News

 
Jared Paul: With All His Faculties
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 7:08 pm
Jared Paul has walked a long road to get where he is now. He is the head of Faculty Management & Productions, which produces high-profile tours for established brands like ?Dancing With The Stars? and manages globetrotting artists like New Kids On The Block, Sabrina Carpenter and Il Divo.

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Facing Suit, Punkin Chunkin Canceled
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 6:32 pm
Thanks to a federal lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured at last year?s World Championship Punkin Chunkin, gourds won?t be flying through the air in Bridgeville, Del., this year.

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Flying Lotus In 3D
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 5:34 pm
Electronic music artist, producer and sometimes rapper Flying Lotus is hitting the road ? in 3D ? and kicks his tour off with two shows at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with frequent collaborator and bassist Thundercat Oct. 14-15. 

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NASCAR Streaming An Inside Job
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm

(Editors note: This story first appeared in SportTechie.com)

NASCAR fans will be able to keep up with their favorite drivers this playoff season by watching a livestream of the race broadcast from inside the car.

The “ride along” video, which will be hosted on Twitter, is meant to be part of a second-screen experience that will complement NASCAR’s overall race coverage.

Fans will get an up-close look at the driver’s point-of-view during all 10 races of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, with one car being featured per race. 

While in-car streams have been done before, with driver Tony Stewart streaming his final race of the 2016 season on Facebook Live, this announcement marks a more united approach from both Twitter and NASCAR that will span multiple weeks across NASCAR’s pool of drivers. Twitter is even sponsoring the series, with Toyota Motor signing on to sponsor the first race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Twitter has been among the digital companies fighting for sports rights as consumers cut the cable cord and look for more affordable ways to consume sports. While Twitter lost one of its biggest simulcast deals this year — the streaming rights for Thursday Night Football to Amazon — it has been working on creating second-screen experiences that can be consumed alongside traditional broadcasts.

For what it's worth, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said paying for live sports streaming is not a part of the company’s long-term goal.

The first race of the NASCAR Cup Series, held at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17, will be broadcast on NBC. The in-car camera stream can be found on NASCAR’s official Twitter feed, accessible to fans whether or not they have a Twitter account, as well as on NASCAR Drive and NASCAR Mobile.

“Through the in-car camera live stream on Twitter, our fans will have another compelling vantage point of the NASCAR Playoffs, where the energy and intensity of stage racing will be elevated to a whole new level,” Steve Phelps, Chief Global Sales and Marketing Officer at NASCAR, said in a statement.

Alongside the streams, Twitter will aggregate top tweets about the race.

NASCAR has been experimenting with ways to enhance the fan-viewing experience as it struggles with a decline in younger fans.

And starting this season, NASCAR began allowing drivers to wear devices by a select number of approved brands to track their biometrics during races. Some drivers, including Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson, have used the data to improve their workout regimen and to show fans the level of their physical output during races.

 


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Update: Dutch Police Detain Driver Of Van Near Canceled Gig
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 4:38 pm
Police in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam detained the driver of a van with Spanish license plates and a number of gas tanks inside after a concert by an American rock band was cancelled Wednesday night following a threat, the city?s mayor said.

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Bert Ogden Arena Nears Completion
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 4:00 pm

Bert Ogden Arena, Edinburg, Texas, will open in fall 2018.

The new $82-million Bert Ogden Arena is the latest addition to Edinburg, Texas, which recently saw the opening of a 17,000-seat soccer stadium (20,000 GA floor) and 2,500-capacity amphitheater, both housed in HEB Park, creating a new entertainment hub for South Texas.

The new arena will see a 7,700-fixed seat capacity arena with another 1,300-flexible seats and will be the home of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, a National Basketball Association G-League team and Houston Rockets affiliates. The arena is also working on a partnership with the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, to host its basketball games.

The venue will also host concerts, family shows, comedy, rodeos and local graduations.

The Rio Grande Valley sits on the border with Mexico and is the largest border community in Texas, with a population of 1.2 million, 89 percent Hispanic. Cantu Entertainment Group is the principal investor for HEB Park and the new arena.

“This arena was built to improve the quality of life of our community,” said Alonzo Cantu, owner, Cantu Entertainment Group and Management Company. “This arena is about civic pride and is an economic engine that will create jobs for South Texas.”

Cantu said that the arena is “designed to deliver exceptional live performances and revitalize our community through sports and live entertainment events. Our residents no longer have to travel to different cities to see superior quality events but can enjoy them in their own backyard.”

This new facility is a public/private partnership with the City of Edinburg. “The City of Edinburg really stepped up to the plate and saw the value that an arena of this caliber would bring to the city and the surrounding communities,” said Cantu.

Three very important elements were taken into consideration throughout the planning of the arena: the culinary experience, comfort and technology, according to Cantu.

The first of those elements is going to be met by partnering with Luby’s Culinary Services for Bert Ogden Arena food and beverage services. “We’re going to have five-star, quality concessions with modernized time-honored eats,” said Cantu. “Luby’s is bringing restaurant-quality dining from its base of award-winning restaurants. Clients will work directly with Luby’s Culinary to create custom menus or choose one of their innovative "Chef's Tables" concepts to create a unique dining experience.”

The menu offers regional favorites and well-known specialties such as Fuddruckers, Edinburg Fiesta, Hill Country BBQ, Italian Buffet and Sushi Bar. Snacks will include Vipers Nachos, Spiropapas, popcorn and more. A large variety of wines and domestic and imported beer will also be on sale.

The second element, comfort, will see innovative chairs that will be a spacious 48 inches from front to back to allow for more comfortable movement. “I went from arena to arena to find the best, most comfortable seating possible,” said Cantu. “These seats are more like theater-seating than traditional hard-back arena seats.”

Technology is being addressed with a state-of-the-art scoreboard and lighting.

“Alonzo Cantu is a visionary and has done great things for his community,” said Rene Borrego, CEO, Bert Ogden Arena. “This Arena is much bigger than basketball; the Bert Ogden Arena will meet the growing needs of South Texas and the community's appetite for sporting, live music events and stage shows.”

“Mr. Cantu and the management team wanted to ensure that this arena was more than bricks and mortar and that the infrastructure was an investment in human interaction,” he said.

Marty Hinojosa, Cantu Construction, is the architect, and got involved in 2013. Designs were ready by early 2105 and construction started about a year ago. It’s expected to open in the first quarter of 2018.

Progress has been steady, with the arena’s first of two steel roof trusses, perhaps the most visible feature of the property, already in place. “Each truss is the size of a football field, measuring 305 feet, double the height of an overpass, and weighing a combined 700 tons,” she said.

A complete installation of water, sewer and storm drainage had to be created underneath the 212,000-sq.-ft. parcel of land the arena is built on, and all the utilities had to be run below the expressway next to it.

“The challenge of that parcel of land is it had no utilities at all,” said Hinojosa. “It had been an agricultural site.”

Hinojosa also mentioned that the arena is “energy efficient, using energy-saving lighting and air conditioning.”

Nearly 90 percent of the construction contracts were awarded to local companies, vendors, contractors and sub-contractors.

Bert Ogden Auto Group, a local car dealership, secured the naming rights in an undisclosed deal. There will be retail shops attached to the arena and a parcel of land has been created for a future hotel.

“The mixed-use development will provide great economic impact and a tremendous opportunity for the Rio Grande Valley,” said Cantu. “Combined with HEB Park just a few miles down the road, we’re building blocks to elevate the Valley experience by attracting more restaurants, more retail, more residents and more businesses,” added Cantu. “This is not just a stadium and arena and retail; it’s a community gathering place.”

 


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Tyler, The Creator Plots Fall Tour
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 3:42 pm
The ever-controversial Tyler, The Creator is back in headlines after the release of his latest album Flower Boy and now he is planning headline dates in theaters and clubs around the U.S.

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Tornado Didn’t Topple Erie Fair
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 2:00 pm

A tornado nearly toppled Erie (N.Y.) County Fair three weeks before it opened; fairgoers came out in near-record numbers to see the $3 million in damage.

The upside to a tornado that takes place three weeks before the fair opens and causes $3-million in damage is the number of fairgoers who want to check out the grounds. Attendees who turned out in near-record numbers that gave the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, N.Y., its second-highest gate in history found a facility that had been patched up and was ready to go.

Attendance was 1,193,279, compared to last year’s 983,000, said CEO Denny Lang.

“We were the topic of discussion for two weeks,” he said. However, it was not enough to make up for the $3-million in damage and the fair will have to dip into its rainy-day fund to pay for repairs to the roofs of several buildings, including the East Grandstand, which was undergoing renovations and was 80-percent complete when the July 19 tornado hit.

The roof “was completely ripped off the structure,” he said. The tornado was rated an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, Lang said.

Additionally, 250 cars were totaled, including those of three employees, and others suffered a great deal of damage. Fifty trees also were destroyed. “Basically what we did is emergency repairs,” Lang said. “Now that the fair is over, we will go back and restructure it all and replace roofs. We patched things up before the fair and now we have to go in and replace it.”

The fair had insurance but it will not cover tree debris removal, plus the facility has to ante up for two pricey deductibles, Lang said. The tornado struck at 12:30 p.m. and there was a horse show going on at the time, plus the on-site Hamburg Gaming had 2,000 people inside. No people or horses were injured, Lang said.

By the time the Aug. 9-20 fair rolled around, fairgoers were ready to have fun and ride grosses were up 17 percent in spite of the tornado as well as a deadly Fireball accident at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus that Lang says affected carnival presales that took place at Tops Friendly Markets.

The Orlando, Fla.-based James E. Strates Shows placed about 70 rides on the midway, Lang said, although not the KMG-produced Fireball, which is out of commission by order of the manufacturer for now, Lang said. Fairgoers could purchase pay-one-price wristbands that cost $25 on weekdays and $40 on weekends.

People were very concerned about the Ohio State Fair ride accident, Lang said. “That’s what everyone wanted to talk about, the tornado and the ride accident. But once they got into fair-mode, they were not worrying about the accident.”

The fair puts on a mix of ticketed and free concerts in the 7,000-seat Gusto Grandstand, sponsored by the Buffalo News. Paid concerts ranged in price from $25 to $60.

The ticketed show featuring Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy did well, but singer/songwriter Jason Derulo was soft, Lang said. Rock of the 70s and Happy Together, both ticketed, also did well.

KISS tribute Mr. Speed and the double bill of John Conlee and the Bellamy Brothers, both free acts, were both well-attended. The fair also offered five nights of demolition derbies, tractor pulls and motocross.

Gate admission cost $10, which has been the same for the past eight years, Lang said. Children under the age of 12 got in for free. Lang declined to disclose budgets and revenue figures, noting that the private fair does not give out that information. The year-round budget is $8 million.

These days, marketing focuses more on social media and less on newspapers, television and radio, Lang said. Holly Smyczynski, the fair’s marketing manager, said that in addition to Facebook and Instagram, the fair used Snapchat this year for the first time.

The app that fairgoers could use for the past four years to navigate the grounds, as well as the food choices, continued to grow in popularity, Lang added. Smyczynski also noted that the app allowed fairgoers to, among other things, vote for their favorite new fair foods.

“Each August, we gain an average of 7,000 new users and the average amount of page views is over 1 million,” Smyczynski said.

The new foods included Italian Sausage Lollipops, Homemade Kettle Corn Ice Cream, Crab Stuffed Mushroom Pierogis, deep-fried ricotta-battered doughnuts drizzled with Nutella, Stuffed Hot Pepper Mac & Cheese, Deer Burger Deluxe and Balsamic Bruschetta on Rustic Flatbread. The pierogis sold the best, Smyczynski added. Food and drink revenues were up 8.7 percent, Lang noted.

Parking at the 265-acre grounds costs $5 a-car and in addition to the 12,000 on-site parking spots, the fair leases property across the street that handles another 8,000 vehicles, Lang said.

Next year’s dates will be Aug. 8-19. That event will be managed by new CEO Jessica Underberg, who will be taking the reins from the retiring Lang on Jan. 1. Underberg has served as the assistant manager for the past five years and has worked at the fairgrounds for 20 years, Lang said.


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Pros On The Move: Randall Uritsky, Lisa Roberts
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 1:22 pm
Randall Uritsky heads to Paradigm.  Comedy talent buyer Lisa Roberts is joining National Shows 2.

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Taylor Swift Ends Intrigue, Announces New Album
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 1:03 pm
Yes, Taylor Swift fans, Wednesday was a lucky one for you.

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LN Seeks Dismissal Over Stage Collapse Suit
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 12:37 pm
Live Nation and engineer Domenic Cugliari are trying to get the suit regarding a 2012 stage collapse in Toronto that killed a drum tech and injured three other workers dismissed because of unreasonable delays. 

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UK Competition Authorities Question AEG
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 12:19 pm
Live Nation made good on its threat of antitrust action against AEG, filing a complaint about the group?s alleged booking policy with the UK?s Competition and Markets Authority. No investigation by the CMA has been launched yet.

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Amsterdam Sets Strict Decibel Limit For Outdoor Events
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 12:11 pm
Dutch capital?s city council introduced a limit of 85dB for large-scale outdoor events held in residential areas.

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Mel B Dumps Water On Simon Cowell, Storms Off Stage
 
Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 8:27 am
Simon Cowell has been left all wet by a joke he made at the expense of fellow ?America?s Got Talent? judge Mel B.

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Linkin Park Planning Event To Honor Bennington
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 8:56 pm
Linkin Park announced today that it has an event in the works to honor the memory of lead vocalist Chester Bennington. 

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Asia: Summer Sonic, Ariana Grande
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 8:18 pm
Summer Sonic Gets Rickrolled, Grande Fans Still Feel Snubbed, ...

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TM Sued Over Website, VIP Issues
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 8:13 pm
Ticketmaster falsely advertised only the highest-priced tickets on its website in presales for ?I Love The ?90s: The Party Continues,? Universal Attractions Agency claims in a federal lawsuit making its way through court.

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Billy Joel Dons Star Of David Jacket During MSG Encore
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 7:30 pm
Billy Joel wore a bright yellow Star of David on his black suit during an encore at Madison Square Garden.

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CenturyLink To Receive Upgrades
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 7:13 pm
The CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, La, is about to get some major upgrades.

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Mother Nature’s Wrath
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 6:35 pm
Turbulent wind caused a Pennsylvania festival to scrub its remaining schedule and a storm forced Joe Bonamassa to switch Nebraska venues.

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Vance Joy Lays It On U.S.
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 5:43 pm
Wrapping up a sold-out world tour that took in England, Canada and his native Australia, Vance Joy has plotted a fall U.S. headlining tour that kicks off Sept. 30 in Seattle. 

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Marquee Club Staffs Up
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 5:30 pm

08-23-17_Management-Chef_Alfredo-200x145.jpg

Alfredo Rodriguez.

The Fox Theatre, Atlanta, has staffed its new Marquee Club presented by Lexus.

Alfredo Rodriguez is the new executive chef and Paul Delgado will be the GM of the new premium space.

Rodriguez will oversee the Marquee Club’s menu development and food and beverage operations for the 250 plus events housed at the Fox Theatre. Rodriguez brings nearly 20 years of eclectic culinary experience including positions at high volume destinations such as Walt Disney World Resorts, Orlando, and California Center for the Arts, Escondido.  Most recently, Rodriguez was the chef at Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s restaurant Oriente at the Cardozo Hotel, Miami.  A native of Puerto Rico, Rodriguez graduated from the New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, Vt., with a bachelor degree in culinary arts.

08-23-17_Management-Paul_Delgado-200x145.jpgPaul Delgado.

Delgado will oversee all Marquee Club operations, including hiring and training staff, coordinating vendors, and managing budgets. With nearly 20 years of hospitality experience on his resume, Delgado’s varied history includes time with Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park, Orlando, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House at both Harrah’s Casino, N.C. and Atlanta’s Centennial Park location.

Slated to open fall 2017, the Marquee Club will be a premier membership club with over 10,000 square feet of premium space, which is accessible only for ticketed guests of Fox Theatre events with an annual membership or a single-event pass. The Marquee Club will be open before and during Fox Theatre events, as well as immediately after select events.

 


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Garth, Shania And The Nashville TBA
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 5:05 pm
Shania Twain manager Scott Rodger says he?s still waiting for a resolution of an apparent impediment with Garth Brooks? camp regarding Twain?s Aug. 25 onsale.

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Dead Cross Reschedules After Patton’s Skateboard Wipeout
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 4:35 pm
Dead Cross is making up for Monday?s gig in Los Angeles, which the band was forced to call off at the last-minute because frontman Mike Patton had an accident while skateboarding to the venue.  

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John Carpenter Touring Movie Anthology
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 4:07 pm
Noted director and composer John Carpenter, behind sci-fi and horror classics such as ?Halloween? and ?The Thing,? is releasing a collection of newly recorded themes and is hitting the road in support, playing theatres in select markets from late October into November.

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Hot Tickets for August 23, 2017
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 4:00 pm

Ed Sheeran, arguably one of the world’s most popular male solo artists, is currently making his way through the North American leg of his ÷ tour (pronounced 'divide tour') promoting his new album ÷. Sheeran, along with his opening act James Blunt, made a stop at Staples Center, Los Angeles, for a three-night, sold-out run, Aug. 10-12, grossing over $3.6 million with ticket prices ranging from $40-$100. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal, the one-man band charmed over 40, 000 fans and continues to grow in popularity with each passing performance. Coming up this week, Sheeran will be making a two-night appearance at Infinite Energy Center, Duluth, Ga., Aug. 25-26.

IleSoniq, one of Canada’s most in-demand music festivals, took place Aug. 11-12, at Parc Jean Drapeau, Montreal, overlooking abundant vegetation and rolling hills. The fourth annual electronic dance festival brought in an attendance of 55,000 and grossed nearly $4 million. Some of IleSoniq’s headliners included Tiesto, Porter Robinson, Infected Mushroom and Damien Lazarus. Plans for IleSoniq 2018 are already in motion.

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 July 25-Aug. 22.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Phish - The Baker’s Dozen
Gross Sales: $15,041,405; Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York; Attendance: 227,385; Ticket Range: $74-$54; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 21-Aug. 6; No. of Shows: 13

2) Coldplay
Gross Sales: $3,985,870; Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal; Attendance: 35,246; Ticket Range: $179.17-$23.49; Promoter: evenko, Live Nation; Dates: Aug. 8-9; No. of Shows: 2

3) IleSoniq 2017
Gross Sales: $3,812,775; Venue: Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal; Attendance: 54,707; Ticket Range: $211.02-$79.23; Promoter: evenko; Dates: Aug. 11-12; No. of Shows: 2

4) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $3,622,203; Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles; Attendance: 40,731; Ticket Range: $99.50-$39.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: Aug. 10-12; No. of Shows: 3

5) Neil Diamond
Gross Sales: $2,637,097; Venue: The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.; Attendance: 23,635; Ticket Range: $179.50-$49.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: Aug. 10-12; No. of Shows: 2

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $1,448,536; Venue: First Direct Arena, Leeds, England; Attendance: 8,897; Ticket Range: $186.50-$55.95; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, Marshall Arts; Dates: Aug. 2; No. of Shows: 1

2) Shawn Mendes
Gross Sales: $575,557; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,832; Ticket Range: $67.50-$47.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: July 29; No. of Shows: 1

3) Matchbox Twenty, Counting Crows
Gross Sales: $447,596; Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas; Attendance: 6,145; Ticket Range: $125.50-$39.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 29; No. of Shows: 1

4) WWE Live!
Gross Sales: $155,275; Venue: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Attendance: 4,277; Ticket Range: $100-$20; Promoter: Event Services, WWE; Dates: July 31; No. of Shows: 1

5) WWE Live!
Gross Sales: $152,905; Venue: Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario; Attendance: 3,419; Ticket Range: $120-$20; Promoter: WWE; Dates: Aug. 6; No. of Shows: 1

1) Kenny Chesney
Gross Sales: $1,469,255; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 14,313; Ticket Range: $125-$95; Promoter: In-house, Dale Morris & Associates; Dates: Aug. 10-11; No. of Shows: 2

2) Marco Antonio Solis
Gross Sales: $494,540; Venue: State Farm Arena, Hidalgo, Texas; Attendance: 5,213; Ticket Range: $150-$45; Promoter: First Row Productions; Dates: Aug. 11; No. of Shows: 1

3) Sigur Ros
Gross Sales: $392,271; Venue: Hordern Pavilion, Sydney; Attendance: 5,376; Ticket Range: $79.04; Promoter: Secret Sounds; Dates: July 25; No. of Shows: 1

4) RL Grime
Gross Sales: $387,875; Venue: Hordern Pavilion, Sydney; Attendance: 5,509; Ticket Range: $77.85; Promoter: We Are BBE; Dates: July 28; No. of Shows: 1

5) Echo & The Bunnymen
Gross Sales: $333,024; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 7,899; Ticket Range: $62.50-$32.50; Promoter: In-house, OCFEC; Dates: July 29; No. of Shows: 1

1) Blondie, Garbage
Gross Sales: $216,777; Venue: Beacon Theatre, New York; Attendance: 2,774; Ticket Range: $144-$53.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: Aug. 1; No. of Shows: 1

2) Buckingham McVie
Gross Sales: $141,683; Venue: Beacon Theatre, New York; Attendance: 2,961; Ticket Range: $119.50-$19; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: Aug. 10; No. of Shows: 1

3) The Australian Pink Floyd Show
Gross Sales: $111,147; Venue: Place des Arts, Montreal; Attendance: 2,144; Ticket Range: $62.34-$34.90; Promoter: evenko; Dates: Aug. 6; No. of Shows: 1

4) Cloud 9
Gross Sales: $21,172; Venue: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Attendance: 979; Ticket Range: $28-$14; Promoter: In-house; Dates: July 12-Aug. 6; No. of Shows: 17

5) Margaret Glaspy
Gross Sales: $5,680; Venue: Lincoln Hall, Chicago; Attendance: 284; Ticket Range: $20; Promoter: Jam Productions; Dates: July 26; No. of Shows: 1

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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Drake And Future Sued By Concertgoer
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 2:22 pm
A woman who claims she was raped during a Drake and Future concert in Nashville last year is suing both artists and others for $25 million.

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Oshkosh Arena Progresses
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 2:04 pm
Despite a larger than projected budget, the new arena for the Wisconsin Herd in Oshkosh, Wis., is still set to open in time for the team?s first game in November.

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UK: Prince Exhibit, DHP Family, MVT, Flamefest, Greener Festival
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 1:46 pm
Prince Exhibition And VR Gaming At The O2, MVT Goes Digital, A Greener Festival Online Course On Sustainability, A Greener Festival Online Course On Sustainability, Man Dies At Kinky UK Festival, ...

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The Used Cruise Through NA
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 1:05 pm
The Used is hitting both coasts in a month-long fall tour this year, with Glassjaw holding down the support duties.

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Cosby Hires Michael Jackson’s Lawyer For Retrial
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 12:06 pm
Bill Cosby has hired Michael Jackson?s former lawyer to represent him at his November retrial on sexual-assault charges in Pennsylvania.

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Mystikal Surrenders On Rape Charge
 
Posted: 22 Aug 2017, 8:11 am
The rapper Mystikal has surrendered to authorities in Louisiana, where he faces a sexual assault charge.

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SnowGlobe Hopes To Keep Rocking Lake Tahoe
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 8:34 pm
SnowGlobe Music Festival founder Chad Donnelly met with the South Lake Tahoe City Council Aug. 15 to make his case for signing a long-term contract to host the annual winter event in the California resort city. 

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Joe Walsh Reschedules HoB Vegas Dates
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 8:06 pm
Joe Walsh has rescheduled his House of Blues Las Vegas dates from late September to Nov. 16, 18-19. 

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Australia: Conference, Sydney Stadiums, Eurovision, Dates
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 7:43 pm
Sydney To Host Global Cities After Dark Conference, NSW Premier Committed To Upgrades For Sydney Stadiums, Australia Unveils Plans For Eurovision Asia Song Contest, NZ Rapper Scribe FacesDrugs, Weapons Charges, The xx, Bow Wow, Liam Gallaher Heading Back Down Under, ...

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Atlanta Stadium Serving Up a Feast Saturday
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 7:00 pm

Local foods at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, include the Chicken in a waffle bowl.

When the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens in Atlanta in Saturday for an exhibiton game, the largest new stadium to hit North America in years, the building’s operators will offer fans plenty of firsts. The Arthur M Blank Family of Businesses, which owns both the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United, will show fans see an eight-piece retractable roof (though it will not be opening yet, remaining closed for the preseason), a five-story halo videoboard that dwarfs anything else ever seen in the world and a lot of food and beverage (F&B) options.

Much of the F&B will be made up of specialty items and will be available anywhere. There’s a strong mix of local fare on all three levels of concourse, not just at the 100 level. One of Atlanta’s most popular barbecue joints, Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, will operate a new concept in its 300-level stand. Kevin Gillespie, a Top Chef, will open a new French dip and chicken sandwich concept on the 200 level, and others will have operations on all three levels. Gomes said to expect a balance, not only on the three concourses, but within each quadrant of each concourse to give as much variety as possible to fans in their “neighborhood,” while still having a few one-off finds peppered throughout the venue.

The Falcons brought in some of the most popular restaurants in the city, from Farm Burger to Jim N Nicks barbeque and The Varsity to Miss D’s Popcorn, Chick-fil-A, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Antico, Iberian Pig and plenty more. The prices fans pay for their local favorites are exactly the same as what they would pay at the restaurant outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Atlanta has a thriving cuisine, and it is a good mish-mash of old Southern with new up and coming vibrant city elements, so what we did for our local partners is we went to our fans,” Gomes said. “Arthur said 'I don’t care what you think is good;  I care what our fans think is good. We took a list and let fans choose who was the best in the city.”

Once the fans had spoken, the Falcons invited the restaurants into the building, free of charge, with the only requirements that they ensure quality matches their restaurant and they had to exactly mirror their restaurant prices. Over 15 local businesses have entered into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium agreement.

When it comes to chicken inside the stadium, fans have some searching to do if on Sunday. The Chick-fil-A booth, closed on Sundays, won’t serve many Falcons games, but will be open to other events. In its place, a French fry stand will open on Sundays. For those wanting a chicken sandwich, look no further than the Closed-on-Sunday Chicken Sandwich from Kevin Gillespie, an obvious poke at Chick-fil-A. To complicate matters more, the Falcons have chosen Zaxby’s as the official chicken of the team, but you won’t find it sold inside the stadium. At least not yet.

On the beverage side, by moving the soda fountains outside the concession counter, it not only gives fans more control over their sodas, likely creating a better experience, but it also removes people from concession lines simply wanting a soda refill and removes time for workers who could otherwise be serving food.

Additionally, the stadium will feature four branded 360-degree bars with views of the bowl on the 100 level and four more on the 200 level with a 100-yard-long club open to anyone on the 300 level. The venue will offer 1,264 beer taps—up from 30 in the Georgia Dome—which they believe easily outpaces any stadium. The mix of options will include domestic, craft and European, all open as soon as the gates do and not subject to the Georgia state law that doesn’t allow the serving of alcohol before 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday.

“We looked at every one of those 1,264 taps to provide variety in each quadrant,” Gomes said. “Availability, accessibility and variety will be a huge hit for fans.” The operators of Mercedes-Benz Stadium hope that sentiment runs from beverage right through all food operations.

Fans will also witness something else that might give them complete shock. Fans will see $2 hot dogs. Then nachos for $3 and $2 sodas with the refillable stations outside—yes, outside—the concession counter, giving fans complete control over the all-you-can-drink concept.

“We want to move food and beverage from a guest dis-satisfier, as they begrudgingly shell out more (money) than they want for a level of quality they don’t know and literally transform it into something they look forward to,” said Mike Gomes, senior vice president of fan experience for the Falcons. “No longer are they avoiding the stadium.”

brisket_grilled_cheese_05.jpgBrisket Grilled Cheese at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta. 

As the stadium moves to “street pricing,” designed to have in-stadium food priced the same as it would cost elsewhere in Atlanta, Gomes said the pricing plan wouldn’t work if the venue wasn’t planned properly from the start with kitchen capacity, storage, point of sale and more. “We knew we were going to put in way more food and beverage capacity,” he said, “to make sure the quality, variety, freshness and ability do not run out. There was a lot of complex modeling to make sure the building and operation is ready to support fan-first pricing.”

During the stadium design process, the Falcons saw that food and beverage sat at the very bottom of every fan experience survey in the NFL. And possibly the entirety of sports. Fans not only didn’t enjoy, but outright disliked the price and quality. So instead of having an element in the new building that was the same as all the rest, the Falcons structured the contract to give them control over every aspect of the fan experience.

Instead of selling the building’s concession rights, which severs control over pricing and quality, the Falcons hired Levy Restaurants to operate the concessions for a set price, allowing Falcons owner Arthur Blank to control the prices while increasing point-of-sale locations 65 percent versus the Georgia Dome and cooking stations 55 percent. And this means the stadium operators have control over every event in the building, meaning your $2 hot dog remains the same for the Falcons, United or even when the Super Bowl and Final Four come to town in a few years.

Gomes said he expects people who otherwise wouldn’t have purchased food may do so now and folks who did buy food before may buy even more. “That is what we are really going to have to very quickly watch,” he says. “We need to quickly take in behavioral patterns. The intent isn’t to change pricing, but to make sure operations are ready to satisfy the guests. Our intent is not to let quality slip.”

po_boy_04.jpgThe Po Boy sandwhich featured in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta.

And while the low-price food serves as one key element, the Falcons tried to do something else in food and beverage that will extend across every ticket holder: access.

“A $2 hot dog gets you excited because of the price,” Gomes said. “It will be a really good hot dog, but it is still a hot dog. We wanted to make sure we pursued specialty items and fan-first pricing model extends across that.”


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eSports Demands New Venue Design
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 7:00 pm

Populous' rendering of the eSports arena of the future.

Hosting eSports differs from everything else already on the table. For an eSports event to work, though, gamers need a modern venue. Simply put, the newer the building the more likely it is to have technology capable of handling the massive influx of streaming data and to be built with the space to allow for festival-like activations.

With these events so young—and with so many groups and leagues just starting out and filling everything from small theaters to major arenas the world over—organizers must still experiment with what works. And that includes both ticketing and food and beverage.

“We’ve learned we have to have the right infrastructure,” said Craig Levine, CEO of ESL North America, one of the world’s largest eSports leagues. “High-speed internet, club levels laid out with an intimate feel, large concourses to activate sponsors and partners, it all helps create an experience that is more robust than just watching eSports for a couple of hours. For us, we are still building the circus within the arena.”

Think of eSports as a combination event that ties circus to music festival to sports. Instead of a field of play, eSports uses jumbotrons and high-definition screens so fans from any view have the right experience. Levine said bringing in the staging, sound and lighting needed for an event falls more in line with what you see from a rock concert.

“A core strategy for us is trying to establish it as a festival more than a match,” he said. To start, they select a game and then find a city where that game has a strong following. From there, they will select a venue, such as the DOTA 2 Championships in Seattle’s KeyArena. With events running eight-plus hours a day for two or three days, organizers need to program experiences throughout the venue and use wide concourses to activate. In Poland, where the Spodek Katowice venue draws over 170,000 folks over the course of an Intel Extreme Masters circuit, ESL has spilled into the adjacent expo hall and brought in food trucks to serve fans coming and going.

“A key driver of trying to establish a festival-type of presence is consistency in a market,” Levine said. “Go to the same market at the same time of year, year after year and we see a growth of attendance numbers.”

Levine said that just as in traditional concert or basketball events, eSports patrons enjoy the tiered approach, with people willing to pay more for premium access to suites, the floor or even players. “We are finding ways to optimize ticket revenue with different tiers with more distinct value propositions,” he said.

Food, though, may sit as the one area with the most exploration needed. As events grow in popularity, organizers have started to push for reentry privileges to allow patrons to visit neighborhood eateries. But both organizers and concessionaires would like to keep everyone inside the building.

Todd Merry, CMO of Delaware North, said the style of event means serving eSports falls in line with a tennis grand slam event or cricket, requiring the team think more in terms of a restaurant with daily specials and a menu that varies.

With the fans trending younger than other events in arenas—and the events themselves so young—patrons don’t have built-in expectations when entering arenas. “I rarely eat hot dogs or peanuts, but I have both when I attend a baseball game,” Merry said. “I associate that with the experience and look forward to it. These eSports fans don't have that built-in Pavlovian response when they come for an eSports tournament and this means that we have the opportunity and obligation to not just default to the standard staples normally found at sporting events.”

As concessionaires learn what works in this new arena demographic, Merry said they’ve already noticed strong nuances within eSports. “The audience isn’t a homogenous, monolithic group,” he said. “We see there are differences between a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive audience and a DOTA 2 audience just like there are differences between hockey and basketball. Keeping that in mind is important and will be key to delivering the best possible experience.”

While the sport continues to form, the ESL model puts a focus on scarcity to drive up interest, allowing them to select a venue to descend on a few times per year. But not everybody has the same vision. Populous architect Brian Mirakian said we aren’t too far away from seeing purpose-built eSports arenas. “I have fielded so many calls over the last 18 months I can’t even tell you of interested people and some very advanced conversations of some things in the pipeline,” he said. “The more these events take place and fans are drawn to event experiences, it is only a matter of time before a purpose-built venue comes online.”

And he’s talking in grand scale, as we’ve already seen small, dedicated eSports spaces in Orange County, California, from Allied Esports, and a converted movie theater turning into Millennial Esports on the third floor of Neonopolis in Las Vegas.

But where the large-scale development happens remains to be seen, as eSports certainly hits a global tone, filling full-size arenas in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia. “I think ultimately where it is going to happen is where the most innovative thinking is and where the pioneers are,” Mirakian said. “If I had to venture a guess, you may see the first purpose-built venue in Asia, closely followed by the United States and Europe. The sport is still in its infancy, but the popularity is exploding.”

What will we get if purpose-built becomes the next wave? Flexibility to host eSports or concerts and more theatrically-based events. “The scalability of  it is going to be critically important,” Mirakian said. “Transformability is critically important. The real excitement and design challenge is thinking of the next generation consumer that inherently wants something very different from an event experience. The way they think about premium is a lot different, the way they think about food and beverage is different. There are a lot of different forces in play.”

Before we get the purpose built, we could start to see a shift  in current buildings  looking to turn more eSports-friendly by reconfiguring to offer scalability with such technology as mechanized ceilings that drop down from full house to half house.

Either way, understanding the formula for fan desires in an all-day event attracting those in the 18-to-35 demographic remains a work in progress. “Instead of beer sales, we are seeing a demand for things like energy drinks,” Mirakian said. Designers must rethink food and beverage, club space design, concourses with a focus on activation and not just circulation and even creating new spaces in the building to keep fans interested for long stretches. It all requires the ability to “rethink a lot of conventional practices.” Now, though, venue managers and designers have a real reason as eSports has offered venues an entirely new avenue to explore.


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Colorado State Rams Open $220-Million Venue
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 6:00 pm

Colorado State University's new stadium.

When the Colorado State University Rams open the football season Saturday, Aug. 26, they will not only debut a new season, but christen a brand-new on-campus stadium.

Colorado State Stadium, Fort Collins, brings football back to campus, remakes the southern entrance to campus and opens up a variety of entertainment and academic opportunities at the multipurpose venue.

The $220-million stadium was designed by Populous as an open-air entertainment, academic and training destination. It seats 41,000 for football (10,000 are set aside for students) and other events, but also features a porch on the north side for events and includes an 80,000-square-foot alumni and academic center integrated into the east side of the venue. Plus, the entire football operations program has moved into the new stadium, from a training center, to meeting rooms and sports medicine to offices.

Myron Chase, Populous project manager on the stadium, said that from a design perspective, that even with a football-sized seating bowl, the new stadium falls in line with the mid-century modern architecture style of horizontal and vertical planes seen across campus buildings while mixing in plenty of Colorado sandstone, the primary material found on campus.

“Mid-century modern presents some challenges,” he said. “You have to contend with the seating bowl and not necessarily hide that, but mask it with a façade we wouldn’t typically do. It was a challenge, but I think we were successful carrying that style of architecture into the stadium.”

Chase used sandstone at key locations, especially entrances, most predominately a 110-foot-tall sandstone wall at the premium entrance that he says unifies the west façade.

Connecting to the existing campus was important, but simply bringing folks onto campus offers an opportunity to reshape the southern edge of campus that wasn’t available previously. Populous designed the venue on 17.5 acres with an axis on Meridian Avenue to connect toward the recreation fields and the interior of campus. The positioning also allows for views to the mountains.

“Playing football on campus provides the largest engagement opportunity for the university six times each year,” said Joe Parker, director of athletics. “Alumni who come to football games will be back on campus, walking in the same places they walked as students and showing their families this beautiful campus. Something that is very exciting is to see people experience the stadium for the first time in person and to see that something very special has been built here. The engagement is beneficial for the entire university, and it’s a campus- and community-wide point of pride and celebration.”

Inside, the premium spaces—a typical mix of 23 open-air suites, three clubs and 224 loge boxes—includes the premium tower in the west with views onto the mountains. The field club, since renamed the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies Field Club, was university-requested and places a club on the field. The patio-like setting gives fans access to view the game from the field and watch the entrance and exit of the team.

With 270-degree views from the concourse, Chase said they tried to keep fans connected to the energy of the game at all points while upgrading everything from point-of-sale to restrooms and retail space to concessions versus what fans were accustomed to at the now-closed 50-year-old Hughes Stadium, off campus four miles away.

While the student advising and counseling and academic areas—a total of about 60,000 square feet—located under the east concourse don’t have a direct tie to the stadium, the 23,000-sq.-ft. alumni center does, ideally allowing the university the opportunity for pre-event programming and giving alumni a dedicated entrance into the venue on game days. It can also host events when football isn’t in town.

By moving the entire football program into the stadium, Chase said they found there wasn’t a simple way to get natural light into the coaching offices, so they made a way by creating a coach’s patio in the northwest corner. The cutout in the bowl gives the head coach views to the field and offers coaching personnel access to the patio. While not an in-game ticket, it provides a quirk to the design.

One area that has already garnered plenty of attention is the New Belgium Porch, which wasn’t added into the build until nine months ago. Located on the north end, football game ticketholders can purchase an add-on to gain entrance to the two bars in the standing-room-only space. Plus, the plaza can open to the campus and community on nongame days, a “unique feature that provides fans a different game-day experience” that can be used on a year-round basis, Parker said.

The university has employed a stadium events manager since September 2016 who has already scheduled 100 events through the end of the calendar year, including a wedding on site July 3 and three uses of the plaza in the first two weeks since opening prior to this weekend’s football game.

None of those events will prove more important than the Aug. 26 football game in Colorado State Stadium, an event that gives special meaning to a “home” game and something Colorado State University hasn’t ever experienced.

 


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Security Takes A Village
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 6:00 pm

CNN's Philip Mudd; Prevent Advisor's Michael Downing and Bill Bratton; Michael Ferris, CEO, Abacode and the NFL's David McCain on the security panel at VenuesNow. (Photo Credit: Rich Fury)

REPORTING FROM BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.—Venue security has been top-of-mind for facility managers around the world for many years now. It was given new urgency following the suicide bombing at Manchester (U.K.) Arena last May. Being prepared, having policies in place and following through on those policies are the keys, according to experts gathered at the VenuesNow conference here  last month.

“Who would have thought that a character sitting in a cave in Pakistan in the 90s, Osama bin Laden, would shape all of our lives?” asked Bill Bratton, executive chairman, Prevent Advisors, the venue security division of Oak View Group.

“We’re living in extraordinary times...times we did not anticipate when we moved into the 21st Century,” he said. “When this century started, Y2K was the big security threat. Now, an idea that was formed thousands of years ago, Islamic Radicalism, is the world’s biggest threat.”

Bratton said new technology is allowing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terror groups to stay one step ahead of law enforcement and pointed to social media as one of the biggest threats to venue security. “These groups are recruiting tens of thousands of soldiers using social media. With all these people running around, we cannot protect everything, everywhere, all the time. But with prioritization and capabilities, we can try to predict and prevent.”

“The threat is real; it’s evolving quickly and we can’t do it by ourselves,” said Michael Downing, EVP security, Prevent Advisors, who believes the threats “will get worse before they get better” and that the current threat is generational and will play out for decades.

Bratton said the main challenge for venue security is “taking the uncertainty in today’s world and turning it into certainty,” and stressed that, “the conversation should be revolving around understanding that law enforcement cannot be counted on to save the day.”

Downing also believes the government can’t do it alone and venues have to look to experts for solid advice. “It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when,” he warned, “but we can do so much to create environments that are unattractive [to terrorists].”

Bratton talked about concentric circles of defense. There is local enforcement, state enforcement and federal enforcement, he said, and making sure they are cooperating is vital to protecting your venue. “Make sure your security chief  has a relationship with the chiefs of all the agencies. Stopping a terror act is often the result of everyone working together. We want layer upon layer upon layer protecting our venues.”

“The government is your partner,” said David McCain, security services, National Football League (NFL). “Having someone on your staff that has relationships with law enforcement is crucial.”

All venues need to look at their inner core and their outer core to deal with the asymmetric advisory we face, said Downing. “As Manchester showed us, you can have great security for ingress, and inside the facility, but without the same vigilance being paid to the areas surrounding the venue, a terrorist will see an opportunity.” All agreed that perimeter security was evolving and that perimeters need to be moved further back.

