV’s Irish operations were placed into receivership 24 hours after the British music retailer HMV confirmed it was suspending the trading of its shares and entering administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11.

Read the full article

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Andre Rieu, Bieber's 'Believe' Tour Top Hot Tours Chart
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 10:50 am
Classical music dominates this week's Hot Tours report with Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu earning the No. 1 ranking, followed by Justin Bieber's Believe Tour return and Phish's sold-out show at Madison Square Garden.

Read the full article

............................................................



Dave Grohl, Avicii and Afrojack: A Promoter's Approach to Booking Music at Sundance
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 10:31 am
Park City Live is the only regularly operating nightclub in Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival running Jan. 17-27, which will enter its second year of operation as a concert venue the day the festival begins. Here, Park City Live CEO Kathryn Burns talks about her first year promoting the venue.

Read the full article

............................................................



Dave Grohl, Avicii and Afrojack: A Promoter's Approach to Booking Music at Sundance
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 10:31 am
Park City Live is the only regularly operating nightclub in Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival running Jan. 17-27, which will enter its second year of operation as a concert venue the day the festival begins. Here, Park City Live CEO Kathryn Burns talks about her first year promoting the venue.

Read the full article

............................................................



Dave Grohl, Avicii and Afrojack: A Promoter's Approach to Booking Music at Sundance
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 10:31 am
Park City Live is the only regularly operating nightclub in Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival running Jan. 17-27, which will enter its second year of operation as a concert venue the day the festival begins. Here, Park City Live CEO Kathryn Burns talks about her first year promoting the venue.

Read the full article

............................................................



Ticketfly Expands Into Canada
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 10:00 am
Ticketfly announced Thursday it has expanded into Canada by signing two of the country's top promoters, acquiring Prime Box Office ticketing company and securing some promoters and venues.

Read the full article

............................................................



Sony/ATV Negotiates 25% Royalty Increase From Pandora: Report
 
Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 8:01 am
The newly combined Sony/ATV-EMI music publishing powerhouse has used its market clout to negotiate a 25% royalty increase from Pandora, according to a report in the New York Post. The deal is said to run for the next 12 months.

Read the full article

............................................................



Mark Poston, EMI Australia Chairman, Steps Down
 
Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 9:38 pm
Mark Poston, EMI Australia’s chairman, is out as Universal Music continues its global integration of EMI. According to Universal Music, Poston “decided to step down” from his current position as chairman and senior VP marketing, Australasia at EMI Music Australia. UMA's president George Ash will oversee EMI Australasia until a replacement is announced.

Read the full article

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Business Matters: How Facebook Search Could Provide Cheap Market Research for Music Marketers
 
Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 8:13 pm
Facebook’s Graph Search doesn’t have a lot of obvious music uses but could end up being a free and useful tool for music marketers. As the Inside Facebook blog points out, the search tool provides an opportunity for businesses to conduct market research about specific groups of fans for free.

Read the full article

............................................................



LyricFind Partners with Gracenote, Gets Investment from Larry Marcus
 
Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 4:40 pm
LyricFind will now power all of Gracenote's lyric services as part of their new partnership, while BandPage director Larry Marcus will be providing his experience, and a personal investment, to the company.

Read the full article

............................................................



SoundExchange Distributions Grew 58% to $462 Million in 2012
 
Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 2:21 pm
SoundExchange distributed $462 million in digital performing royalties in 2012, a 58% increase over 2011, the organization announced Wednesday

Read the full article

............................................................



Lucian Grainge, Michael Lynton, will.i.am to Co-Host Inaugural Innovation Summit
 
Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 1:30 pm
Innovation Forum, an inaugural summit of business leaders from the U.S. and U.K., will come together Feb. 4-5 in Los Angeles, kicking off 2013 Grammy week. UMG Chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge, Sony Ent. CEO Michael Lynton, Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME, and musician will.i.am will co-host the event co-sponsored by the Founder's Forum and UK Trade & Investment.