Trying to keep one step ahead of disruptors is challenging. “They know we are monitoring social media, so instead of writing things with key words we will pick up on, they are posting pictures with messages,” said McCain. “We catch a lot of it, but some of it is impossible to catch. So we all need to be prepared for dealing with what slips through the cracks.”

McCain believes in the ‘toolbox’ approach to security, which blends together the government, private and public sector contractors, business, and constant monitoring of social media platforms. “We can only catch the dumb ones,” he said. “The smart ones go dark and that makes this group the most difficult to detect.”

Balancing security at a facility and providing the “safety blanket” fans expect, without fans feeling under siege, can be difficult, said McCain. “Venues want to make the experience enjoyable for the guests and having a heavy police presence and seeing a lot of weapons and armor are not something fans want, but they want to feel safe, and finding that line is essential. We want them to feel confident but not cognizant.”

McCain suggested surveying fans after an event to see how they felt about the security, which they do at many NFL events. “We need to know if their experience was positive or negative; if they felt safe and secure from the parking lot to inside the venue; if there was too much alcohol being served. If there was a fight, did security respond effectively? Often we think we are too heavy on security but, after surveying fans, find out they found the security levels appropriate.”

Messaging to the fans that they have the power is “worth its weight in gold,” said Bratton. “With most fans having a phone in their hand, they have the tool to reach out immediately if they see something they think is not right. We need to encourage the fans to be our security partners.”

’See something, say something’ may sound trite, but it’s important and it’s the idea of awareness, said Bratton, as he pointed out that 70 percent of the detected threats largely came from the general public. “We can only act on information. We all need to be aware of our surroundings and say something if we are concerned.”

Cyber security was heavily discussed and Michael Ferris, Abacode, thinks that is where venues are most vulnerable. Venues need to look at cyber security from a business standpoint first, and a technical standpoint second, he said. “There is a disconnect in the corporate suite when it comes to cyber security. It should be similar to tax and audit, meaning separated, with checks and balances. There are software developers, outside managed service providers, data providers, cloud providers, data centers; and there should be a wall between your cyber security division and everyone else.”

Bratton thinks that the gun policies in the U.S. are a major obstacle. “The availability of weapons poses a huge problem. Any disgruntled 21-year-old can get a weapon and cause a lot of damage,” he said.

The new defensive suite includes Vapor Wake bomb-sniffing dogs, surveillance, phones used as bodycams, facial recognition and drones, according to Bratton. “We have to stay on top of all the new tools and deploy them to tighten our control over our venues. If we harden the target the terrorists will look elsewhere,” he said.


 


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WaitTime Debuts In Australia
 
Posted: 21 Aug 2017, 4:00 pm

WaitTime's artificial intelligence at work at Melbourne (Australia) Cricket Ground.

Detroit-based WaitTime, has found an innovative way to expedite bathroom and concession visits at stadiums across the country, and now it's heading to Australia.

Melbourne (Australia) Cricket Ground is the latest recipient of WaitTime's state-of-the-art technology. The venue seats up to 100,000 spectators for sporting events and concerts. Implementing this new technology into one of the biggest stadiums on earth made for a prominent international debut.

"Our customer research has shown us that wait times for food and drinks are one of the key frustrations for patrons," said Prue Cichello, media and publicity advisor, Melbourne Cricket Ground. "No one likes waiting in a queue and missing the action unfolding – we hope that by providing transparency over expected wait times, as well as advice on other nearby outlets, we can reduce some of that frustration for fans."

WaitTime has also been implemented in two arenas in America thus far. The first full stadium installation took place at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., former home of the Detroit Pistons, in 2016. Since then, WaitTime has also been installed in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, home of the Indiana Pacers.

The company pairs with stadiums and arenas to help fans select a bathroom or concession stand with the shortest line.WaitTime accomplishes this by mounting sensors and cameras outside the doors of bathrooms and fixated on the line at concession stands.

"The sensors take screenshots 10 times per second that is fed to our onsite servers," said Zachary Klima, founder of WaitTime. "We developed a first-in-the-world artificial intelligence that is able to decipher the movement analysis of people in real time.”

Fans and spectators will be able to view the capacity of restrooms or concession stands on arena digital signage, with a green, yellow and red spectrum to depict capacity or vacancy. This information will also be available on the home team's mobile app.

There are several ways that a stadium can purchase WaitTime's services without many financial responsibilities.

“We come in with a sponsor and we cover everything; we get the sponsorship revenue or they (the team or the venue) pay and they’re able to sell a sponsorship on their behalf. At this point in time, it’s a no-cost opportunity,” said Klima.

WaitTime was founded in 2014 by Klima. As of 2016, the company has raised over $10 million in funding, with over 30 investors including Jeffrey Jordan, the son of National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

WaitTime is focusing on the U.K. and Australia. A deal is in the works involving Olympia Entertainment at the new Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, according to Klima.

 


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Nominate for 2017 Silver Spoon Awards!
 
Posted: 17 Aug 2017, 3:00 pm

Seeking Concessions Stand-outs! Submit your nominations by Thursday, August 31, 2017!

More than the money is in the food and now it's time to give recognition to the best chefs and chief operators — the changemakers in concessions who create memorable fan experiences.

Get ready for the Venues Today SILVER SPOON AWARDS!

Venues Today is inviting you to nominate outstanding achievement in concesssions and catering in sports and entertainment in the categories of:

• Best new menu item for 2017
• Best sustainability initiative for 2017
• Best new concept in food and drink for 2017

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT 2016 SILVER SPOON AWARD WINNERS!

Who is eligible?

Executives in food and drink operations at sport, entertainment, fairs and meeting venues internationally.

How to nominate?
1) Please send a 250-400 word description in an email (NO ATTACHMENTS, PLEASE!), including the person and title and company helming the initiative
2) Include a description of the winning endeavor including what, where, when it rolled out and how much it cost
3) Make sure your name and contact information are available so we can contact you if there are any further questions or for more details.
4) E-mail nominations to nominations@venuestoday.com by Thursday, August 31, 2017. (No attachments please, include all descriptions in an email)

How will winners be selected?
Venues Today has recruited a highly qualified jury of peers in the industry to judge nominations for originality, impact on the industry and game-changing characteristics. Along with the staff of Venues Today, the jury will select outstanding contributions to the industry in food and drink service.
Winning initiatives will be profiled in the October issue of Venues Today.

Why now?
Concessions service is a major contributor to the guest experience at venues worldwide. Concessions have a major role in marketing, analytics, public relations, sponsor fulfillment and every other aspect of the fan experience. Venues Today is recognizing those initiatives that take us all to the next level.

Please send your nominations to nominations@venuestoday.com by Thursday, August 31, 2017.


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Paciolan to Buy TicketsWest, WestCoast Ent.
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 8:00 pm

At today’s announcement in Spokane are Steve DeMots, CRO of Paciolan; Jack Lucas, president of WestCoast Entertainment; Kim Damron, president and COO of Paciolan, and Dusty Kurtz, president of TicketsWest.

Further expanding its reach into performing arts and non-university venues, Paciolan has agreed to acquire the assets of TicketsWest and WestCoast Entertainment.

TicketsWest, founded in 1987 in Spokane, Wash., by Jack Lucas with the backing of current owner Red Lion Hotels Corp., has over 200 clients. The full service ticketing and marketing company employs about 90 staffers in Spokane and in branch offices in Portland, Ore. and Denver.

Kim Damron, president and COO of Paciolan, Irvine, Calif., which was purchased by Learfield this year, said the acquisition further emphasizes Learfield’s commitment to live entertainment, citing several Learfield holdings in the performing arts, including digital marketing firm Mogo Interactive, branding agency SME, and website provider SIDEARM Sports.

Paciolan sells over 120 million tickets a year and serves over 500 venues. In 2010, Paciolan absorbed New Era Tickets with offices in Exton, Pa., when it was part of Comcast Spectacor. New Era was rebranded Paciolan, but plans are different with TicketsWest, with announcement of the intention to keep the brand and the staff intact, Damron said.

Dusty Kurtz, who was named president of TicketsWest March 1 (coincidently at the same time Damron was named president of Paciolan) will retain that role. Lucas will continue to lead WestCoast Entertainment, which is also part of the acquisition.

WestCoast Entertainment promotes and produces from 50 to 100 shows a year, primarily in the Northwest but with plans to broaden that scope. While the promotion firm cut its teeth on Broadway, WestCoast Entertainment has branched into all sorts of one-offs, including sports once in awhile. “We did music festivals before music festivals were cool,” he added.

Lucas sees promotion opportunities from “Florida to Wyoming and all parts in between. I now have a chance to devote all of my time into building WestCoast Entertainment into a national brand.”

Kurtz also sees growth opportunities for TicketsWest, which will continue to offer a wide variety of services including call center support, ticket distribution services, digital marketing and private label website support. The company will also maintain an extensive distribution and retail outlet network with nearly 300 locations. Kurtz said that for some events and some clients, there is still considerable need for walk-up and retail sales, though the internet is the primary source for tickets.

Paciolan will now be able to offer some of those additional services to clients who desire it, Damron said.

TicketsWest has been powered by Paciolan for 10 years. The two companies have similar cultures and both parties expressed delight with the new marriage. Both companies are passionate about serving their customers, Damron added.

In 2015, also while owned by Comcast Spectacor and known as Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement, Paciolan acquired Ballena Technologies, once again leaving the name and staff in place.

Asked if the purchase of TicketsWest and WestCoast Entertainment, and given the current acquisition frenzy in ticketing, was the beginning of a rollup for Learfield, Damron demurred, saying it was more about being a natural fit.

“There is a lot going on in the ticketing industry,” Damron acknowledged, “but this just made so much sense because we have been such longterm partners.”

And it’s an opportunity for Learfield to double down on its book of business in the arts, added Craig Ricks, Paciolan SVP of marketing.

Lucas sees a lot of opportunity to grow West Coast Entertainment nationwide and appreciates the leverage Learfield and its subsidiaries will give that push. West Coast Entertainment is also partnered in Troika (www.troika.com), which produces Broadway shows.


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Verizon Center Now Capital One Arena
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 7:00 pm

Newly named Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE) has called its new agreement with Capital One to name what was previously known as Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Capital One Arena, a partnership between two home-grown companies.

Effective in early August, the switch to Capital One Arena finishes off a market search for a new naming rights partner for what has been ranked as the eighth-highest grossing arena in the nation with capacity over 15,000.

“Capital One is one of the most influential local businesses in our region over the last two decades, so we couldn’t be more pleased to partner with another homegrown company to create more incredible memories for sports fans, music fans, families and friends all across our region,” said Ted Leonsis, founder, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the venue owners. “Capital One shares our deep commitment to both economic and philanthropic investment in the larger Washington, D.C., community and we look forward to working closely with them.”

While Monumental didn’t disclose terms, local media has reported the agreement is in the range of $100-million over 10 years, which Eric Smallwood, president of Apex Marketing Group, called “substantial” and places it near the top of any arena in the country and even above some National Football League (NFL) stadiums.

With nine venues hosting both a National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL)  team, the sponsorship rights become more valuable, he said. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which also hosts two teams, pulls in roughly $10- million per year for its rights. “Brooklyn is a major market,” Smallwood said. “D.C. is smaller than New York, so that is a good number.”

Other major arena sponsorship deals include Philips Arena, Atlanta, at $9.2 million when it had both an NBA and NHL team, Smallwood said. The planned Chase Arena, San Francisco, future home of the Golden State Warriors, will reportedly become the most expensive arena title deal in the country, anywhere from $15-million to $17-million per year.

Smallwood said the $3-million per year for 15 years received on the Verizon deal gives Monumental an obvious step up, and he said it comes as no surprise it was a financial institution behind the deal. “Those companies are the most relevant category in naming rights and there is more than meets the eye,” he said. “It is not just the branding, it is the products, services and accounts. I would hope they would leverage every bit of products and services they can muster in the arena. From the brand side, you would want them to get the most bang for their buck and activate as many services as they can for a venue through the partnership.”

Monumental has already announced that a new point-of-sale system will enable the venue to offer Capital One cardholders automated discounts on food, beverage, merchandise and more throughout the arena.

“I think leveraging different things into an experience for any company is important at any level (of sponsorship) and certainly with naming rights, the ability to leverage the two businesses is great,” said David Touhey, president of venues for Monumental. “I think there is certainly potential across a lot of dual business lines. Where things can happen, they are a great partner. We are both local, prominent companies. As things align, it makes sense for both to certainly see more (activations).”

While announcing the new naming rights deal, Monumental also announced—which was simply a matter of timing and not related, Touhey said—a $4-million investment into the 20-year-old downtown arena. “We want to do some updates to stay fresh and stay current,” he said.

As part of the updates, the Mounumental360 program will use data collection from the new point-of-sale system to better understand fans and learn preferences for when they interact with any part of the Monumental franchise.

The home to over 220 concerts, shows and events a year, including the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, Capital One Arena will host Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Guns n’ Roses, Andrea Boccelli, Jay-Z and more in the coming months, along with the A-10 men’s basketball tournament in March 2018 and the East regionals of the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Touhey said the changeover to Capital One Arena is currently happening all at once, expected to fully finish this fall. “Everything is in the works,” he said. “Signs need to be manufactured and things need to be made.”

“As a top local employer and major consumer brand, Capital One has deep roots in Washington, D.C., and we are excited to strengthen our contributions to the sports and entertainment landscape in our own backyard,” said Kleber Santos, president, retail and direct banking, Capital One. “Monumental Sports and Entertainment shares our commitment to strengthening the economic and social well-being of the local community, and we are thrilled to partner with them on Capital One Arena. Our collaboration will be great for the D.C. community, the fans who come to support their teams, the talent and events at the arena, and exceptional for our customers who will benefit from our ability to offer access to unique opportunities and experiences at the arena that money can’t buy.”

In a letter to fans, Leonsis wrote: “When it came to identifying a company to have its name on our arena, I am thrilled that the end result meant deepening our relationship with one of our longstanding partners, Capital One. A diversified bank that’s been integral to our community since 1988, Capital One shares our commitment to economic growth, philanthropy and community here. At MSE, we employ almost 4,000 full-time and part-time employees and vendors.”

Along with the Capital One sponsorship and $40-million investment announcement, MSE has launched the Monumental Sports Network, agreed to a new television rights deal and equity partnership with CSN, welcome NBC Sports Group as an investor into the sports network, invest in eSports’ Team Liquid, kick off seasons for the American Football League’s Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade, and purchase a NBA G League team.


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SunTrust Park Embraced By Fans
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 6:35 pm

SunTrust Park, Atlanta, opened in March.

It’s been several months since the Atlanta Braves opened its new $672 million ballpark, and the entire project will be complete early next year once the 264-room Omni Hotel opens in the mixed-used development next to the venue.

SunTrust Park has over 41,000 seats — all of which were sold out for opening day and several games that followed. Almost every day of the week, the new stadium has baseball games throughout the rest of the season.

“The feedback’s been amazing on every level… from the fans, the team and the press,” said Brad Albers, the senior architect and associate principal at Populous, the firm that designed the ballpark.

Populous is no stranger to designing MLB ballparks, as SunTrust is its 19th new stadium, Albers noted.

“We’ve done work for nearly every team in Major League Baseball,” he said.

SunTrust Park has an adjoining 1.5-million-sq.-ft., mixed-use development called Battery Atlanta that houses a corporate office building for Comcast, over 500 residential units, a hotel, multiple restaurants and a small 4,000-seat music venue called Coca-Cola Roxy.

SunTrust Park and Battery Atlanta opened at the same time, however the hotel will open in early 2018, according to Omni Hotel & Resorts’ website.

The primary driver for the Braves to build a new stadium was that “they wanted to do something more around the stadium,” Albers said.

The $452-million mixed-used development that’s anchored by SunTrust Park reflects that vision.

The new ballpark broke ground in September of 2014 and opened March 31 with an exhibition game where the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Yankees 8-5.

“Once they made the decision to move away from Turner Field, they found this land up in the north suburbs in Cobb County,” Albers said. “It has really good access from all over town. The site itself was undeveloped, so they didn’t have to demolish anything.”

The entire site, including the ballpark and the mixed-used development, sits on 57-acres of land near the Chattahoochee River. The river inspired a fountain design inside the ballpark with trees.

Like all MLB stadiums, the culinary offerings are important, and the Braves wanted the food and beverage to reflect Southern and regional traditions, said Mason Hansen, senior interior designer and principal at Populous.

“We did extensive research early on,” she said. “We asked the Braves for a list of their favorite (culinary) destinations. They were interested in featuring local restaurants.”

Offerings include the Coors Light Chop House and a brewery called the Terrapin Taproom where Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is served. Delaware North is the food and beverage manager for the venue.

Although the ballpark is a new construction, the Braves wanted a classic, yet modern feel to both the exterior and interior.

“The Braves is the longest continuous franchise in the history of baseball. They wanted the ballpark to feel timeless. They wanted to touch on their history,” said Zach Allee, senior associate at Populous.

The team chose red brick for the outside and the inside features heavily textured wood and antique marble wood.

They also built a Hank Aaron Terrace where visitors can dine on ballpark food and look at Aaron’s iconic memorabilia. Aaron is a retired Braves player and is now senior vice president of the team.

The venue also has a huge canopy. “We made it the biggest in the MLB,” Allee said.

To ensure fan experience stays top notch, excellent wireless access at the venue was important, Hansen said.

“The biggest thing, when looking at the future fan, is that connectivity is a huge deal for us,” she said.

Overall, the new ballpark is a big hit. “Everybody is really happy with the way the ballpark turned out,” Albers said. “The players themselves love it, too. They like the new player facilities. The hitters like it. The lighting is phenomenal.”

SunTrust Park was built in Cobb County, Georgia, replacing the baseball team’s previous home at Turner Field, which is roughly 19 miles south of the new ballpark.

Turner Field — which hosted the 1996 summer Olympics before it became home to the Atlanta Braves in 1997— will now be converted into a football stadium for Georgia State University.

 


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Durham's Successful Interim CEO Talks Turnaround
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 6:00 pm

Dan Berman

A day into interviewing the final three candidates to take his job, Dan Berman, volunteer interim CEO of Carolina Theatre, Durham, N.C., talked with Venues Today about his experience leading the venue out of near bankruptcy. Eighteen months after a financial crisis threatened to force closure of the Carolina Theatre, Durham, N.C., the nonprofit that operates the venue has entirely erased an estimated $1.7-million net deficit. Thanks in large part to Berman, who has worked as a volunteer since January 2016, the theater reported an accumulated net surplus of nearly $200,000 at a meeting of its Board of Trustees on July 25. The financial report, which is preliminary and unaudited, includes operations through June 30, 2017, the end of the organization’s fiscal year. Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. cited extraordinary assistance from the City of Durham, support from fans and patrons, generous donations from private and public donors, the hard work of its staff and volunteers, and significantly improved financial performance in its rental, film, live event and concessions businesses. 

How long do you plan to stay on at the theater?

I expect we will have an offer out for our new CEO in two weeks. It is my intention that the new person will take  over as soon as they are installed. I am very passionate and devoted to the people here. I will help all I can, but I think it will be important for the new CEO to operate this building without feeling like the former CEO is looking over his or her shoulder.

What do you plan to do when your volunteer work here is over?

I was in the radio business, buying and selling radio stations. I sold my company several years back, but was keeping my hands in the business world, more in the investing capacity. I will continue with that.

You volunteered your services to the board right after it became public that Carolina Theatre Inc. had a $1.7 million deficit. What did you do that first day on the job?

The first day was really about getting up to speed on this business. This was a new business to me. I needed to assess what was happening and how it could have happened. I spent the time at first getting to know people and figuring out what we needed to do right away.

What was your initial assessment of theater operations?

We were in dire straits. We were within weeks of not being able to make payroll. I went to our board. I knew that without city assistance, there was no way we could keep going. We met with the city manager and the city finance director. We laid out what I had discovered. The City of Durham knew that the community supported the theater so they approved an investment of  $600,000, but only if we could match with $600,000. (That approval came in March 2016.) And, they would only provide those dollars as we raised those dollars. In other words, if we raised $1,000, then they gave us $1,000. We hit the ground running on fund raising.

How did you proceed in that regard?

It always had been obvious there had been a lot of goodwill toward the theater. It became even more obvious when so many in the community came forward and said 'what can we do?' We showed them how important they were to the future of the theater. We opened up our books to the public so they could understand what had happened and what was needed. There were various foundations and companies we approached once we had a good plan in place. We showed them we had learned the lessons of the past and assured them it wouldn't be repeated.

How did you entice new donors?

There is a formula for fund raising - 80 percent of the funds come from about 20 percent of donors. We tried to hit the 20 percent first. Our largest single donation was $250,000. There were no new membership benefits with this particular campaign. It was totally separate for the annual campaign in place that included member benefits. For the couple of years prior to this, the theatre had been raising about $400,000 in donations. So, if a donor normally gave $5,000, we encouraged them to give another $5,000 for this campaign. Donors had to designate which campaign they were giving to. Once the $600,000 figure was hit, we quit that campaign. We also increased our annual campaign goal to $600,000, up from that $400,000.

As far as programming, what are you doing differently?

We changed our business model where we are taking less risks. We have partnered with NS2 to co-promote our national tours, which reduces our risks. We are looking for more partnerships, and we are looking for more diversity in programming.

How do you feel now that this job is almost ended?

When I first stepped up, I was confident that I could do this on a business aspect. But, it was the professionals here that knew the business. We all leaned on each other. It has been an amazing experience. 


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CMA Legend Walker-Meador Passes
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 4:00 pm

08-16-17_Jo_Walker_200x145.jpgJo Walker-Meador.

Jo Walker-Meador, one of the pioneers of what we now know as country music, died at age 93, in Nashville, today, Aug. 16, after suffering a stroke.

Walker-Meador was the first hire at the Country Music Association (CMA) and she led the organization from 1962-1991. Prior to her executive role, Walker-Meador worked as the office manager of the association.

Walker-Meador led the charge to get the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum built and also had a hand in creating the CMA annual awards show and worked to get the show televised. She also helped create Fan Fair, which became CMA Fest, and she was known as a strong female voice on the CMA board of directors, which was overrun with men.

The country music legend retired in 1991 but stayed involved with the organization and attended CMA events. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame she created in 1995.

“She really was an amazing woman,” said Pam Matthews, CEO, International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA). “Jo Walker-Meador was one of those Music Row icons along with Donna Hilley, Frances Preston, Connie Bradley and Minnie Pearl who defined what country music is. These women worked their ways from secretary to CEO.  They were strong and driven and intelligent and savvy. They were all elegant, and Jo was probably the most graceful of them all. They were real role models.”

Matthews likened Walker-Meador's life to a movie script. “Small town farm girl whose daddy played piano at the church,” said Matthews. “Dreams of being a school teacher. Moves to the big city, works in a World War II scrap yard, and saves money to go to college. Catches the bus to her job as a secretary. When it comes time for the organization to make a big decision about how they want to run their business, Minnie Pearl steps in and recommends Jo for a big promotion. That was 1962, and she remained with the CMA until she retired in 1991. Can’t you see all the great costumes and all the great stars who would appear in the movie of Jo’s life?”

Walker-Meador will be missed, but the concept and institution she helped create will live forever.

 


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Amazon Entering Ticket Market
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 4:00 pm

Amazon is entering the U.S. ticket market. Despite reports that say the e-commerce giant is clearing the path to disrupt and take over the lucrative business of ticketing, pushing out industry leaders like Ticketmaster, Venues Today has learned that Amazon’s plan is to actually partner with the established ticketers.

Amazon has mowed down other business models since it showed up using its massive customer base and deep pockets to disrupt everything from books to groceries to music-on-demand and TV streaming. A move into the ticketing industry, where they build their own platform and make deals with venues, would be a mighty threat to the Ticketmasters of this world.

“What Amazon plans to do is not what has been leaked out,” said a source close to the situation. “Amazon is not trying to lure venues and teams away from Ticketmaster.”

What they plan to do, according to our source, is partner with ticketing companies.

“Amazon is currently making deals with ticket platforms to get inventory,” said our insider, who is not authorized to speak officially on Amazon deals. “They don’t want to get into the ticket industry; they want to add another perk to being a member of their Prime program.”

Amazon Prime sells for $99 a year. For that fee customers get free two-day shipping on all items, access to Amazon Prime TV streaming, Prime music streaming and other perks.

Amazon also has grand plans to bundle tickets with other merchandise. “Imagine you are buying a ticket to a Taylor Swift concert,” explained our source. “They will then offer you Taylor Swift T-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, keyrings and CD’s.”

As the talks have been progressing, the sticking point seems to be, as it always is, who owns the data. “Amazon is unwilling to share their data with any of their partners, which is a potential dealbreaker,” according to our source. “Ticketmaster won’t budge on this, either. If Amazon and the ticketing companies can’t come to an agreement over who owns the data, the deals won’t happen.”

An eventual deal fits in with a recent move by Ticketmaster to open up its platform to secondary sites like Gametime and Costco. Rival AXS tickets has followed Ticketmaster’s blueprint and has made deals with Gametime, Costco, Groupon and Goldstar.

“The shoe has dropped; here they are,” said Maureen Andersen, president and CEO, INTIX. “But nothing's happened yet, and the longer they have the data question in the air, the longer it will take for something to materialize. Everybody in the industry admits that data is king. Exclusivity on either side is unrealistic. Venues are not going to give up the ability to market to their customers.”

If the data issues can be worked out, Andersen thinks Amazon is the perfect player for this industry. “They go directly to the consumer,” she said, “and that will disrupt the industry, which hasn’t had a seismic shift in a long time.”

Andresen likens Amazon’s entry into the arena to when online ticketing became the preferred way to get tickets into customers’ hands. “Competition is good and will breed innovation and excellence across the board. Everyone will have to step-up.”

One of the major hurdles facing existing ticketing companies will be fees. “Amazon hides their fees in the Prime membership package,” said Andersen. “Whether the other companies will drop their fees to compete remains to be seen.”

Andersen predicts that in the near future, tickets will be sold on Expedia-like websites that are solely devoted to tickets. “Fans will see all the places they can buy the same ticket, at the various prices and choose, just like they do now with airfares and hotel rooms.”

“Airlines figured it out; banking and ATM’s figured it out and ticketing will figure it out,” she said. “If you can use points on a certain site, fans will go there. If I can bundle the ticket with something else I want on a certain site, I’ll go there. We’re in the age of choice, the ticketing industry needs to catch up.”

Amazon is already selling tickets in the U.K. and it's expected their U.S. ticketing system will be split into three tiers just as it does in Europe. Prime Tickets will allocate tickets to Prime members. Prime Experiences will give Prime users access to special events arranged by outside entities. Prime Events will invite Prime members to private concerts as they did in London with Blondie at the 750-capacity Round Chapel in Hackney, London.

Former Warner Music Group VP Lawrence Peryer is heading the ticketing push for Amazon.

Under the distribution-only model, Amazon will make a nice profit, according to Brandon Ross, an analyst at research firm BTIG. “Building their own software will take a fortune while simply partnering will require much less capital and get Amazon what they really want, which is more Prime members,” he said. “It’s all about Prime for Amazon. The reason they are spending multiple billions of dollars a year on programming is to get more Prime subscribers and engage more consumers."


 


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OC Fair Was Farm Fresh Fun
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 4:00 pm

Farm Fresh Fun was the theme at this year's OC Fair, Costa Mesa, Calif.

This year’s OC Fair final numbers are in. The 127th fair saw attendance of 1,334,753, and gross revenue approximately two percent higher than 2016. This year’s theme was Farm Fresh Fun.

“The 127th annual OC Fair was a tremendous success in so many ways,” said OC Fair CEO Kathy Kramer, who said the highlight of this year’s fair was learning that 88 percent of fairgoers said in a survey that they increased their knowledge of agriculture after attending the fair.”

“We’re an agriculture-based fair,” said Kramer. “Agriculture education is our primary goal. It’s significant and powerful that we were able to educate an urban audience about it.”

Over 4,200 exhibitors submitted 23,000 entries this year, which is a 20-percent increase in exhibitors over last year, a 112-percent increase in entries over last year. Nearly $90,000 was awarded in prize money and nearly 10,000 prize ribbons were handed out. At this year’s Junior Livestock Auction, 299 animals were sold for a total of $275,533.

Kathy_Kramer_final.jpgOC Fair CEO Kathy Kramer.

“We increased our overall guest enjoyment rating, scoring 4.65 out of five, according to our 10-day patron survey,” said Kramer. "I am also very proud of our community give-back programs and was happy to add a new one this year, the OC Fair Kids Club, which provided 952 children from Title 1 programs with a free fair experience.”

Results of the 10-day patron survey showed an overall enjoyment rate of 4.65 (out of 5) – up from 4.45 in 2016. Of those surveyed, 28 percent were first-time fairgoers and 48 percent are OC residents.

OC Fair hosted 30 sold-out performances in Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. 

The Toyota Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre hosted 28 shows, including five pre-fair shows. Highlights were a Kenny Loggins show and a B-52’s event. “We recently started a partnership with the Pacific Symphony,” said Kramer. “They accompanied Kenny Loggins and the B-52’s and it made for special nights of great music. It was a total win/win as we were able to introduce the symphony to people who may never have thought to see it and will hopefully want to see it again.”

Other shows took place at The Hangar, where 16 tribute bands took the stage along with The Marshall Tucker Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Trevor Hall, Metalicca, two shows by Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, plus 300 gamers in the iBUYPOWER GameFest & Tournament Series.

Over at the Action Sports Arena there was a show every night, plus three matinees. “Sixty-three vehicles were smashed in the demo derbies,” said Kramer. In addition, 674 community entertainment groups performed throughout the day on five different stages.

Food hits included Bacon A Fair’s Unicorn pork legs, which got its colorful name from the vendor’s elusive search to find a butcher willing to cut the meat how he wanted it cut. Over 4,900 Unicorn pork legs were sold.

Chicken Charlie’s sold over 6,000 fried peanut butter meatballs; Juicy’s sold 40,005 turkey legs; over 4,000 Krispy Kreme Ice Cream Chicken Sandwiches were bought and 4,500 Funnel Cake Burritos went out the door. “Just RCS alone (Ray Cammack Shows) went through one ton of funnel cake batter,” said Kramer.

RCS sold 12,000 feet of churros and 22,500 pounds of fries. They also fried an entire semi-trailer full of Oreos and sold four semi-trailers worth of cotton candy. Not to mention the truck load of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that was used, two entire fields of corn, 2,200 pounds of fresh strawberries, 10,000 pounds of cane sugar, 7,000 pounds of ribs and 1,200 pounds of popcorn seed.

RCS VP Chris Lopez said this year’s fair “went great. Rides, food and games all met last year's numbers and keep in mind last year was a record year.”

The most popular rides were La Grande XL, Skyride, Big Wheel, Rave Wave, Wild River and EuroSlide.

The Grand Wheel, a big hit and new this year, had 36 air-conditioned cabins. “The panoramic view of the OC was breathtaking,” said Kramer. “It was the first time that we have put two giant wheels at Orange County Fair,” said Lopez. Other new rides were Endeavor and Rockin Rodeo Funhouse

Top games were Bank a ball, One ball, Tubs, Beer pong and Balloon game.

“Along with a new look for our game canvas, we lit finials and put pendent flags on top,” said Lopez. “New safety rules and safety signage throughout made for a welcomed new look.”

The G Force ride, similar to the Fire Ball ride that snapped apart at Ohio State Fair earlier this fair season, was closed for most of the fair. It re-opened just five days before closing day. “It was tested, inspected by the manufacturer (KMG) and we decided to open it up after it got full clearance,” said Kramer.

“After following the procedures set forth by KMG, we shared NDT (nondestructing testing) results and all other documentation with the manufacturer, the State of California, Coulter Associates, our third party inspectors, and our Orange County Fair partners and we re-opened G Force,” said Lopez. “Safety is priority one at RCS. I'm confident and comfortable saying that our rides get inspected thoroughly and often.”

Kramer was also pleased with the 45,000 fairgoers who visited the new Heroes Hall, a war veterans memorial and museum. “Parents called and wrote letters thanking us for teaching the kids about veterans and what they sacrificed for our country,” she said. Over 4,500 postcards written in Heroes Hall will be sent to active duty military personnel and veterans in VA hospitals. In addition, 240 videos were recorded in the Heroes Hall story booth.

Eleven piglets were born at Centennial Farm. They can be seen on a live streaming cam at OCFAIR.com. “We call it the pig cam,” said Kramer.

Fairgoers were feeling quite giving this year. Almost 29 tons of food was donated to OC Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank on July 19; 94,078 children’s books were donated to Think Together on July 26; and 43,995 pounds of clothing was donated to Goodwill on Aug. 2. Some 104,000 school supplies were donated to Share Ourselves on Aug. 9.

More than 16,000 veterans or active-duty military enjoyed the fair for free all season, and 24,058 members of their family and friends got in for half off. Almost 31,000 kids (ages 6-12) got in free on Thursdays during the fair, and 75,058 kids (ages 5 and under) got in free all season. Friends of the Fair, held July 20, saw 6,457 guests.  Almost 15,000 kids participated in the Read and Ride program, receiving three free carnival rides for reading and reviewing two books.

Next year’s fair will be July 13 - Aug. 12. A theme has not been picked yet, but Kramer did say the theme will follow the three-year-strong agriculture push they’ve been making. “Last year we did Food & Fiber, this year was People and next year will be Environment,” said Kramer.

 

 

 

 


 


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Venues Ticket Solar Eclipse
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 3:00 pm

Casper (Wyo.) Events Center is preparing to host guests for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

The solar eclipse is set to travel coast to coast across the United States Aug. 21, and venues across the nation plan to open their doors, parking lots, campuses and stadiums to spectators wanting a glimpse of the historic event.

The goal for many is to see the eclipse as close to totality as possible, which can only be done in a handful of states.

“A total solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the moon entirely covers the sun. The 2017 total solar eclipse will be visible across the U.S., in a region called the path of totality. Skywatchers in parts of the country outside this path will see only a partial solar eclipse,” states space.com.

Public viewing parties and festivals are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, leading up to Monday’s eclipse, and the city of Casper, Wyo. — which is along the path of totality — has been planning its festival for three years.

“Casper has the most sun of any area of total darkness. We’re right on the spot. We’re expecting 40,000 people to come to town, and already it’s getting crazy. Everyone is going to supermarkets because everyone is afraid supplies will sell out,” said Brad Murphy, the general manager of the Casper Events Center for Spectra Venue Management. “All the water across town was gobbled up, so they had to get trucks to bring in water. It’s real; it’s happening.”

The events center expects about 4,000 of the 40,000 spectators visiting Casper to park on its grounds. It's charging $20 per vehicle, $50 per RV/camper and $120 per bus load. Food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage vendors will be spread out among the center’s eight parking lots.

“We’ve actually set up a store so people can get the basic goods, so they don’t have to fight the masses,” he said.

Although the Casper Events Center isn’t making a huge profit from selling parking spots to spectators, Spectra was thrilled to be a part of Casper’s Eclipse Festival.

“This is about Spectra and being a part of the community. This is our way of giving back,” Murphy said.

Hotel rooms in Casper — now going for $600 a night — are mostly sold out, Murphy said, noting that people are also renting out their homes for upwards of $5,000 a night.

The event is so big in Casper, that the Casper Convention & Visitors Bureau actually hired a full-time eclipse coordinator over a year ago, Murphy said.

Other towns throughout Wyoming, and in other states along the eclipse’s path, are planning similar events and view parties.

A tourism group, formed especially for hosting an eclipse festival, rented out the entire fairgrounds in Madras, Ore.

“The tourism group is laying out the grounds and getting things ready on our 50 acres of property,” said Brian Crow, events coordinator for Jefferson County Fairgrounds. “We are landlords on this. We don’t have any of the planning responsibilities. We did a flat fee plus a percentage on all of their camping sales.”

The planning is in the hands of JR Brooks and his two partners who have been planning the festival on the fairgrounds for two years.

“We thought we’d be hosting a party for about 10,000 people,” Brooks said. “We realize this might be bigger than we thought.”

Brooks is the president of Jefferson County Tourism Group Inc. and has no event-planning experience. The entire event is self-funded off of ticket sales alone, Brooks said. Tickets are $60 for the whole weekend.

A full stage for concerts, big tents for “glamping" and a barn turned into a bar all are a part of the festival.

Brooks said the city of Madras and outlying areas are expecting nearly 150,000 people to visit for a chance to see the solar eclipse near totality. 

Colleges and universities wasted no time organizing viewing parties across campuses and in football stadiums.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has four days of events scheduled on campus, including filling its 14,000-seat stadium with spectators.

“The carnival starts Friday night. Saturday, we’ve got a research workshop that’s going on and then we have a Commit Con,” said Bob Baer, co-chair of the eclipse committee for SIU Carbondale.

NASA Edge also will be doing a megacast from campus that will be streamed on television stations nationwide, Baer said.

The campus has a five-hour, sold-out show planned for Monday in the stadium when the solar eclipse happens. Tickets are $25 apiece.

“Some of it’s video, but the bulk of it is live. Somebody is performing an eclipse song,” he said.

First day of classes were supposed to start Monday, but they were canceled due to the events on campus. Baer is expecting close to 80,000 on campus throughout the four-day event.

The first day of classes will resume on Monday at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, said Sean McBride, assistant professor in the physics department.

Classes will stop, however, for a three-hour event planned on campus, McBride said.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” McBride said. “It should be pretty packed.”

 

 


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Mobile-only Tickets for Miami Heat
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 2:00 pm

The Miami Heat app.

The Miami Heat were one game away from making the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs last spring and ushering in the era of mobile-only ticketing for entry into AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami. But by falling short of the postseason, it gave the Heat six additional months to educate its fans—with one of the largest season-ticket holder bases in the league—on what comes with the first preseason game on Oct. 1: mobile-only ticketing.

“We want to continue to be on the forefront of technology, which is part of the ethos of the NBA,” said Matthew Jafarian, Heat vice president of digital strategy and innovation. “We understand the importance of technology, and it is a convenience for our fans. It is easier to get into the building, easier to manage tickets and easier to send tickets to friends. We think it is the future and want to be first.”

First, they are.

Michael McCullough, Heat executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said fans have heard that message loud and clear ever since April and this offseason has allowed the Heat to hold a variety of events that fans could gain entry to only via the Miami Heat app as a way to continue the education.

The Heat has offered mobile ticketing since the 2015-16 season and saw a 200-percent jump in voluntary use last season, with one in three fans accessing the venue via the mobile process. To coincide with the new mobile-only focus, the Heat have rolled out a new proprietary app that includes the ability to order concessions from the app and contains a mobile wallet feature that enables fans to purchase merchandise, premium dining and concessions from within the app and then earn 6 percent of all purchases back in the form of arena bucks.

“We are trying to drive people to adopt our app technology,” McCullough said. “It is easy and the best way for us to communicate. It isn’t the only way, but we certainly think it is the best way and most convenient.”

Along with accessing mobile tickets via the Heat app, Jafarian said that fans can use the Ticketmaster app for individual tickets, and there is a website option. “We love that our fans organically adopted mobile in droves last season and are making the push across the board,” Jafarian said. “Mobile ticketing provides fans with guaranteed ticket authenticity, easy access to the arena using the phone in their pocket—no more scrambling for a printer before the game—and the easiest way to transfer to a friend or resell online.”

While the Heat certainly wants to push the concept that using the team app is to their benefit, with everything from the arena bucks to fans accessing timely news and notes about the team to the ability to easily transfer tickets to friends, there’s also a benefit to the Heat.

“From a business standpoint, utilizing the wallet and Heat app has its benefits for us, from data capture and having a full 360-degree view of who is coming into our building to knowing what those fans’ preferences are and knowing what their buying habits are,” McCullough said. “It allows us to know more and deliver a better, more complete experience because we are able to capture that data and offer things that make sense to them based on attendance habits. We will know more about our fans, with the intent to serve them, the more they use the app.”

Having a relatively high percentage of fans engaged in the season-ticket program—the Heat doesn’t disclose the actual breakdown—allows Miami to make the most of folks buying into the mobile experience. But, as with any new program, it doesn’t come without a struggle.

“No matter how big or small your (season-ticket) base is, no matter how big or small your change is, you will have some pockets of slow adopters,” McCullough said. But the more the Heat have introduced the concept and explained it, he said the “pockets of resistance” have diminished. Miami attacked the concept with extra offseason events and activities for season-ticket holders specifically to use app-only entry.

“It was with the idea that we want to get them used to downloading the app and utilizing the app to actually enter an event, and then we can have our app squad to work specifically with them,” he said. “We have targeted those slow adopters and have been staging events and activities specifically for them, so by the time the season rolls around, there is a much higher comfort level accessing and unlocking features.”

Jafarian said it comes down to education. With the massive increase in adoption last year, the data showed that when a fan switched to mobile ticketing they stayed, a positive sign, especially considering they have no choice starting Oct. 1 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

 


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Hot Tickets for August 16, 2017
 
Posted: 16 Aug 2017, 2:00 pm

Rebelution played the Pacific Amphitheatre at OC Fair, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Rebelution made a stop at OC Fair, Aug. 11-12, providing some good vibrations for the near-capacity crowds at the Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif. The two-day event grossed nearly $550,000 with over 14,000 fans in attendance. The much loved reggae band has been traveling with special guests Nahko and Medicine for the People, Collie Buddz, Hirie and DJ Mackle with The Good Vibes Summer Tour 2017 promoting their album “Falling into Place.” Showing no signs of slowing down, the Grammy-nominated band has found that things really are falling into place for them with this epic tour that will be making an appearance at the American Music Festival in Virginia Beach, Va., Sept. 2.

The biggest of its kind in Canada, the 12th annual Osheaga Music and Arts Festival took place at the Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, Aug 4-6. The festival grossed a total of $9.1 million with 42,000 fans in attendance during the three-day event. The evenko-promoted festival provides a diverse line-up from all genres and features emerging artists playing alongside artists who have reached international notoriety. Topping the incredible line-up were headliners Lorde, Muse and The Weeknd. Over the years, Osheaga has definitely earned its place on the global festival scene.
 

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 July 18-Aug. 15.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Osheaga Music and Arts Festival 2017
Gross Sales: $9,150,265; Venue: Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal; Attendance: 42,000; Ticket Range: $901.83-$94.10; Promoter: evenko; Dates: Aug. 4-6; No. of Shows: 3

2) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $5,095,778; Venue: Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France; Attendance: 43,128; Ticket Range: $154-$55; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, InterConcerts; Dates: July 18; No. of Shows: 1

3) Green Day
Gross Sales: $1,864,545; Venue: Oakland (Calif.) Coliseum; Attendance: 25,948; Ticket Range: $79.50-$39.50; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: Aug. 5; No. of Shows: 1

4) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $1,770,707; Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, England; Attendance: 11,590; Ticket Range: $186.50-$149.50; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, Marshall Arts; Dates: Aug. 3; No. of Shows: 1

5) Kendrick Lamar
Gross Sales: $1,439,417; Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 14,499; Ticket Range: $129.50-$49.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: Aug. 5; No. of Shows: 1

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $1,723,094; Venue: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland; Attendance: 11,094; Ticket Range: $186.50-$55.95; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, Marshall Arts; Dates: Aug. 5; No. of Shows: 1

2) Jerry Seinfeld
Gross Sales: $1,633,670; Venue: Perth (Australia) Arena; Attendance: 13,619; Ticket Range: $161.41-$65.85; Promoter: TEG Dainty; Dates: Aug. 4; No. of Shows: 1

3) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $917,154; Venue: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego; Attendance: 10,233; Ticket Range: $99.50-$39.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: Aug. 6; No. of Shows: 1

4) Tim McGraw, Faith Hill
Gross Sales: $810,241; Venue: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego; Attendance: 9,001; Ticket Range: $129.50-$69.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: July 23; No. of Shows: 1

5) Hall & Oates
Gross Sales: $693,408; Venue: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego; Attendance: 9,719; Ticket Range: $129.50-$35; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: July 19; No. of Shows: 1

1) Pitbull
Gross Sales: $745,927; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 8,004; Ticket Range: $495-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: July 26-29; No. of Shows: 3

2) Pitbull
Gross Sales: $597,511; Venue: The Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas; Attendance: 6,062; Ticket Range: $495-$34; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment, Live Nation; Dates: July 21-22; No. of Shows: 2

3) Rebelution
Gross Sales: $541,331; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 14,323; Ticket Range: $57.50-$27.50; Promoter: OCFEC, In-house; Dates: Aug. 11-12; No. of Shows: 2

4) Steve Miller Band
Gross Sales: $482,700; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 7,895; Ticket Range: $83-$50.50; Promoter: OCFEC; Dates: Aug. 9; No. of Shows: 1

5) Queens of the Stone Age
Gross Sales: $419,144; Venue: Hordern Pavilion, Sydney; Attendance: 5,352; Ticket Range: $87.70; Promoter: Frontier Touring ; Dates: July 19; No. of Shows: 1

1) Something Rotten
Gross Sales: $1,164,305; Venue: The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas; Attendance: 14,450; Ticket Range: $123-$25; Promoter: In-house; Dates: Aug. 8-13; No. of Shows: 8

2) Motown
Gross Sales: $850,682; Venue: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Attendance: 14,372; Ticket Range: $188.50-$28.50; Promoter: In-house; Dates: Aug. 8-13; No. of Shows: 8

3) Slayer
Gross Sales: $192,168; Venue: St. Augustine (Fla.) Amphitheatre; Attendance: 3,566; Ticket Range: $74-$42.83; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: July 21; No. of Shows: 1

4) Donny & Marie
Gross Sales: $173,984; Venue: The Showroom at The Flamingo, Las Vegas; Attendance: 1,965; Ticket Range: $283-$104; Promoter: Caesars Entertainment; Dates: July 25-29; No. of Shows: 5

5) Dancing with the Stars
Gross Sales: $148,672; Venue: State Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 2,050; Ticket Range: $100-$59.50; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust; Dates: July 30; No. of Shows: 1

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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Backstage Gun Debate Ignites
 
Posted: 9 Aug 2017, 8:00 pm

Outlaw-country star Jamey Johnson, whose House of Blues concert was canceled over backstage security procedures.

Venue managers around the country are grappling with their own back-of-house security protocols after outlaw-country-star Jamey Johnson’s July 23 show at the House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, S.C., was canceled because the artist and the venue clashed when Johnson and his team refused to follow House of Blues standard security procedures.

The cancellation was announced on Facebook by House of Blues, the night of the canceled show, along with this statement: "As always, the safety and security of our guests is our number one priority. Tonight's artist refused to adhere to our safety and security guidelines and would not enter the building."

The nightclub chain, owned by Live Nation, has a strict no-gun policy for both attendees and anyone entering backstage. “Live Nation does not permit weapons in any part of our venues,” said Carrie Davis, Live Nation, who added that the policy extends to the back-of-house. According to Davis, the incident was not about Johnson and guns, but rather that “Johnson did not want to go through our security protocols.”

Johnson allegedly took issue with the policy and refused to go through a magnetometer.

Tony TC Coleman, Johnson’s drummer, said on Facebook, "I stand with (Johnson) on this. House of Blues didn't need to treat us like we were terrorists. They put a (metal) detector between Jamey's busses and the stage entrance and the only people coming in and out of his busses was us. His band and crew and we all have laminated stage identification. We did not come to House of Blues to be treated like we are going to kill the fans. If someone came backstage to harm anybody, you better pray there is a Jamey Johnson-type individual around."

It is unclear if Johnson was carrying a firearm or if he just took issue with the venue’s policy. Calls for clarification from Johnson and his management went unreturned at press time.

The incident has many venues looking at their own backstage security procedures. Many of the facilities Venues Today contacted had no policy in place and when asked what they would do, the responses varied widely.

“I really don’t know what we’d do,” said Eric Grillie, events manager, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas, which is on Johnson’s tour schedule in December. “We are an open-carry state, which makes the question even more difficult to answer.” Grillie did say that most likely they would allow Johnson to enter the building if he had “a legal gun.”

Dale Adams, GM, Gila River Arena, Glendale, Ariz., also an open-carry state, also has no backstage gun policy. “We’d find a way to work it out,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to cancel a concert over an artist carrying a weapon.”

Despite doing business in an open-carry state, both Scott Breckner, GM, Pan Am Center, Las Cruces, N.M., and Shane Caldwell, GM, Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho, N.M, said Johnson would not be permitted backstage with a weapon.

“The university has a strict no-gun policy for the entire campus, which includes our facilities,” said Breckner. “We’d politely ask Johnson and his team to leave their weapons outside. If they refused we would not let them in and would have to cancel the show.”

Caldwell said, “We don’t allow weapons in the venue at all except for trained uniformed police.” Caldwell's soft-touch approach would be to “try to have a conversation and find a solution before we’d just abruptly cancel his show.”

Kristi Reedy, Valley View Casino, San Diego, Calif., an AEG Facilities venue, said, “We have a corporate-wide policy that no firearms are allowed in our venue,” and suggested that would be the policy at all AEG Facilities properties. California is a not an open-carry state.

“Bottom line. Build a good policy, inform people of the policy and enforce the policy,” said Ben Tolle, co-founder of Prevent Advisors, which is a division of Oak View Group.

Tolle responded to the Johnson cancellation this way: “A great policy does little to address disruptions if talent or guests are not aware of the policy or the policy is not enforced.”

Prevent Advisors' other co-founder, Chris Robinette, agreed. “Have a plan; share the plan and execute the plan,” he said. “Venues need to formulate clear, unambiguous policies and communicate those clear policies and then strictly enforce those policies. It is prudent to build and disseminate policies well in advance of scheduled show date.”

Private entities and venues can build policy as they see fit, advised Tolle. “As private facilities, they have no obligation to accommodate individuals carrying firearms. Venues should also speak to issues related to off-duty law enforcement, contracted security, etc.”

Robinette recommended that venues should consult local law enforcement and legal bodies in determining gun policies or taking any position on a gun-ban or open-carry.

He also said, emphatically, “that if an artist or guest is in violation of clearly defined policies or beyond local legality, the venue has every right to enforce the policy.”

“Canceling the event does not have to be the default answer,” said Tolle, “but enforcement should be rigid and consistent.”

 

 


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Hot Tickets for August 9, 2017
 
Posted: 9 Aug 2017, 3:00 pm


The PAW Patrol Live! tour rolled onto our Hot Tickets chart twice this week with shows at both the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 22-23, and David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla., July 29-30, with eight shows respectively. These four-legged heroes are making their way across North America with two different shows included in the tour: PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” and PAW Patrol Live! “The Great Pirate Adventure.” The music-filled, action-packed shows feature more than a dozen characters straight out of the hit preschool series PAW Patrol, who share lessons about social skills, problem solving and citizenship. All eight shows grossed a combined total of $750,000 with 16,000 PAWsome fans in attendance.

Music icon k.d.lang made an appearance on our chart this week with two sold-out performances, July 26-27, at ICC Sydney Theatre, with ticket prices ranging from $111-$182, grossing nearly $1.4 million. The Canadian songbird is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her debut, all-original album “Ingenue” with her Ingenue Redux Tour. Lang is currently taking her tour through Canada, and can be seen next at the Royal Theatre, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

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 July 11-Aug. 8.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $4,305,399; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 29,352; Ticket Range: $187-$56; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, Marshall Arts; Dates: July 29-30; No. of Shows: 2

2) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $3,687,694; Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, England; Attendance: 23,865; Ticket Range: $187-$56; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, Marshall Arts; Dates: July 27-Aug. 3; No. of Shows: 2

3) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $3,648,103; Venue: Allianz Riviera, Nice, France; Attendance: 30,270; Ticket Range: $175-$71; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, InterConcerts; Dates: July 20; No. of Shows: 1

4) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $2,633,259; Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia; Attendance: 28,922; Ticket Range: $99.50-$39.50; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: July 11-12; No. of Shows: 2

5) Bruno Mars
Gross Sales: $1,947,649; Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 16,556; Ticket Range: $175-$75; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 15; No. of Shows: 1

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $3,338,229; Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin; Attendance: 20,391; Ticket Range: $284-$80; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, FKP Scorpio; Dates: July 23-24; No. of Shows: 2

2) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $1,448,536; Venue: First Direct Arena, Leeds, England; Attendance: 8,897; Ticket Range: $186.50-$55.95; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, Marshall Arts; Dates: Aug. 2; No. of Shows: 1

3) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $1,059,729; Venue: SaskTel Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchwan; Attendance: 12,585; Ticket Range: $95.33-$39.49; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: July 23; No. of Shows: 1

4) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $1,011,967; Venue: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Attendance: 11,843; Ticket Range: $95.33-$39.49; Promoter: Messina Touring Group; Dates: July 22; No. of Shows: 1

5) James Taylor
Gross Sales: $929,404; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,935; Ticket Range: $104-$70; Promoter: Beaver Productions; Dates: July 11; No. of Shows: 1

1) Banda MS
Gross Sales: $1,471,801; Venue: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles; Attendance: 18,494; Ticket Range: $250.50-$39.50; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: July 14-16; No. of Shows: 3

2) k.d. lang
Gross Sales: $1,375,597; Venue: ICC Sydney Theatre; Attendance: 9,930; Ticket Range: $182.35-$111.05; Promoter: TEG Dainty; Dates: July 26-27; No. of Shows: 2

3) Queen
Gross Sales: $884,680; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 6,979; Ticket Range: $149-$79; Promoter: In-house, CAA; Dates: July 23; No. of Shows: 1

4) Journey
Gross Sales: $584,470; Venue: Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, Texas; Attendance: 6,214; Ticket Range: $150-$59.50; Promoter: In-house, Live Nation; Dates: July 12; No. of Shows: 1

5) Kings of Leon
Gross Sales: $426,248; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 6,514; Ticket Range: $79-$39; Promoter: In-house, CAA; Dates: July 29; No. of Shows: 1

1) An American in Paris
Gross Sales: $980,170; Venue: Des Moines (Iowa) Civic Center; Attendance: 16,257; Ticket Range: $99.50-$31.50; Promoter: In-house; Dates: July 18-23; No. of Shows: 8

2) PAW Patrol Live!
Gross Sales: $458,956; Venue: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Attendance: 10,128; Ticket Range: $120-$18; Promoter: In-house, Vstar Entertainment Group; Dates: July 22-23; No. of Shows: 4

3) Barry Manilow
Gross Sales: $339,603; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 3,567; Ticket Range: $295.50-$45.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 27; No. of Shows: 1

4) PAW Patrol Live!
Gross Sales: $292,536; Venue: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Attendance: 5,942; Ticket Range: $123.50-$21.50; Promoter: Vstar Entertainment Group; Dates: July 29-30; No. of Shows: 4

5) Idina Menzel
Gross Sales: $204,251; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 2,565; Ticket Range: $151.50-$46.50; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: July 22; No. of Shows: 1

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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BSE Promotes Three Key Executives
 
Posted: 9 Aug 2017, 2:00 pm

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE), the business enterprise that manages and controls Barclays Center, N.Y., the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Islanders’ business operations, NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y., and the Nets’ National Basketball Association G League team, the Long Island Nets, has promoted three key executives.

Keith_Sheldon_200x145.jpgKeith Sheldon.

Keith Sheldon has been promoted to executive VP of programming, where he will oversee the booking of concerts, sporting events, family shows and special events at Barclays Center and NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Sheldon is playing an integral role in the future of Webster Hall, N.Y.C., and Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn, N.Y., and Paramount Theatre, N.Y.C., which are both scheduled to undergo full renovations. He previously held the title of senior VP of programming.

Kari_Cohen_200x145.jpgKari Cohen.

Kari Cohen has been promoted to VP & deputy general counsel. She will be responsible for negotiating and drafting a variety of agreements for all BSE properties, including the areas of venue acquisition, sponsorship, programming, and hospitality, as well as overseeing BSE’s external affairs department. She was instrumental in the Brooklyn Nets’ successful relocation from New Jersey to Brooklyn and the opening of Barclays Center and she played a significant role in the procurement of the winning bid to renovate and operate the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and eventually the venue’s reopening in April. Cohen previously held the title of VP general counsel.

mandygutmann_200x145.jpgMandy Gutmann.

Mandy Gutmann has been promoted to VP, communications. Since joining the company in 2012, Gutmann has played an integral role in the launch of the Brooklyn Nets brand after the team’s move from New Jersey, the grand opening of Barclays Center in 2012, and most recently, the reopening of NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Gutmann previously held the title of senior director of communications.

 


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MSG Acquires Counter Logic Gaming
 
Posted: 9 Aug 2017, 2:00 pm

World-famous Madison Square Garden, New York City.

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

The Madison Square Garden Company has announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming, marking a major expansion in the eSports space for a company that can provide venues and sports business services.

“As eSports moves toward franchise league models similar to the National Basketball Assocition and National Hockey League, we intend to leverage our knowledge and insight into the business of professional sports to play an active role in the development of this exciting industry,” Jordan Solomon, EVP of MSG Sports, said in a statement Monday. “We have incredible respect for (Counter Logic Gaming founder George ‘HotshotGG’ Georgallidis) and the championship culture he has built, and look forward to utilizing our expertise in marketing partnerships, live events, and media rights to make CLG the preeminent New York esports franchise poised to thrive not only on the business side, but also in competitive play.”

MSG’s venues have hosted eSports events including the 2014 and 2015 ESL One New York (Dota 2 Tournament) at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 2015 summer League of Legends North American League Championship Series Finals at Madison Square Garden, Call of Duty XP 2016 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., 2016 League of Legends World Championship Quarterfinals at The Chicago Theatre, 2016 League of Legends World Championship Semifinals at Madison Square Garden, and 2016 The Boston Major (Dota 2 Major Championship) at the Wang Theatre.

“If any of us have ever been to one of these competitions and as a sponsorship leader you do not understand why this is actually going to be around longterm, you have no idea what you’re doing,” Ron Skotarczak, EVP of Marketing Partnerships for The Madison Square Garden Company, said last week at the National Sports Forum Summer Summit.

“The passion of these fans — I think boxing is the only thing I’ve seen close to it when I’m at an actual event. It is insane. I actually took a video on my phone. I didn’t tell the kid, but just videoed him right next to me once the game started, and it was zombie-like. Once these competitions began, it’s a very attractive, younger, right now male audience that is unbelievably passionate about this…I will say (in five years) it will be around. It will be a much bigger business.”

Georgallidis and CLG will continue to run the day-to-day operations of CLG’s eSports teams across games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros. and H1Z1. The organization could benefit from MSG’s experience with marketing partnerships, media rights, event operations, ticketing, merchandise and fan engagement.

For MSG, CLG brings its fans along with growth potential as the company dives further into eSports. The New York Knicks will participate in the inaugural NBA 2K Esports League set to begin in 2018.

“In 2015, Madison Square Garden hosted the sold-out North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Finals – a first for The World’s Most Famous Arena, and a sign that eSports was ready to command sports’ biggest stage,” David O’Connor, President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, said in a statement.

“Since then, as we have been actively exploring opportunities to enhance MSG’s portfolio of live experiences, we have been keenly interested in eSports as a natural extension of our core business," he said. "The sport now stands on the verge of enormous change, which we believe has the potential to generate significant growth."

"We are thrilled to be taking this next step with CLG – who won their first North American League of Legends Championship Series on that historic night at The Garden in 2015 – and we look forward to collaborating with these influential trailblazers to build their brand in New York.”


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Hot Weather Scorches Cal State Fair
 
Posted: 9 Aug 2017, 1:00 pm

California Governor Jerry Brown and California State Fair CEO Rick Pickering tour one of the exhibits at this year's fair.

The hottest July in a decade did not have as bad  an effect on the California State Fair, Sacramento, as it might have, and CEO Rick Pickering credits that in part to advertising that 10,000 square feet of shaded space and misters had been added for the event.

Attendance for 2017 came in at 636,628, down 5.47 percent from last year’s 673,473, “although given the heat, we probably should have been down 13-15 percent,” Pickering said

More than half of the 17-day fair, held  July 14 to 30, registered temperatures over 100 degrees, and six of  those days were weekends. “You can’t make that up,” Pickering added. “You throw a beautiful party for your whole state and the weather is hot.”

The 2017 fair was the 50th anniversary since CalExpo moved to its current 800-acre site, and the 164th fair altogether. To commemorate, the fair honored its agricultural roots with an exhibit called “The Best of California…Celebrating Farm Workers’ Rich Contributions to Food and Agriculture.” The exhibit’s ribbon-cutting was attended by Paul Chavez, son of Cesar Chavez, who co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers. Also on hand was the union’s current national president, Arturo Rodriguez. Gov. Jerry Brown toured the exhibit, which was fitting for more than one reason. As a new governor in 1975, Brown signed the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which allowed collective bargaining for farm workers. And when his father, Pat Brown, was governor in 1962, he had a vision for the new fair site and contacted his friend Walt Disney to have the amusement park’s “Imagineers” collaborate in the design of the current grounds.

Fairfield, Calif.-based Butler Amusements provided about 65 rides for the midway, which consisted of kiddie and adult sections. Richard Byrum, vice president of Butler, said the carnival was down about the same percentage as fair attendance. The most popular rides were the water log flume ride, the giant gondola wheel and the two roller coasters.

On July 26, 13 days into the fair, a man died at the Ohio State Fair after an arm of a KMG-manufactured Fireball gondola ride broke apart from the attraction’s main structure. Earlier this week, severe corrosion that was not caught by an inspection was cited as the cause.

Butler Amusements had a similar ride operating at the California State Fair and shut it down immediately, Byrum said. It remained on the grounds for the rest of the fair. “We left it in place and left the lights on at night,” Byrum said. “It would have created a hole in the midway. We have no plans to use it until we get the green light.” After corrosion was determined to be the cause, Byrum said Butler was evaluating the next move.

In addition to the heat, the accident cast a bit of a pall over the enthusiasm of riders, Byrum said. “The only thing that perhaps was an issue was the publicity in regard to the accident,” he added. “It creates a mindset that rides are not safe. California is pretty fortunate. It has a great rides inspection program. It has the first state-mandated ride inspection permit in the country for traveling carnivals, enacted in 1972. That’s a good thing.” Shutting down the Fireball did result in positive reviews for the fair being proactive, Pickering added.

Ride wristbands cost $35 each day, Byrum added, the same price as last year.

Food numbers were not available in early August, but Pickering expected them to be flat or down. Items that suffered because of the heat included baked potatoes, funnel cakes and even ice cream. It is difficult to track bottled water numbers, he added. One product that did well was the wine slushies, a newer offering that picked up sales this year. That fit into the expanded, award-winning California State Fair Kaiser Permanente Farm with a farm-to-glass exhibit showcasing the state’s winemaking grapes. This was a 20,000-sq.-ft. area near the wine garden.

“We exhibited all the products that go into creating things we enjoy drinking,” Pickering said. This included hops, barley, juniper, agave, potatoes and, of course, grapes.

Fair officials also are contemplating the future addition of marijuana as a crop into the event’s farm showcase, following the legalization of recreational marijuana last fall. “Cannabis will become a large agricultural product in the state of California,” Pickering said. “We will be very prudent. We will start very slowly and work with other state agencies on what they believe should be showcased.”

An idea to show a movie outdoors on the side of a building turned into a unique and successful marketing opportunity. Instead of screening a movie, the fair used high powered projectors to cast advertising, sponsor information and state fair commercials on the fairgrounds’ iconic water tower.

“We decided to start small and see where it goes,” Pickering said. “We are located alongside a major freeway, so we know people could see it from the freeway. That helped spread the message after dark. There also were a number of media stories that helped promote the fair by showing things we were projecting on the water tank.”

The fair spent $10,000 to rent the projectors, instead of plunking down the six figures it would cost to purchase each projector. Pickering said the fair might stick to renting the equipment. “We have to scratch our heads and see if there is a sponsor who would like their name in lights to help us,” Pickering said. “It’s easier to get a sponsor to pay $10,000 to rent them. We’ll continue to refine it and do cost analysis to see the benefits.”

In other marketing, TV advertising targeted families headed by Millennials in spots Pickering called “hipster” advertising, saying that it would be “cool at the fair” as a double entendre. The fair also works with area bloggers to help get the message out about the fair and the event had more than 200,000 “likes” on its Facebook page, which was a personal record.

The fair also put mascot Poppy to work with a series of videos, showing the bear getting up in the morning and brushing his teeth and putting on his California State Fair T-shirt. Then, in the next video, Poppy arrived at work and started high-fiving people and shaking hands. “So that was cute,” Pickering said.

The commercials can still be seen on the fair’s YouTube channel. Around 60,000 fairgoers downloaded the fair’s new and improved app, which was introduced last year to help people navigate the fair and find food. “The challenge is when you get thousands of people using phones and the data link, which is requiring service,” Pickering said. “We were happy with the new technology.”

The app also was used to create a scavenger hunt for fairgoers, who could visit 10 locations identified on the app, take a photo and post it to a scorecard. “Once they had all the pics filled in, you took that to guest services and received a gift,” Pickering said. “It was a way of moving people into parts of the fairgrounds they perhaps had never seen before.”

The fair’s primary concert offering, the Toyota Concert Series on the Golden 1 Stage, is mostly free with 1,200 gold circle seats—out of a total of 4,200—offered for $20 or $25. The acts that did the best, including Melissa Etheridge, Brian McKnight and Trace Adkins, “speaks highly of the demographics to the California State Fair,” Pickering said. “That’s three very different genres.”

The fair spent $500,000 to purchase 17 acts, Pickering added. The fair’s year-round operating budget is $28 million.

General admission was $12 adults and senior citizens, and children for $8 has been the same for several years, Pickering said. There also were several promotions that offered 30 percent off the ticket price.

Fair officials did raise the price for parking, he added, from $10 to $15. “We did an exhaustive study of the region and they preferred raising the parking fee over raising the admission price,” he said.

 


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Corrosion Blamed For Ohio Fair Tragedy
 
Posted: 8 Aug 2017, 5:55 pm

G Force, a similar ride to the Fire Ball ride that snapped apart at Ohio Sate Fair, Columbus, reopened Aug. 9, at OC Fair, Costa Mesa, Calif.

It has been determined by the company that manufactured the carnival ride that killed one man and injured seven others at Ohio State Fair, Columbus, that the tragedy was caused by "excessive corrosion."

The Fire Ball ride, also known as G Force, which spins 40 feet above the ground, broke apart while in motion July 26. The ride was 18 years old.

Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old from Columbus, died on the scene. Seven others, ranging in age from 14 to 42, were injured.

CORROSION TO BLAME

Albert Kroon, product manager for KMG, a Dutch amusement ride manufacturer, said, "An investigation at the scene in Columbus determined that excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam's wall thickness over the years."

"This finally led to the catastrophic failure of the ride during operation," Kroon said. “The ride passed multiple inspections before Ohio fairgoers were thrown off the Fire Ball.”

Kroon said KMG is cooperating with “industry safety experts to develop an inspection protocol to prevent future accidents from occurring.”

Since this is the middle of the summer fair season, many fairs received questions about the safety of their own midways from the press and fairgoers just hours after the Ohio incident.

GET IN FRONT OF A TRICKY SITUATION

Marla Calico, president and CEO, International Association of Fairs & Expositions (IAFE), advised fair communications directors to get out in front of the news. “Safety is a given and having something like this happen makes you say, ‘let’s take a look, again.’”

Calico suggested going straight into “crisis communication mode" per IAFE’s recently published ARK guidelines for dealing with protestors, section nine. “It helped everyone with messaging,” she said. “You also need to know your policies and procedures; licensing and permitting; and your inspection schedule.”

Calico said when inquiries come, “lead off with a statement of sympathy.” She also said that emphasizing that safety is your number one priority is best practice. 

It’s also important to know exactly what happens in your state or province regarding inspections, she said. “Every state is different and you need to be able to answer questions pertinent to your situation. Be able to say XYZ happens in our state” She also suggested that fairs should make sure they have regular communication with their mobile amusement operators.

Calico said fair operators should stress their relationships with police, fire and emergency services. “Let people know you have an emergency plan and that you have procedures for such an emergency.”

POSITIVE PR

Calico advocated “positive and proactive PR” after an incident like what happened at Ohio State Fair. “Fairs are only one-fifth or one-sixth rides,” she said. “There are different program areas to focus on. There’s a lot fairs can do, especially on social media, to send subtle messages.”

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can all be used to send such messages. Highlighting some of the 4-H activity; showing some of the great food at the fair; showing off the great blue-ribbon quilts that can be seen at the fair; talking about exhibits and letting people know about concerts and other entertainment were some of Calico’s recommendations.

“Just by putting positive images out about other aspects of the fair, other than rides, will send an affirmative message,” she said. “It’s also important to let the fair stakeholders know that you are on top of a tricky situation, and that rides are just a small part of a fair.”

Emphasizing that this was an aberration is also important, according to Calico. "This is so rare in its occurence,” she said. “If you think about the number of mobile amusements that are operated on a daily basis, incidents like this are miniscule.”

OTHER FAIRS REACT QUICKLY

Following the accident, KMG advised all venues that had the Fire Ball ride to shut it down. One fair affected was OC Fair, Costa Mesa, Calif.

“Our carnival partner, Ray Cammack Shows (RCS), got word at 5:30 p.m. PST that a similar ride in Ohio had snapped,” said Terry Moore, communications director, OC Fair. “We have the G Force ride here, which is similar to the ride in Ohio, and made by the same manufacturer.”

RCS and OC Fair immediately took action, shutting the ride down. 

Moore said after the fair closed that night, RCS conducted “a thorough inspection” and contacted the state to find out if there was anything else to be done.

OC Fair re-opened G Force late in the day August 9. "We have taken every precaution to ensure that G Force is safe,” said Moore. “The ride passed multiple layers of inspections and is in top shape for G Force fans to enjoy.”

COMMUNICATE "SAFETY FIRST"

OC Fair had numerous inquiries after the Ohio event and G Force was shut down, mostly from the press. The guests have not questioned why G Force is shut down. "There’s a sign saying it’s nonoperational and fairgoers just pass it by and get on another ride,” said Moore.

She said they have done positive messaging, mostly letting people know that in addition to RCS inspecting rides everyday, they also have an independent ride inspector company, Coulter Associates, that inspects the rides. “It’s an extra layer,” she said, along with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) inspections.

“Our messaging to the public has been that we are a ‘safety first’ fair and do everything we can to keep the fairgrounds safe,” she said.

COMMITTED TO SAFETY

Renee Hernandez, communications and public relations manager, at LA County Fair (LACF), Pomona, Calif., said that they’ve been communicating to guests that “LACF wants every guest to have fun and be safe, especially in the carnival area. The fair is committed to the overall safety and security of our guests every day.”

LACF has a long-standing partnership with RCS, who Hernandez said “has an excellent safety record.” She emphasized that numerous procedures are utilized to ensure guest safety. “Rides are inspected prior to the opening of the fair by Cal OSHA, two independent safety consultant groups, and RCS personnel and are inspected every day.” LA County Fair has been posting to social media and doing interviews to make the public aware of their safety protocols.

MAKE A GATE ANNOUNCEMENT

Michael Bradley, chief executive officer, California State Fair, Paso Robles, Calif., said, “Our prayers and outreach are first and foremost to the family and friends of the people involved in the accident. Of course, the management team in Ohio are under a lot of pressure, and we wish them well during this trying time.”

Bradley said that at California Mid-Sate Fair they’re dedicated to safety. Their new carnival partner, Helm & Sons, issued a press release immediately following the Ohio event assuring guests that the rides were inspected thoroughly and regularly.

Cal Mid-State Fair also sent out a series of press releases that indicated safety practices and talked about Helm & Sons safety record. “We wanted to let everyone know we inspect each ride, no matter how often they are utilized, as soon as possible and get in front of a bad situation,” said Bradley. “All rides are inspected by DOSH, our insurance partner, and Cal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Helm & Sons has a fulltime safety team on the clock 24/7.”

Helm & Sons also ran an audio recording at the entrance of the fair that explained the safety practices to the guests as they came through the gate.

PREPARE YOUR STAFF

The Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, is opening Aug. 24. They run an independent midway and book all the rides in-house. “On the day of the incident, we heard from all the newspapers and TV and radio stations,” said Jerry Hammer, GM. “The question we had consistently was if we had that ride booked. We don’t have that ride booked here.”

“We laid out our ride safety protocols and let everyone know we have rigorous procedures in place,” he said. “We check them on the way in, once they are up, and then every day.”

Hammer said the messaging to the public consisted of a press release explaining the safety policy, and then the fair followed Calico’s advice and sent out pro-active messages surrounding the fair and other positive things about the fair.

“When we open, I’m sure it will come up and we’re training the whole team so they know what to say. Every member of the team will be ready to answer questions or respond to any concern a guest has about our rides and our safety standards,” said Hammer.


 


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Big3 Basketball Expands
 
Posted: 7 Aug 2017, 5:05 pm

Big3 basketball at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Leff/Barclays Center)

The basketball world and arena operators weren’t quite sure what they had on their hands when Ice Cube’s Big3 professional 3-on-3 basketball league descended on Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on June 25. Following a successful debut that drew local fans and national media attention as some of the biggest veteran names of the National Basketball Association (NBA) made appearances in the eight-team league, the remaining nine stops on the summer schedule had something to look forward to.

“It’s always exciting to work on events that are different from the ‘norm’ and when you have success, it increases your confidence to think out of the box for venue content,” says Ereka Brim, arena marketing for Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Seven weeks into the eight-week regular season that precedes a week of playoffs and then the finals, the Big3 has offered up its unique style of sporting event from Tulsa, Okla. to Seattle.

Brim says the event was “NBA meets family show entertainment.” Jeff Nickler, general manager of BOK Center, Tulsa, says he jokingly describes the event as a “mix between a hoops game and WWE. There were a lot of celebrities, colorful personalities and lots of pageantry associated with the event from the team introductions to the halftime festivities, to a surprise live performance on court by Ice Cube.”

The Big3 planning, handled by Ice Cube’s agents at William Morris Endeavor and his management team, The Firm, selected 10 cities for the Sunday afternoon events. Starting in Brooklyn, N.Y., Big3 then moved to the Spectrum and BOK Centers before stopping at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia; UIC Pavilion, Chicago; American Airlines Center, Dallas and Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky. The final week of the regular season occurs  Aug. 13 in Staples Center, Los Angeles, before the playoffs in KeyArena, Seattle and the finals in MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas.

“It was a great honor to be one of only 10 cities to land this marquee event,” Nickler says. “The amount of media attention and national television exposure the Big3 generated for Tulsa was huge.”

Brim says the atmosphere brought highly competitive games, but still with a continuous nod to entertainment. “The players, coaches and entertainers were interacting with the fans, taking pictures and having fun,” she says. “After the game, Ice Cube signed autographs and spoke with fans waiting on the street to get feedback on how they can get better.”

Fan interaction made its way to social media, which Brim says likely contributed to creating additional excitement for the next venue stop on the summer circuit.

Brim says the Big3’s interactive social media marketing using players, the tournament and venue helped push strong walk-up numbers. “The diversity with the crowd and the engagement and excitement of a family event that entertained a wide range of ages, demographics and interests, made for a success.. The inclusion of  local athletes and influencers in the market assisted with the personable feel of the event.”

Nickler says it was obvious that players bought into the concept of connecting to fans “one hundred percent” without losing any of the competition level on the court.

Both the Spectrum and BOK Centers say the event generated as many media—local, regional and national—and VIP requests as any event of the year, including the BOK Center handling a surprise visit from NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and the Big3 proving one of the highest attended media events of 2017 so far for the Spectrum Center. Even with the popularity of the first-ever event, the Big3 provided no additional challenges to accommodate, whether with the on-court product or the additional entertainment spaces in and around the venue.

Ken Kuhl, assistant general manager and vice president of booking for American Airlines Center, Dallas, says he knew the Big3 event would offer “exciting entertainment” opportunities for local basketball fans with Fox Sports a broadcast partner and former NBA stars on teams.

“With 3-on-3 basketball included as an Olympic sport in the 2020 games, Big3 was a unique opportunity to showcase this type of event at the arena level while delivering good summer programming to Dallas/Ft. Worth,” he says.

From the beginning, Nickler says they communicated heavily with WME and The Firm, believing in the vision for the event. “We understood there was some risk in hosting a brand new and unproven concept,” he says, “but thought the investment in the league was worth it for the long-term relationship.”
 


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No Single-Game Tickets At Falcons Stadium
 
Posted: 7 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons will open the $1.5-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta this month, doing so without offering single-game tickets for a distinct reason: “We have personal seat licenses (PSL).” Steve Cannon, CEO of the Arthur M Blank Group, which operates the new stadium, said that selling single-game tickets on the primary market “undermines the value” of the PSLs. “We are coming from the Georgia Dome into Mercedes-Benz Stadium and it is a PSL stadium, an ownable asset to our fan base,” he says. “They own a seat. We went to great lengths to make it affordable.”

The least expensive PSL is $500, financeable over 10 years at $50 per year, which equates to $5 per game. With the least expensive season-ticket at $55, Cannon says a fan’s all-in price per game is $60. “For a story that says we are taking affordable access out of the market, that could not be further from the truth,” he says. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has 15 percent of its ticketed inventory in the $55-to-$75 per game range.

Cannon adds that not only does a single-ticket sale undermine the value of a PSL, it also allows a robust, healthy resale market for those who want to sell their PSL. “If you have a la cart sales you will undermine values of  PSLs,” he says.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium will seat 71,000 at its standard configuration, expandable to 75,000. Cannon says they aren’t disclosing the number of tickets available in PSLs, as some are held back for other programs, but that they have sold 92 percent of them.

The most recent National Football League (NFL) team to open a new building, the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, have a different setup for single-ticket options. Legislation passed in 2012 required the Vikings to make 3,250 tickets at U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, available on a single-game basis and priced no higher than 80 percent of the lowest-priced season ticket. “In addition to that provision, we believe in this market, the best approach is to have a solid mix of season tickets, multigame packages and single-game tickets to provide options for Vikings fans,” says Jeff Anderson, team spokesperson.

The Falcons will ensure single-game access in other ways. “The most obvious is Ticketmaster,” Cannon says about the NFL Ticket Exchange secondary market. Cannon says, as of Aug. 7, that single-game tickets were available for $40 for a preseason game against Arizona—the first NFL game inside the new venue—and four regular-season games had $90-tickets available. While the market fluctuates based on demand, Cannon expects the exchange to serve as the primary single-game access point.

At the same time, team owner Arthur Blank created a variety of more select opportunities for single-game access, including group and community sales, the Rise Up and Share foundation that offers—“in the high hundreds”—tickets available to local coaches and athletes and programs that get tickets into the hands of military families and those who otherwise couldn’t afford tickets.

As the Falcons approach the season, Cannon says they will also utilize the stadium’s expandable seating for far more than big events such as the Super Bowl and the Final Four. “If certain games have excess demand, we could deploy any portion of the three (expandable sections),” Cannon says. “We could deploy all three or just one or two. We will make the decisions based on demand.”

One area the Falcons haven’t finalized, but Cannon says will turn into reality, comes in standing-room-only tickets, starting with the Sept. 17 regular-season home-opener against Green Bay. “The building has so many gathering spots with direct views into the bowl,” Cannon says. He cites the nine neighborhood bars, all on concourses with views into the bowl, and the two sky bridges, as the ideal gathering places for Standing Room Only (SRO)-ticket holders.

Cannon says they know that they could sell several thousand SRO tickets and enhance the in-game experience by crowding the bars and adding “energy and noise” into the building, but will start the program in a manageable way for the Green Bay (Wis.) Packers game.

The Falcons hope to keep the SRO and expandable tickets out of the hands of brokers, so they plan to release them at some point the week before a game, limit the number of tickets available to each fan and require in-person sales at two Atlanta locations, including at the stadium.

For the 60,000 to 70,000 fans with PSLs, they will have two options for using the tickets in a paperless environment. All season-ticket holders will receive—they are in the mail as of Aug. 7—their own RFID card with all the games stored on that card, which they can bring to a game on a lanyard. To make it easy to transfer or sell tickets, the Falcons also allow fans to upload a ticket to Ticketmaster, creating a fully mobile ticket experience for non-PSL fans and the option to go mobile or RFID for PSL holders.

Once inside, the Falcons will not go cashless, but as part of the team’s progressive concession plan will use a whole-dollar pricing strategy for all food and beverage items in the stadium to increase speed of service and transaction time.

 


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Legitimizing eSports
 
Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 7:00 pm

Pete Vlastelica, Major League Gaming, an Activision Blizzard company; Rick Fox, Echo Fox; Jace Hall, Vision Venture Partners; and Jon Pan, moderator, Amazon Game Studios, at VenuesNow. (VT Photo)

REPORTING FROM BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — The Overwatch League, which announced seven city-based franchises July 12, is a game changer for eSports, a new model and a huge part of the discussion of the state of eSports during VenuesNow here July 12-14. The experts warned venue managers that in this sports league, change is at warp speed and gamers will catch up to baseball and football more quickly than most can imagine.

League of Legends is moving to a revenue-sharing league model, another gamechanger that brings stability for ownership as well as players, said Rick Fox, Echo Fox.

That’s extremely important because the player is the key to developing fans, added Fox, a former National Basketball Association player. Fox sees the eSports model maturing to look like the major sports leagues with one big exception, it’s global. Owners will be expected to host games and revenue will be generated by ticket sales, concessions and sponsorships.

“Everything mirrors major league sports, but it’s at warp speed,” Fox added.

“No game is going to fill your stadiums,” added Jace Hall, Vision Venture Partners. “The players are going to fill your stadium, just like Rick Fox or Kobe or Shaq [in the NBA]. For 35 years, eSports has been about the game. Now it’s about the players.”

That represents a major shift in priorities for publishers, because the challenge the publisher has is overhead and their shareholders are looking for the bottom-line video sales, not live action ticket sales.

And sports leagues have to be governed. The answer may be in a third-party league, but the audience is people who play the game, whose loyalty the publisher cherishes.

“We’re talking about massive numbers,” Vlastelic said. “Thirty million people play or watch Overwatch. We’ve reached the point where players are heroes.”

Activision Blizzard designs games that are “really fun to watch,” because eSports is developing experiences, including live experiences, not just games to play.

Pete Vlastelica made that clear in his opening comments at VenuesNow. Major League Gaming, a division of Activision Blizzard, operates leagues for third parties.

Gaming is not about age, it’s a mindset, added Hall, referring to gamers as “Generation Always.”

The eSports ecosystem includes game developers, leagues, games and players. Rick Fox founded Echo Fox two years ago to represent the players. He did it in support of  kids who want to have a career in gaming, like his son. Fox added that “we believe in this next generation. Our deals are like the deals in the NBA, except this is a world sport. It is global.”

Fox currently represents 41 players. “You guys are going to be filling your arenas with us,” Fox said to the VenuesNow crowd.

Overwatch has been around about a year and is a first-person action game. It’s colorful, cartoonish and not overly graphically violent, Vlastelica said. And it is a fun game to watch. “We can create some stability and clarity in eSports around this game,” he said.