Read the full article

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Sony Music Boosts Digital Team With Ole Obermann and Mark Piibe
 
Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 10:29 am
In a statement today from Sony Music Entertainment's president of global digital business and U.S. sales Dennis Kooker, the company announced the creation and appointment of two new, digitally focused positions; current Sony Music executive Ole Obermann has been named executive vice president, digital partner development and sales, while Mark Piibe will be leaving EMI to take on the role of executive vice president, global business development and digital strategy.

Read the full article

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Next Big Sound's 2012 State of Online Music
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 6:29 pm
Next Big Sound, the data analytics company, has released their 2012 State of Online Music report. Below is an outline of the report's key takeaways by Big Sound's data journalist Liv Buli.  

Read the full article

............................................................



Business Matters: Relaunched Myspace Is a Success as Music Service -- But As a Social Network? We'll See ...
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 5:35 pm
The redesigned Myspace finally opened up to the public today. The site, a year and a half in the works, is both a social network and a music discovery destination.

Read the full article

............................................................



Justin Timberlake's 'Suit & Tie' Aiming for First-Week Sales of 350,000
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 4:44 pm
As reported yesterday (Jan. 14), Justin Timberlake's new single "Suit & Tie" is selling briskly and bound for a big first-week sales figure; label sources suggest that "Suit & Tie" may sell around 330,000 - 350,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Jan. 20.

Read the full article

............................................................



Arts & Crafts Label Announces Ten-Year Anniversary Events
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 2:16 pm
Toronto indie label Arts & Crafts, which helped spawn the careers of Feist and Broken Social Scene among others, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with AC10, a series of events, releases and collaborations in music, fashion, photography and literature.

Read the full article

............................................................



Facebook Unveils Social Search Feature
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 1:50 pm
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new search feature on the world's biggest online social network. Called "graph search," the new service lets users search their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places.

Read the full article

............................................................



Universal Music France President Pascal Negre Named UMG's Global Head of New Business
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 12:15 pm
Pascal Nègre, president at Universal Music France, Italy, Middle East and Africa, has been promoted to UMG's global head of new business, according to a press release.

Read the full article

............................................................



Billboard's Parent Company Names Ross Levinsohn CEO
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 10:41 am
Billboard's parent company has a new leader: Former Yahoo and Fox Interactive Media executive Ross Levinsohn.

Read the full article

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Morning Fix: UMJ's Koike to Head EMI Japan; Justin Timberlake Single's Fast Start; Facebook's Mystery Announcement
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 8:30 am
In today's Fix: Universal Music Japan CEO Kazuhiko Koike to head up EMI Japan; Justin Timberlake's long-awaited single "Suit and Tie" gets off to a fast start; today's Facebook mystery announcement; UK's HMV facing bankruptcy; Rolling Stones lead Hot Tours; Greg Sandoval leaving CNET; Arts & Crafts' tenth anniversary; Country Music Association is going to Disneyland Paris; and way more than you could ever fit into the world's largest bagel.  

Read the full article

............................................................



Universal Music Japan's Kazuhiko Koike To Head EMI Japan
 
Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 8:07 am
Universal Music Japan today announced that its President and CEO Kazuhiko Koike will assume on the role of president/CEO of EMI Music Japan as well, replacing longtime CEO Hitoshi Namekata.

Read the full article

............................................................



Warner Music Sued for Millions by George Gershwin Heirs
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 8:39 pm
A new lawsuit objects to the way that the music giant has licensed famous compositions and booked revenue.

Read the full article

............................................................



Greg Sandoval, Senior CNET Writer, Resigns Over CBS Controversy
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 12:39 pm
CNET editor Greg Sandoval told Twitter earlier today that he's quitting the venerable tech news site over parent company CBS's apparent demand that the publication drop Dish Network's ad-skipping Hopper feature from consideration for its "Best of CES" awards.

Read the full article

............................................................



Indie Band Love in the Circus Explores 3D Imaging at CES
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 12:14 pm
Music can be as much about the visuals as it is about the sound. Among the more intriguing demonstrations of this at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was a video display in the Sony booth from an independent band called Love in the Circus; the Los Angeles based band used projection imaging to create a live stage that evokes a Cirque du Soleil-esque setting, wrapping custom animations around a physical stage set.

Read the full article

............................................................



Indie Band Love in the Circus Explores 3D Imaging at CES
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 12:14 pm
Music can be as much about the visuals as it is about the sound. Among the more intriguing demonstrations of this at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was a video display in the Sony booth from an independent band called Love in the Circus; the Los Angeles based band used projection imaging to create a live stage that evokes a Cirque du Soleil-esque setting, wrapping custom animations around a physical stage set.

Read the full article

............................................................



Pop Leads U.K. Album Sales for Second Year Running
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 10:29 am
Big-selling albums from Emeli Sandé, Adele, Ed Sheeran and One Direction ensured that pop remained the most-popular genre in the United Kingdom in 2012, according to new figures released by the Official Charts Company (OCC) and British labels trade body the BPI.

Read the full article

............................................................



Rolling Stones Lead Hot Tours with '50' Shows
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 10:05 am
Rock legends the Rolling Stones stand at the top of Hot Tours this week with ticket sales reaching $38.6 million from the 50 and Counting Tour, while Nickelback, Jennifer Lopez and Elton John reach the top ten on the strength of their Australian tours.

Read the full article

............................................................



Rolling Stones Lead Hot Tours with '50' Shows
 
Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 10:05 am
Rock legends the Rolling Stones stand at the top of Hot Tours this week with ticket sales reaching $38.6 million from the 50 and Counting Tour, while Nickelback, Jennifer Lopez and Elton John reach the top ten on the strength of their Australian tours.

Read the full article

............................................................



Virtual Visionaries
 
Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 7:00 pm
Emilie Barta and John Pollard aim to take the fear out of planning hybrid events

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



All in the Planning
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Take 10 - Conference Centers
 
Posted: 11 Jun 2012, 8:00 pm
Take 10 - Conference Centers

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Convention Center Contacts
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



New School
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Final Bow
 
Posted: 28 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



IACC Makes Global Push; Criteria to 'Evolve'
 
Posted: 21 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Convention Center Coming to Provo
 
Posted: 25 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Gambling Headed for Hawaii Conv. Center?
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Las Vegas Conv. Center Adds Digital Signage Feature
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Anaheim Conv. Center Plans Expansion
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



A Duo of Conv. Centers Launches Free Wi-Fi
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



IACC Board Sets New Service Standards
 
Posted: 30 Nov 2011, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



APEC Under Way in Honolulu
 
Posted: 8 Nov 2011, 7:00 pm

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Beyond the Box
 
Posted: 24 Oct 2011, 8:00 pm
Expanding convention centers are addressing new planner expectations

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



Association Meetings 3.0
 
Posted: 16 Sep 2011, 5:10 pm
What does the association meeting of tomorrow look like and how can you prepare to provide your members with the type of meetings they need? A presenter at ASAE's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo provides her expert glimpse into the future.

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Rethinking Sponsorships in the Age of Social Media
 
Posted: 16 Sep 2011, 4:56 pm
Technology is changing our lives in seemingly countless ways, including association event sponsorships. Find out what a leading event software expert believes are the best ways to make the most of sponsorships in the age of social media.

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What You Need to Know About Simultaneous Interpretation
 
Posted: 16 Sep 2011, 4:54 pm
As more associations venture overseas, simultaneous interpretation is more important than ever. Two experts who have conducted events around the globe share their insights.

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Reduce Expenses for Meetings of Any Size
 
Posted: 16 Sep 2011, 4:51 pm
Even the largest associations sometimes have meetings that don't represent a lot of room nights, which can reduce your ability to negotiate with the host hotel. Here are nine tips to help you get the best deal for your next meeting, no matter how many attendees you have.

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Strategic Meeting Planning
 
Posted: 6 Jul 2011, 11:00 am
We use strategic planning in our everyday lives but often get too caught up in all the details to apply it effectively during the meeting planning process. Discover how to be truly strategic the next time you're planning an important meeting.