There is a lot of money in eSports. For the live event, the question is what will grow fastest.

Hall noted that merchandising it the most effective revenue generator for Defenders of the Arena II, which does so well it has a $21-million prize pool. But sponsorship is catching up fast.

Vlastelica made the case for media rights as the key revenue generator. “The broadcast networks are looking at eSports as a way to get the younger audience.” There is no traditional sport with an average viewing audience under age 40, because young people don’t watch TV, he said.

Fox said his eyes were opened to the potential for eSports live events at Madison Square Garden, New York, where he saw his first such event and “it reminded me of my days playing in the NBA.” And like the NBA, it represented a chance for people to get together in person and talk to each other.

“These players want to come to your arena,” Hall added. “Emotionally, these events at these stadiums touch on self esteem and validity of the activity. That’s what you bring to the sport.”


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eTix & Parthenon Partner
 
Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 5:00 pm

eTix, an international web-based ticketing provider, has completed a growth-oriented recapitalization with private equity firm Parthenon Capital Partners.  

This partnership will grant eTix the capital to grow their brand and continue to progressively change the industry of web-based ticketing.   

"We had the belief that the market was very fragmented, and we wanted to grow quicker,” said Travis Janovich, CEO, and founder of eTix. “ Parthenon shared our vision so we went down this road together."

Although eTix will now be backed by billion-dollar capital partners, the company plans to run business similarly to how they did before the partnership. "We’re still independent in the same way," said Janovich. "I’m still in control of the company, nothing has changed there... it’s just a great growth capital partnership, and we’re going to be more aggressive in trying to grow the company faster."  

Included in that growth is eTix's  purchase of ExtremeTix, an online ticketing provider based in Houston. The agreement is said to be worth $16.5 million.  

The deal to acquire ExtremeTix jump started the growth initiative Janovich promised for his company. eTix is heralded in the web-based ticketing industry for their innovation and accessibility to the consumer, he said. 

"We feel like we got one of the best, if not the best, web-based ticketing and marketing platforms out there,” Janovich said. “I think you’ll see us continue to grow horizontally faster, make more investments in a platform to build beyond ticketing and marketing."

Horizontal growth includes a hope to branch out and help consumers encounter an easier and friendlier ticket purchasing experience. eTix will look to assist consumers after their tickets are purchased, with a number of new ideas. Some ideas shared by Janovich include handling of food and beverages and parking and controlling calendars, as well as booking and venue management.
 
eTix was founded in 2000 by Janovich. Since that time the company has become a global web-based ticket provider with headquarters all over the world including Germany, Austria, China, Holland, and Japan as well as U.S. hubs in Morrisville, N.C. and Nashville,  Tenn. The company currently sells over 50 million tickets annually in 40 countries.
 


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Las Colinas To Open Multiple Venues
 
Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Exterior of Las Colinas (Texas) Music Factory. 

The long-anticipated Irving Music Factory, Las Colinas, Texas, will unveil itself to the public in phases this fall, starting with the grand opening of the mixed-use development’s entertainment pavilion managed by Live Nation.

The 250,000-sq.-ft. entertainment center is located in Irving, Texas, which is between Dallas and Fort Worth in an upscale business district called Las Colinas that’s surrounded by a suburban area.

Twenty-five new restaurants, a 100,000-sq-ft. glass office tower and a 50,000-sq-ft. common area plaza with a full production stage are all included in the entertainment center. Additionally, an eight-screen Alamo Drafthouse movie theater and retail space also are included in the development.

The entire project costs $200 million, said Noah Lazes, president of the North Carolina-based ARK Group, which is the project developer.

On Labor Day weekend, The Pavilion — a convertible indoor/outdoor concert venue — will open with shows featuring Dave Chappelle and Brad Paisley’s Weekend Warrior World Tour 2017.

The Pavilion’s indoor configuration can house 2,500 guests for a theater setting, going up to 4,000 seats for arena shows and accommodate 8,000 guests for and indoor/outdoor open-air pavilion performances.

Restaurants and entertainment venues will open throughout the Irving Music Factory each week, and the grand opening of the entire project is slated for Dec. 8-10.

For more than 10 years, Irving has been waiting to see this development get off the ground.

04._Irving_Music_Factory_Plaza_.jpgAnother exterior view of Las Colinas (Texas) Music Factory.

“The city and multiple other developers tried to make this happen for a long time,” Lazes said. “It’s tricky building a $200-million entertainment center. Not just the leasing side of it, but also the financing side and the city approval side.”

The Irving Music Factory is being financed through private and public funding, including a lodging tax that was passed by 67 percent of the voters. ARK Group secured support from private investors, and the city used Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund the project.

“It shows how bad the city of Irving wanted this project,” Lazes said.

The Las Colinas business district has long needed an entertainment district to amuse the massive amounts of corporations that conduct business in the area, said Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Prior to the Irving Music Factory’s construction, “we were singularly relying on corporate travel,” Gast said. “We have not had another leg to stand on.”

In 2011, the Irving Convention Center opened, bringing a total of 275,000 sq. ft. of meeting and convention space to a highly populated business district — a district where big companies like Kimberly Clark and Exxon Mobil are headquartered. The convention center is managed by SMG.

“We did a great job building our city for business,” Gast said, noting that now the city is ready for the entertainment leg it’s been missing, and the Irving Music Factory will fill that need in Las Calinas.

The $131-million convention center, the Irving Music Factory and a new 350-room Westin all will be located within a block radius once the entertainment district and the Westin are completed.

The $105-million Westin broke ground in March, and will add to the 12,000 hotel rooms in Las Colinas, Gast said.

The Irving Music Factory will offer live entertainment and new dining options to the nearly 1 million people who visit Las Colinas each year, she said.

A training and consulting company called Ethos, based in Irving, will be the soul tenant in the 100,000 sq. ft. of office space that looks out onto the entertainment center.

And with Live Nation managing The Pavilion and the ARK Group acting as landlords of the entire real estate, Lazes has no doubt that the Irving Music Center will have years of success.

“The internet is never going to replace the live experience, and it’s never going to replace a good meal,” he said. 

 


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The Forum To Sue Inglewood
 
Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

The Forum, Inglewood, Calif., is not happy about a new neighbor.

Madison Square Garden, the owner of The Forum, Inglewood, Calif., has filed a claim for damages against the city of Inglewood, in response to an agreement Inglewood leaders made with an entity representing the Los Angeles Clippers to explore the development of a new home for the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise near the venue.

Marvin Putnam, a partner with the Latham & Watkins law firm representing MSG, said representatives of the Forum had been “lied to and cheated” by Inglewood officials and the damages claim, which names Inglewood City Council, the Inglewood Parking Authority and the Successor Agency to the Inglewood Redevelopment Agency, likely will be followed by a lawsuit. In addition, Putnam indicated he plans to file a separate lawsuit this week seeking public records related to negotiations between the Clippers and the city to form their agreement — a process he said has taken place “in the most secretive, backroom way imaginable.”

The Inglewood City Council approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with Murphy’s Bowl LLC, an entity representing the Clippers, on June 15 to pursue the development of a new, state-of-the-art NBA arena, which would be located near the new home of the National Football League’s (NFL) Los Angeles Rams and Los Angles Chargers. The council re-approved the agreement on July 21 after questions emerged about the process for the first vote. The agreement lasts 36 months with a possible six-month extension. The team paid the city $1.5 million to support work that will be done by public staff and consultants as part of the agreement, which will include required state environmental review.

The Forum, formerly the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Sparks, completed a renovation in 2014 that helped it transition into a performance venue designed to emphasize music and entertainment. The renovation resulted from a 2012 agreement between Inglewood and MSG that included MSG committing to invest $50 million in the project. By the time the renovated Forum opened, MSG had invested $100 million in the project.

“By all accounts, from 2014 to today, the Forum has been one of the premier venues in this country and done incredible things to help bring Inglewood back and be part of the ‘Inglewood Renaissance,’” Putnam said.

The claim for damages stems in part from that 2012 agreement, which Putnam said stated Inglewood would not help bring in “a competitive entity” that would negatively impact the Forum’s business. In addition, the Forum terminated its lease with the city for 20 acres of parking in April when — according to Putnam — Inglewood officials approached MSG and said it needed the space for a new technology park that would help the city develop into a Silicon Beach-like destination. Two months later, Putnam said, those 20 acres were part of the 80 acres contained in the agreement between the Clippers and Inglewood.

“That’s duplicitous,” Putnam said. “It was the product of an out-and-out lie.” After the public announcement of the agreement between the Clippers and the city, he said, “MSG was dumbstruck. It wasn’t just a slap in the face. It was more like a punch in the face.”

Inglewood Mayor James Butts declined to comment on the claim for damages itself, saying, “The claim is under review by our legal department and they will make a recommendation as to whether to accept or deny the claim.”

Butts also declined to comment on the technology park allegation, but he said he believed Inglewood’s actions with the Clippers have not been at odds with the city’s agreement with MSG.

“There is no portion of the development agreement between MSG and Inglewood that would prohibit the city from exploring the development of an NBA arena,” Butts said.

Butts said the prospect of the Clippers moving into an arena in Inglewood offers promising economic possibilities for the city.

“An NBA team playing in Inglewood would likely yield upwards of 4 million dollars per year to the general fund from ticket taxes, parking taxes and sales taxes,” Butts said. “The project would likely produce 10,000 to 15,000 union-scale construction jobs and 500 permanent and part-time jobs.”

Meanwhile, Putnam said the proposed arena would carry severe financial consequences for the Forum.

“There’s no way you can underplay or underestimate the massive impact,” Putnam said. “It’s a mile away. You can be outside on the balcony of the Forum looking east and quite literally see where it’s going to be today.”

Putnam said MSG filed the damages claim to demonstrate to Inglewood its displeasure with the agreement and to signal its desire for the city “to fix this” without a lawsuit. The claim says to “immediately cease any further action to encourage the development of another arena in the city of Inglewood in breach of the express contractual commitments the city has made to the Forum.” In Putnam’s view, the city’s response to the claim has been “terrible.”

“It looks like they’re going to sit there and claim they’ve done nothing wrong and don’t know what we’re talking about, which ultimately is going to result in us unfortunately having to sue the city, the city council and the parking authority,” Putnam said.

Putnam said MSG submitted a public records request to Inglewood asking for records related to the city’s negotiations with the Clippers, such as texts, working drafts, emails and meeting notes. The city produced a collection of items that he said was too small an output for a project “so incredibly detailed and complex.”

“They would have us believe that much like Athena this came out of Zeus’s head fully formed,” Putnam said. “And guess what, nothing works that way … that is just a lie. We’re about to file a lawsuit demanding all of those materials.”

Butts declined to comment on MSG’s claim regarding a scarcity of available records, but disagreed with the suggestion that the city’s dealings on the possible new arena have been insufficiently open. He called the process “completely transparent” and compared it to the process when MSG renovated the Forum.

“The city has entered into an (exclusive negotiating agreement) to explore whether a project can be developed,” Butts said. “There will be a number of public meetings including a review by the Planning Commission (public meeting) and an environmental review should the project proceed that far. This was the exact same process engaged in with MSG.”

The 80-acres covered in the agreement between the Clippers and Inglewood includes both city-owned land and privately-owned land, including homes, apartments, businesses and a church. The agreement repeatedly cites the possibility of using eminent domain for property needed for the arena. Butts declined to comment on that possibility.

Butts said the city of Inglewood “cherishes” its relationship with MSG and hopes to reconcile its differences regarding the proposed new Clippers home.

“Working together, we have seen the Forum become one of the top concert venues in the country,” Butts said. “The city has the right to self-determination and will not be constrained in its decision-making. The city council’s first responsibility is to ensure continued progress, opportunities for employment, to improve public safety and the quality of life for Inglewood residents. In the end, I am certain that the city and MSG will come together for a win-win resolution for both parties. In the meantime, life goes on unabated for the Forum and the city of Inglewood.”

 


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AEG Responds To Grimmie Lawsuit
 
Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 1:40 pm

Christina Grimmie.

An attorney for the family of slain singer Christina Grimmie plans to file a response in August to AEG Live’s assertion that the promoter is not responsible for the death of the former contestant on “The Voice” because there was not a signed contract between her and the company. “She was engaged by them to be on the tour,” said Brian D. Caplan, a New York-based attorney with Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt.

On behalf of Grimmie’s family, Caplan filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Plaza Foundation last year, and then re-filed an amended complaint in June. In mid-July, the defendants asked that the suit be dismissed.

Grimmie was shot three times on June 10, 2016, at The Plaza Live theater in Orlando, Fla., by a man who had carried two 9mm Glock handguns, two magazines and a large hunting knife into a meet-and-greet with the artist following her performance, according to the amended complaint filed by Caplan in the Orange County, Fla., Circuit Court, on June 13, 2017.

The lawsuit against both AEG Live and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Plaza Foundation, which owns the theater, does not request a specific judgment or compensation amount.

The complaint lays out Grimmie’s short career. The New Jersey native and her family—father Albert Grimmie Jr., mother Tina Grimmie and brother Marcus Grimmie—had left their home to live in California and changed their lifestyles to support Christina’s rising career that began with YouTube videos and escalated after a management deal was signed with singer Selena Gomez’s stepfather.

When the singer made it onto the sixth season of the NBC hit reality show “The Voice” in 2014—after enthusiastic turnarounds from all four judges after she belted out a heartfelt version of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”—Grimmie was coached by judge Adam Levine. She came in third. Two years later, she was on tour with an Orlando-based pop band Before You Exit when she was gunned down after her performance.

Caplan said he did not want to “litigate the case” prior to trial, but arguments laid out in the action seem to indicate that the plaintiffs will argue a responsibility on the part of AEG Live, which had a contract with Grimmie to appear on tour with Before You Exit, and with The Plaza Live, which had signs up stating a “no guns” policy. However, the complaint states, the venue did not take that far enough because fans did not have to pass through metal detectors and only “superficial” bag checks instead of body pat-downs were employed.

In a response filed July 17, 2017, both AEG Live and The Plaza Live put forth their own arguments, including the assertion that The Plaza Live had experienced no prior history of violent crime and had no expectation that the audience—largely made up of preteen girls—would pose a threat to the artists. It also stated that no one from Grimmie’s management team had alerted AEG Live or the venue that she was being followed by a “violent stalker.” The response also indicates that the defendants do not put any weight into the statement in the complaint that 40 percent of Florida residents own guns.

The shooter, 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl, was tackled by Grimmie’s brother Marcus, who was working for the singer. Loibl then broke free and shot himself dead. Christina Grimmie died later that evening.

The defendants’ response indicates that the initial filing asked for “lost income” due to Grimmie’s death, which was dismissed by the defendants. “In the instant case, the Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint does not allege that the decedent Christina Grimmie’s estate included a surviving spouse or lineal descendant,” according to the response.

Marcus Grimmie filed an additional claim for “negligent infliction of emotional distress,” which The Plaza wants thrown out, claiming that it is barred by legal authority related to Florida’s Impact Rule. The Impact Rule, which has been dismissed by several other states, asserts that in order to have a valid claim, a victim must have experienced a physical impact in order to get a recovery for mental distress.

Michael Roth, vice president, Communications, AEG, declined to comment on the case, stating, “We don’t comment on pending legal issues.” No one answered the phone at The Plaza Live.

Caplan said his team has until “sometime in August to put in opposition to each of the two motions” filed by the defendants. He expected a court date to be set for a hearing in the latter part of September, “but that is subject to agreement.”

As indicated by the filing, insufficient security will be part of the claim, Caplan said. “We allege in the amended complaint that the venue had a ‘no guns’ sign on the outside and did a bag check, but didn’t do body pat-downs or use a metal detector. And we allege that 40 percent of the population of Florida owns or possesses guns. We also allege that when somebody goes on tour, they look to the promoter to be the actual provider of security. Generally, they have a contractual relationship with the promoter, not the venue.

“Different types of venues would require different types of security,” he added. “In this case, when a performer goes in to perform at a venue and there is a ‘no guns” sign, that means the venue undertakes some security measures, and they need to do it right. And if they fail to provide adequate security, they should be responsible for the results.”

 

 

 


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Levitt Pavilion Denver Opens
 
Posted: 25 Jul 2017, 7:00 pm

The new Levitt Pavilion Amphitheater, Denver, on its first night ever.

Denver’s new $7.2-million amphitheater, Levitt Pavilion Denver, opened last Thursday, July 20, with a free concert by Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, quickly followed by a ticketed UB40 show Friday, July 21. The unique concept will see free events and paid events living together at the new venue.

“Denver needed a venue this size,” said Dan Steinberg, co-founder, Emporium Presents, the promoter for the venue. “Size-wise, there’s nothing in our realm.”

This will also be Denver proper’s only amphitheater. “Levitt Pavilion is the only outdoor music venue within Denver’s city limits,” said Steinberg. “Red Rocks Amphitheater is to the west and Fiddler’s Green is south of Denver. Red Rocks is gorgeous, but there are not enough dates there. I think we’re going to be able to live side-by-side with Red Rocks.”

Stenberg said he also expects prices to be much lower at the new venue than at the older ones. “Our lawn seats are $15,” he said. “Our P1’s are going to be only $75.”

The $7.2-million venue is a partnership between Levitt Pavilions and the city of Denver. “What’s really special here is that we’re going to provide a mix of free public-service events and paid events,” he said. The city’s participation is tied to a bond issue from Denver Parks & Recreation. "Denver’s opening weekend has set the stage for its mission of building community through music,” said Steinberg.

This season the venue will host 30 free concerts and five admission-based events.

“Our goal has always been to bring in family-accessible music with diverse genres with a combination of free events and paid events,” he said.

Steinberg said future programming will emulate this year’s free/paid mix when it kicks into full seasons. “Next year, when the venue opens its doors for its first full season, we expect it will host 50 free concerts and 20-30 admission-based events,” he said.

Emporium Events, which has offices around the country, will be programming the amphitheater exclusively.

Ground broke in the fall of 2016. “One of the other unique things about the venue is that we are highly flexible because of a unique fencing system that will allow us to move the fence and make the venue more intimate or grander as need be,” said Steinberg.

“What the public needs to understand is the unique opportunity they will have to see free shows here,” said Co-owner of Emporium Presents Jason Zink. “It's been quite a process from standing in a grassy bowl in a public park and hearing Levitt's Chris Zacher's (executive director of the pavilion) vision of the amphitheater, to putting together a unique partnership, to seeing the venue come out of the ground and take life.”

Zink was quite enthusiastic following the inaugural weekend at the amphitheater. “After the opening weekend, we realized that the audience reaction was so positive that we may actually have underestimated the great potential we knew existed in the venue," he said.

“It’s amazing to see how quickly the community of Denver has embraced its newest jewel, the Levitt Pavilion Denver,” said Steinberg. “We hit the ground running with UB40 and, based on ticket sales, Josh Abbott Band, 311, Cody Johnson and the Levitt Pavilion Beer Festival will all be a smashing success. It's thrilling to be involved.”

Opening night kicked off with speeches of gratitude and a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Liz Levitt, president of Levitt Foundation, Councilman Jolon Clark, Deputy Mayor Happy Haynes, and Zacher.

After the speeches and ribbon cutting, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club took the stage with special guests Andy Thomas’ Dust Heart, Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams.

Friday night’s follow-up, the first ticketed concert featuring UB40 and guests Ali, Astro & Mickey, Matisyahu and Raging Fyah went just as well, according to Zink.

“Thousands of fans poured in with lawn chairs, coolers, snacks and blankets,” said Zink. “It was something to see. We were thrilled with the reaction to both the free event and the paid event. The future looks bright for the facility.”

Concessions are currently provided by local food trucks. “We’re examining bringing in a fulltime concessionaire, but for now, we kind of like the local flavor the food trucks provide,” said Zink. The food trucks are selected for each show. “We pick out food based on the show,” explained Zink. The venue is a profit participant.

There’s also a permanent in-house bar. “We own the liquor license,” said Zink.

“Overall, the feeling people get from the venue is how beautiful it is,” said Zink. “We’re in the middle of an 88-acre park.”

Steinberg also mentioned that the venue has also formed the Colorado Music Collective. “This will allow local musicians to connect with industry professionals,” he said. They’ve also teamed up with Folk Alliance International.

“We want to be the venue that thinks about local artists in a different way,” he said. “We’re giving local artists a stage to showcase their work and not expect them to have to sell tickets.”

 


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Hot Tickets for July 26, 2017
 
Posted: 25 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Mettalica, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

Metallica stopped off on our Hot Tickets chart this week with a stellar performance at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal. The heavy metal band made a triumphant return to Montreal, July 19, with their WorldWired tour in support of their tenth studio album “Hardwired…to Self Destruct”; the nearly 30,000 fans in attendance saw ticket prices ranging from $70-$200, and the event grossed over $3.2 million. The larger-than-life band pulled out all the stops with gigantic screens, huge balloons and pyro displays that included 40 ft. flames that magically morphed into fireworks and fireballs. The California-based band is now back in North America and will be heading to the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles, July 29.

Nickelback, who are currently in the midst of their Feed the Machine tour, rocked the Mohegun Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn., July13, to the tune of nearly $500,000. The 6,700 fans in attendance enjoyed a little bit of everything, from the band’s hit songs to a few of their new ones. The well-known Canadian band remain steadfast with their sound landing between mid-tempo alt-rock and heavy metal, which is probably why their fans have remained so loyal for over 20 years. Next, Nickelback will be rocking Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston this Friday, July 28.
 

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 June 27-July 25.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $7,918,424; Venue: AccorHotels Arena, Paris; Attendance: 48,226; Ticket Range: $203.05-$65.85; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, InterConcerts; Dates: July 4-9; No. of Shows: 4

2) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $4,728,650; Venue: Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland; Attendance: 23,143; Ticket Range: $306.50-$97.05; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, abc Production; Dates: July 15; No. of Shows: 1

3) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $4,645,895; Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines-Charpieu, France; Attendance: 39,507; Ticket Range: $164.65-$60.40; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West, InterConcerts; Dates: July 12; No. of Shows: 1

4) Metallica
Gross Sales: $3,290,273; Venue: Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal; Attendance: 29,218; Ticket Range: $207.34-$67.52; Promoter: evenko, Live Nation; Dates: July 19; No. of Shows: 1

5) J. Cole
Gross Sales: $2,102,276; Venue: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.; Attendance: 26,137; Ticket Range: $119.05-$28.10; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 14-15; No. of Shows: 2

1) Paul McCartney
Gross Sales: $2,320,696; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 10,992; Ticket Range: $254-$59; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: July 13; No. of Shows: 1

2) Roger Waters
Gross Sales: $1,386,524; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,458; Ticket Range: $199.50-$55; Promoter: Concerts West; Dates: July 16; No. of Shows: 1

3) New Kids On The Block
Gross Sales: $1,071,186; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,226; Ticket Range: $249.95-$39.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 14; No. of Shows: 1

4) J. Cole
Gross Sales: $1,035,419; Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas; Attendance: 11,429; Ticket Range: $125.50-$29.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 8; No. of Shows: 1

5) Kendrick Lamar
Gross Sales: $943,090; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,846; Ticket Range: $99.50-$39.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 17; No. of Shows: 1

1) Ricky Martin
Gross Sales: $2,120,356; Venue: Park Theater at Monte Carlo, Las Vegas; Attendance: 22,992; Ticket Range: $250-$59.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 23-July 2; No. of Shows: 6

2) Ed Sheeran
Gross Sales: $1,384,770; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 6,877; Ticket Range: $105-$85; Promoter: In-house, Paradigm Artist Management; Dates: July 14-15; No. of Shows: 2

3) New Kids On The Block
Gross Sales: $618,330; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 7,062; Ticket Range: $199.95-$59; Promoter: In-house, CAA; Dates: July 6; No. of Shows: 1

4) Nickelback
Gross Sales: $477,620; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 6,754; Ticket Range: $99-$59; Promoter: In-house, UTA; Dates: July 13; No. of Shows: 1

5) Pepe Aguilar
Gross Sales: $381,725; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 6,210; Ticket Range: $100-$50; Promoter: In-house, OCFEC; Dates: July 23; No. of Shows: 1

1) Monsta X
Gross Sales: $266,980; Venue: Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta; Attendance: 2,591; Ticket Range: $195-$50; Promoter: Powerhouse, AEG Presents; Dates: July 16; No. of Shows: 1

2) King Crimson
Gross Sales: $255,682; Venue: Chicago Theatre; Attendance: 3,165; Ticket Range: $146.25-$36.25; Promoter: Live Nation, MSG Live; Dates: June 28; No. of Shows: 1

3) Dancing with the Stars
Gross Sales: $235,541; Venue: Durham (N.C.) Performing Arts Center; Attendance: 3,823; Ticket Range: $75-$45; Promoter: NS2, Professional Facilities Management, Nederlander Concerts; Dates: July 2; No. of Shows: 2

4) Sheryl Crow
Gross Sales: $232,875; Venue: Beacon Theatre, New York; Attendance: 2,650; Ticket Range: $129-$54; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 28; No. of Shows: 1

5) Diana Ross
Gross Sales: $209,931; Venue: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, Wis.; Attendance: 1,977; Ticket Range: $129.50-$79.50; Promoter: Frank Productions; Dates: July 12; No. of Shows: 1

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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Saunders Promoted At Venue Coalition
 
Posted: 25 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

Andrew_Saunders_-_Venue_Coalition.jpgAndrew Saunders.

Venue Coalition has promoted Andrew Saunders to director of booking. In his expanded role, Saunders will focus on business development while continuing to service new and existing Venue Coalition arena clients. Saunders started his career with Venue Coalition in 2012 after graduating from University of Southern California's Music Industry and Business Entrepreneurship programs. After working at Venue Coalition for two years, he was recruited by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman to work in their tour accounting office. In 2015, Saunders returned to Venue Coalition as the company’s booking manager.


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Five Technology Storylines Impacting ICC
 
Posted: 24 Jul 2017, 3:35 pm

The International Champions Cup production studio.

(Editor's Note: this story first appeared in SportTechie.com)

The International Champions Cup (ICC), a series of international club soccer matches that includes 12 matches played across 11 cities throughout the United States, is one tech-savvy tournament founded and hosted by Relevent Sports.

Fans attending matches as well as those unable to make it in person will be impacted by tech. For the players, they’ll experience it as well. And the technology has come a long way.

Daniel Sillman, Director of Business Development at RSE Ventures — of which Relevent Sports is a division — recalled that when the ICC partnered with NextVR in 2015 to stream the first live VR broadcast of a major league soccer match, there was a three-camera setup to capture the action between Manchester United and FC Barcelona at Levi’s Stadium.

Two years later, there will be 12 VR cameras capturing El Clásico Miami in a July 29 rivalry match at Hard Rock Stadium between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona along with a VR Center at the Casa Clásico fan fest so fans can watch highlights from eight other preceding matches courtesy of NextVR.

“That creates a totally new opportunity for brands to touch consumers outside of the match itself,” Sillman said at Hashtag Sports.

Here are the top 5 tech storylines impacting the International Champions Cup:

VIRTUAL REALITY

NextVR will have a live broadcast of El Clásico Miami and also release highlight content for nine other matches two days after each match has been played. The highlights package begins with Manchester United’s 2-0 win in Houston against Manchester City, which will be available on the NextVR app on Saturday.

Fans will need a Samsung Gear VR headset or Google Daydream View along with a compatible smartphone to access the content.

The live broadcast of El Clásico Miami will include dedicated announcers and the halftime show featuring Marc Anthony and behind-the-scenes footage exclusive to VR. There was a pretournament show in VR featuring former United States men's national soccer team standout Cobi Jones, and there will be a recap show featuring top plays from throughout the matches NextVR is covering.

“The ICC offers a premium viewing experience whether you’re in the stadium or at home, and this partnership will play a key role in following through on that promise,” Relevent Sports chief commercial officer Bruce Bundrant said in a statement.

Sillman said the VR content could be considered new inventory that would be an enhancement and complementary to the coverage on ESPN’s family of networks rather than anything that would cannibalize the TV broadcasts or stadium experience.

FAN APP

Fans who download the free ICC Fan Passport app can participate in a social rewards program in which they can earn badges by engaging with club and sponsor activations at fan fests that can be redeemed for jerseys, pregame field passes and seat upgrades. RFID encoded wristbands can be collected throughout Casa Clásico.

Fans will also receive access to content including the Rep Your Club Meme Generator, interactive Club social pages, and a lightshow that allows fans to showcase their team pride while lighting up the sky at select ICC matches.

“We are excited to partner with Thuzi to create a truly immersive experience for fans of the ICC,” Relevent Sports CEO David Tyler said in a statement. “The ICC prides itself on offering fans a premium experience leading up to and throughout every match. ICC Fan Passport allows us to further engage with fans while rewarding them for the loyalty and commitment they have shown over the past five years.”

WEARABLE SENSORS

Before the tournament, FC Barcelona had the WIMU Pro player tracking system installed at Camp Nou, the club’s 15 pitches and recuperations areas to monitor and collect data from players at training sessions and select matches.

In collaboration with the Barca Innovation Hub, FC Barcelona signed with WIMU Pro for the season to provide wearable sensors that track movements, biometric data and positional data for insights that can lead to tactical analytics for coaches and data for the medical staff for the purpose of injury prevention.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO

Dugout has partnered with the ICC and Relevent Sports to produce exclusive original video and behind-the-scenes content for the clubs, tournament organizers, sponsors and affiliates.

The ICC will have a dedicated channel on Dugout for users as videographers will accompany FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, A.S. Roma, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain around the tournament and be embedded within their camps to capture footage from training and inside the dressing rooms.

“With access to hotels, team planes, training sessions and more, our users will be able to enjoy Dugout’s unique brand of videos throughout the ICC tournament – giving fans unparalleled exclusive access to the clubs and players taking part,” Dugout chairman Elliot Richardson said in a statement.

RETAIL

Fanatics and the ICC have an expanded omnichannel retail partnership. Fanatics this year will operate in-venue retail for all 12 matches taking place across the U.S. and power the online tournament shop, icc.teamfanshop.com that provides access to club merchandise and memorabilia.

 


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San Diego Fair’s Western Theme A Hit
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 10:15 pm

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

It’s a wrap for the San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, California’s largest and longest running fair.

“It was outstanding,” said Tim Fennell, CEO, San Diego County Fair. “It was super from the cattle drive (through downtown San Diego) through the (4th of July) fireworks and everything in between.”

The fair’s gross sales totaled $42 million and Fennell expects to net “north of $10 million,”
with operating expenses of,‘below $32 million.”

Attendance was 1,565,933, which was 2.5 percent lower than last year’s record-breaking numbers. Fennell attributes the downturn to a price increase at the gate and some fear from the Hispanic community about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“We had someone putting out stuff in Facebook, geared toward the Hispanic community, saying they would be ICE targets at the fair, which was totally inaccurate,” explained Fennell. “It was some local-yokel just out to scare people.”

Highlights were the Toby Keith and Darius Rucker grandstand concerts, both ticketed events. Toby Keith was a homerun, said Fennell. “He’s not an inexpensive artist, but he puts butts in the seats. His show was sold out and incredible. It’s nice to go to the bank after one of those paid shows” Fennell said, adding that on a personal note Keith’s concert was “one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.”

Fennell was thrilled with the reaction to this year’s theme, “Where The West Was Fun”.

“The Western theme exhibit was wildly embraced by the fairgoers,” said Fennell. “We had a great reaction to our Western hall display. We had our cowboy hats and badges and the guests felt like they were in the Old West.”

Fennell was also impressed with the reaction to the “hidden speakeasy,” The Jade Peacock. “The invitation-only bar was a great success both in terms of marketing and financially,” he said, adding that the fair will emulate that success next year with a similar concept.

Fennell said that the food hits of the year were bacon-wrapped cactus, peanut meatballs, pineapple sausage and lime rice and, the biggest seller, the crispy cream chicken ice cream sandwich.

Concessionaires did about $19 million and their on-site concessionaire, Premier, did another $4.8 million.

The fair employed coupon books again this year and the discount vouchers for food and rides were a great success, up 10.3 percent from last year.

The carnival is independent and the fair had 13 different operators with Ray Cammack Shows being the biggest.

Fennell said all of the mini-festivals inside the fair, including the beer festival, wine festival, spirit festival, gospel festival, mariachi festival, Asian festival and the LGBTQ-event, Out At The Fair, all went well.

The fair’s biggest sponsor is supermarket chain Albertsons/Vons and car company Chevrolet.

Fennell was thrilled with the cattle drive promotion that saw 200 head of cattle and 40 riders pass through downtown San Diego. “The cattle drive was a great event and pretty spectacular. I’m proud of all my people and the coordination. It got us a lot of promotion. It was challenge getting all the permits, but well worth the effort.”

Other memorable shows included Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; Patti LaBelle; Jeff Foxworthy; Trevor Noah; Dan + Shay and all the Hispanic acts, most notably, Calibre 50, who had the biggest attendance of any of the shows at around 15,000 people.

Next year’s theme is already picked out, Fennell said. “It’s a great one and we’re already excited about it and making marketing plans. We’re going to put on our thinking caps and have great fun.” The theme will be revealed in September.

Next year’s fair will start Friday, June 1, and run through Wednesday, July 4th. Fennell anticipates the fair running 26-27 days. “We’ll probably be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for the first few weeks,” he said.

 

 


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Venues Get Digital Edge
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 10:00 pm

Built.io's digital transformational platform (Phot courtesy Built.io)

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

Sports teams are building new venues across the United States and are increasingly looking to technology as a way to further engage fans with the team and the game. The trend is especially visible in stadium renovation projects like that of Philips Arena in Atlanta.

Now, two digital tech companies — Built.io and BeyondCurious — have teamed up in a way to give sports teams and their stadiums a digital edge in fan experience. On Thursday, the two firms announced their industry-first Sports & Entertainment Digital Accelerator. Built.io provides digital tech solutions such as app and API services and a cross-channel content management system. BeyondCurious helps its client organizations incorporate digital solutions into their work through research, design, and strategy.

The Accelerator is a six-week program that combines the efforts of Built.io’s Digital Fan Experience Platform and BeyondCurious’ CatalystGo service, promising to provide “immediate value and impact to participants through actionable insights, design concepts, prototypes and demos.” The Digital Fan Experience Platform was recently created to help teams foster a closer connection with their fans by incorporating new technologies and using data to increase revenue.

“Sports franchises that participate in the Sports & Entertainment Digital Accelerator will benefit from BeyondCurious’ expertise in how to properly embrace technology and Built.io’s platform that enables any organization to adapt to the digital world of APIs, microservices, IoT and connectedness quickly and easily,” Neha Sampat, Built.io’s CEO and co-founder, said in the announcement.

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Currently, the accelerator program is accepting only a limited number of applications to be able to ensure a high-quality experience for those teams that do get accepted, according to the press release. Its first two customers are the Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat, and the program’s strategic partners include Ticketmaster and Amazon Web Services, among others. Now, BeyondCurious is in the mix.

“BeyondCurious is the services partner and Built.io is the platform partner. Both companies bring a strategic, agile and innovative approach to digital transformation,” Sampat added. “This is an exciting collaboration that equips forward-thinking sports teams with a digital edge.”

Monday, July 17, Built.io and BeyondCurious will present the Sports & Entertainment Digital Accelerator at the Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology conference in Atlanta, where teams will also be able to sign up for the accelerator. Executives from the Heat and Kings will join Built.io and BeyondCurious for a panel on “Creating the Digital Fan Experience of Tomorrow.”

“Our audience will learn firsthand how the Kings and HEAT are using innovative technology—including apps and connected services—to achieve greater fan engagement via a seamless, frictionless, and intuitive experience,” BeyondCurious CEO and founder Nikki Barua said in the announcement.

With the Digital Accelerator program up and running, it is increasingly possible that teams at all levels across the country will embrace all types of emerging technology to engage fans and provide a constantly unique experience at the stadium.


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New Milwaukee Arena Is a Neighborhood
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 10:00 pm

New Milwaukee Bucks Arena under construction.

feigin220.jpgPeter Feigin, president of the Milwaukee Bucks, sees the new Milwaukee Bucks Arena as “an unbelievable opportunity to use 30 acres to redefine the sports and entertainment experience in Wisconsin.” Feigin shared his vision with Venues Today in the following Q&A. The $524-million arena is half public, half private financing.

Where does it all start?

With ease of use. We will create a magnet in Wisconsin and the Midwest, a venue people are excited to come to. It will be authentic, localized and literally best in class. Milwaukee is the capital city and the hub of Wisconsin.

What are some of the specific design elements that will become that magnet?

The wide block outside our front entrance will become a beer garden, the living room of the city of Milwaukee. The Bucks have spent $1 million on service elements in that area.

Why will the new arena be a magnet?

It’s all about density. It will be a neighborhood where people live, work and play.

Is there a blueprint for what you have in mind?

I love the nuances of Columbus, Ohio, around Nationwide Arena, their neighborhood. The entertainment side of L.A. Live and the Gaslight District in Kansas City, Mo., are also impressive. We’ve borrowed concepts that have proven successful for the live experience, those things that encourage folks to make it a destination.

Does your theme park background inform your thinking?

Entertainment retail and sports all want a larger percentage of the customer’s stomach, brain and heart. It’s the neighborhood effect; you cannot go on purely entertainment. You have to have mixed use. But theme parks are seasonal, with no home court. We will be a yearround destination

What about the arena design?

Populous created a design that is about the Midwest and the landscape of Milwaukee. Our arena reflects our people’s social life, with open concourses and club spaces. We’re emphasizing transparency, inside and out. It will be easy to navigate visually.

Will you have the moveable ceilings Populous is touting?

Yes, we will be extremely flexible. The arena can seat 2,500, 5,000 or 17,500.

What will your VIP experience look like?

Food is at the core of attitude in Wisconsin. We will cater at the highest level, with authentic and local, and bundle it up in ways we know fans will love. They know the difference between fresh and pre-prepared food. Our food will be produced in the state of Wisconsin and the craft beers and cheese and hamburger meat will be from Wisconsin. Levy will be our caterer. We are building for changing trends in food service, including a combination of wait staff and self -fulfillment.

What else screams Wisconsin?

Seventy-five to 80 percent of the products to build the arena will be found in the state of Wisconsin. A high percentage of the work force is local. Part of our deal is that we will manage and operate the arena under a 30-year lease. The onus for working capital is on us, not the public sector.

How did you determine the size?

You don’t build the church for Easter Sunday. We will have different user groups and they gave us input. We will be flexible.


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Patterson new CEO of Arizona Coyotes
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 9:00 pm

07-19-17_StevePatterson200x1451.jpgSteve Patterson.

The Arizona Coyotes have hired former Arizona State University (ASU) athletic director Steve Patterson as team president and CEO.

Patterson replaces Anthony LeBlanc, who vacated the post June 16 after owner Andrew Barroway bought out his minority partners June 12. Patterson was introduced at a news conference Thursday at Gila River Arena, alongside new coach Rick Tocchet.

Patterson is no stranger to the area; he started with ASU’s athletic department in July 2011 as chief operating officer and managing director of Sun Devil Sports Group. He was named athletic director in March 2012 and led the creation and development of ASU's 425-acre sports facility district.

He left to become University of Texas, Austin, athletic director in November 2013, but resigned after less than two years following disapproval from fans for raising ticket prices.

Before embarking on college athletics, Patterson spent nearly two decades as an executive with the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers. He’s also currently the president of Pro Sports Consulting. He was also part of the development of Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium, Houston).

The Coyotes are currently scheduled to play only next season at Gila River Arena in Glendale, but their future at the arena is tenuous, as Barroway has indicated he wants to move the team.


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Cat Videos Go Live
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 8:35 pm

It’s no secret that furry friends are extraordinarily popular on social media and YouTube, which made it easy for Knitting Factory Presents to produce content centered around cat videos.

Yes, cat videos.

The venue management company worked with CatVideos.com to create a show that will travel to various locations, featuring a hostess and cat videos to entertain guests.

The production is called Cat Video Live!, and will debut to the public in October with the first four shows being held in Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit.

Tickets go on sale July 21 at: www.CatVideosLive.com and cost about $30.

“The Cat Videos Live! production is something we’ve produced live in house. Different venues across the country are wanting the show,” said Mark Dinerstein, president Knitting Factory Presents — a company that manages venues, record labels restaurants and festivals, to name a few. 

Various venues across the country are thrilled about the new production and can’t wait for the show to grace their stage, said Joe Fucigna, one of the booking agents at United Talent Agency (UTA) who’s helping book the production.

“It’s an event, really. It’s not just sitting in your seat watching cat videos,” Fucigna said.

Basically, the production will visit theater-type venues with 3,000 to 5,000 seats. The show’s hostess is New York City-based comedienne Carla Rhodes, and the goal is to mix live comedy and a large collection of cat videos.

“It’s a feline film, and a cat comedy event for all,” Dinerstein said. “There is a context to it. Viewers will be shown little vignettes and chapters to the film. (Carla) will keep the crowd engaged. It moves back and forth between the hostess on the stage and the cat videos.”

How are promoters liking the Cat Videos Live! production? They love it, Fucigna said. “We book a lot of shows, this one has gotten by far the best reaction,” Fucigna said.

He and his co-worker, Phil Battiato, have a unique role at UTA.

“We focus almost predominantly on non-traditional talent. We focus on social trends and non-traditional outlets,” Fucigna said.

Battiato highlighted that most of the content put in front of promoters is music based, yet this show makes venues generally really excited, he said.

“They find it really bizarre, but they find it really exciting,” Battiato said.

And numbers don’t lie. People love cats.

“Back in 2014, Tubular Insights estimated that over 2 million cat videos had been uploaded to YouTube and racked up 25 billion views,” according to the press release. “In fiscal 2015, Americans spent $62 billion dollars on their pets, pet heath care, grooming and pet related consumer products. Touring productions of cat videos have legs — or tiny cat feet as it were.”

The content is not anything that’s been seen already on YouTube, explained Dinerstein.

“It’s original content. Sometimes we might want to show a familiar clip to contextualize what we’ve done in-house,” he said. “We’re engaging the audience that cares about this event to make their own videos. The audience participation factor goes further than sitting in a seat and laughing and clapping.”

To do so, Dinerstein and CatVideos.com will use an App where guests can upload their cat videos, and that content might be used in future productions of Cat Videos Live!, Dinerstein said.

“We’re engaging the audience that cares about this event to make their own videos. The audience participation factor goes further than sitting in a seat and laughing and clapping,” he said. “I think that the comedy world in seated venues has grown tremendously. Nontraditional live events are becoming very popular and well attended. This is just a mainstream event producer focusing on a really interesting slice of life that needs to be highlighted.”

 


 


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“Out At The Fair" Adds California State Fair
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 7:00 pm

Out at the Fair, San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, Calif.

Out at the Fair (OATF), a family-friendly celebration of the LGBTQ community, that’s been held at the San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, Calif., for the past five years, is set to expand to the California State Fair (CSF), Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, July 30.

Launched unofficially in 2013 in Del Mar, OATF became an official fair event in 2014. Through the years, it has gained the support of local LGBTQ community organizations, such as San Diego Pride, North County Pride, South Bay Pride, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, and TransFamily Support Services, as well as local elected officials and businesses.

After five years of  increased success, OATF will be making the jump to the state capital, Sacramento, as part of an expansion plan that intends to spread a message of diversity and inclusiveness to fairs nationwide and abroad.

“We just wanted to have fun at the fair and decided to check in on Facebook as an unofficial Gay Day,” said William Zakrajshek, co-founder of OATF. “It’s grown bigger and bigger each year. Now we have a full day of entertainment at two stages, featuring local LGBTQ performers, nonprofit organizations exhibiting, the “Newly Married Game," Diva Drop, Dunk a Hunk, an art exhibition and two multistall all-gender restrooms.”

Part of the plan has always been to expand to other fairs, explained Zakrajshek. “We’re part of International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) and Western Fairs Association (WFA), and did panels to explain the concept to fair professionals.”

“Making the jump to the Cal State Fair is going to provide validity to the concept,” said Luis Valdivia, multicultural marketing specialist, San Diego County Fair, who has been involved in the OATF project since its inception.

“This year’s OATF in San Diego was our biggest yet,” said Valdivia. “It was a packed house. We saw a dramatic increase from last year’s event.” Valdivia said the new art exhibit was well received.

OATF is not a ticketed event, but Valdivia did share that 68,042 people attended the San Diego County Fair that day. Food per caps was $14.09.

In January, at WFA, the OATF group met Jess Durfee, a Cal Sate Fair board member.

“We caught his attention, we clicked, he came to our presentation, had a few more conversations and we brainstormed a plan for bringing OATF to Cal State Fair. We decided to follow the San Diego County Fair road map. No planned entertainment for the first year, just people getting together.”

Going back to its roots, this year’s event at Cal State will be unofficial. We are staging the event around (out gay entertainer) Melissa Etheridge’s concert at Cal State Fair,” said Zakrajshek. The Etheridge concert is a free event.

As was the case in San Diego in 2011, the plan is to start with a friendly gathering, and grow the event year after year. “We want people to come out to the fair and meet up for a group photo,” he said. “It’s all about people showing their LGBTQ community support.”

To get the word out, OATF has a partnership with Outword magazine as well as a partnership with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, which Zakrajshek said was “an important component for the success of this new fair event.” All advertising will include a special promo code, ‘Out At the Fair,’ and one dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

“Partnering with Out at the Fair to create the first unofficial LGBTQ day at the California State Fair provides an opportunity for LGBTQ friends, families and allies to build community, increase visibility, and have a lot of fun, said David Heitstuman, executive director at the center. “We’re excited to help promote the event’s inaugural year and hope it will become a highlight of the summer in the State Capitol.”

All of the OATF staff work as volunteers, just as they do at San Diego County Fair.

“We’ll see how it goes this year and hopefully we’ll get a few time slots on some of the stages for next year. We do this in tiny steps,” said Zakrajshek.

Valdivia said that in addition to the Cal State Fair, he’s been contacted by Washington State Fair Association, Vancouver, Rodeo Austin and New Mexico State Fair about multicultural marketing and OATF.

“We’d love to see every fair in the country embrace this event and participate,” he said.

 

 


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The Fan of the Future is Now
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 7:00 pm

CNN's Philip Mudd; Prevent Advisor's Michael Downing and Bill Bratton; Michel Ferris, CEO, Abacode and the NFL's David Mccain on the security panel at VenuesNow. (Photo Credit: Rich Fury)

REPORTING FROM BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — Imagine a ticket that’s not tied to a seat and a fan who is free to watch, socialize, text and even share a seat for an evening of fun in an arena, just the way they want it.

“No one goes to brick and mortar; they go to an experience,” said Peter Guber, chairman and CEO, Mandalay Entertainment Group, during VenuesNow here, summarizing the tone of topics discussed – how to improve that fan experience.

Imagine a sporting event live that has no scoreboard because each fan gets stats, replays and instant tweets on his smartphone.

Imagine a fifth major sports league, something like the “International eSports League,” that is franchise and city-based. That’s happening now.

And remember that things move at infrared speed today. Just 10 years ago, there were no smartphones and today they run our lives. Acknowledge that today’s largest transportation company has no cars and the biggest hotel company has no rooms.

Uber and Airbnb have positively disrupted their industries and want to tie in with venues, sports and entertainment in new and creative ways. Remember, they once had seemingly fantastic visions for the future.

It was no holds barred during the inaugural, invitation-only VenuesNow conference that rocked our world July 12-14. Produced by the Oak View Group in association with Venues Today, attendance numbered about 600, including the 26 largest arenas in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) that form the Arena Alliance.

“In the touring business, good things are out there,” said Tim Leiweke, co-founder and CEO of Oak View Group. “We have the opportunity here to create a better platform and a more dynamic conversation.”  To that end, OVG bought Venues Today, established VenuesNow, and, last week, announced purchase of Pollstar and Pollstar Live to keep that dynamic conversation going.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster were presenting sponsors of VenuesNow, with other partners including Mobilitie, Goldman Sachs, Pepsi, Icon Venue Group, Belkin, Uber, L’Acoustics, Prodigy Sports and Mohawk Flooring.

For three days, the fan was the star. “They are not passengers; they’re participants,” said Guber. “They think they own the team and they do.” Mindset is the most limited commodity, Guber added. It’s important to give every fan his own personal experience. “Every detail counts.”

Security was a hot topic, heavily discussed given new urgency by the senseless act of terror conducted in the U.K. at Manchester Arena in May.

“Who would have thought that a character sitting in a cave in Pakistan in the 90s, Osama bin Laden would shape all of our lives?” asked Bill Bratton, executive chairman, Prevent Advisors.

When this century started, Y2K was the big security threat, said Bratton. “Now a group that was formed decades ago — Islamic Radicalism — and new technology are shaping the world of sports and entertainment.”

Bratton said that social media has allowed the recruitment of  tens of thousands of people into the world of venue security. “With all these people running around we cannot protect everything, everywhere, all the time. But with prioritization and capabilities, we can try to predict and prevent.”

Bratton said the main challenge for venue security is “taking the world of uncertainty in today’s world and turning it into certainty.”

The ‘toolbox’ approach to security was highlighted, which blends together the government, private and public sector contractors, business, and constant monitoring of social media platforms.

Trying to keep one step ahead of disruptors is challenging. “They know we are monitoring social media, so instead of writing things with key words we will pick up on, they are posting pictures with messages,” said Michael Downing, EVP security, Prevent Advisors, who believe the threats “will get worse before they get better” and that the current threat is generational and will play out for decades.

The fans want to feel safe. “It’s a balancing act,” said Michael Ferris, Abacode. “We want them to feel confident but not cognizant.”

The future of stadium design was discussed at VenuesNow. “We’re seeing now that people are curious and want to move around,’ said Tim Romani, CEO, ICON Venue Group. “The game is primary to fans now for only 20 percent of the time the fans are in a baseball park. The other 80 percent of the time they want their attention spread out over five to 10 different things.”

Romani said that design must find ways to accommodate and lead this new paradigm.

Al Guido, president, San Francisco 49ers, concurred. “Technology has changed everything. In a six-hour experience, only 28 minutes of people’s attention is on football. We have to change to fill the void.”

Entertainment districts are popping up at breakneck speed according to the panel.

“People want to come early and stay late,” said Christopher Lambeth, VP, sports development, HOK. “If you are going to do a development and make an investment, you are looking at a development that is integrated and inclusive. Fans of the future want an experience, not a seat.”

Bruce Miller, senior principal, Populous said that the future is building a facility and continually improve it over time. “We have to keep up with the trends of our culture. As technology changes, our buildings change.”

Miller expects new buildings to be “more intense, more engaged,” becoming “a place for an extended game day experience.”

Romani expects new facilities to be “smaller, more intimate and they must have a social environment. The trend is to downsize. People don’t want a ticket for a particular seat, they want to move around the building and be social.”

“One size does not fit all anymore,” he added. “Bigger is not better.”

“Authentic” was the key word from the brand perspective when talking sponsorships that work. “It has to be an authentic experience and partnership for both,” said Andrew Georgescu, Lincoln Marketing Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company. Sponsorships must have engagement and fan connection. “It has to feel right,” said Mark Weinstein, SVP & Global Head of Customer Engagement, Hilton.

Adoption of streaming and virtual reality is accelerating and venue managers were advised to jump on board. 4K display is hot and 5K is coming, sharpening the experience and decreasing the delay and latency. Facebook Live is still facing a 10-second delay and most are 20-30 seconds or more, depending on traffic congestion, but “in today’s world, there is no reason to deal with any delay,” said Nate Parienti, president, Live Alliance.

VR provides other experiences while fans are at a live event, said Brad Allen, NextVR. “You’re not sitting in a courtside seat? Try on a headset and be courtside.” Or put the viewer onstage during a concert.

This panel saw VR and streaming as a new revenue streams.

VR content is a wide-open field, and Jed Corenthal, CMO, PhenixP2P, believes things that happen pregame or backstage are key. “I would pay to watch a player warm up every day.”

Think of the smartphone as a Jumbotron in your hand, said Chris Wagner, NeuLion. “Wrap all that content you’d see inside, outside for the fans who didn’t get in.” It looks different, he added, so it would not cannibalize ticket sales.

Corenthal advised VR and streaming has to get beyond what is inside the venue. It has to be a whole experience unto itself.

The NBA is offering a subscription-based model, offering any eight games in a virtual reality season pass for people who follow the Knicks, for example, but cannot get to the games.

“What technology can do is the challenge for all of us,” Corenthal said. Monetization is the other big challenge. Sponsors will undoubtedly pay for this technology and there needs to be real ways to integrate the brand.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York has been streaming to movie theaters in real time to great success – like $60-million worth, said Corenthal.

Pete Vlastelica, CEO, Major League Gaming, Activision Blizzard, likes to design eSports games that are really fun to watch. The audience for eSports is becoming a very viable fandom.

rickfox300.jpgRick Fox, owner, Echo Fox (Photo Credit: Rich Fury)

That fandom, dubbed “Generation Always,” wants to be connected and there is a generation of gamers who want a career in gaming, said Rick Fox, Echo Fox. “You guys are going to be filling your arenas with us,” he said at VenuesNow.

A new eSports league that, like traditional sports leagues, is city-based is gearing up now. Activision Blizzard announced the Overwatch League, consisting of seven city-based teams, just the day before this conference. In Los Angeles, it is the L.A. Immortals. Teams are connected to NBA team owners.

The significance of a city-based league in eSports is much bigger than traditional sports because eSports is global. It will be a global league, Vlastelica said. It is a new model.

“No game is going to fill your stadium. The players are going to fill your stadium,” added Jace Hall, Vision Venture Partners. In the future, eSports athletes will be (and some already are) superstars. “For 35 years, eSports has been about the game. Now it’s about the players.”

“These players want to come to your arena,” Hall added. “An event at an arena has a legitimizing effect. That’s what you bring to the sport.”

Guber also chimed in on the VR business, the ability to “virtually be at the game. You’re in the entertainment business. You fill your arena with 18,000 people. There are 7.5 billion who might want to watch. Do the math.”

“How can I use change? That is the attitude you must have,” Guber said. For instance, be aware there will be fewer cars and less parking at future events.

Leiweke responded that in Miami, where OVG is involved in building a new soccer stadium, Uber, Lyft and Curb will be the preferred transportation. He also envisions drones flying people to the venue. To that end, the soccer stadium has no parking (there are parking garages three blocks away.).

“The rule of change has changed,” Guber responded, amazed Miami will have no parking. “You can’t get ahead of it. The pace is blistering.”


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FCC & Venues Collaborate On Wireless Rules
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 7:00 pm

Exhibition Hall 4, Taipei International Convention Center.

Venue operators teamed up with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to better define best practices of internet rules and regulations at trade shows, exhibitions and meeting spaces at venues across the nation.

Initially, the FCC told hotel operators, venue managers and trade show organizers that they were not allowed to manage or deauthenticate internet providers — whether it be from a personal cellular device or an outside router — that disrupted other networks. However, without managing various networks, internet jamming took place, crippling wireless business at venues.

Essentially, the FCC’s enforcement bureau said the rules regarding radio jamming included the access points of a wireless network, which broadcasts a signal just like a radio or radio station.

Network provider Smart City, and others in the industry — hotels and convention centers — were cited by the FCC for utilizing the "deauthentication" containment features that are standard network management tools built into FCC approved wireless equipment. They claimed that they were "jamming" other rogue devices to force them to buy our services, said Mark Haley, president of Smart City. His company disputed the claim.

When industry experts asked the FCC how they could manage networks, the enforcement bureau said they didn’t know, but they can't use the deauthentication containment feature, which left venue operators “walking on eggshells” on how to manage wireless networks without violating FCC rules, Haley explained

"Convention center exhibit halls are the largest example of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the enforcement bureau's ruling only told us what we couldn't do in terms of network management,” Haley said. “The route we and IAVM took was to work through the policy making side of the FCC to get blessing on what we could do to manage the wireless environment of the convention space.”

Thus, a working group was formed to work with the FCC to find a solution. The goal was to clarify what what actions could or could not be taken to manage the wireless on trade show floors and other big events.

Universities, wireless companies, convention centers and others joined the group that was named Working Group 9 under the FCC’s Communication Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC).

“The CSRIC is a Federal Advisory Committee that provides recommendations to the commission regarding best practices and actions the commission can take to ensure optimal security, reliability, and interoperability of commercial and public safety communications systems,” stated a press release from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).

The rules weren’t changed, per se, but instead, language was added that gives more flexibility to venues, and other industries, on how to manage multiple internet providers, security and fees.

The goal for venues was to make sure that trade show vendors, for example, are able to do business through fast, reliable and secure wireless connections to make transactions.

“Our industry got together… It was by the industry, for the industry, and the FCC was good enough to allow us to make our recommendations,” said Brad Mayne, president and CEO of IAVM. “So when you're an exhibitor and you need wifi service, you don’t need it disrupted because you spent good money to use that (convention) space. You want to have options you can pursue. Everyone has different needs.”

Convention centers have massive demand for fast and secure wireless internet connection at meetings, trade shows and conferences. Trade show and conference operators often hire outside companies, such as Smart City, to provide a wireless network that’s fast and reliable. Smart City also manages networks that interrupt business.

Rules were finalized from the CSRIC’s Working Group 9 and are called the “Common Sense Rules for Public Venues” that will guide the government and venue operators on how to provide secure and robust wireless at events.

The finalized rules from the report include:

* Be considerate of others. The wireless network has finite resources, so more users will degrade the wireless experience for everyone. Many visitors do not realize that their personal devices are turned on in a manner that degrades the wireless network. We ask that all visitors be considerate of the needs of the exhibitors, speakers and their fellow attendees. Upon entering the convention center, everyone is requested to voluntarily turn off the WiFi and Bluetooth broadcasting features (“personal hotspot”) of their wireless cameras, cellular phones, gaming devices and other portable wireless devices. By voluntarily disabling these features, each visitor will enhance the wireless experience for the entire community in the convention center.

* Don't overpower your neighbors. Exhibit halls, meeting rooms and auditoriums in the convention center are closed spaces where high-power wireless devices may interfere with many other wireless users. This is unfair to your neighbors and may disrupt the event. For the convenience of your fellow attendees, a wireless device that requires a continuous connection to an electric outlet (or a battery independent of the wireless device) for its operation may neither be utilized nor plugged into an electrical outlet. At the discretion of the Convention Center or their designated representatives, the operator of such a device will be required to unplug and remove the device from the convention center. Failure to unplug the device within 30 minutes of notification may jeopardize the wireless network for fellow attendees and is a license violation by the operator. In the event of such violation the convention center may require the operator of the offending device to discontinue its use for the remainder of the event and/or to undertake a wireless engineering and coordination plan for the neighboring wireless devices and bill the operator of the offending device the appropriate charges. If neither option is adhered to, the convention center may require the operator to leave the convention center.

* One user. One channel. Please. For many years, WiFi technology only allowed for access to one channel at a time. The latest WiFi protocols (such as 802.11ac) allow users to combine or bond multiple channels. Doing so, however, may significantly degrade your neighbors’ ability to use the common wireless network. For the benefit of the entire wireless community in the convention center, please do not hog the spectrum through channel bonding or other techniques.

* Acceptable use makes it fair for all. Please be considerate and share the wireless spectrum and bandwidth with your fellow attendees and exhibitors. Please do not use peer-to-peer traffic applications (such as Bit Torrent) nor actively scan the wireless network because these practices consume a disproportionately large amount of bandwidth and wireless network resources.


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MSG & Prudential Center Partner
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 6:20 pm

Madison Square Garden, New York City and Prudential Center, Newark, N.J. are partnering.

Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) James Dolan is bringing some Manhattan muscle to New Jersey. The Garden State’s Prudential Center, Newark, announced a marketing and booking agreement with MSG this week that will bring Prudential Center further in line with Azoff MSG Entertainment’s Oak View Group Arena Alliance, which counts close to 30 arenas in North America.

Both sides hope the pact will bring more shows to the Prudential Center, which has been blossoming under the leadership of Sean Saadeh, EVP of entertainment programming and booking, and VP.

Brian Gale, and Saadeh said this deal will help the building grow even more.

“About a year ago, we joined the Oak View Group with Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff as part of their Arena Alliance, that also includes MSG, so as the Oak View Group grew, we started to think it would be a good idea to formalize a greater partnership in the New York area to bolster the Alliance in the area,” said Saadeh.

“Those conversations started taking place, and the goal of it for us is to continue to grow our concert business, which has seen amazing growth over the past couple years, and to keep the momentum going. We think the partnership with MSG will only bolster that and take programming to the next level.”

Saadeh added that one of the primary reasons behind the pact is to take advantage of MSG’s marketing assets and apply them to Prudential Center events, tapping into the legendary arena’s large, loyal fan base to market to those consumers.

Part of the reason the deal works for both sides is that MSG’s plate is already relatively full with steady traffic from concerts and events as well as from its three major league home teams: the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) New York Liberty, the National Hockey League’s (NHL)  Rangers and the National Basketball Association’s Knicks. The partnership will allow MSG to push some events across the river to Newark as well as share data to better market to potential ticket buyers in both New Jersey and New York.

“MSG owns some of the world’s most celebrated venues, including Madison Square Garden – the number one concert venue in North America and undisputed market leader in the New York area. These assets, along with our effective booking strategy and proven expertise in marketing, have helped make MSG an industry leader in live entertainment,” said Darren Pfeffer, Executive Vice President, MSG Live, The Madison Square Garden Company, in a statement announcing the deal.

“We look forward to leveraging MSG’s unique stature and strong, long-standing relationships with industry leaders, along with a common membership with the Prudential Center in Oak View Group’s Arena Alliance, to help bring an exciting array of events to the Prudential Center, while also serving the market with more options.”
 
Saadeh said being part of the Arena Alliance has already been a great benefit for Prudential Center, allowing the arena to share information with some of the top venues and stadiums in major markets around the country, as well as finding out the latest on security and ticketing advances. “The sponsorship component makes a lot of sense for us too, allowing us to share information on what’s out there, where opportunities are and where we might be able to grab a show,” he said. “There might be a time when MSG can’t open a date, and it would be great for us to be in the conversation. We won’t always get the show, but we’re in the conversation.”

At press time, Saadeh said he wasn’t able to say how many more shows or events Prudential Center might gain as part of the deal because of the cyclical nature of the business, though he is confident it will benefit the building in a “major way. I feel like being in the conversation early on will only help.” In the meantime, Prudential Center will continue to do its business as usual, bidding for events along with the other three arenas in the area and competing in the market as it always has. “There will be shows that play MSG and that’s that,” he said. “But there will also be shows outside MSG and times when Prudential Center gets them and MSG doesn’t.”

Once there’s an opportunity to book a show, Saadeh said Prudential will be able to tap into MSG’s marketing resources, mining that data to find out where ticket buyers are coming from. “One potential resource is their database, among other things MSG has, which might be useful to be able to use their internal assets from time to time, their website, database and email lists,” he said.

Along with MSG’s ranking as the leading venue in the nation, the nearly decade-old Prudential Center is among the top 10 buildings in the country (with annual attendance of 2 million) and is coming off one of its most successful years to date, when it hosted more than 40 shows, including 20 sold-out concerts and events. The 19,500-capacity arena is home to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall University’s National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Men’s Basketball program, and more than 175 concerts, family shows and special events each year. It will also soon be the home of the 8,000-sq.-ft. Grammy Museum Experience, opening in the fall.


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Hot Tickets for July 19, 2017
 
Posted: 19 Jul 2017, 3:45 pm

Celine Dion plays her residency at The Colosseum, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Shortly after concluding her recent residency at The Colosseum, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Celine Dion set off on her Celine Dion Live 2017 European summer tour, June 15, stopping first in Copenhagen at the Royal Arena. The Canadian singer landed the top three spots on our Hot Tickets chart this week with four sold-out performances and a combined gross of $12.4 million. The over 100,000 lucky fans in attendance were treated to an emotional and empowering journey as Dion, joined onstage by a band, an orchestra and her back-up singers, commanded the crowd from the first song to the last. Celine will have performed in 15 cities throughout Europe before wrapping up at Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, England, and returning to her Las Vegas residency in September.

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias is in the midst of his 52-date FluffyMania World Tour: 20 Years of Comedy, which began February in Dallas at the Majestic Theatre. Once again, Iglesias was asked to officially kick off the Orange County Fair’s 2017 Pacific Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series, July 14, Costa Mesa, Calif., where he entertained a packed house with his family-friendly act and grossed nearly $450,000. Fans can catch up with Fluffy, July 24, at the Delaware State Fair, Harrington.

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 June 20-July 18.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $5,869,005; Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, France; Attendance: 51,355; Ticket Range: $163.85-$65.55; Promoter: AEG Presents, InterConcerts; Dates: July 1-2; No. of Shows: 2

2) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $3,505,145; Venue: Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux, France; Attendance: 31,140; Ticket Range: $175-$71; Promoter: AEG Presents, InterConcerts; Dates: June 29; No. of Shows: 1

3) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $3,039,276; Venue: GelreDome, Arnhem, Netherlands; Attendance: 26,406; Ticket Range: $170-$42.60; Promoter: AEG Presents, Greenhouse Talent; Dates: June 23; No. of Shows: 1

4) Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull
Gross Sales: $1,686,997; Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York; Attendance: 26,879; Ticket Range: $193.95-$33.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 30-July 1; No. of Shows: 2

5) Kendrick Lamar
Gross Sales: $1,346,478; Venue: American Airlines Center, Dallas; Attendance: 13,322; Ticket Range: $124-$44.50; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 14; No. of Shows: 1

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $1,124,798; Venue: First Direct Arena, Leeds, England; Attendance: 7,205; Ticket Range: $186.50-$55.95; Promoter: AEG Presents, Marshall Arts; Dates: June 25; No. of Shows: 1

2) I Love The 90’s
Gross Sales: $270,570; Venue: Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Miss.; Attendance: 4,695; Ticket Range: $85-$25; Promoter: NS2; Dates: July 8; No. of Shows: 1

3) Bob Dylan
Gross Sales: $252,425; Venue: Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario; Attendance: 4,150; Ticket Range: $67.86-$44.59; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: July 6; No. of Shows: 1

4) WWE Smackdown
Gross Sales: $227,455; Venue: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego; Attendance: 4,658; Ticket Range: $109-$24; Promoter: WWE; Dates: June 27; No. of Shows: 1

5) Buddy Guy
Gross Sales: $82,452; Venue: Budweiser Gardens, London, Ontario; Attendance: 1,426; Ticket Range: $81.25-$47.25; Promoter: Concert Factory; Dates: June 21; No. of Shows: 1

1) John Legend
Gross Sales: $938,540; Venue: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York; Attendance: 9,996; Ticket Range: $147-$58; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 27-28; No. of Shows: 2

2) Gloria Trevi vs. Alejandra Guzman
Gross Sales: $643,872; Venue: Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, Texas; Attendance: 6,362; Ticket Range: $250-$59.50; Promoter: In-house, Live Nation; Dates: July 1; No. of Shows: 1

3) Santana
Gross Sales: $592,325; Venue: Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, Texas; Attendance: 6,353; Ticket Range: $175-$69.50; Promoter: In-house, Live Nation; Dates: July 3; No. of Shows: 1

4) Gabriel Iglesias
Gross Sales: $441,169; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 7,909; Ticket Range: $77.50-$45; Promoter: In-house, OCFEC; Dates: July 14; No. of Shows: 1

5) Chris Rock
Gross Sales: $339,373; Venue: ICC Sydney Theatre; Attendance: 4,670; Ticket Range: $108.41-$54.17; Promoter: TEG , Dainty Group; Dates: June 29; No. of Shows: 1

1) The Little Mermaid
Gross Sales: $1,143,355; Venue: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Attendance: 17,996; Ticket Range: $120-$38; Promoter: In-house; Dates: July 11-16; No. of Shows: 8

2) Motown the Musical
Gross Sales: $870,755; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 13,015; Ticket Range: $130-$21; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust, Broadway Across America; Dates: July 11-16; No. of Shows: 8

3) Paw Patrol Live!
Gross Sales: $610,971; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 13,153; Ticket Range: $65-$19; Promoter: Vstar Entertainment Group; Dates: July 8-9; No. of Shows: 4

4) Jeff Dunham
Gross Sales: $516,428; Venue: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; Attendance: 7,985; Ticket Range: $79.50-$49.50; Promoter: AEG Presents, Caesars Entertainment, Tate Entertainment; Dates: June 16-30; No. of Shows: 3

5) Tedeschi Trucks Band
Gross Sales: $314,969; Venue: Fox Theatre, Atlanta; Attendance: 4,389; Ticket Range: $95.50-$15.50; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: July 15; No. of Shows: 1

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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Oak View Group Acquires Pollstar
 
Posted: 12 Jul 2017, 1:20 pm

Oak View Group's Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke introduce Gary Smith, Pollstar, on stage at VenuesNow. (VT Photo)

REPORTING FROM BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.— The first order of business at VenuesNow here July 12-14 was announcement of the acquisition of Pollstar by Oak View Group. OVG Co-Founders Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke made the announcement. "This is an added opportunity to create a better platform and more dynamic conversation in the touring business," Leiweke said of the latest acquisition.

Leiweke said there are many trade shows that are great resources, but they are not dealing with the tough issues, the goal of VenuesNow, which has 600 people registered this first, invitation-only year, he said. Oak View Group started its media rollup with the purchase of Venues Today, followed by an investment in Sport Techie. Pollstar is the newest in the family and Lieweke promised there will be more.

Through the acquisition, OVG has taken ownership and operational control of Pollstar’s weekly print publication, Pollstar.com, Pollstar Pro and the Pollstar Live conference. Pollstar’s President and Editor-in-Chief Gary Bongiovanni and CEO Gary Smith will continue their leadership positions within the company and play key roles in its day-to-day operations. Pollstar maintains offices in Fresno, Calif., and London.

The acquisition is touted by all parties as a chance to expand the global reach and breadth of data of Pollstar’s information services. Smith thanked Azoff and Leiweke for their belief in Pollstar, adding "timing is everyting. This is the right company to partner with at the right time." The deal, he said, closed June 30. Next up in the conference world for OVG is Pollstar Live at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles in February.

In a candid moment, Smith expressed his amazement at what had happened with VenuesNow in a mere six weeks. Pollstar Live is six months out and Pollstar has been producing the event for 25 years. Smith said he didn't know, given new ownership, how they would handle the growth this year.

"You can handle the growth," Leiweke responded.

In an earlier interview with Venues Today, Bongiovanni, who founded Pollstar 35 years ago, noted his satisfaction that Azoff and Leiweke came to them and appreciate what they do. Pollstar will continue business as usual, but now has the backing of a major player in the industry and opportunities to expand beyond what a small company could do, he said.

pollstar620.jpgSmith, who joined Pollstar in the beginning and was a major stockholder, concurred that Pollstar is now in a “’good place” and “on a roll right now.” The timing of sale and the clout OVG has takes Pollstar to the next level. “I see any number of opportunities ahead and we can almost turn it on a dime,” Smith said. His experience during the sale process gave him considerable confidence in the future as an OVG property, he added.

Bongiovanni founded Pollstar as an information service, not as a publication, and the data on concert tours and industry contacts is still key to the media company’s core values. “Our first issues were computer printouts from our database, providing information for the concert industry,” Bongiovanni recalled. The industry did not have much box office information at the time, he said. Bongiovanni, with his background in college booking and even the classic “mailroom at William Morris” beginnings, took a realistic look at the marketplace and saw a need.

Pollstar has represented the voice of record for the live music and ticketing industries for over three decades and bringing them into the OVG family is a true honor for all of us,” said Leiweke. “Working hand-in-hand with Pollstar’s leadership team we’ll look to greatly optimize the reach of its print, digital and conference assets.”

Pollstar has served our industry as a trusted and invaluable resource during an era where music and ticketing have evolved dramatically,” added Azoff. “Their insights and analysis are fundamental to the success of our business, and we’re looking forward to growing the brand’s influence and impact for years to come.”

"Pollstar concert data is the gold standard for the live entertainment industry and the Pollstar Live! conference is the epicenter of the concert business each winter,” said Ray Waddell, president, Conferences & Publications, Oak View Group. “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work with Gary Smith, Gary Bongiovanni, and the entire Pollstar team.” 

Pollstar covers the worldwide concert industry, with offices in the U.S. and London, producing a weekly print magazine for professionals and publishing that information daily to the web at PollstarPro.com.

Pollstar.com was among the first music sites on the Internet when it debuted in 1994 offering live music fans free access to the same high quality concert tour information used daily by live event professionals. The company is currently in the process of merging both websites into the all new state-of-the-art Pollstar.com website.

“We’re an information company,” Bongiovanni said. “People pay us for information. We never had record company advertising, so when the record business stopped thriving, it didn’t affect us.”

The philosophy behind publishing the resource guides was timeliness. From the beginning, Bongiovanni considered an annual directory of managers and booking agents useless, because the contacts and content change radically and frequently, so they began publishing directories more frequently, all the while enhancing the core business, information for agents and promoters.

In 2000, they introduced the Pollstar Pro website and kept modifying and building that platform. The new Pollstar.com went live in December and, eventually, will fully incorporate Pollstar Pro.

“In the future, I see continued expansion on the breadth and amount of data on a worldwide basis,” Bongiovanni said.

Pollstar joins a number of noteworthy investments by OVG in media companies, including Venues Today, VenuesNow and SportTechie. In addition to growing the reach of each of their media assets, OVG will leverage its sponsorship division and Arena Alliance to generate advertising sales efficiencies across each publication and conference.

For more information on Pollstar, click here and to learn more about OVG, click here.

 


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AudienceView Acquires TheaterMania
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 7:00 pm

AudienceView has acquired TheaterMania, which includes OvationTix Software as a service product as well as the TheaterMania.com and WhatsOnStage media brands.

“About a year ago AudienceView was looking at our long-term growth strategy and we decided we were looking at both organic and inorganic growth,” said Mark Fowlie, CEO of AudienceView. “We looked at various potential organizations we could combine with and quickly realized that TheaterMania had a unique combination of software and media capabilities that complimented our strategy and customer focus.”

The cultural fit was also a good match, according to Fowlie. “Ultimately, the people combination is the most important thing. Code is code. It doesn’t argue. But people need to fit together culturally and have a common mission and vision.”

“AudienceView and TheaterMania have long shared a common passion to help entertainment organizations build devoted communities and fulfill their missions,” said Gretchen Shugart, formerly CEO of TheaterMania and now President, Arts and Culture of AudienceView. “We are truly thrilled to be aligned with an organization that understands the industry that we serve and has aggressive plans to invest in our products and offerings to drive even more success for our clients.”

The talks between the two companies started three months ago. “After just a few calls between Gretchen and myself we both felt there were strong strategic synergies about how we go to market,” said Fowlie. “There was strong alignment in our thinking as well as thoughts around the product portfolio side and how we would focus AudeinceView and OvationTix together into the broad arts and culture community.”

Fowlie said the product portfolio of AudeinceView and OvationTix together will allow them to attack the broader market segments with two solutions. “AudienceView being geared toward organizations that have a lot of IT needs and OvationTix as an out-of-the-box solution that will meet their fundamental needs around ticketing,” he said.

The second broad category of synergy is around the media brands. “TheaterMania and WhatsOnStage are really about serving the community of theatregoers who are looking for clarity around what they should be seeing through various forms of media property.” Fowlie cited editorial content, interviews, videos and news and newsletters as examples.

TheaterMania has three subscriber-based theatre clubs; one in New York City, one in Boston and one in London. Members join for a year at a time. “For a very low fee the client gets access to theatre all year long and a wide variety of productions at very deep discounts,” said Shugart, who is hoping to expand the concept to new markets.

“We are going to build new project modules that work across both platforms,” explained Fowlie. “Things like mobile apps and point-of-sale and analytic packages and a number of things we think are going to be very compelling solutions for either platform.”

“We can quickly deploy these services and customers will have the benefit of that innovation,” he said. “It’s an efficient way to pool our RV spend and drive our product maps forward very aggressively.”

TheaterMania gets a million visitors a month. “It’s a really compelling opportunity for our arts and culture clients to get exposure and connect with the public,” said Fowlie. “We think this combination is incredibly unique and there’s no one else in the space bringing together ticketing, fundraising, CRM, analytics and the drive and reach of our distribution.”

TheaterMania was founded at the turn of the century, said Shugart, and has been self-funded since inception. “We’ve been plowing all our profits back into the business,” she said. “We figured after 16 years it was time to provide some liquidity back to our shareholders.”

Shugart shares Fowlie’s sentiments that top of the list of reasons the companies should be aligned is “the cultural fit. Our mission has always been to provide products and services to the arts and culture live entertainment industry so it can fulfill its mission. AudienceView understands the media and distribution channels and the technology side of the business.”

Shugart also believes the two companies' platforms are “very complementary. TheaterMania services the smaller to medium-sized venues while AudeinceView services the larger venues. Between the two platforms we really cover all of live entertainment.”

TheaterMania will continue to operate out of New York City and WhatsOnStage, the company’s U.K. media property, will continue to operate out of its London office. Together the new company will have around 200 employees.

Fowlie doesn’t expect any staff redundancies. “Both companies have very solid growth plans,” he said. “Our thesis is that we are going to bring two really great companies together and make one really great company.”

“Whether a venue has an audience of 99 or over 100,000, AudienceView is now the most compelling choice for organizations that want to grow their communities through innovative technology, strategic distribution strategies, and a team of experts dedicated to creating and supporting customer success every single day,” adds Fowlie.

JEGI served as the exclusive financial advisor to TheaterMania.


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Spectra Contracts Alerus Center
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 5:00 pm

Things are settling down at Alerus Center, Grand Forks, N.D. after a timultuous year.

Following a tumultuous 2016, the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., has selected Spectra by Comcast Spectator to provide venue management, food services and corporate partnership services for its conference center and 13,500-seat arena that is home to the University of North Dakota football team.

The deal was announced July 11, with Spectra taking on hospitality services as well at both facilities, with a focus on bringing in new dining options, new long-term business partners and delivering a high-quality customer experience.

“During the process, we were able to really connect with them and, like any other facility, they want to see more events in the arena, more concerts, better customer service and an enhanced experience for all the patrons of the facility,” said Tim Murphy, Spectra’s Regional Vice President (Northeast) overseeing the account for the 16-year-old building. “When we looked at it, we thought we could certainly enhance the arena bookings and build upon what they’ve already done at the conference center and increase the quality of bookings for our client. The city of Grand Forks has invested a lot of money into it and our Director of Facility Audits, Tim Landis, is working on a capital program for the remainder of 2017, but also 2018 and beyond.”

As part of its commitment to the venue, Spectra has brought in a crack team of more than half a dozen of its most experienced integrated services staff to help bring the facility in line with the company’s protocols. The list includes Landis, Pam Plageman, regional VP, (with a specialty in the food space); Laurie Kemmit, VP, corporate partnerships; Kendra Ziler, regional human resources director; Rick Hontz, (regional VP, Midwest); Murphy, Riley Simenson, director of marketing; and Cole Johnson, box office manager.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAlfAAAAJDlkYTVmYzhhLTIwZTktNDU1MS1hOTcxLWRlZjA2YWJlNmRjZA.jpgAnna Rosburg, the new GM at Alerus Center, Grand Forks, N.D.

Among the other experienced staffers brought on board is Anna Rosburg, the venue’s new GM, who comes to the job from a five-year stint at the three-decades-old Casper Events Center, Casper, Wyo. “I’m excited to have a new, beautiful building that the client has done a great job maintaining and that gives us a lot to grow on by working through our resources,” said Rosburg, a native of Minnesota who said the job is like coming home again to the Midwest. “It’s nice to have such a multiuse facility with a large arena with a wonderful tenant, suites and premium seating and a high-capacity opportunity on the booking side. Versatility is key in this area, and it gives us options to bring in a lot of events.”

Alerus has gone this route before with two previous management companies — Venue Works and Compass — and Julie Rygg, executive director of the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau said after five years of the city-owned facility going it alone, they weren’t sure they wanted to go back to a management deal. In November, Mayor Mike Brown fired former executive director Cheryl Swanson (following the firing of former assistant facility director Bob LeBarron) amid charges of a hostile working environment and questionable expense reporting, which set off a plan to use a search firm to find a new executive director. “The search firm asked if we would consider a management company, and we weren’t sure we wanted to go down a one-size-fits-all route again,” said Rygg.

But after a request for qualifications was sent out and the city began talking to a few companies, Spectra wowed them by doing an “amazing” job on their homework and bringing several staffers out numerous times to meet with the community, tour the building and find out what the city was looking for in a management company. “When Spectra came in they knew what we were looking for and what we needed,” she said.

The clincher was Spectra’s sales and marketing approach, something the city was interested in given their knowledge that during tight fiscal times marketing budgets are typically the first to get cut. “The city and commission wanted an emphasis on sales for conventions and corporate sponsorship and suite sales,” she said. “Spectra came in and met with us, and they got that on their own. They came in and gave us ideas on how we can improve that with the promise that that is where their focus will be.”

Rosburg said the building’s employees had to reapply for their jobs in the move from a city-run to privately-managed facility and the “majority” of the staff members were kept on for their deep knowledge of the market and their history with the facility. “I got to experience first-hand in Casper how we provide integrated services, so my priority is meeting with the client and becoming immersed in being a good community partner,” she said. For now, Rosburg is also busy working with Kemmit hiring for a few key positions — Director of Corporate Partnerships, Director of Conference Sales and Marketing, an office Administrative Assistant and HR rep.

According to Rygg, Alerus had around 20-25 full-time employees and 220 part-timers, with the majority getting rehired, save for three employees who were not offered positions and one who did not want to renew their contract. “We were very concerned about the dedicated people who work here and our priority was for people to not end up worse off than they were and with the same, if not better, pay and benefits,” she said. “Spectra did what they promised in that area.”

With more than 300 bookings a year between the arena and conference center, Murphy said Spectra is confident it can grow traffic in the building even as staffers such as Plageman work with Alerus’ food services department to assess potential improvement in the arena concessions, upgrades to the catering and dining experience in suites, premium areas and conference center and bringing Spectra’s culinary expertise to the banquets area. “We’re taking a good operation and adding more resources and giving it more options,” he said, noting that he believes that better food services options will help increase revenue.

As for what the overall revenue increase could be with the food and beverage makeover and added bookings, Murphy said his team is in the process of working up budgets right now, with no way to estimate yet what the per caps might rise to with the new options. “In every place we’ve been, we’ve been able to take the existing operation and generate more income through the power of network purchasing, added resources and our good management experience,” he said.

Given that Spectra just took over the management in July and the next fiscal year doesn’t begin until January 1, Murphy said there’s a six month “stub year” cushion for the company to get situated, with no 2018 budget completed yet while the company does its due diligence. “When you look at what we do as a company, this venue fits perfectly into that portfolio with our network of integrated services,” he said, adding that a goal of increasing revenue by as much as $100,000 a year by 2021 is “attainable.”