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New Models for Successful Convention Strategy
 
Posted: 6 Jul 2011, 10:56 am
There's more to meetings than good content and a nice location. An ASAE Fellow and association business strategy consultant shares his views on factors such as information needs, competing resources, and strategic barriers that impact attendance at association conventions and tradeshows.

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Post-Recession Economy Requires New Guidelines for Association Events
 
Posted: 6 Jul 2011, 10:53 am
Association events are making a comeback following the deep recession, but everyone remains sensitive to appearing too extravagant and expensive. Here's a process for determining what's appropriate for your next events.

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Increase Exhibitor Engagement Without Increasing Your Budget
 
Posted: 6 Jul 2011, 10:49 am
Every association tradeshow is under pressure to increase traffic, but at what cost? Follow these strategies for increasing traffic and enhancing exhibitor loyalty without busting your budget.

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Letter From the Chair: ME Section Contributes to "199 Ideas" for Planners
 
Posted: 6 Jul 2011, 10:47 am
The Meetings & Expositions Section Council chair discusses the debut of an exciting new resource for association planners, provides a glimpse of the upcoming Annual Meeting & Exposition, and lends his perspective on the value of associations to society.

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Tips to Make Transportation at Your Conference Greener
 
Posted: 9 May 2011, 10:09 am
Greening meetings has come a long way in recent years, but you can take it to the next level with a little strategy and a lot of enthusiasm. Learn how to get your group actively involved in being a deeper shade of green.

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University Venues
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2011, 8:00 pm
Collegiate athletic venues are ideal for team building and spectator fun

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Convention Centers
 
Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 7:00 pm
Beyond the Box

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Conference Centers
 
Posted: 31 Dec 2010, 7:00 pm
With mounting competition, conference centers get flexible

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Conference Center Changes
 
Posted: 31 Dec 2010, 7:00 pm
Conference Center Changes

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On Location - Convention Centers
 
Posted: 31 May 2010, 8:00 pm

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University Venues
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2010, 8:00 pm
Campus Culture

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Conference Centers
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2010, 8:00 pm

After a tough year, conference centers see better times ahead

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Convention Centers
 
Posted: 28 Feb 2010, 7:00 pm

Convention center cuisine is no longer an oxymoron

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University Venues
 
Posted: 28 Feb 2010, 7:00 pm

Universities offer an exciting range of museum venues

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Convention Centers
 
Posted: 28 Feb 2010, 7:00 pm
Convention center cuisine is no longer an oxymoron

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Dancing with Gorillas
 
Posted: 31 Oct 2009, 8:00 pm
Convention center contracts put meeting planners' negotiating skills to the test

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A Class Act
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2009, 8:00 pm

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University Venues
 
Posted: 28 Feb 2009, 7:00 pm

More...


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Conference Centers
 
Posted: 31 Jan 2009, 7:00 pm

More...


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Conference Centers
 
Posted: 31 Jan 2009, 7:00 pm

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Conference Centers
 
Posted: 31 Jan 2009, 7:00 pm
Conference Call

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Conference Call
 
Posted: 31 Dec 2008, 7:00 pm

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Center Stage
 
Posted: 31 Oct 2008, 8:00 pm

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Global Challenge
 
Posted: 31 Jul 2008, 8:00 pm

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Global Challenge
 
Posted: 30 Jun 2008, 8:00 pm

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Center Stage
 
Posted: 31 May 2008, 8:00 pm

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Head of the Class
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2008, 8:00 pm

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Center Stage
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2008, 8:00 pm

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Center Stage
 
Posted: 29 Feb 2008, 7:00 pm

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Raising the Bar
 
Posted: 31 Jan 2008, 7:00 pm

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Raising the Bar
 
Posted: 31 Jan 2008, 7:00 pm

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Raising the Bar
 
Posted: 31 Dec 2007, 7:00 pm

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Better by Design
 
Posted: 31 Oct 2007, 8:00 pm

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