With a stable arena tenant in the Univ. of North Dakota football team and capacity for up to 22,000 for concerts and variable sizing for family shows and sporting events (in addition to 14 luxury suites and a club lounge) and more than 160,000 square feet of convention and trade show space at the adjacent convention center, plus a 30,000 square-foot ballroom and 100,000 square-foot trade show floor with state-of-the-art acoustical design, Murphy said the building blocks were already in place for a successful partnership. No major renovations are planned for the building, though the arena was already scheduled to shut down for about a month before the football season kicks off at the end of August for an already-planned project to install an extensive LED lighting system and new sound system. A third already-in-the-works project to upgrade the building’s WiFi is close to completion.

For now, there are no plans to pursue any new naming rights deals, as the deal with Alerus runs through 2020. “Activating partners who are already here, particularly in food service operations — we’re looking to brand some concession stands we already have and take those that are here and enhance the experience — and working closely with the University to enhance their corporate sponsorships with the athletic program and make it work for any tenants to grow the level of business is a priority,” Murphy said of plans for increased activations and sponsorships in the building. While Murphy could not give a figure on potential growth, he said for a lot of Spectra’s accounts they’ve been able to grow business by 20-25 percent. “Here we think that’s achievable in a short period of time,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good people here, and we were able to take a good core staff and make them better by supporting them with good corporate resources. We’re taking a building with a fair level of success and moving it up a bit. This is what we’ve done as a company for a long time, and these are the kind of challenges we’ve excelled in. It’s our sweet spot.”


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Facial Recognition Targets Ads
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 4:30 pm

Staples Center, Los Angeles.

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

To provide an example of how Toshiba uses audience measurement technology and facial images to generate advertisements at venues — Staples Center among them — a company executive looked out into the lower lobby of The Times Center, New York City.

“What we’re doing is taking a picture of the audience right now,” Toshiba’s Chief Marketing Executive Bill Melo said of how the technology works at other venues. “There are 35 people in here — 18 women. And that’s it. We don’t know who you are. We don’t know that you went from here to someplace else in the building. We could. There’s technology that does that, and there are places that you would do that. For an airport, you might want to make sure you know. But we don’t do it. It’s just really aggregated demographic information — really innocuous.”

Toshiba for the past three seasons has used this technology during events at Staples Center — home of teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings. Cameras scan faces to determine age and gender, and the advertising adjusts accordingly. For example, advertising for fans to buy a mixed drink would work for certain age groups and not for others. The same goes for a Victoria’s Secret ad.

“It’s anonymous, so we’re not recording,” Melo said at Hashtag Sports. “We’re not tracking people wherever they are. But we know if it’s a young man or an older woman or whatever, and we’re actually changing the content based on the demographic.”

At Staples Center, LA Interactive powered by Toshiba is located on their arena’s main concourse and is designed to enhance the fan experience with interactive content, social media visualizations and a look at the live game action using video walls and touch displays. Also a part of that fan engagement area is technology looking at facial images so Toshiba can use tools they call a crowd meter and a dwell meter to see who’s hanging out there at the moment.

“We utilize both of those and basically bring an algorithm that says when the demographic changes to such-and-such a mix, then it implements a change in sequence of content,” said Melo.

“And it’s subtle. If there’s a rotation of images, it might skew a little bit toward the demographic mix.”

Anecdotally, Melo said, the patronage in that area has consistently grown while the technology has been used. He said the goal was to integrate it with a concessionaire to measure its performance based upon the success of the technology.

To deploy facial imaging in Staples Center, Melo said Toshiba went through “a pretty extensive discussion” to be able to do it. The technology is also used at other AEG venues such as T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and also in Berlin, he said.


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NBA’s Second Largest Reno Ever Underway
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 4:30 pm

Rendering of the newly renovated Philips Arena, Atlanta.

For the NBA’s second-largest arena renovation in history, the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, Atlanta, plan more than a pricey update, they aim to create a litany of firsts for large-scale arenas.

As part of the $192.5-million plan to completely reimagine Philips Arena, designers from HOK have not only removed the wall of suites that has long muddied venue acoustics and opened up concourses, but have also provided three firsts: a courtside bar, a barbershop overlooking the bowl and two suites loaded with Topgolf technology.

“We are beyond excited to see construction begin on the new Philips Arena,” said Steve Koonin, Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club CEO. “Every element of the arena under the roof will be brand new and designed with Atlanta and its vibrant communities in mind.”

Thad Sheely, chief operating officer of both the Hawks and Philips Arena, told Venues Today the team and arena staff did feel an “obligation” to come up with something new. “There is so much fun and cool stuff, and we have learned from everyone (before us) and we just want to have people learn from us, too,” he said. “It is a great business in that way.”

In a big picture scenario, Sheely equates the Philips Arena remodel to buying an old home and knocking down walls to open it up. “We are really converting the building to a basketball-first building with music straight on its heels,” he said. “We are opening up the concourse and opening the bowl. Everybody wants to be involved in the space.”

Outside the seating bowl, Philips Arena will have freshly opened concourses, including a Hawk Walk series of bridges atop the concourse. Inside the bowl, gone is the infamous six-level wall of suites, allowing for new amenities throughout the building and a completely improved acoustics experience to match an effort to draw more concerts.

“We have been working really closely with the Oak View Group and brought in their rigging consultant and acoustic consultant as we try to become the stop in the southeast for major concerts,” Sheely said. “That wall of suites does have an impact on acoustics, and we think we can go from that to some of the best acoustics in the country for arena music. That is our intent.”

Those aren’t the only musically-minded changes coming to Philips Arena. The building’s current configuration spreads concert operations throughout the venue. The new design consolidates new dressing rooms, a new show office and new food and press areas near the loading dock. “When shows come here, we want them to think that we have thought of everything,” Sheely said.

The reconfiguration from the roof to the floor includes plans for a new centerhung scoreboard, the sharpest video displays of any arena at 6mm resolution, a new 250-seat master conference room loaded with touch-screen and interactive whiteboard technology, 360-degree concourse connectivity and new open food stalls and bars throughout.

By demolishing the wall of suites, designers can update the seating configuration with fresh sightlines while the traditional 20-person suites give way to flexible suites tailored to fit changing needs.

As part of the new suite experience, Philips Arena will open two Topgolf Swing Suite technology simulator lounges with views into the bowl. The suites, available to rent by the hour for groups up to 15, bring a social experience to the arena.

In true Atlanta style, rapper, actor and activist Killer Mike will open one of his signature SWAG Barbershops inside the arena, for full “shaves, washes and grooming” while viewing games. The Atlanta-based business created by an Outkast alum expands the growing brand. “I’m very happy that the front porch of the Hawks is going to be host to a SWAG shop,” Mike said. “It really is like a dream coming true because now kids are going to be coming down early just to hang out in my shop, buy a t-shirt, get a haircut and watch the game.”

The Hawks announced a partnership with Zac Brown, lead singer of the Zac Brown Band, for Zac Brown’s Social Club, a southern gourmet-style restaurant that will feature a live music stage. “Food has always been a passion of mine, from owning my own restaurant on Lake Oconee to opening the Social Club,” Brown said. “I love what food does for friends and family; it gives us all something to gather around and a centerpiece for the time we spend together.”

For those who want to eat and drink a little closer to the action, the Hawks Bar will become the NBA’s first bar adjacent to the floor. Designed in the shape of the Hawks’ iconic Pacman logo, the bar will sit feet from the court’s baseline with a distinctive perspective on the action.

Work to renovate a venue that hosts approximately 170 events and two million guests annually, started in June and should wrap during the 2018-2019 season. The Hawks will continue to play all regular season games at Philips Arena and agreed to an 18-year lease extension to remain in downtown Atlanta through 2046.

“I’m excited about the scale of it,” Sheely said. “I’m excited we are doing a lot of things that are true to Atlanta.”


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Appetize Moves Into The Cloud
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

An Appetize POS system hooked up to the cloud.

Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums are working with an innovative Point Of Sale (POS) company to improve efficiency with customers and better track inventory, which in the long run, saves venues money.

"We focus on the fastest transaction time we can get,” said Max Roper, CEO of Appetize, a high-tech POS business based in Playa Vista, Calif. The goal is to increase the guest experience and get their orders processed quicker.

Appetize recently announced that it now serves eight MLB stadiums, providing mobile, tablet and cloud-based POS systems to concessionaires, including restaurant, retail and food vendors.

“The mobile, tablet and cloud-based technology really hasn’t broken into the larger venues,” said Kevin Anderson, chief strategy officer of Appetize. He noted that consumers see such systems at restaurants, but many of the big venues across the nation still use “old-school” POS systems, such as Micros and NCR.

Appetize comes into play by bringing stadiums up-to-date with better technology, Anderson said. Old systems “lag behind in processing orders at peak volume, especially during live events, and struggle with adapting to the latest payment formats like Masterpass, Apple Pay, EMV,” stated the press release.

“It’s faster, it’s easier to use. You can track inventory faster,” Anderson said, highlighting that managers can actually look at inventory on their smart phones, rather than having to physically be in the store. “You get reporting that you can see on any device — you’re getting reporting and inventory counts.”

The old “legacy-based” POS systems printed out stand sheets and excel-based reports in order for food vendors to manage inventory.

“Now you can view inventory counts based on heat maps. In one second, I can see what’s running low,” Anderson highlighted. “At the end of the night, you’re able to download those reports and let your employees go home early (which saves money).”

Even the servers working the stands have tablets where they take food orders and run credit cards and/or customers can order from their phones.

“Being mobile based, fans order from their seats,” Anderson said.

Some of the MLB stadiums that work with Appetize haven’t fully integrated the entire venue to the web-based system, meaning that although the food vendors may have the new POS, other areas of the venue — such as retail — still use older systems.

It’s Anderson’s goal to fully convert all the MLB stadiums he works with to the high-tech system.

“A big initiative for the company in 2017, is something we call land and expand. When we sell the POS and the reporting that comes with that, we can then come in and say,  ‘Well, what do you think about self-serve kiosks? What about your parking lot, what about your retail?’,” Anderson said.

Appetize has, in fact, fully integrated into Yankees Stadium, New York City, and Coors Field Stadium, Denver, where all food, retail and parking sales are now on the cloud-based POS.

“Appetize has been a great partner that has driven both innovation and efficiency within our operations,” CIO of Legends Hospitality at Yankee Stadium Mike Morris said in a statement. “Using Appetize has helped us to enhance the fan experience by providing more flexible ordering and payment solutions that improve the speed of service to our customers.”

The way Appetize lands contracts with venues depends on what entity at the stadium issues the Request for Proposal (RFP). Many times, it’s the team and other times it’s the concessionaire/food provider issuing an RFP for a venue.

Appetize doesn’t just serve sports and entertainment venues; it also sells college campuses and restaurants its POS.

Currently, Appetize is in 500 sports and entertainment venues, which includes major outdoor venues such as stadiums, music festivals, amphitheaters and the Professional Golfers Association tours. It also contracts with 20 campuses across North America.

What’s next for the company? Anderson said they’re working to expand into Europe.

Right now, Appetize serves the following MLB stadiums: the Rockies, Coors Field, Denver; the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.; the Angels at Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif.,; the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles; the Mets at Citi Field, N.Y.; the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston,; and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit.

Appetize also contracts with several NFL stadiums, including the Minnesota Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium.


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Prudential Center Adds Key Execs
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

Prudential Center, Newark, N.J., has made several key hires.

Dan_Spiegel.jpg

Dan Spiegel.

Dan Spiegel has been named vice president of marketing. Spiegel most recently served as vice president of brand at FanDuel where he oversaw marketing initiatives. Spiegel also worked as a consultant and strategist at global agency Interbrand, where he led client programs across a number of industries, including media and technology.

 

Starr_Butler2.jpgStarr Butler.

Starr Butler is the organization’s new director of special events. Butler most recently served as a senior consultant for special events with Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif., and Legends Hospitality in Los Angeles, where Butler oversaw event booking, operations, marketing and sales strategies for the venue’s nine event spaces.

 

Jason_Gonella1.jpgJason Gonella.

Jason Gonella joins the organization as vice president of premium partnerships. Gonella previously served Oak View Group in a similar role. With nearly 20 years of executive sales experience, Gonella has played a key role in the success of revenue-driving initiatives with some of the biggest brands in sports and entertainment, including Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, the Rose Bowl, AEG, the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles

McCarthy_22.jpgMichelle McCarthy.

Michelle McCarthy joins the marketing staff as director of entertainment marketing. McCarthy previously worked in the Live Marketing Strategy department at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

McCarthy, originally from Ireland, has been on the job five weeks.

“I came to the U.S. five years ago,” said McCarthy. “Back in Ireland I had a music management company and ran publicity for new releases. I also oversaw the marketing for the National Concert Orchestra.”

McCarthy’s first job stateside was as the manager for concert production company Manhattan Concert Productions. She then went to work for Madison Square Garden, New York, as manager of marketing promotions, where she stayed three years.

McCarthy is excited by the changes happening in Newark, and at the venue. “I’ve watched them have so many successes over the last few years. The facility has been increasing their volume and diversity of shows,” and, she said, her goal in the new role is to develop new platforms, focus on evergreen events and further increase the volume of shows.

McCarthy said she’s fortunate to have sold out Bruno Mars and Shawn Mendes shows already on the books, and she’s anticipating strong sales for a Lorde show that’s going on sale soon for 2018.

“It’s super exciting and a great time to be part of the team at Prudential Center,” she said. “Prudential Center is one of the top five venues in the country and we really want to leverage that.”

“I think it’s such a great team here,” said McCarthy, “Everybody here is so enthusiastic about the building and developing a venue that everybody wants to come visit.”

McCarthy also pointed out that Prudential Center will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in October and the occasion will be marked by “a month full of exciting programs and shows” as well as the opening of the East Coast Grammy Museum, which will open in the fall.

 

 


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Cairns Plans Major Upgrade
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 2:15 pm

Cairns Convention Centre, Queensland, Austrlaia.

Buoyed by a large commitment of governmental funding, Cairns Convention Centre,  Queensland, Australia, will begin a major expansion and refurbishment next year designed to attract thousands of additional visitors annually to the 21-year-old facility.

The upgrade will feature improvements to the center’s existing venues and the addition of a new exhibition hall and new meeting spaces. Curtis Pitt, the Queensland treasurer, announced $176 million ($133.76 million U.S.) in funding for the project June 14 as the centerpiece of an $819.2 million ($622.59 million U.S.) infrastructure spending plan for the region. Cairns is located in the tropics of Australia, along the country’s northeast coast. The city provides ready access to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforest, which are both popular tourist attractions.

Pitt said the planned upgrades are expected to bring an additional 25 large conventions and events to Cairns each year, amounting to 20,000 new visitors to the city.

“Some will stay, some will invest here, all will leave an economic or social benefit for us to enjoy,” Pitt said.

The convention center currently offers nine meeting rooms, six conference rooms, a great hall, an outdoor plaza and exhibition foyer, and a second hall. Capacities for individual spaces at the venue range from 30 to 5,000. The convention center received the International Association of Convention Centres APEX Award as the World’s Best Congress Center in 2004 and 2014, based on client surveys.

Ross Steele, general manager of the Cairns Convention Centre, said the planned expansion and renovation will help the center evolve to suit the changing needs of visitors and the regional community. It also will enable the center to host larger one-off events.

“The expansion will allow the Cairns Convention Centre to continue to grow conference business for the benefit of our region long into the future,” Steele said. “It is time to renew and expand. While it is early … the recent budget announcement will allow this to happen by adding around 3,000 square meters (approximately 9,842 square feet) of new exhibition space and associated meeting rooms to enable the center to grow convention business by hosting larger and more concurrent events. It will also allow a full refurbishment, including updated AV, Wi-Fi, soft furnishings and aesthetics of the existing center, to ensure it remains at the leading edge of convention centers for the next 25 years.”

A key piece of the project will be that the additional capacity will give the center new flexibility to seek and accommodate musical acts and other performances, Steele said. A limitation of the current space is that it does not allow to the convention center to always be ambitious in that realm.

“With additional exhibition space, it will allow us to pursue more concert business as it will free up our multiuse arena, which has doubled as our exhibition space until now,” Steele said.

Among its local draws, Cairns is home to James Cook University and Central Queensland University, and Steele said the improvements to the convention center will equip the universities to better compete to host academic and research conventions that will spotlight the expertise of their students and faculty. He said these events “will aid recognition, reputation, profile and funding opportunities for the universities and academics.”

Steele touted the role the convention center plays as a community hub that hosts events geared toward local residents, too, such as sporting events, school formals, graduations and celebration dinners. The center serves as the home of the CQU Cairns Taipans, the region’s National Basketball League team, which draws 60,000 fans a season.

Steele said the Cairns Convention Centre currently generates an estimated $80-$100 million ($60.8 million-$76 million U.S.) in economic benefit for the region annually. Pitt’s office projects new events from the facility improvements will add approximately $30 million ($22.8 million U.S.) in economic impact to the region each year. Pitt hopes the expansion serves as a catalyst for investment in the region, such as through continued hotel refurbishments and new hotel infrastructure. The new exhibition space and meeting rooms are projected to lead to 11 direct and 350 indirect jobs, according to Pitt’s office. More than 300 workers will be employed in construction.

Adam Gowlett, Queensland branch president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), said the convention center expansion should be a boost to the Cairns downtown area. The convention center is “one city block from the heart of the (Cairns Central Business District) and within walking distance to multiple hotels, restaurants, bars and the casino, making it an incredibly important attractor and contributor to city life.”

“The expansion of the center will contribute a significant injection of local building jobs right in the heart of the (Cairns Central Business District),” Gowlett said. “These large construction jobs provide certainty of work for the industry and are the best opportunity for employers to expand or take on apprentices. Trades in the city will also spend money in the (Cairns Central Business District), adding an extra layer of economic benefit. The UDIA Queensland’s Cairns Branch is excited by the announcement. We understand the plans are ready to go, so we can’t wait to see works commencing on the ground.”

Construction for the Cairns Convention Centre upgrade is slated to start following the Commonwealth Games basketball preliminaries at the facility in April 2018. Steele said the project does not yet have renderings and that it is too early to set a completion date, but he estimated the expansion and refurbishment project will take approximately two years.

 

 


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Spectra Summer Menus Debut
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2017, 2:00 pm

Spectra's New Summer Menu Items.

For the first time, Lutz, Fla.-based Spectra Food Services & Hospitality has implemented new summer menus at its properties in the western states, starting this week. This is a departure from the norm, which has been to unveil new menu items at the start of the sports seasons.

The idea for the menu refreshes came about at a regional phone meeting with Spectra’s general managers and executive chefs.

“We’ve always wanted to do this, but something always seemed to get in the way,” said Jay Satenspiel, regional vice president in the West for Spectra Food Services & Hospitality. “We started throwing ideas around with the goal to come up with menu creations that could differentiate ourselves.”

During the month-long process, Satenspiel asked his team to submit three to four items new menu item ideas, while also sitting down with sports fans informally to gauge what types of food they are looking for.

“I wanted feedback from true fans that come to sporting and other events, so that’s how we came up with what was picked,” he said. “I wanted to be able to roll it out in conjunction with the midsummer classic Major League Baseball (MLB) All Star Game.”

Menu items were finalized last week.

Spectra4-steakstack_200x145.jpgSpectra's Steak Stack.

At California’s Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, home of the MLB’s Oakland A’s, Spectra is introducing a Steak Stack with three hash brown patties, layered with herb marinated grilled skirt steak, deep fried avocado slices, Pico de Gallo slaw, and chimichurri aioli.

Spectra3-dessert_burger_200x145.jpg

Spectra's Dessert Burger.

San Jose, Calif.’s Avaya Stadium, home of MLS’ Earthquakes, is introducing a Dessert Burger that incorporates two Smuckers Uncrustables deep fried betwixt with ice cream and garnished with a raspberry-mango sauce.

Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo., has added the Eagles Nest during the Larimer County Fair, which runs Aug. 4-8. This consists of waffle French fries deep fried in a tortilla basket topped with a hard cooked egg encased in country sausage, breaded and deep fried with Buffalo blue cheese dipping sauce.

Spectra1-Sweet_dessert_poutine_200x145.jpgSpectra's Sweet Dessert Poutine.

Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M., home of the Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, has added Sweet Dessert Poutine, featuring Sweet Potato tots with New York cheesecake chunks, cream cheese frosting, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

 

Spectra2-jalapeno_chorizo_200x145.jpg

Spectra's Jalapeno Chorizo Quesadilla Burger.

The Jalapeno Chorizo Quesadilla Burger has been added to the menu at Southwest University Park in El Paso, Texas, home of the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A affiliate Chihuahuas. This features a one-third pound beef patty sandwiched between two quesadillas stuffed with chorizo and Menonita cheese and topped with two bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese.

Spectra5-pitkin_pigskin_200x1451.jpgSpectra's Pitkin Pigskin.

When college football season commences at the Rams’ new 41,000-seat stadium this fall, Colorado State University will add the Pitkin Pigskin to the menu. This item features a bratwurst stuffed into baked potato and loaded with sour cream, bacon, chives and cheddar cheese.


“We know how important the dining experience is when attending a sporting event,” said Scott Swiger, Spectra’s vice president, Culinary Excellence. “These mid-summer menu additions feature new creations from some of our most talented culinary experts who take great pride in enhancing the customer experience.”

All new offerings are priced in line with other menu items.

“The new sandwiches will be in the $10 to $12 price point and desserts will be priced between $5 and $6, same as our other items,” said Satenspiel. “These new dishes were created to help grow sales and, if any are hits, they may be added permanently.”

The end date for the new menu items has yet to be determined.

 


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Hot Tickets for July 12, 2017
 
Posted: 10 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, Texas.

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, along with boy band CNCO as their opening act, wrapped up their joint 16-date summer tour last week, at Air Canada Centre, Toronto, but not before a June 25 , sold-out performance at Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga. The longtime collaborators encouraged the packed house to forget everything going on in the world and just be in the moment. The music-filled, Live Nation-promoted concert grossed nearly $900,000 with ticket prices ranging from $30 - $150. After a successful summer tour, the Latin superstars have added a fall leg to their tour starting Sept. 22 at Toyota Center, Houston; however, fans should get their tickets fast as shows are already selling out.

The Orange County Fair’s Summer Concert Series is back this year at the Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif., with two pre-fair performances by Steel Pulse, July 8-9, grossing nearly $350,000. The Grammy Award-winning, roots reggae band had the 9,500 fans on their feet with music that included many fan favorites that span a 35-year career.  Concertgoers also received a bonus entry into the fair with every ticket purchased. Next up in the concert series is Kenny Loggins, July 12.
 

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 June 13-July 11.

15,001 or More Seats

10,001-15,000 Seats

5,001-10,000 Seats

5,000 or Fewer Seats

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $4,135,146; Venue: The O2 Arena, London; Attendance: 28,976; Ticket Range: $186.50-$149.50; Promoter: AEG Presents, Marshall Arts; Dates: June 20-21; No. of Shows: 2

2) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $2,544,591; Venue: Tele2 Arena, Stockholm; Attendance: 21,699; Ticket Range: $225.50-$62.20; Promoter: AEG Presents, Maloney Concerts, FKP Scorpio; Dates: June 17; No. of Shows: 1

3) Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gross Sales: $2,507,894; Venue: United Center, Chicago; Attendance: 27,356; Ticket Range: $99-$49; Promoter: Jam Productions; Dates: June 30-July 1; No. of Shows: 2

4) Gloria Trevi vs Alejandra Guzman
Gross Sales: $2,407,113; Venue: Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City; Attendance: 66,000; Ticket Range: $277.84-$16.67; Promoter: Zignia Live; Dates: June 22-24; No. of Shows: 3

5) Roger Waters
Gross Sales: $2,068,769; Venue: Tacoma (Wash.) Dome; Attendance: 17,593; Ticket Range: $199.50-$55; Promoter: AEG Presents, Concerts West; Dates: June 24; No. of Shows: 1

1) Celine Dion
Gross Sales: $2,577,612; Venue: Royal Arena, Copenhagen; Attendance: 13,269; Ticket Range: $255.75-$86.30; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 15; No. of Shows: 1

2) Hans Zimmer
Gross Sales: $1,934,920; Venue: Hallenstadion, Zurich; Attendance: 16,051; Ticket Range: $196.79-$82.96; Promoter: Act Entertainment; Dates: June 26-27; No. of Shows: 2

3) Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gross Sales: $969,700; Venue: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Attendance: 10,975; Ticket Range: $102-$52; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 25; No. of Shows: 1

4) Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull
Gross Sales: $892,678; Venue: Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.; Attendance: 9,964; Ticket Range: $139.95-$29.95; Promoter: Live Nation; Dates: June 25; No. of Shows: 1

5) Tim McGraw, Faith Hill
Gross Sales: $883,812; Venue: iWireless Center, Moline, Ill.; Attendance: 10,670; Ticket Range: $116.50-$66.50; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 17; No. of Shows: 1

1) Evanescence
Gross Sales: $461,815; Venue: Eventim Apollo, London; Attendance: 10,215; Ticket Range: $51.12-$38.34; Promoter: AEG Presents; Dates: June 13-14; No. of Shows: 2

2) Journey
Gross Sales: $413,390; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 7,401; Ticket Range: $89-$49; Promoter: In-house, CAA; Dates: June 16; No. of Shows: 1

3) Train
Gross Sales: $370,150; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 6,956; Ticket Range: $70-$20; Promoter: In-house, CAA; Dates: June 13; No. of Shows: 1

4) Dancing with the Stars
Gross Sales: $367,425; Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.; Attendance: 8165; Ticket Range: $45; Promoter: ICM, In-house; Dates: June 30-July 1; No. of Shows: 2

5) Steel Pulse
Gross Sales: $340,734; Venue: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Attendance: 9,494; Ticket Range: $57.50-$27.50; Promoter: In-house, OC Fair & Event Center; Dates: July 8-9; No. of Shows: 2

1) Finding Neverland
Gross Sales: $1,495,158; Venue: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Attendance: 20,633; Ticket Range: $135.25-$40.25; Promoter: In-house, Broadway Across America; Dates: June 13-25; No. of Shows: 16

2) Gloria Trevi vs Alejandra Guzman
Gross Sales: $470,936; Venue: The Colorado Convention Center, Denver; Attendance: 5,066; Ticket Range: $153-$43; Promoter: Nederlander Concerts; Dates: June 15; No. of Shows: 1

3) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Gross Sales: $456,215; Venue: Beacon Theatre, New York; Attendance: 5,129; Ticket Range: $99.50-$59.50; Promoter: Goldenvoice; Dates: June 13-14; No. of Shows: 2

4) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Gross Sales: $300,133; Venue: Auditorium Theatre, Chicago; Attendance: 3,774; Ticket Range: $99.40-$29.50; Promoter: Goldenvoice; Dates: June 16; No. of Shows: 1

5) The Moody Blues
Gross Sales: $238,161; Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis; Attendance: 2,522; Ticket Range: $150.50-$70.50; Promoter: Hennepin Theatre Trust; Dates: June 27; No. of Shows: 1

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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VenuesNow Finalizes Speakers
 
Posted: 7 Jul 2017, 9:00 am

Sports and entertainment heavyweights to speak at inaugural VenuesNow conference. Groundbreaking industry event set for L.A. July 12-14.

LOS ANGELES – A veritable “who’s who” of the most influential and visionary executives of the sports and live entertainment industry are confirmed to speak at the first-ever VenuesNow conference, set for July 12-14 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in L.A.

Produced by Oak View Group, VenuesNow is a 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.

More than 300 industry professionals are expected to attend the invitation-only event (with open registration beginning in 2018), including representatives from major sports leagues and live entertainment firms, along with executives from 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 unlike any 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. “Our speakers reflect our emphasis on innovation and positive disruption at all levels around the venue space.”

VenuesNow has confirmed an impressive list of heavy hitters from both the sports and music industries. Music executives booked at VenuesNow include mega-managers Irving Azoff, and Red Light Management founder Coran Capshaw; KISS manager Doc McGhee; Metallica agent Adam Kornfeld, Artist Group International; Rob Beckham, WME co-head of the Nashville office; Live Nation Global Touring COO Gerry Barad and Co-President of North American Concerts Bob Roux; Red Light COO Bruce Eskowitz; and concert promotion legend Louis Messina, president of Messina Touring Group. Taking on issues in the ticketing world will be Jared Smith, president, North America, Ticketmaster; Scott Cutler, president, StubHub; and Andrew Dreskin, co-founder/CEO of Ticketfly.

Technological advances in the world of venues, sports and entertainment are a priority for VenuesNow, and the conference has booked a wealth of influential 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; Nate Parienti, president, Live Alliance; Tobias Sherman, global head of e-sports, WME IMG; Paul Ward, CEO, e-Sports Arenas; Rick Fox, founder of e-sports powerhouse Echo Fox; Michal Lorenc, head of Industry, Ticketing and Live Events, Google; Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Major League Gaming; and Stratton Sclavos, founding partner (with Fox) in Vision Venture Partners.

Safety and security at live events is another area of focus for VenuesNow, which will be addressed in a panel moderated by CNN counter-terrorism analyst/former CIA official Phil Mudd and including Prevent Advisors counter-terrorism experts Michael Downing and Bill Bratton, along with Cathy Lanier, head of security for the National Football League, and Abacode CEO Michael Ferris.

From the branding/sponsorship world, VenuesNow has confirmed Justin Toman, director of Sports Marketing, Pepsi; Joe Belliotti, head of Global Music Marketing, Coca-Cola, Mark Weinstein, senior VP/Global Head of Customer Engagement, Loyalty & Partnerships, Hilton; Andrew Georgescu, Lincoln Marketing Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company; Aaron Simon, director of licensed products, Harman Industries; and Marcie Allen, president, MAC Presents. From the industry investments world, VenuesNow will host Jay Kapoor, MSG Ventures, and Deepen Parikh, Courtside Ventures. Other confirmed speakers include the Los Angeles Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain; Tim Romani, CEO, ICON Venue Group; Bruce Miller, senior principle, Populous; Christopher Lamberth, VP/Sport Development, HOK; Al Guido, president, San Francisco 49ers; Justin Dragoo, partner, Latitude 38 Entertainment; Tim Zulawski, Senior VP/Chief Commercial Officer, AMB Sports + Entertainment; and Dan Berkowitz, founder/CEO, CID Entertainment, among many other industry leaders.

For more information on VenuesNow 2017, please visit venuesnowconference.com. For more information on OVG, please visit www.OakViewGroup.com.

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About VenuesNow:
VenuesNow is 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. The conference focuses on venue-centric content related specifically to sports, entertainment events, technology, event safety, concessions, ticketing, operations, and programming.

About OVG:
Oak View Group (OVG) is 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 is comprised 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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Dead & Co. Set Wrigley Field Record
 
Posted: 7 Jul 2017, 9:00 am

Dead & Company played to more than 60,000 attendees over two days, June 17-18, at Fenway Park, Boston. Pictured in the back row are: Jeff Chimenti; Howard Cohen, Mickey Hart’s manager; Larry Cancro, Red Sox; Matt Busch, DCO tour manager; Tom Worcester, CAA; John Mayer; Don Law, Live Nation; Bernie Cahill, ROAR; Amir Bar-Lev, director, Long Strange Trip; and Liz Norris, ROAR. Middle Row: Brendan Albertson, Red Sox; Mickey Hart; Bill Kreutzmann; Bob Weir; and O’Teil Burbridge. Front Row: Beth Krudys, Red Sox; Morgan Kuehnl, Red Sox; and Red Tanner, ROAR. (Photo Credit: Brande Jackson)

Dead & Company wrapped its 2017 summer tour with two sold-out concerts at Wrigley Field, Chicago, June 30 and July 1, setting the all-time record for most paid tickets for a single concert at the ballpark and drawing more than 80,000 fans across both shows.

The 2017 tour, May 27 through July 1, drew nearly 500,000 fans and consisted of 20 concerts, 10 of which were sold out shows, in 15 cities, including two-night stands at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles; Shoreline Amphitheatre, San Francisco; Folsom Field, Boulder, Colo.; Fenway Park, Boston; and Wrigley Field.  

Additionally, the Participation Row social action village, which joined the band at every stop on the tour, featured a rotating cast of 14 different nonprofit organizations with direct ties to Dead & Company.

$176,930 was raised on behalf of these organizations, via auctions for signed D'Angelico guitars commemorating the tour.

More than 20,000 different positive actions were taken by fans on Participation Row throughout the tour. Each fan who took three or more actions was given a limited-edition Dead & Company pin, from Clean Energy Advisors, sponsor of Participation Row.

Some of the actions included:

- 4,705 Dead & Company fans registered to vote or signed up for local election alerts with HeadCount, co-organizer of Participation Row.
- Over 500 fans sent postcards to members of Congress calling for protection of National Parks, with the National Parks Conservation Association.
- 2,430 gallons of waste were diverted from landfills through a backstage recycling program managed by Reverb, also a co-organizer of the show.
- 2,800 fans made a donation to Reverb for a Nalgene water bottle, reducing single-use plastic.
 


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MANAGEMENT
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 8:00 pm

Berkley Alliance Managers has selected Anthony Andersen as its SVP, professional liability claims manager. Andersen has more than 25 years of management and Architects and Engineers (A&E) claims handling experience with leading insurance carriers.

The Milwaukee Bucks have named Barry Baum SVP of Communications. Most recently, Baum was chief communications officer for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. Before joining Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment in 2005, Baum served as a publicist for more than three years with DKC and was a sportswriter from 1994-2001 at the New York Post.

Orlando Venues has hired Kevin Brown as booking & revenue development division manager, which includes Amway Center, Camping World Stadium and Tinker Field. Prior to joining Orlando Venues, Brown was the senior talent buyer for House of Blues New Orleans and, before that, a booker with Live Nation Worldwide. Earlier in his career, he was a talent booker and social media manager for the Orlando Calling Music Festival, a joint partnership between Festival Republic, LTD. and Live Nation.

Julie Bunker has joined Portland’5 Centers for the Arts as the new director of operations. In her most recent position, Bunker was the director
of design and construction at Pinnacle Entertainment, a Las Vegas based casino entertainment company. Bunker was previously the director of design for Ameristar Casinos and the vice president for facilities and operations at the Omaha (Neb.) Performing Arts Center.

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) has hired Seth Burton as the team’s VP of communications. Burton spent 11 seasons (2006-2017) in the public relations department of the Los Angeles Clippers, where he most recently served as the Clippers’ VP of Communications from 2013-2017. Prior to joining the Clippers in 2006, Burton worked in Major League Soccer in the public relations department of the New England Revolution (2000-2001), San Jose Earthquakes (2002-2005) and Los Angeles Galaxy (2006).

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.

John Cannizzaro joins South Point Hotel, Las Vegas, as director of catering. Cannizzaro brings more than a decade of expertise in dining and catering management with him. The majority of those years were spent in senior level positions at many of Las Vegas’ most popular hotel and casino properties, serving as the senior catering and conference services manager at Tropicana Las Vegas, catering manager at ARIA Resort and Casino and catering sales manager at Las Vegas Hilton.

Lionel J. Dubay, AVP, business services division at the University of Florida (UF), Gainesville, retired 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. 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. He served as the association’s president from 1991 to 1993 and again from 2005 to 2007. He served as the 75th president of the IAAM, and also served in numerous leadership positions within IAAM. 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.
Brock Jones has opened his own concert promotion shop, 191 Touring. Jones is a longtime talent buyer, who recently left that position at Comcast Spectacor. He is a former VP of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

John Kolek is retiring from his position at San Diego State University where he has been the director of Viejas Arena for 28 years. Kolek helped plan, construct, and then operate the arena since its 1997 opening.

Prudential Center, Newark, N.J., has made several key hires. Dan Spiegel has been named vice president of marketing. Spiegel most recently served as vice president of brand at FanDuel where he oversaw marketing initiatives. Michelle McCarthy joins the marketing staff as director of entertainment marketing. McCarthy previously worked in the Live Marketing Strategy department at Madison Square Garden, New York City. Jason Gonella joins the organization as vice president of premium partnerships. Gonella previously served Oak View Group in a similar role. With nearly 20 years of executive sales experience, Gonella has played a key role in the success of revenue-driving initiatives with some of the biggest brands in sports and entertainment, including Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, the Rose Bowl, AEG, the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles. Starr Butler is the organization’s new director of special events. Butler most recently served as a senior consultant for special events with Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif. and Legends Hospitality in Los Angeles.

Alex Overby has joined the staff of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind., as marketing and media coordinator. Before working at the Memorial Coliseum, Overby worked as the marketing manager at Science Central. Overby studied at the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville.

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) has hired Jennifer Powers as their director of customer satisfaction and convention services. With 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Powers has spent more than 17 years directing sales, services and operations related to northern Nevada’s meetings and conventions business. Most recently, she was the director of catering & convention services for the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno, Nev.

Joseph Romano has joined VenuWorks as the company’s EVP. Romano brings almost 40 years of experience in the management and operation of Public Assembly Facilities, both in the public and private sectors, where he’s held positions as GM; VP–Operations, U.S.; VP-Operations Europe; Regional VP and most recently Senior VP where he had responsibility for the oversight of over 20 operating locations comprised of more than 50 individual facilities. Romano is based out of the VenuWorks corporate office in Ames, Iowa.

Wonderful Union has brought digital strategist Michael Sloane into their Nashville office. Prior to this, Sloane oversaw digital marketing strategy for Hill Entertainment Group and served as director of interactive at Big Machine Label Group. Sloane co-founded Streaming Promotions, mentors at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and its accelerator Project Music, and is on faculty as an adjunct professor at the Curb College of Entertainment at Belmont University, Nashville, focusing on entertainment marketing and digital strategy.

The Boch Center, Boston, has appointed Mark Weld, a Boston-based business leader and real estate investor their new chairman of the board of directors. Weld will succeed outgoing chairman Paul Guzzi, who will continue to serve as chairman emeritus.


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NASHVILLE GETS REAL
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 8:00 pm

When Centerplate Executive Chef Max Knoepfel puts together the beef short
rib plate at the Music City Center in Nashville, he can tell you a story about every ingredient.
The beef comes from KLD Farm, an 82-acre property in Ashland City—about a 30-minute drive from Nashville—operated by a farmer who still participates in the Nashville Farmers Market most weekends. The vegetables? From Green Door Gourmet, a 350-acre organic farm, country store and event venue about 10 miles away.
His intimate knowledge of each component isn’t a fluke—it’s part of the culture at the convention center, which aims to use local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients in its food whenever possible. In 2014, it became the first convention center awarded with REAL Certification by the U.S. Healthful Food Council; a day later, the convention center announced its LEED Gold certification.
“It’s something you have to embrace as a chef,” Knoepfel said of the local and sustainable mindset. “You need to embrace it as a business, throughout the culture of your environment, your staff. You need to work at it every day.”
The short rib is part of that everyday work as one of the venue’s best-selling food options. Knoepfel uses boneless beef, chars it quickly on all sides and braises it for 10 hours in a liquid of vegetables and seasoning. “That’s normally done overnight,” he said. “We take the sauce, reduce it and puree the vegetables in it—it’s very, very flavorful.”
Finally, the beef is glazed with a sauce made from whiskey—Jack Daniel’s, of course.
For the chef, the vegetables served along with the short rib are free play. “Sometimes I’ll do baby carrots with a little bit of honey dripped on them, and butter,” he said, adding that the Music City Center has its own beehives on the roof. “Sometimes we pickle something. We use as much local flavor as possible.”

 

Chef_Max_Headshot_copy.jpgCenterplate Executive
Chef Max Knoepfel
Music City Center, Nashville
Max Knoepfel started working in food service at just 14 years old, and went through a traditional apprenticeship program in Switzerland. “After my Swiss army stint at age 19, I worked through the ranks in the kitchen [at a luxury hotel],” he said. “I just loved it.”
Five years later, he moved to Canada, eventually getting a job for Fairmont Hotels as one of the youngest chefs at the company at the time. He bounced around Washington, D.C., working at hotels, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and even the Pentagon before a brief stint in New York. “New York didn’t work out for the family, but I found out there was an opening in Nashville in 2013,” he said. The rest is history. “It’s been four and a half years of amazing people, amazing food, amazing farmers, amazing growing seasons, and big numbers.
“I get goose bumps talking about it,” added Knoepfel. “No two days are the same. It could make some people want to pull their hair out, but for me, it’s the same feeling that actors get in a cabaret. Every morning is like show time. … It’s the best feeling that somebody can have.”


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BACON UP PUP, ANYONE?
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 7:35 pm

Amid the corn dogs, fresh-cut French fries and signature chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, there will be 31 new flavors to tantalize taste buds at this year’s Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul.
Fair officials released the eagerly awaited list of  new foods in late June to media fanfare, which is one of the strategies employed to stir excitement and anticipation about the food offerings at the Aug. 24-Sept. 4 event.
“We do not have a specific budget that is just for marketing new foods,” said Dennis Larson, the fair’s food and beverage manager. “We rely on sharing the list to the public and media through our website, news releases, social media, etc., throughout summer and fair-time.”
The fair also works with local television stations during the fair to set up food samples for daily live broadcasts from the fair, he added.
For instance, Charlie Torgerson, co-owner of RC’s BBQ, will be doing a demonstration of his operation’s new offering, Double Dose of Pork Belly, on an upcoming episode of a local show, “Twin Cities Live.”
Food is a huge deal at the Minnesota State Fair, which is coming off a record year in 2016. The event experienced an all-time high food gross in excess of $47 million, up $4.5 million from 2015’s $42.5 million. Vendors pay 15 percent of gross sales to the fair, which, in 2016, would have amounted to more than $7.05 million for the fair.
The per caps also were strong at $24.16 for food and beverage, including a one-day high of nearly $30, “which is incredible for us,” Larson said. “They showed up and they were hungry. It’s tough to move those per caps but it’s nice when they trend up.”
Fairgoers can navigate the different dishes through the fair’s Food Finder, a website search engine, or on an app that is available through iTunes or Google Play.
“Nine things have bacon,” he said of the new food list. “It’s ‘The Year of Bacon.’ We didn’t plan it that way, but there seems to be no end for bacon.”
Bacon has been a big item at the fair for the past seven or eight years, noted Katrine McDonagh of Michigan, owner of The Sandwich Stop. “It’s everywhere, I guess.” So that helped her in deciding to add the Bacon Fluffernutter to her menu this year. It’s a sandwich that substitutes two cinnamon bun doughnuts for bread featuring crunchy peanut butter, bacon and marshmallow cream as the filling.
McDonagh, who has played the Minnesota State Fair since 2013, had a hit in 2014 with her Deep-Fried Breakfast on a Stick, which won the People’s Choice Award. It’s a pancake sandwich with Swiss and American cheeses, ham, eggs and sausage skewered and lightly battered and fried. She tops it off with powdered sugar and maple syrup. While the catchy name might intrigue people to stop by and try the Bacon Fluffernutter, the popularity of the Deep-Fried Breakfast on a Stick has kept fairgoers returning for the past few years. “I ask customers every year, ‘Have you tried it?’ and they say, ‘I have it every year since you had it.’ They keep coming back for that one.”
Food names can be important, Larson said. “Food vendors do come up with their own names for their new food items and are encouraged to make them fun and catchy,” he added. “This can certainly be tricky when you want the name to also describe what the food is. Vendors are certainly creative, though.”
Just ask Pat Braun, who will be serving a new version of her Waffles on a Stick. The Bacon Up Pup — waffles with bacon, chocolate, whipped cream, and maple syrup — not only achieves that, but it also has a memorable name to boot. Braun and her team took some time to brand it well. “For two or three months, we were all thinking about it, and then my husband, off top of his head, said, ‘Bacon Up Pup,’ and we said, ‘Yeah.’”
But the name is not always the most important aspect of the food item to some vendors. Pat Mancini, who brings a little bit of his family’s St. Paul restaurant — Mancini’s Char House — to the fair, wants to create something that will represent his establishment well and satisfy customers. He thinks the Italian Bomba Sandwich — a Cuban-inspired dish with a beer-braised pork shoulder, fontina cheese, prosciutto cotto ham, pesto aioli and the Italian relish giardiniera on a grilled ciabatta roll, is just the ticket.
For the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, it was important that their new item, the Bowl O’Dough, be something that friends and family could share. The Bowl O’Dough is a flight of three flavors of a basic comfort food — cookie dough that is safe to eat, mostly in unusual flavors, other than the chocolate chip cookie dough.
The dish does not have any raw eggs and the flour is heated, said Stephanie Olson, who runs the booth with her husband, Mike. In addition to chocolate chip, the flavors include cookie butter (inspired by the Belgian cookies available on Delta Air), brownie batter swirl, and lemon cheesecake with blueberries and ricotta cheese.
“We wanted to be different,” Olson said. “We wanted to do more, what I would say, are more upscale flavors.”
The three balls of dough will be served with sea salt milk, which Olson compared to a light and fluffy ice cream. The dish will be priced at $8, but the Olsons don’t necessarily expect one person to eat the whole thing. “The way fairs are going, people like to try a lot of different things,” she said. “What we think about is, ‘This is a shareable item.’ A lot of people don’t want to spend all their money or calories on one item. Everybody likes to try different things. That’s what drives our ideas.”
Some food vendors are taking the popularity of food trucks — with high-end food served on the go — into consideration as they dream up what they hope will be the next big thing at the Minnesota State Fair. Such is the case with Sara Hayden and Sara’s Tipsy Pies. Hayden utilizes spirits — wine, liquor and beer — from area businesses when she makes up the recipes for her offerings. This year, at the request of customers, Hayden is departing from her all-dessert menu to add a savory pie, called the Brown Ale and Onion Gouda Hand Pie, with a Chestnut Hill beer from Stillwater, Minn.-based Lift Bridge Brewing Co., as a major ingredient. Hayden compares it to a French onion soup idea baked into a pie.
In Hayden’s third year of playing the fair, she believes she has figured out what she needs to do in order to get a new item admitted to the fair. That includes entering the idea by the due date, which this year was May 1. Fairgoers also will be able to take advantage of a $2 off coupon for the $5 pie if they purchase the coupon book. For $5, Larson said, fairgoers can buy a book with 150 coupons offering discounts, split two-thirds between food and one-third between merchandise and attractions. Vendors must offer a 30-percent discount to get into the coupon book, he added.
In fact, Hayden said, she did well her first year at the fair, but in retrospect, that probably was due to being a new food vendor at the fair. Sales dropped her second year. “We didn’t know how to play the game,” she said. “We didn’t know it was important to be in the coupon book.”
Of course, there are other things to take into consideration when dreaming up a new food item at the fair. Dan O’Gara had success one year with a reuben sausage dog. But after the item sold 27,000 units, he knew he had to have his ducks in a row before presenting a different entree in order to keep up with customer demand in case of another hit. He did a lot of experimentation before coming up with the Deep-Fried Avocado — about 12 or 13 avocado pieces deep-fried served with a chipotle ranch dipping sauce for $8. O’Gara, operating as O’Gara’s at the Fair, decided to have a food production company prep his avocado pieces in batter beforehand, to be deep-fried on the spot at the fair.
Then he found the production company that could prep the item ahead of time. “They came up with a good batter,” he said. “Because the avocado is so soft, the batter is crispy. It holds everything together really well.”
And at the end of the day, customers can check out Cherry Bombs — deep-fried red licorice that vendor Mike Rosenthal compares to a jelly doughnut. Rosenthal will be selling the treat for $5 at his booth, Vegie Fries. Customers will get about eight — amuse-bouche style — for the price, sprinkled with powdered sugar, of course.
Like many other vendors, it took some testing before Rosenthal had it just right. “It’s soft-gooey, not messy-gooey,” he said. “It tastes like a mini-jelly doughnut. You have cake batter around the outside that is warm and it’s fruity on the inside, with powdered sugar on the end.”


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AUGMENTED REALITY AND 5G ARE HERE
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 7:30 pm

REPORTING FROM BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — Technology is everywhere and simply ignoring new technology is not an option in the venue industry in 2017.
“Every panel, roundtable and keynote will talk about how technology has changed and impacted our business,” declared MichAl Lorenc, head of industry, ticketing and Live Events, Google, who moderated the Tech Trends panel at here VenuesNow.
“There’s no question that technology has changed everything from talent discovery to marketing to payments to distribution systems to security to in-venue experiences to out-of-venue experiences,” he said.
Eric Johnson, CEO, LaneOne, said his company is going after the premium tier at live events. “We marry technology and services,” he said. The company is a joint venture between Live Nation/Ticketmaster and Azoff MSG and will launch in the fall.
Christos Karmis, president, Mobilitie, said, “It’s a lot of work as people use their cellphones more and more each day. Making sure the networks operate 24/7 is a big task.”
John Paul, CEO, VenueNext, said his company’s goal is to integrate all the systems in a venue and present them to the fan through their mobile device. He hopes to improve the fan experience and, at the same time, dramatically improve the business at the venue through cost reduction.
“In the long run it’s all about the data we can provide that shows who is coming into the venue,” he said.
“It’s all about knowing who is in your venue,” said Paul. “The ticket is a great anonymizer. I could hand my ticket to someone else and every system in the venue will think it’s me. Getting that ticket on a mobile device, and making sure you know who has that device, is most important.”
The ability to understand what people are doing in the venue and what they’re doing when they go home helps us build that database and tells us who our customer is,” said Paul.
“Mobile is huge and keeping up with demand is tough,” said Karmis. “The reality is that people are consuming large amounts of data. We’re constantly upgrading networks.” Karmis is already looking at changes that will have to be made for 5G.
“We’re trying to get ahead of it,” he said, predicting 2020 as the 5G revolution touchpoint.
Johnson talked about dynamic pricing. Having access to the data shows us what the market looks like and we can then sell at a fair price. It all goes back to mobile, he said. “What we’ll see in data in the next 10 years will be driven by having identification with mobile devices.”
Lorenc said that the cost of data needs to come down. “It’s hard for small to medium-sized venues to get this technology on a budget they can afford.”
Karmis said that a capital investment in Mobilitie could run anywhere from $7-$10 million. “And you’re not done when you finish,” he said. “You have to continually upgrade your systems.”
Paul said that network coverage is a requirement in a venue and he’s looking at ways to monetize it by selling the data he collects. “The key is making the value exchange fair,” said Karmis. “People need to feel like they are getting something along with giving you all their information.”
Deepen Parikh, partner, Courtside Ventures, said the eSports offer a great opportunity to collect data. “So much is done online and leaves a footprint,” he said. “The eSports world is very busy building customer profiles.”
With data comes security concerns. “We all talk about solutions but with every solution comes a new problem,” said Karmis. “Public WiFi networks are distressing. There’s only so much we can control. Spoof networks are hard to detect.”
“Technology is new for a lot of venues,” he said. “It’s hard for a venue to hire the best and brightest to run their networks.” He said that expertise needs to be shared across venues.
Johnson said investment is easier to get on the sports side. “Teams see the investment pay off,” he said. “It’s more problematic in a one-off concert.” Johnson believes OVG’s Arena Alliance model will help. “The payoff will be easier to see when many venues are doing the same things.”
Parikh has had less success getting sports teams to invest in technology, “unless it’s directly relevant to the bottom line. If it doesn’t equate to dollars very quickly, you are not going to get them to pay for it.” He also said some of the leagues are “doing a great job and get that the fan experience is on the line if they don’t keep up with the latest technology trends.”
Paul said the 49ers are in the upper echelon for the amount of energy they put into content and distribution. “They want the fans to see their content and they keep finding creative ways to get in front of them.”
“We should be using technology to relieve some of the friction in going to a live event,” said Paul. “Let’s make it easier to park; easier to get in; easier to find your way around; easier to eat. Let’s use technology to shave off the tough parts.”
Paul also believes that Augmented Reality (AR) is going to have a much bigger impact than Virtual Reality (VR), especially in venues. “AR will really aid in the better enjoyment of a venue,” he said, using wayfinding as a good example of how AR will work inside a venue. “Today we give you step-by-step directions but you are never really sure what way you should be looking at the map. With AR the app will flash an arrow showing you exactly where to go. Or it can find a friend sitting in a whole different section.”
Paul said that teams could use AR to get fans engaged with players on the field. “You hold up your phone, it recognizes the player, gives you the history of that player, stats, and even clips of that player in past games.”
With Google and Apple both highly investing in the AR space, Paul thinks that in the next couple of years there will be tens of hundreds of phones that will have AR capabilities. “It will become much more automatic and seamless,” he said. “It requires location services to be smart, but everyone is moving to indoor mapping techniques that don’t even require beacons anymore. With AR we just put things on top of things in the right location because we know where you are and where you are looking.”
Paul also said that the cost of AR will be minimal. Most of the data is already out there, he said, and he expects that the leagues and teams will pick up the cost to get fans engaged with the players.
AR will make the user interfaces much easier and more intuitive. “Hold your phone up and point and if we can figure out what it is, we’ll tell you.” He likened it to a Shazam for the real world.


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COMICS, MOVIES AND PARKOUR LIVE
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 7:25 pm

REPORTING FROM LOS ANGELES — Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes is a little lighter and more efficient than the first touring version but, beyond that, everything is about more and better. The projection mapping and automated track lighting are among the technology components that amaze Josh Rothchild, company manager, when he talks about the cutting-edge technical and athletic skills displayed in the 25-truck show.
The Feld Entertainment production officially premiered at Staples Center, Los Angeles, July 7 after a first run in New Orleans. It will be on the road for 11 months, playing 39 cities in 2017-18.
The props and equipment have to be travel-worthy as well as awe inspiring. And the skilled athletes performing have to be well maintained, too. Paramedics and physical therapists travel with the show and planned breaks during the tour, with each stop involving six to eight performances Thursday-Sunday, give the cast and crew a few days to decompress and stay healthy.
The production hangs 120,000 pounds, give or take, because it fluctuates on the number of motors, said Rothchild, who has spent 10 years with Feld Entertainment. “We’re hanging 19 projectors that both hit our huge, one-of-a-kind projection wall and the length of our floor as well,” he said. “It helps engulf you in Marvel Universe.”
The screen is 40 X 70 feet and serves as the vertical stage for the production, and the floor projection covers another 120 feet downstage by 70 feet wide. The main runway coming out of the center of the stage is 35 feet long and about waist high. (See further stats on page 84)
To add depth to the production, the show also carries an elevated platform in the center area from which performers can play. They’ve added 13 doors in the screen, through which superheroes and villains alike enter and exit. In all, there are three levels from which to perform.
And it’s all integrated — video, sound and light — with the performers to create a realtime video effect. The magic is in the coding, said J. Vaught, SVP, productions and operations touring units for Feld.
“Projection mapping is one of coolest apps because you have a cast that is actually playing off of what is happening on the floor. If we have a volcano erupting and one of the heroes is running away from it, when you’re sitting in the seats, you’re hearing the sound of a volcano erupt but also seeing it visually,” Rothchild said.
Staging includes two additional platforms that can raise up and down independently to bring performers from the upper grid. The catwalk system is extensive and performance riggers keep everyone clipped in and safe. Backstage includes a hydraulic lift they call the “bus,” which brings performers up to start off points. Performers are warned they mustn’t miss the bus, said Chris Fox, technical director, of the intricate timing of the show.
Fox has been in the business all his life and knows many of the arena ops crews and local labor unions, which helps streamline production. Vaught noted that the much-appreciated bonuses venues can bring to the show include dressing rooms with 10-foot ceilings and sufficient bandwidth, both cellular and WiFi.
Vaught said Feld Entertainment is also looking to arenas for help to navigate local permitting. Marvel Universe Live involves pyrotechnics and live action  motor stunts. They also look to arenas to partner with area tech and ops people, he said.
To accomplish all the intricate stunts involved, 16 winches (they call it the “winch farm”) are used to clip performers into a harness hidden within their costume. “We check them every day,” Rothchild said of the safety-first mentality on the show. Performers can then be propelled from the various platforms or even fly backwards when hit to add power and strength to the superhero’s fighting prowess.
The automated tracking system for lighting is also unique to touring shows, Rothchild said. Typically, at concerts, pros man spotlights to follow the artists on stage. “We could have up to 30 people on the floor. Can you imagine trying to track them?” he explained. So every performer has a pack and a string of beacons in their costume (in clear sight for the cameras). The cameras in the air shoot the infrared signal to locate them and designers programmed the lighting fixtures to follow them.
The goal is to visually transport the audience around the world and galaxy. There are 26,000 lumens used for each of the 23 projectors, compared to an average of 2,000 lumens for a typical classroom projector.
There is about 14 terabytes of video content and playback files used for the production.
“We’re layering in sound with the video projection and automated tracking system,” Rothchild said. “It takes a lot of time.”
There are always challenges with any live show, and even more so with one so complex. “We have people watching the show who have to troubleshoot,” he said.
“Like any show, we have plan B,” Rothchild said. “It happens every day. People don’t know what they don’t know.”
All of the layering and automation that goes into the staging is there to enhance the story and the talent. Marvel Universe Live! superheroes are highly skilled athletes, trained in martial arts and Parkour.
Props are designed with texture, strength and flexibility to make stunts like jumping, flipping and slamming into someone else possible. The props also require constant fire proofing. Parkour, a physical training discipline to overcome obstacles, is usually done outdoors. To bring it to the Marvel Universe Live stage, Feld Entertainment designed props that aid the athletic movement, similar to what might be found in a Parkour gym. Some of the performers (think Captain America) are straight out of motocross, with the skillset and props necessary to jump a motorcycle 14 feet up in the air and through a small set door. Both gas and electric motorcycles play a big role in Age of Heroes.
Next May, the show is scheduled to go off the road for five weeks for refurb.


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SECURITY TIP OF THE MONTH
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 6:40 pm

Secure the Outside
Summer means more concerts, festivals, county fairs, sporting events and outdoor activities. Venues need to fully utilize all available resources to secure the outer perimeter of facilities and events to deter bad actors. This means increased use of bomb detection dogs, utilizing more outside cameras, patrols via security or law enforcement in parking lots and gathering areas, addressing and restricting vehicle approaches and increasing guest service visibility outside the venues.


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LIVE TOURING THRIVING IN 2017
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 6:20 pm

Midway through 2017, live touring trends have clearly emerged. Highlights for promoters interviewed by Venues Today included the reemergence of solid artists who can sell a lot of tickets; the power of packaging two to three artists together; the need to refine the length of the ticket on-sale window; and concern about the havoc the secondary market has wreaked on pricing. Finding ways to thwart the misuse of inventory is on top of every promoter’s mind; clawing back revenue is not far behind.
“My year has been great,” said Louis Messina, CEO, Messina Touring Group. “I’m seeing consistent million dollar-plus grosses. We’re selling out more shows than not.”
As long as a show is priced properly and there haven’t been too many shows in the same market it should work, according to Messina. “There’s no secret,” he said.
“Overbooking the building and not spacing out the market is a big problem,” he said. “In a B-minus/C-plus-market, you can’t have four country shows in a month; you can’t have two pop shows on top of each other.”
Messina said he is happy to share his routing schedule with competitors. “If I’m scheduling Kenny Chesney’s routing with Live Nation. I don’t want to be on top of Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean doesn’t want to be on top of me. I’ll flip-flop my routing if I have to. We’re looking long-term.”
“I still love what I do,” he said, sharing his biggest promoter trick: “I’m partners with AEG; I work with Live Nation; I try to be friends with everybody.”
Alex Hodges, president, Nederlander Concerts, thinks the live touring business in 2017 is thriving and strong. “We’re having a great year. It may be the strongest-ever,” said Hodges. “I think promoters of every size and dimension would say they’re having a pretty good year.”
The power of packaging is a trend that’s working out very well for his company. “Packaging two or three artists together really took off this year,” Hodges said. “The dollar goes a long way for the fan and all of a sudden you get sell-out shows. In a packaged tour somehow one plus one equals six.”
Hodges said he’s seeing comedians also stepping up to the plate this year. “A lot of them are doing arenas and killing it,” he said, pointing to “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, Ally Wong and Sebastian Maniscalco.
There are no trailers or trucks with a comedian, said Hodges, about the benefit of having a hot comedy show.
Hodges thinks the rest of the year looks strong. “Gas prices are down, which is good for live touring in terms of the fan and the budget,” said Hodges, who is happy with ticket prices in 2017, and is a fan of having three to four ticket prices in a house. “We’ve needed to answer the broker issue and we’re finding being flexible and point saving as you move back in the house is appreciated. If the consumer is happy we can all make some money.”
“It’s going very well in 2017,” said Bob Roux, co-president of U.S. concerts for Live Nation. “We are on plan. In the end we will have another record year.”
“It’s been a very successful summer season so far,” said Roux. 
2017 is the third year in row that Live Nation has hosted more than 100 stadium shows. Roux attributes the 2017 increase to a strong and stable economic backdrop. “Generally, our economy is in good shape and that means people are out and spending. You back that up with the number of tours going out; artists playing more dates and a strong dollar and it all translates into success at the box office.”
Roux said that Live Nation’s “marketing gets better and better each year. As we find new ways to connect fans to the artist, our efforts show in ticket sales.”
Roux is happy with current ticket pricing. “When they are buying more volume, we tend to think we’ve got pricing right for the fans.”
Roux’s forecast for the rest of the year is positive, based on an industry trend of putting shows on-sale earlier and earlier. “The vast majority of shows are already on-sale,” he said. “We’ve lengthened sales cycles.”
  “Our shows tend to be loaded into the second, third and fourth quarters,” said John Meglen, president and co-CEO, Concerts West, a division of AEG Presents. “But we’re having a really good year so far.”
“I think the biggest thing for us in 2017 is that I’m starting to see where we are starting to capture a better gross,” said Meglen.
Smart ticket pricing, a better control of inventory and knowing where tickets are are all components of the uptick. “A big part of it is people just accepting higher pricing to begin with,” Meglen said.
Digital compounded the problem. “It took us this long to get control of it because of the myriad ways tickets have been sitting outside our business,” Meglen said.
Meglen said that if a company invests in an artist or market, “the revenue should flow to you, not some outside entity that’s picking up the product and selling it at three-times the price. The post-secondary revolution is the biggest story in the industry right now.”
Figuring out who is a fan vs. who is a scalper is a big step in the right direction. “That movement is pushing revenue,” he said. “I’ve been a big fan for a long time of closing the ticket.”
Meglen blames the industry for getting to this point. “We let the StubHubs and Viagogos walk all over us,” Meglen believes. “Taking back our inventory is the single healthiest thing our industry can do.”
Meglen is generally happy with ticket pricing, but down on discounting. “If you are discounting it means you are playing too big of a place. The Holy Grail is maintaining the ticket value.”
He is also concerned with the ever-expanding ticket on-sale window. While prevailing wisdom among many fellow promoters is that summers shows in Europe need to go on sale by the fall of the previous year to compete, he’s had success bucking that scenario with his super stars.
“The last two shows we got on sale this year were Dion and The Rolling Stones and they sold more tickets than anyone.” Meglen is a fan of a four-week on-sale. “How do we spend $100,000 over a 12-month period? It’s crazy. We need to stop spreading it out so long.”
Debra Rathwell, SVP, AEG Presents, has similar concerns. “The one thing that concerns me is the lack of artists breaking through in the pop genre who can sell a lot of tickets and headline arenas. The new music fan seems fine with collecting and appreciating songs and is less interested in the artist and their body of music. That could just be cyclical as often happens in this business.”
Charlie Goldstone, president of Frank Productions, has had a really successful first half of  2017. “Ticket prices are increasing,” said Goldstone. “Ticket prices have been higher and we’re doing better than last year,” he said. “The economy is healthy and people are valuing the live experience. Through digital marketing – which is easier and cheaper - we’re able to reach people we weren’t reaching before.”
Goldstone also thinks the production value if the shows are adding to the bump. “People are feeling like they are getting a good bang for the buck.”
He likes a two to six months ticketing window. “We don’t want to be putting shows on-sale much longer than that,” he said.
The Australian market is very healthy, according to Michael Chugg, founder of Chugg Entertainment and Michael Gudinski, founder, Mushroom Group and Frontier Tours.
Chugg puts shows on-sale anywhere from two to 12 months in advance, with festivals usually 7-9 months out. “The trend is to get shows up a long way out,” said Gudinski. “That’s proving to sell more tickets over the long run.”
Both Australian promoters agree that tackling the out-of-control secondary market is top priority. “Multiple ticket pricing is what we need,” said Gudinski. “We need more control over our own destinies.”
Australian promoters and venue managers are also looking to the government for a solution. “This needs to be illegal,” he said.
He’s also against the practice of discounting prices to move tickets. “This causes problems for all the promoters,” he said. “You train people to wait and think, ‘If we hold off we’ll get better prices.’ We sell 40 percent of our tickets in the last 10 days.”
Security is top of mind with Chugg. Banning backpacks, expanding perimeters, and encouraging early fan arrival with vouchers for a free beer or discounted T-shirts to eliminate the last minute rush are now common practice.
Doc McGhee, founder of McGhee Entertainment, was happy to report that 2017 touring is up 15 to 20 percent and that classic rock is doing very well in North America and Europe.
The proliferation of festivals is problematic, though. “We’re north of 140 festivals this year,” he cautioned, “more than we’ve ever had in the history of live music. The market can’t support the list growing every year.” Gudinski agreed. “What works more than the old traditional festivals are things like the winery circuit and destination festivals,” he said.
McGhee feels good about ticket prices. “We go back-and-forth and guess what the fan will spend, and the next thing we know scalpers are selling tickets from $1,000-$3,000. If anything has to be addressed, it’s the secondary ticketing market. It used to be illegal to scalp tickets,” he said. “Now it’s called the secondary market.”
He remembers back to 1991 when managers were trying to stay south of $25 tickets. Today, that’s the service charge. McGhee has strong feelings about “all the parasites trying to get their piece” and “hidden fees at buildings.”
McGhee pointed out that in the 70s, he’d walk out with 70 percent of the gross and, today, “I’m lucky if I walk out with 60 percent.”


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ASK RUSS
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 6:00 pm

According to American Heart Association (AHA) research, most U.S. employees are not prepared to handle health emergencies in the workplace because they lack training in CPR and First Aid.
  A recent survey by the AHA showed that only 50 percent of employees can locate an automated external defibrillator (AED) at work. In the U.S., there are over 10,000 cardiac arrests annually in the workplace; this small piece of information has the potential to save thousands of lives. Immediate CPR and use of an AED can double or triple survival rates. Is your staff prepared to respond?
• Some key findings from an extensive employee study commissioned by AHA and conducted by Edelman Intelligence:
• More than half (55%) of employees cannot get First Aid or CPR+AED training from their employer. And when employers do offer this training, it’s often either one or the other.
• Half of all U.S. workers cannot locate the AED at work. In the hospitality industry, that number rises to two-thirds (66%).
  “The data suggests these untrained employees may be relying on their untrained peers in the event of an emergency, leaving employees with a false sense of security that someone in the workplace will be qualified and able to respond, when that is clearly not the case,” said Michael Kurz, MD, co-chair of the AHA’s Systems of Care.
  One-third of workers questioned in an OSHA survey said First Aid, CPR and AED training only became important and offered after an incident demonstrated the need. Other findings from the OSHA survey, commissioned by AHA and fielded by web resource EHS Daily Advisor, include:
  One-third (33%) of safety managers said lives have been saved at home and at the workplace because of First Aid, CPR and AED training provided at work. Three-quarters (75%) said injuries have been treated in the workplace with this training.
  “First Aid, CPR and AED training need to become part of a larger culture of safety within workplaces,” said Dr. Kurz.
  Additionally, the survey results indicate more than 90 percent of employees would take First Aid and CPR+AED training if employers offered it, and most (70 percent) believe training would make them feel better prepared for emergencies.

THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
The American Red Cross is the leading provider of OSHA-compliant health and safety training. Their portfolio includes First Aid and CPR, Basic Life Support.
  Train-the-Trainer – The Red Cross can train and authorize your in-house trainers/instructors to deliver high quality, Red Cross-certified training at your facility. This is an excellent way to create continuity for your staff.

BLOODBOURNE PATHOGENS
OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2) requires employers to provide training to any employees who have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, such as employees assigned medical or first aid duties by their employers. The standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030(b) defines “occupational exposure” as “reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.” If an employee is trained in first aid and identified by the employer as responsible for rendering medical assistance as part of his/her job duties, that employee is covered by the bloodborne pathogens standard.
  For housekeeping staff, the potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens may exist when encountering spilled blood or body fluids.

PRACTICAL BENEFITS
According to Gibson, First aid and CPR training also has practical benefits, including:
• All employees become more safety aware, helping to bring down the number of accidents in the work place.
• First aid and CPR saves lives, particularly where there are grave injuries, and it is critical that immediate action is taken.
• First aid trainees know exactly what’s in their first aid kits, how to use the contents, and the various ways to react in an emergency. It makes each employee an unofficial health and safety risk manager.
• Trainees learn how to perform CPR, use an automated external defibrillator (optional), bandage injuries, and control blood flow – critical skills for emergencies anywhere, not just the workplace. Investing in training also invests in our society.
 
The Bottom Line
Investing in proper workplace training and equipment is a good investment not just for your business and staff. It is good to remember that the commitment to this training goes home with your employees. Your company and staff become an integral asset to your community.

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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LETTER FROM MAUREEN ANDERSEN, President/CEO, International Ticketing Association
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 6:00 pm

Summer at INTIX is a busy time and this year is no exception. Plans become action as we march steadily toward the 39th INTIX Annual Conference & Exhibition in Baltimore, Jan. 23-25, 2018. Our various work teams are assembled and working on the important renewal work with our exhibitor and sponsorship partners; our committees are gearing up for the vital work that is the heart of our members commitment to service; the Board meets this month for their essential budget and stewardship activities. More information forthcoming on all things INTIX, but our tradition of service has a special place this month. INTIX is very proud to have one of our own as the recipient of the International Association of Venue Managers’ Joseph J. Anzivino Distinguished Allied Award. 
Congratulations to our Chair, Jane Kleinberger, who we know not only to be distinguished but to be a generous, passionate, dedicated, and fierce leader. Her contributions to the industry and to both associations (IAVM & INTIX) should be considered the “playbook” for not only the spirit of service but the actual practice of service. Jane is that rare combination leader/mentor/friend/colleague that many of us wish we could better emulate.
But to emulate Jane, you must DO because Jane DOES; there is nothing passive about Jane. Her spirit, energy and enthusiasm for the entertainment industry is unparalleled. I have had the great honor and very special seat to observe Jane from many different angles, and she is consistent from each view.  From being a colleague, a client, an employee, a competitor, I have observed her walk through her life and her business dealings with integrity, grit, passion and guts. We have enjoyed a unique mentor/mentee relationship over the past 20 years and I am honored to be her colleague but grateful to call her my friend.
Jane demands the best from you because she believes the best lives in you. As a service provider, she practically dares her clients to be better, faster, stronger because she knows you are the best. You believe it because she believes it. The interesting thing about Jane is that she really has no concept of the affect on those around her. Inside the passion and commitment lies an inherent humility, and she would always rather put others (clients, staff, co-workers, colleagues) in the spotlight vs. herself.
A couple of years ago, a group of INTIX leaders approached Jane to come and serve again at INTIX. At this point in a career, many start to pull back and to lighten their load but, after a pause to reflect, her innate spirit of giving, of service, urged her to do the only thing she knew to do. She returned to INTIX with a full force, all in, three-year commitment as Chair. As many of us have, Jane came to this industry “accidentally…and I never looked back,” she said.  
We are also grateful you never looked back Jane, and that you have been an example of what is not just good about our industry, but what is great! Thank you, Jane, for giving and for your continued example of service in action.


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LIVE TOURING’S SECRET SAUCE
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 5:25 pm

DebraRathwell0076r_copy.jpgDebra Rathwell is not the sort of woman who was destined to have what was once called “a woman’s job.” She was always a voracious reader, which is how she learned about careers that weren’t exactly what was expected from a girl who grew up in Gatineau Hills, Quebec.
“I wanted to be a literary agent or editor at a publishing house,” said Rathwell. “I read about careers that should have been impossible for me to consider. I think that girls at that time were supposed to go to school and study to be a teacher, nurse or a flight attendant, but I didn’t want to be any of those things. I wanted a job that involved books and academia.”
Rathwell never set out to get into the live music space; she stumbled in. “In my last year at Carleton University in Ottawa, my roommate was a woman who was a singer-songwriter, and I really liked all of her musical friends and the music scene,” she said. “Harvey Glatt, the chairman of a concert company, rock radio station and Treble Clef record stores needed an executive assistant. I applied for the job and made sure that he knew that I could do everything, though I think he hired me as there weren’t too many Canadian college students who read the Sunday New York Times.”
In 1982, Donald K. Donald, a promoter in Montreal, offered Rathwell a job with the title of vice president and a substantial raise, so she moved to Montreal and stayed there for the next 12 years. 
“Donald K Donald was a master promoter/impresario and he taught me everything,” she said. “He laid the foundation for the sort of promoter that I am today.”
Rathwell recalled Donald making her “sit at his desk for six months while he tortured me into a deep understanding about how the business works and how to operate in it. I will be forever grateful to him for taking the time and putting in the effort to give me a solid foundation and the expertise to be a concert promoter.”
In 1994, Rathwell bid au revoir to Montreal and moved to New York City, where she worked for John Scher and Jim Koplik at Metropolitan Entertainment.
Koplik is now the President of Live Nation, Connecticut/Upstate New York. He hired Rathwell the moment he heard she was picking up roots and moving to the U.S. “I’ve known Debra for over 30 years,” said Koplik. “She was a superstar in Canada, and I knew she’d be a superstar in America, too.”
“Debra is an aggressive, smart person, which is the secret sauce in this business,” he said. “She wins people over quite easily. She thinks about the business 24/7. Debra has the ability to talk to the artists from a perspective of touring as their main asset.
“As good as she is at running the AEG NYC office, Debra’s real mark is the number of tours that she was able to get, which is not easy. You have to convince the manager, the agent and the artist to go in one direction.”
Koplik recalled his favorite Debra Rathwell tale. “Debra got the idea of buying a set of dates in the Northeast for Metropolitan,” he recalled with amusement. “The first one she went after was Joe Cocker. There were 10 shows we bought, of which seven were wildly successful. Three were not doing as well, but over the 10, we were going to make nice money. But it bothered Debra so much that we were going to lose money on three that she went after the manager and the agent, very aggressively, and we ended up making money on 10 out of 10. In a business of win and lose, Debra doesn’t accept the lose part.”
The job at Metropolitan Entertainment lasted until December 2002 when the company was sold. “Even though Debra moved to a competitor, we’ve stayed friends and I see her often,” said Koplik. “
“I didn’t want to work for SFX or Live Nation or whatever the entity was called then,” said Rathwell. “So I called Randy Phillips at AEG. He was supportive and I opened the AEG New York City office with eight former employees in January 2013.”
Fourteen years later, Rathwell is SVP of the office she built from the ground up.
“The company had expanded to about 45 employees before becoming Bowery Presents and doubling in size to 90 employees this year.”
In between, Rathwell carved out a reputation as a savvy talent spotter and touring genius. She brought great international stars like Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood and Celine Dion to AEG. She picked up on tours that others didn’t see much worth in, like “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.”
Rathwell took delight is telling the tale of how she saw the opportunity of the  “American Idol” tour while others scoffed. “Apparently I was the last person that Jeff Frasco at CAA spoke to about the possibility of touring ‘American Idol’ in North America,” Rathwell recalled. “Everyone else had turned him down when he finally called me.” Of course, as it turned out, “Idol” was a smash-hit and people were clamoring to see the idols live in concert. 
“We had a great run with this property,” she said with satisfaction.
Rathwell said her favorite part of her job was seeing tickets sell. “When you put a tour on sale and it sells boatloads of tickets on the on-sale, there just isn’t anything better than that,” she said gleefully. “I also like working on shows and creating marketing initiatives and promotions that will help to sell tickets. As we all know, sellouts are rare and very special.”
  Rathwell acknowledged that her daily routine is not filled with glory. “Every day seems to be filled with problems of one sort or another,” she said.  “If you don’t like solving problems and defusing contentious situations, then this isn’t the job for you.”
  Rathwell described moments when “I knew that I was in deep trouble, but that’s when you get to work and do your best to dig yourself out of whatever looming financial loss is in front of you.”
She looks at the touring industry as a win-lose business. “The only way that you can keep your sanity is to focus on the aggregate of all of your touring properties and calculate them on an annual basis. You are measured by having more wins than losses. About midway through my career, I stopped subscribing to ‘magical thinking’ — which is when you book risky shows with little upside. It takes a lot of time and experience to get to ‘just saying no’ and being okay with that decision.”
  When she’s not working, Rathwell spends time with her “best friend and partner”
Harry Sandler, who she’s been with for 15 years.
Rathwell also shared pride in her daughter, Marcella Grimaux, who is a screen producer at Silent Partners in Montreal. “She and her wife Catherine have a new baby girl named Carmen Jane,” boasted Grandma Deb.
When she’s done with her adventures as the queen of New York City’s live touring space, Rathwell looks forward to travelling the world. “I want to go everywhere and see everything,” said Rathwell. But she’ll always come “home” to New York. “There is nowhere else in the world that I want to live,” she said of her big city life. “I will always return home to New York.”


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CLIENT RELATIONS GENIUS
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 5:00 pm

TM_02-Blue-Marla-Ostroff_1001_copy.jpgHaving spent her early years in ticketing with the now defunct Ticketron, and later learning a lot about business and client relations from scions like Irving Azoff and Fred Rosen, Marla Ostroff is a legend in the ticketing world. She even hired her current boss, Jared Smith, president of North American operations for Ticketmaster.
“The key is in hiring well and making sure you don’t feel you are the only one who can answer something,” she said of coping with her current role of managing Ticketmaster’s national and theater accounts. “I have to sometimes make sure the clients know they can go to other people. Jared used to work for me, so obviously it works, because no one has trouble going to Jared.”
Today, Ostroff, a Venues Today 2017 Woman of Influence, whose TM clients include Madison Square Garden, SMG, Feld Entertainment and the Nederlander organization, operates out of Ticketmaster’s Northeast office in New York City, a town she has called home for a long time. That high profile clientele is “game, set, match,” said Mike Evans, Live Nation. “Marla has a special relationship with clients.”
Irving Azoff, Azoff Music Group/Oak View Group, agrees so heartily that he was the one who lured Ostroff back to Ticketmaster after a year-long hiatus. At the time, Azoff was chairman of Live Nation, which owned Ticketmaster.
“I’ve known Marla all the way back to the Fred Rosen-era at Ticketmaster,” Azoff said. “When I arrived at Ticketmaster, she had moved on and I had to track her down get her to come back.”
Why? “I don’t care what the assignment is, then or now, she’s a can-do person. She understands how to make clients happy,” Azoff said, adding that Madison Square Garden was among the clients who wanted her back.
Ostroff has worked for Ticketmaster for three decades and sees the biggest difference now, under Live Nation, is that the organizational hierarchy has changed. Her official title is EVP of Arts and Theatre and Strategic Accounts. “Now we have divisions we oversee,” she said. “All the people in the New York office do not report to me, but I still know all the clients in the Northeast.
In the beginning, Ostroff worked in a bar in college and a guy who came in all the time to listen to music and would bus her tables loved the fact she could multitask: work the bar, cocktail waitress and study all at the same time. “He said, ‘One day I’m going to hire you,’” she recalled. He worked for Ticketron. “I told him how much I loved music. He told me about computerized ticketing, I thought it was so great, because my dad would have to go stand in line for me in downtown Cleveland to buy my tickets. Computerized tickets meant you could stay out in the suburb I lived in or call on the phone and I didn’t have to send my dad.”
Equal and fair access for everyone was the hook for Ostroff, which is ironic considering the brokers had that same access and changed the business forever.
Ticketron’s Mark (Stony) Stoner was one of her first mentors. He was a contrarian, wearing jeans when others wore suits. “He would say it’s all about the client, the client is first and foremost. Always tell them the situation,” Ostroff said.
Ticketron eventually moved Ostroff to Washington, D.C., where she started realizing all hell was breaking loose in ticketing and Ticketron and Control Data, who owned it, didn’t care about the clients.
This was the low point for Ostroff, who truly loved the industry. With plans to get out, she made one more trip to the International Association of Auditorium Managers (IAAM), where she came to the attention of Rosen, president of Ticketmaster and anathema to Ticketron at the time.
Ostroff observed a panel that included Rosen, venue manager Loris Smith, and Ticketron’s Bob Gorra. They were debating whether venues should make revenue from the convenience fee. Ostroff found herself agreeing with Rosen and Smith that they should be partners in ticketing. Rosen noticed.
He caught up with her after the panel and in his direct way, said, “I have to ask you, why do you work for these numbnuts?”
Her response, which she remembers to this day, was, “I’m not sure why I work for them, but I know why I don’t work for someone like you. Because my mother always told me to stay away from New York Jewish lawyers who think they can be in the entertainment industry.”
That night, she accompanied two arena guys, Neil Sulkes and Rich Krezwick, to a hospitality suite, not knowing it was Rosen’s, and even sat at his table, again unwittingly.
The rest is history. Rosen decided he had to hire her. For five months, he called every day, trying to win her over, and finally she realized that she was afraid of his personality, being such an in-your-face guy, but she believed in his business philosophy, precisely that the client comes first, her lifelong mantra.
“I realized I’m only going to learn from somebody who really wants to grow a business,” Ostroff recalled. “I liked the industry. Though he scared me, I knew I’d learn to be more aggressive and more direct and understand business better.”
Besides Rosen, Ostroff’s mentors include “100 percent my mother, who got me to believe women should really fully understand and like themselves before they go into marriage and get a job. That has guided me my entire life and given me the confidence I didn’t have.”
Working for Smith makes Ostroff aware she can always learn more, and the sentiment is mutual.
“Marla was mentor for a good portion of my career,” Smith said. “I credit her immensely with selflessly helping teach and develop me - both in the early days and in many respects still today. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from working for and with her.”
Smith sees Ostroff as both teacher and listener, which makes her a great communicator and builds trust. “People pretty universally respect Marla because she’s forthright. You know where you stand with her. She plays the long view of building relationships that last for a career and it has served her very, very well.”
Directness has defined Ostroff through her 29 years at Ticketmaster, where she started in 1979.
She is direct with her employees and her clients. It’s only fair and builds trust. “My relationships, internal and external, are key, and the most important piece of why I am in this business. It was my clients who went to Irving Azoff when I left and said please bring her back.”
Ticketing is a service. With Live Nation’s Michael Rapino and Ticketmaster’s Smith, Ostroff feels she’s in a very sweet spot today. “We finally have people [in charge] who understand what it’s like to produce, promote and own a venue. It helps us when we say this is what we need for our clients — even theater and sports — they say we get it; that makes total sense.”
Even while working for such high-powered entrepreneurs, Ostroff has filled in her life, marrying after she had found herself, as her mother advised. Her husband, Bill, whom she met at Ticketmaster, is in marketing. They have twin sons, Ethan and Miles.
Singling out a highlight of her career proves impossible, but she will share “something that makes me smile is knowing that clients, some of them almost 40 years later with Ticketmaster, can see the value in the partnership and feel that we are there for them. As well as employees I’ve worked with who either stayed within the company and moved on to other positions and had a great impact or those who left who went on to have wonderful careers. I really enjoy, as I say to Jared, making sure he is surrounded in the future with great people.”


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TICKETING CONSOLIDATES… AGAIN
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 5:00 pm

There’s been a tidal wave of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships in the ticketing world in the past few months. SeatGeek swallowed up TopTix. Eventbrite bought TicketFly from Pandora. Comcast Spectacor decided they didn’t want to be in the ticket business anymore and sold their ticketing division, Spectra Ticketing and Fan Engagement, to Learfield. Ticketmaster is partnering with GameTime.
What’s behind all the activity? Venues Today spoke with top industry players to find out.
“These things tend to move like clusters of earthquakes,” said Mark Meyerson, VP & GM, Live Music, Vendini. “Movement begets movement. What we’ve seen is a lot of startups that are interested in the startup culture, not necessarily the ticketing culture, that are looking to cash out.”
Meyerson believes companies that are highly leveraged and have been spending a lot of money are responsible for the latest wave of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. “These startups have demands on what they need to do versus companies that have a solid base and a long history that are looking to innovate. They collide and that starts the wave that pulls things apart.”
Industry moves, investment, changes, sales and interest from private capital are all good things, said Meyerson. People are starting to see where it all can fit into a future version of ecommerce. “People are looking to get in and make bets on companies that lean forward. Some deals are just about market share. But it’s relative and market share deals are not about innovation.”
The big factors that are going to move our industry are solid, stable companies looking to innovate. The idea of vertical integration plays really well in the conference room, and the power-point looks awesome, but the gap between the presentation and the way people really live can be huge, he said.
Maureen Andersen, CEO, Intix, is a big fan of the M&A route. “We do this every three years,” said Andersen. “It refocuses the industry and sets it on a new track. It tells  everybody where we are now; where we’ve come from; what kind of new technology is out there to partner with and look for.”
Andersen said sometimes it’s to increase their marketshare; other times it’s merging with a company that has a piece of software; sometimes it’s someone who wants out.
She’s intrigued by the SeetGeek/TopTix partnership. “Here you have SeetGeek, a secondary market company acquiring TopTix, which is a primary. It’s a true melding of taking a primary and secondary and turning it into one company.”
Andersen is also a supporter of open API’s and finding partnerships that work. “Any company worth their salt is trying to figure out how to do this and be in front of it, if they are not going to lead it, at least they can be ready for it. This is where it’s all going,” she said. “We’re being driven by market trends that are outside of us. It’s the airline model, the hotel model, the Amazon model. The customer doesn’t care where they buy their ticket.”
Andersen said that ticketing is slightly different in that it has a shelf life with a beginning and end. “The widest way to get your inventory out to the public is probably the best way.” Andersen estimates that within three years open platforms will be a matter of fact. She also thinks the current M&A process in this wave is not over.
As for rumors that the National Football League is going to end their exclusive contract with Ticketmaster, Andersen thinks if true, it will be a toppling effect and the other leagues will follow suit. “We’ve all become entrenched in a business model that is outdated. They don’t do it this way overseas.”
Andersen’s crystal ball tells her there will be a few more big mergers and acquisitions before the next INTIX conference in January, which she believes makes the organization stronger. “Anything that changes and focuses the industry and makes things proactive for the customers is positive,” she said.
Andersen is most concerned for the larger ticketing companies that have been doing business the same way for a long time. “It’s challenging to the big players to try to figure out how to meet the challenges of the new world. It’s a matter of ‘how do we talk about a world where all share it’.” She’s also concerned with security. “Recent events have proved we all need to know who is in our buildings,” she said. “Physical space security and tracking people once they are in the building needs to be discussed at the same time.”
Andersen brought her thoughts home this way: “Mergers and acquisitions are really all about what’s working, what’s not working and what doesn’t work anymore. The smart people are asking those questions and making decisions based around that answer.”
“We’ve seen lots of consolidation waves,” said Matt Rosenberg, chief revenue officer, Eventbrite. “Whenever there’s a high degree of fragmentation, you tend to see consolidation happen at different points.”
Rosenberg believes that, particular to the ticket industry, players often reach a level of scale and realize it’s hard to leap to the next level, and that forces them to look for partners to provide growth. “Smaller players may have great technology but can’t scale it or may have limited resources, and may have a great book of business but can’t move past that book because they don’t have the investment dollars.”
“As the ticketing world changes, the market needs new technology and acquisitions are a way to augment solutions and solve problems,” he said. Rosenberg thinks that, just as in any other industry, the partnerships come in waves as companies react and re-evaluate to the latest consolidations. “Lots of fragmentation and low barrier to entry like ticketing speeds up that process.”
Ticketing is complex, competitive and hard to do well and profitably, he stressed. “Innovation drives the ticketing industry,” he said. “Companies look for gaps, and that drives them to purchases.”
Rosenberg believes consolidation is a healthy dynamic and thinks we’ll continue to see it happen.
Eventbrite has made seven acquisitions since its inception. “We look at acquisitions as, ‘can we get there faster and more effectively and gain more scalability?’ We look at how we can innovate and find solutions,” he said. “It’s one of many strategies. We look at acquisitions for technology, acquisitions to expand our footprint and general partnerships which is how we expand our offerings to the general public.”
“On paper, acquisitions always look great,” he warned. “But then the reality hits and you have to merge two different companies, different cultures, merge technology and ways of doing business.”
Still, Rosenberg is an ardent supporter of consolidation. “It brings together the best of both enterprises.”
Rosenberg is also firmly in the open platform camp. “The whole industry is going to pivot to open very soon,” said Rosenberg. “Our philosophy is that ‘open’ wins. It gives the customer a choice; it puts the inventory where the consumers are; open allows companies to enter into partnerships.
“Fragmentation breeds consolidation,” said Andrew Dreskin, founder and CEO TicketFly, which was recently acquired by Eventbrite. “We’ve been predicting this wave for years, and we’re seeing it all play out now. It’s perfectly natural behavior.”
Dreskin thinks this latest batch of consolidation should be looked at with a bigger looking glass and argues that ticket consolidation has been happening over a long period of time. 
“It may feel like it’s consolidation as of late, but if you look at the industry, it’s been consolidating for a long time,” said Dreskin. You go back to Ticketmaster’s acquisition of TicketWeb; Tickets.com was basically the process of a roll up. The advent of the internet changed everything just as mobile is now changing everything again,” he said.
Any industry that revolves around tech has a natural realization that small companies who hire similar numbers of people and build similar products and features is not time well spent, especially when competing against legacy players, he said.
“Smaller companies competing is a waste of time, and the larger companies are wired into showing growth, which acquisitions and partnerships provide. Either small upstarts come together to compete or the dominant players roll up the smaller players,” he said. “It’s survival of the fittest.”
Deskin pointed to the record industry, the airlines and the big accounting firms, all industries that have had major periods of consolidation, as places to look to understand what’s happening in the ticket world today. “This plays out in every industry.”
Dreskin thinks there is more consolidation to come. “There are acquisitive players out there who realize that M&A done smartly can be quite accretive to stockholders.” He cautioned, though, that M&A can be treacherous. “Between 50 to 80 percent of M&A’s go wrong,” he warned.
Dreskin is confident the industry will continue to consolidate. “A lot of the big players are quite acquisition oriented.” He also believes that “exclusivity is over and the exclusive model will have to open up and relax. TicketFly, as a company, is happy to relax exclusivity provided that the other leading players in the industry do the same. On an open playing field, we’re glad to market against any other platform.”
Meyerson thinks technological integration is harder than most people understand.
“People are very busy moving to mobile but they’ve left behind the hard work of ticketing,” he said. “The secret sauce going forward is companies that know what they’re doing, proven what they can do and are now reinvesting in innovation and looking to the future.”
“Companies that are forced to buy and sell and merge because their finances or investments are forcing them to do so, are not advancing the industry,” he said.
“When the impetus isn’t to create something great, but instead is to build on the deal, it’s not going to move the needle.”
Meyerson thinks the Paciolan/Learfield deal is one that made perfect sense. When Paciolan was sold to Comcast Spectacor “they were moved into a place where they were integrated into a venue operator; it was problematic,” he believes. “With Learfield, who operate collegiate sports, it’s a similar model, a niche play, and could be a good strategy.”
He’s less impressed with the Eventbrite/TicketFly merger. “This is a market share play. These guys have a lot of hard work ahead of them. There are a ton of decisions that will need to be made from their corporate culture internally to their brand externally.”
Meyerson pointed out everything from shared services to which platform they will use. “Now they have to serve all these clients and ease all the waves and disruptions that come with M&A.”
Meyerson thinks the distribution model will flatten out and open up and become horizontal, multipartner and multichannel. “There are big changes coming for the industry. The democratization of discovery and transaction is putting tickets where people live. The standalone channel model is a brittle model that the market is passing by.”


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MAPS MONEY WINDFALL
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:25 pm

In 1993, Oklahoma City voters approved a $350 million, sales tax-funded initiative to revitalize their downtown. The Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) capital improvement program used a limited term one-cent sales tax to build projects, including the Chesapeake Energy Arena, debt free.
“The city invested in nine projects to jump start Oklahoma City’s economic vitality and the ninth project was the arena,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president, sales and marketing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. “It was controversial in the market at the time, since there was no NBA team, and there was concern about the vitality and that type of investment.”
When the arena served as the home court for New Orleans Hornets following Hurricane Katrina for two seasons, this fear was quickly alleviated. Oklahoma City embraced the team and proved that the city was ripe for its own.
After a second MAPS initiative for schools was passed in 2001 for $514 million, a third, in 2008, funded improvements for the arena and the building of an off-site practice facility for the arena’s new home team, the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder.
“The temporary tax was for 18 months and generated $112 million-$114 million that went into the arena,” said Thomas Anderson, special projects manager for the City of Oklahoma City. “We completed the projects with $1 million left over to sock away for future improvements.”
According to the City of Oklahoma City, MAPS projects are built debt free and, over time, the money is collected and spent efficiently without burdening future taxpayers. Every MAPS initiative has essentially been a 10- to 12-year process.
The city is currently in MAPS 3, breaking ground on a 70-acre downtown park immediately south of the arena as well as a downtown streetcar system that will eventually service the facility.
“We will have an entirely new convention center and entertainment district adjacent to the arena, with completion scheduled in 2020,” said Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.


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VENUES TODAY HERALDS THE PAST 15 YEARS
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Venues Today now has 15 years of publishing the News Behind the Headlines “in the rearview mirror.”
We’ve documented the business side of sports and entertainment, including Hot Tickets and the Top Stops, week after week, month after month. Four venues have each reported more than
$1 billion worth of tickets sold during that time, one of which was Madison Square Garden, New York.
Darren Pfeffer, EVP, MSG Live, cited reasons like the Billy Joel residency that started in 2014 (they’ll celebrate his 50th show in 2018), Phish with 13 shows at the Garden this summer selling 190,000 tickets, major boxing events, Latin shows, comedy like Louis C.K. and, especially, “the ability to turnover seamlessly.” Being that busy requires an outstanding ops and engineering crew.
And we’ve recognized excellence in the industry, including up and coming Generation Nexters. Jon Petrunak, who was with SMG when he became a Generation Next winner and is now with Live Nation, loves helping grow the touring side of the business. And appreciates the honor of becoming a Venues Today Generation Nexter because his peers recognized his talent at a young age. “There is pride in that. To have a venue-specific publication helps us see what’s going on and recognizes people who deserve recognition,” Petrunak said.
That sums it up for Venues Today, recognizing others and building the industry. We like to be, as our new owner Oak View Group says, “a positive disruption” in a growing and vital world of venues. — Linda Deckard


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STUDENT TURNED TEACHER
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Michele_Montague_7_copy.jpgWhen Michele Montague was young she thought she’d be a psychologist or psychiatrist. She was derailed from that career when her only two ‘C’ grades at the University of Oregon, Eugene, were in Psychology 101 and 102. “I knew pretty quickly it was not meant to be,” said Montague.
What was meant to be was a lifelong career in the venue world, which Montague started at the top after nabbing a job with family entertainment giant, Feld Entertainment, in 2000, as a promoter. “I started part time for Steve Brown when the circus was coming to town,” said Montague. “Then I got picked up by Bill Powell’s team and moved to Dallas.”
She stayed with Feld for four years. “They taught me everything,” she said. “I did every town in Texas that you could come up with. I promoted Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City and, eventually, got promoted to Washington, D.C.,” Feld Entertainment headquarters at the time.
The move to D.C. led Montague to her next position, which was as a director of marketing for the Washington Wizards. She worked with the Wizards for two and a half years, after which she went back to Feld Entertainment.
“When I was in college I wanted to be a director of marketing,” explained Montague about her decision to return to Feld after getting her dream job with the Wizards. “I was all of 26 and I thought, ‘now what?’” The kicker, for Montague, was the social media world that was exploding around her. “Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were all coming on strong and started to become a vital part of the job — but it wasn’t me from a marketing position.”
Montague also didn’t exactly love dealing with the players. “I never imagined that I’d have to sit there and hand-hold a player just to get the player to show up at things,” she said.
A chance meeting with her old colleague at Feld, Mark Duryea, gave her the opportunity to get back to the part of the business she did love. “I realized that the negotiating, the analysis, the contracts and the settlement was what thrilled me about this business,” she recalled.
Duryea offered Montague a job as booking director for North American routing and tours back at Feld Entertainment and Montague ended up working at Feld for the next four and half years.
Going back to Feld was great, said Montague. “I got to work and negotiated in so many different buildings in the country, from small towns to big cities. I got to work with theaters and stadiums.”
Feld’s portfolio grew during Montague’s second stint with the company and on top of the circus and Disney, she was now doing Monster Jam, Supercross and Nuclear Cowboyz. “There was something different every day,” she said.
In 2011, David Touhey, president of venues of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, asked Montague if she’d be interested in taking on the job of director of booking at Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. “I knew Dave from my first stretch with the Wizards; we were all in the same offices,” she said. “Then I negotiated against him when I was back at Feld.”
Montague took the job and was promoted in 2015 to VP of events and AGM.
“She cares and has integrity,” said Touhey. “Michele cares about the people who work for her, the clients she works with, and she wants to be fair. She takes the time to explain things, she’s honest, and everyone adores her.”
Montague’s favorite part of the job is making the calendar come together. “I see my position as making the building as busy as it can be and making the calendar work,” she said. “I like putting together the puzzle. With five tenant teams, it’s daunting sometimes.”
Now back on the other side of the table, dealing with unreasonable expectations from promoters is Montague’s least favorite part of the job. “It’s my biggest frustration,” said Montague. “I often sit there and think to myself, ‘do you even hear what you are asking for?’ If someone says they want 100 percent of everything, where do you start?”
Over 18 years, Montague has learned to roll with the punches and take things in stride, but even a professional like she is gets thrown once in a while. “My first manager-on-duty experience was for a day event for the Dalai Lama,” Montague recollected, still feeling the pain of that day’s events. “Everything was going fine and the next thing I know we were having a near-riot on the concourse because they were giving out holy red-rope bracelets and palm branches. There were people everywhere and it was out of control. I was on the radio with the other staff and they were like, ‘it’s her first day, she’s exaggerating’ then they came to the concourse and they were like, ‘Holy cow.’”
Montague learned crisis and crowd management quickly. “I think that way now,” she said. “Not to be a Negative Nelly, but better to be prepared than to be surprised.”
Montague has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University for the past five years, teaching both undergraduate and graduate classes 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.
“I started teaching in 2012 and I love teaching young minds,” said Montague. “The way I teach is to have a lot of guest speakers. If I can bring in David Pitman from Cirque Du Soleil and Kelly Flanigan from Live Nation, why would you want to listen to me?”
Montague also takes all of her students on a tour of Verizon Center. “We go in and recap everything we’ve talked about and the kids get to see things happen live. Walking through a real building, while an event is going on, is a unique experience for the students.”
Lisa Delpy Neirotti is the director of sports management masters programs at Georgetown University. She’s known Montague for almost seven years. “She’s hard; she doesn’t take guff from the students, yet they love her.”
Touhey is quite impressed with Montague’s teaching abilities as well. “She steps up for her students,” he said. “She takes the time to listen to her students; she loves the business, and wants to help people along. So many of them continue to seek her out even after they’ve finished her class and Michele is more than willing to help them in any way she can.”
As for her future, Montague “likes where I am and I like the position I’m in.” But her surprising goal is to go to a smaller venue, a one-team venue, or even potentially a college venue. “Working at a 200-240 events-a-year facility gets a little old and I don’t know if I want to do that the rest if my life,” said Montague candidly.
Based on Montague’s history of getting what she wants, no one who knows her would be too shocked to see it happen. “Michele is an achiever and strong willed. If she wants something she goes for it,” said Touhey.


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THE PEAKE CELEBRATES 15
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

In looking at the 15-year history of Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, there is no doubt the most pivotal moment for the venue happened just three years after opening.
When Hurricane Katrina caused New Orleans’ Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena to shut down in 2005, the hunt was on to find a temporary home for the displaced National Basketball Association (NBA) Hornets.
  Fortunately, SMG, which managed both the Superdome, now Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and New Orleans Arena, now the Smoothie King Center, had a solution.
“The immediate need was to have a place to play, and SMG had been managing Oklahoma City’s Ford Center for a number of years,” said Doug Thornton, SMG’s executive vice president of Stadiums & Arenas. “The building was big enough to handle an NBA team, so it was an easy decision to relocate the Hornets to Oklahoma City.”
It also helped that the 600,000-sq.-ft. Ford Center, now the Chesapeake Energy Arena or The Peake, was similar in both size and footprint to the New Orleans Arena.

OUTFITTING FOR A HOME TEAM
When the Hornets returned to their hometown after two seasons, the question of how to proceed with Oklahoma City’s venue, which had undergone improvements in the short term to accommodate NBA basketball, remained.
With a new venue built to NBA specifications immediately available, and an enthusiastic market in the waiting, it was a slam dunk for one lucky team.
That turned out to be the Seattle Supersonics, which was looking for a new home after their city turned down a request to build a $500-million arena complex.
Not only would the team, renamed the Oklahoma City Thunder, get a practically brand new home starting with their 2008-09 season, but the venue would be undergoing continuous updates during the off-season from 2008 to 2013 to the tune of another $180 million.
  “One condition of the team’s relocation was passage of another dedicated sales tax that would make arena improvements, which would happen with or without a new team,” said Thomas Anderson, special projects manager for the City of Oklahoma City. “If we secured a team, the plan was to construct a new NBA practice facility.”
Voters approved the tax increase in 2008 by 64-percent majority, which allocated $94 million for a stand-alone sports facility and additional improvements, despite the recession.
“When the Thunder came to the arena, it had the benefit of that trial-and-error [with the Hornets],” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president, sales and marketing, for the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Because the building had no debt, it was possible to be aggressive in investing in the facility to provide things that were important to us, whether that meant revenue-enhancing restaurants, premium amenities, digital media for advertising or guest experience enhancements.”
Although technically the Thunder is considered a building tenant, Byrnes said there is a sense of teamwork as well as ownership that overshadows the tenant relationship.
By all accounts, it has been a successful liaison. The Thunder qualified for its first playoffs in its second season in Oklahoma City, and won its first division title in the 2010–11 season and first Western Conference championship in the 2011–12 season.
“We just received a report from the NBA a few weeks ago and, according to their outside consultant, we were rated number one for total game experience in the entire league,” said Byrnes.
Further validation of the impact of the arena, renamed Chesapeake Energy Arena in a 12-year naming rights deal that began in July 2011, is how it has served as the main catalyst for the city’s economic development.
In the 15 years since it was built, restaurants, cultural investments and parking environments have sprouted up to support a downtown entertainment district that has raised the status of the community and its financial profile.
The estimated total direct spending in Oklahoma City attributed to events held in the arena over the last 15 years is in excess of $1.2 billion.
“Still, Oklahoma City is the second smallest market in the NBA, so we have to work a little harder to market the team and create revenue streams,” said Byrnes. “The building and SMG have understood this can’t just be a tenant relationship. When the team identifies opportunities for revenue enhancement, caters to our sponsorship or naming rights partner or if there’s an investment in adding new digital media technology to sell more ads, the building is working with us, and that’s to the team’s benefit.”

IN THE BEGINNING
Oklahoma City was ripe for a new venue when the facility was proposed as a primary component of the city’s Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) capital improvement program back in 1993 (see accompanying sidebar).
In 1999, SMG was brought on board to run the city’s existing convention center and adjacent 13,000-seat arena and was soon tapped to manage the new arena.
Funded through a dedicated sales tax, along with another part of a larger capital initiative, the $89.2-million arena opened on June 8, 2002.
Prior to securing an NBA team, the arena had a major impact on the community. From the get go, it attracted top performers, including the Eagles, Paul McCartney and Brittany Spears, which changed the dynamic of the city.
“Yet, even back then, one of the goals was to secure a major league sports tenant, either basketball or hockey, and we worked with SMG and consultants behind the scenes to accomplish this,” said Anderson. “When the opportunity to host the Hornets came about, it was a litmus test; we could’ve spent millions on marketing and feasibility studies, but having real life experience here for two years and the overwhelming success of the Hornets led to developments to secure our own NBA franchise.”

MAKING A MAJOR IMPACT
Not only is the Thunder playing to sold-out crowds for every game, but concert and event attendance also has been strong. Approximately 1.2 million people visit The Peake each year, and the arena hosts about 130 events each year, 22 of them concerts.
In terms of upgrades, the most recent building improvements include a grand entry with multistory atrium; a 75-foot-wide by 21-foot-tall exterior video display on the northern face; additional restaurants and lounges; a family fun zone; and team offices and expanded locker rooms.
“We have a Citizens Oversight Board that reviews how money is spent and also works closely with the team and SMG to identify priorities and revenue generation,” said Anderson. “The arena has a direct spending impact using DMAI (a calculator that measures the direct impact of events on businesses, employment, income and taxes) of $104 million, but it goes beyond dollars and cents; The Peake has brought the community and state together to rally around something really positive.”
It also has spurred much redevelopment in the city’s infrastructure even to this day, including a new park, improvements to the Oklahoma River, a new downtown trolley system and Bricktown Ballpark for the Triple -A Oklahoma City Dodgers. A new convention center also is planned for 2020.
“One of the things that attracted me here is that the city has a lot of momentum,” said Hugh Lombardi, who has been general manager of the arena and Cox Convention Center for about a year. “There are a lot of things happening in the city, and one survey found this has become one of the most popular places to move to.”
As the Chesapeake Energy Arena looks toward its next decade and a half, it can easily rest on its laurels for a while.
“The city invested in the arena,” said Thornton. “Having an NBA team in your facility gives us the cachet for hosting [the top] events and concerts, which is a big plus for everyone.”


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THE BALANCING ACT
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Donna_1_copy.jpgHaving a personal life when working in the sports and entertainment business is a constant struggle,  but it’s a battle you have to fight.
“I’ve tried to do it always. Once you decide you will have kids, you have to find some way of balancing it out in this crazy business we’re in,” declared Donna Julian, SVP, arena and event operations/GM of Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C., and Venues Today 2017 Woman of Influence.
Julian has been on the fast track since she fell in love with the arena business while interning at Capital Centre, Landover, Md., for Centre Management in 1984. “As soon as I did that internship at the Cap Centre — which had all the hockey, basketball, events, and Georgetown — I got the bug. I knew instantly I want to do what I can to get into this arena thing,” recalled Julian. Until then, she had thought she would do something in sports, having gone to Ohio University on a tennis scholarship.
In 1990, she became assistant GM at Baltimore Arena  (now Royal Farms Arena), while still working for Centre Management. In 1998, always on the fast track, she became GM. By that time she was working for SMG, which bought the management contract from Abe Pollin’s Centre Management.
Those 14 years in Baltimore sealed the deal for Julian, who developed a network of mentors and friends and family there who serve her well to this day.
Her mother, Loretta Patterson, is first on the list of mentors. “She was a working mother when I was in school and helped me with balancing mother and businesswoman. She is an instinctive, good manager. I could call her today and bounce ideas off of her.”
Hank Abate, now with Madison Square Garden, New York, is a tremendous resource for Julian. “Hank is just such a great balance of business, operations and customer service knowledge. He showed me how to juggle all three of those things to be successful,” Julian said. Gary Handelman, who handled operations at Centre Management, was another mentor to Julian.
Mike Evans, now with Live Nation, dates back to Julian’s Maryland days when he ran Music Centre Productions and is a great source of advice, she said.
Evans is impressed with Julian as well. “Donna is a consensus builder. She wants everyone’s opinion, then makes her choice. I’ve gotten mad at her, wanting her to make a decision now, but she’s not going to do it. In the end, we’re all better for it.”
Evans also claims matchmaker in his relationship to Julian. “I introduced her husband to her. I still think of her as Donna Patterson sometimes. David was running a “Bring the Ball Back to Baltimore” campaign after the Colts moved.”
Her husband now works in the Foundation department at UNC Charlotte.
“He’s wonderful support,” she said. “I could never do what I am without him.” Her son Griffin, 19, is in his first year of college at East Carolina University, Greenville; and son Donavan, 16, is going into 11th grade. The younger one has a little bit of an interest in the business, “but they’re into other things, which is totally fine. I want them to have a passion for what they end up doing.”
She attributes her love for sports to her late dad, Mulda Patterson, a huge fan who took her to every game in Baltimore as a child. “I really credit my father for my love of sports. We listened to sports on the radio. It was the foundation of my life,” she said of her childhood.
Sports means competition, camaraderie, team effort, all of which translate into business, Julian said. “It’s about people coming together for a common goal. I like winning.”
Julian defines herself as goal oriented. “For me it was clear, once I knew I loved arena stuff, that I wanted to be an arena manager; I just drove people crazy. I was eager to do what I could. And Baltimore happened. Timing is everything. I had a connection to Baltimore and they just gave me a shot so I’d stop driving them crazy.”
She learned the business side of arena management from one of Baltimore city’s finance pros and fiscal responsibility from SMG’s finance department.
  To get results, you must understand flow sheets and financial statements, she said. And you must network. Julian is somewhat of a sponge, soaking up every detail she can and applying it in her own way.
When Centre Management sold its Baltimore contract to SMG, it also sold its Cleveland contract, which brought Marty Bechtold, now with the Indiana Pacers and Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, more firmly into Julian’s life in Baltimore.
Bechtold calls Julian “a genuinely nice person and incredibly bright. Donna sees all sides of an issue and is a great consensus builder.”
But beyond that, she is wired to keep a work/life balance. All her mentors and coworkers pointed out that Julian has taught them, through example, how to maintain a strong personal as well as professional life. “She has that balance totally squared away,” Bechtold said.
One of Julian’s goals was to work in a National Basketball Association (NBA)or National Hockey League (NHL) arena. When Barry Silberman, one of her bosses back at Centre Management, was hired to open the new Charlotte, N.C., arena, he brought her into the fold. “We fell in love with Charlotte,” Julian said of her family.
Julian prides herself on being a good communicator and a good listener. “I realize it is a team effort. You hire good people and you work for a common goal.”
She also thinks things through, preferring to not always be reactionary, despite the pressure to do that in the music side of the arena business.
Opening Spectrum Center (Time Warner Cable Arena at the time) with the Rolling Stones was phenomenal for Julian. “I had never been involved in preopening of a major building. Then a couple days later, the team played its first game. It was awesome.”
Another highlight was hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. “I do love the collaboration of people coming together to get this thing done,” she said. And getting it done took a year and a half of multitasking.
“On the music side of things, you want to feel like you have some control, but you really don’t. Some people are touring, some aren’t. You have to be ready to jump on something.” She feels like she has a little more control with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, except for what happens on the court.
“You can control the experience in the building. We put a lot of effort into our training. We empower our staff and spend a lot of time with touchpoints with Levy [Restaurants] and other partners. We put everyone in the same room so we’re speaking the same language.”
Julian inspires the troops to take chances and put themselves out there, sharing a Theodore Roosevelt quote with all new hires from Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly.” 
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” — Teddy Roosevelt, speaking at the Sorbonne in Paris, April 23, 1910
“That’s so simple, but yet it makes sense. You can probably feel okay about doing something, even if you fall short, but at least you tried,” Julian said. She encourages employees to make suggestions; to take chances.


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GROWING FOOD SERVICES
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Like many new venues, Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, formerly the Ford Center when it opened in 2002, did not have a fully-developed food and beverage program.
The evolution of its offerings is a testament to not just the arena, but also the city itself.
For example, a former storage area was turned into the Continental Resources Courtside Club, a restaurant and lounge that can host about 200.
The Budweiser Brew House, the main restaurant, is accessible to all ticketholders and offers grilled entrees, sandwiches and house-made barbecue. Located on the 100-level concourse, the Budweiser Brew House Carvery offers upscale dining with a buffet that includes carved meat options, salads, potatoes, vegetables and breads.
The Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club, also on the 100-level concourse, offers a full bar, along with appetizers, such as a Kentucky Bourbon Wing Basket, Trio of Street Tacos and Pork Belly Banh Mi. This area includes a new adjacent patio.
“This is a great sports bar with craft cocktails, local beer and, of course, Jack Daniels,” said Shaun Beard, senior vice president of Premier Food Services/Savor, a division of SMG. “We also do small plates there.”
VIP dining options are offered at The Pub, the new Courtside Club, the Victory Club and new Terrace Lounges.
“Some are spaces converted for parties and larger suites that have become hospitality areas for dignitaries and VIPs,” said Beard. “Those spaces were converted gradually over the last eight years.”
Savor handles the catering in these areas.
  “The other thing we’ve done in the main and upper concourse is develop a food and beverage scene with wings and grilled burger stations and smoked brisket and sausages that are prepared on site,” said Beard.
The food and beverage program continues evolving, with the most recent addition being an expanded craft beer selection featuring Oklahoma brands.
“Our offerings have really evolved over the years and continue to grow with the demands of the team and special events; there’s always something new,” said Beard. “The city built it out, the Thunder promoted it and we did the flavor; it was a true partnership.”


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THE HUMAN TOUCH
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

johnsiehl.jpgI n 1965, a 16-year-old John Siehl went to the Hara Arena in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and applied for a job as an usher.
He got  it. 
Still in high school, Siehl worked nights and weekends, moving from that position to being on ice patrol at the building’s ice rink. After high school, he continued at the 5,500-seat arena, but worked full-time, stretching his collegiate career at the University of Dayton over some years.
Those years did count, though, in many ways. He received a BA in general education and psychology, and then later a masters in educational counseling.
Those years also took him from the usher and ice patrol years to a variety of other jobs at the arena.
“As different jobs became available, I thought, ‘I can do,’” Siehl said.
He could, too, as it turned out.
He became the general manager at Hara Arena in 1978. In 1989, he left that building and was hired by Ogden Entertainment for the head position at Wright State University Nutter Center, still staying in his hometown.
He retired from the Nutter Center in 2009 and relished in retirement  for four days. Then, he became part of the team at VenuWorks, a company that provides full-service venue management, food and beverage, and programming solutions to arenas, theatres and convention centers throughout the U.S.
That is where he is today.
Steve Peters is the founder of VenuWorks. He also is the same person that interviewed Siehl in 1989 for the Nutter Center position.
This year, Siehl accepts the International Association of Venue Managers’ prestigious Charles A. McElravy Award, an award named after one of the founding organizers of IAVM and given annually to a member of the industry to honor the recipient’s extraordinary contributions to the association and the profession of public assembly facility management over a number of years.
He couldn’t be more humble in accepting this honor.
“It has been very nice,” Siehl said. “Everything that everybody has said...it’s just been really nice.”
His colleagues have been more forthcoming.
Peters said: “John is my ideal of the servant/leader, that is one who leads by setting an example of humble service himself and supporting those around him. He has unselfishly served the IAVM for decades. He is a marvelous storyteller, and one of the most charitable people I know. I love him like a brother.”
Jim Brown, Wright State University Nutter Center, said: “John is very well deserving of this recognition and this award. He not only is a veteran of the industry, but what a super mentor he has been to so many that have come up through this industry. He has given his time and talents to the association. He is a great friend, great facility manager and a great mentor.”
Tammy Koolbeck, Iowa State Center, Ames, said: “John, simply put, is an icon in our industry. His knowledge of every aspect of venue management, particularly in safety and security, has made him an invaluable resource to all of our VenuWorks locations and to all IAVM members.  Personally, he has served as a mentor and friend to me for several years.  From him, I have learned how important training is to building a great team and some finger jokes.”
Misty Cox, Nutter Center, said: “John gave me my first full-time job in the industry right out of college after I spent nine months working as an intern. From the beginning, he was a supportive boss who always looked out for my best interests and empowered me to go above and beyond. His encouragement and mentorship continues to play an important role in my career. It was an honor to work for him for 13 years.”
John Cox, Nutter Center, said: “I was lucky enough to work for John for 25 years. It’s honestly hard for me to put into words what he means to me. Without a doubt, John has single handedly made me the facility person I am. His concepts and ideas of the business are second to none. He treats his employees more like family. To just say that he was my boss would be a disservice as he is also my cheerleader, sounding board, mentor and dear friend.”
Brad Mayne, IAVM, said: “John is somewhat the exception to the rule. People will come and put their time into the association and, then, many move on to other things. The incredible thing is that John continues to give to the association and the industry. He is still very active on boards, with venue safety and security and instruction. He continues to give his time and his passion. He is genuine and straight forward.”
Through the years, there seems to be only one moment when Siehl thought seriously about leaving the venue industry. That was after leaving Hara Arena in 1989, where he had become disheartened at the way it was being run. That arena was shuttered for good in 2016.
“I had actually gone to a head hunter for help in looking for another job and then ended up working for the head hunter for about four months,” Siehl said. 
But, then, Ogden Entertainment began hiring for the new 10,000-seat plus Nutter Center and the next 20 years is history.
Siehl didn’t enter back into the industry in 1989 lightly. He knew the days would be long and he had two young children. He sat down with his wife, Patty. The decision they finally reached was predicated on finding the balance between work and family and that if he did go back into the industry, he would be the best he could be.
“I realized that I was in the position to help others in the industry,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I provided a safe environment for people to enjoy themselves.”
Siehl has seen many changes over the years and, of course, technology has been the most significant. But, there have been others — some that have actually come back around.
About technological changes, Siehl said: “Starting back in the dark ages, essentially when the U.S. Postal Service took a hit with the advent of faxing, our industry has evolved essentially into the immediate gratification mode. Email and instant messaging have given us the opportunity to book, contract and refine agreements instantly. I still prefer a phone call to initiate a conversation, but have become very comfortable with the technological advances leading to immediate gratification.
“The initial phone call is so very crucial, in my opinion, because in live entertainment, live person to person contact in other venues is crucial to our industry. We must always remember to grasp the human touch as the touch that brings our customers back. I challenge us not to lose sight of the human factor.”
Siehl said he would like to see an integration of technology coupled more firmly with the service aspect.
“The public has every right or expectation to look for the newest and best in new facilities,” he said. “Our job is to firmly integrate the personal touch with the touch of technology,” he said.
Maintaining the integration of humanity, no matter how comprehensive is an important goal, Siehl said. 
He has seen the pendulum swing back slightly with facility operators taking a second look at the balance of the personal touch with technology.
Siehl also is seeing a change in the demographics of industry management.
“I have no hard statistics, but I do have the distinct feel that there is a generational gap,” he said. “In my view, this gap exists in the higher mid-level manager positions — short and sweet, the next generation of general managers and directors. With no hard data, I see that the industry lost an inordinate number of ‘newbies’ to the industry about 15-20 years ago. We literally burnt them out and they left the industry.”
But, he is seeing that  change. He feels management is more responsive to the needs of the younger generation, and education and training of the new work force has matured with more management courses on the collegiate level.
“This is creating what I see as a new work force, with differing expectations from the generations that I feel we ‘burnt out’ in the 1990s,” he said. “They come to us with higher expectations related to technology and service.”
Siehl also feels the successful venue will be the one that offers everything.
“But, therein is the conundrum,” he said. “What does that really mean? I have artificially set the transition of the century as the hard stop, and restart. It surely is not that simple, but there has to be a general line of evolution. Competition is huge. The number of all facilities built or renovated in the past 20 years is phenomenal.
“This number far surpasses the increase in product or patrons,” he said. “So in the end, many are fighting for the allegiance of the same people. We need to be responsive, and quick to adjust and meet the ever changing expectation of our patron. Keeping up with that expectation is a full time job, in every aspect of every facility.  Facilities not willing to accept this evolution will be left struggling to keep the lights on.” 
Even with his full time hours at VenuWorks, he said he is “probably not working as hard as my dear friends still in the buildings.”
He does find time to spend with his two grown children and his three grandchildren. He tries to take care of his health and he walks many miles.
He also is a bereavement counselor for his local hospice organization.
“I know that is a heavy thing to volunteer my time to, but when my wife was dying (1992), hospice helped us so,” he said. “I decided I wanted to give back.”


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EMPOWERING OTHERS
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 4:00 pm

Kim_Damron_copy_2.jpgEmpowering employees to own their job and move the dial, combined with fostering a company culture that emphasizes work/life balance, are the hallmarks of the leadership style of Kim Damron, president and COO of Paciolan.
She has been on the fast track her whole career and, because of her accomplishments and her flair, is among the 2017 Venues Today Women of Influence.
Damron joined Paciolan 11 years ago, upon meeting with Dave Butler, CEO, and realizing his vision and her vision meshed wonderfully. She was ambitious but balanced, planning a family and expecting to have time to serve them as well. And she loves Orange County. Paciolan is headquartered in Irvine, Calif.
She grew up in Costa Mesa, Calif., and attended the University of Southern California from which both of her parents graduated. “And USC was our first client ever at Paciolan,” she said. How copacetic is that, though, of course, she wasn’t at Paciolan at the time. However, she has embraced it fully, history and all.
Thinking she would become a sportscaster, she interned at PrimeTicket. “The great thing about internships is you experience what the job is like; in college you don’t know what you want.” She learned she did not want to be a sportscaster.
Her next internship, in 1993, was at Paramount Studios, her senior year. “It’s funny because I went to work for a woman, the SVP of media for all advertising of motion pictures. She offered me her assistant job, which was open in January. I wasn’t graduating until May. She said, ‘I’m not going to wait for you and I am who I am and I’m a bitch and I’m not going to change for you.’”
That was Damron’s welcome to Hollywood and she learned a lot from her boss and mentor, Susan Wrenn, about how to be a powerful woman in business, how to manage relationships, and “the main thing — how to survive in Hollywood. It’s such a cutthroat industry. But you can get to the top if you want to, man or woman.”
After more than four years with Paramount, Damron got the itch to explore the Internet of things. “It’s such an exciting space, really the biggest thing since the industrial revolution,” she believed then and now.
In 1999, she joined Buy.com, an Amazon competitor. She was hired to help build the entertainment store, to run the business side, working with key vendors and distributors. And the best thing, it got her back to Orange County. “I love Southern California,” she emphasizes again and again.
She stayed at Buy.com through its Initial Public Offering, until the company went private again. She witnessed its growth to $500 million in sales in the first year. It was on the cover of Fortune magazine. “It was a fantastic run. I learned so much about the Internet and about cutting deals. We did the first linking deal with eBay. Internet advertising was new in 1998.” She left and spent a brief year consulting for eBay, but decided against moving to San Jose, so she looked around.
Tickets.com was based in Costa Mesa, and had just named Ron Bension CEO. “I reached out and they hired me. I stayed there through the MLBAM acquisition,” Damron said. She was VP of marketing and business.
Then Paciolan recruited her. She wasn’t really looking to move, but she certainly had to entertain the offer. She met Dave Butler for lunch and was so impressed she joined nine days later. Butler had joined Paciolan in August 2005. Damron came on board in December 2005.
“I just loved Dave’s vision and leadership. I hadn’t even talked about titles, money or anything when I told my husband, ‘I’m going with this company,’” she said.
Managers have been mentors for Damron all along the way, which may be why she is so fiercely involved in mentoring those she manages. “The number one reason people quit their jobs is who they’re working for, not where they’re working,” she said. “In my career, I have been lucky to work for fantastic mentors and managers.”
That’s the message she has when she speaks at a class at University of California — Irvine on international business. “The first thing I tell them is when you are being interviewed by a potential employer, you interview them as well. Are they going to empower you, are you going to be able to grow with this person?”
Damron, who is married to Jeff Damron, is also a huge supporter of work/life balance. The Damrons have four children: Taylor, 19; Paige, 16; Abby, 9; and Blake, 7. It’s a very busy household.
When Damron had her first baby (two came with the marriage), she had a rocky return to work. “If it weren’t for Lisa Chinn in our development organization, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” she admitted. “I couldn’t balance career, daycare, all those things, and sleep deprivation as well. We bonded over the timing of the birth of our kids.”
Chinn’s support (and it was mutual) made Damron realize there is a need for mentoring among women, so she started a monthly get together for the women at Paciolan. She bought them all a copy of the book “Lean In,” and each woman picked a mentor within the company, just to get the female perspective to help them in their careers. “From my experience that was critical….having a confidante.”
She began to feel okay about being a working mom.
Her answer personally and professionally is to make your children’s big moments a priority. She encourages all Paciolan employees to be with family at those times it matters most.
Damron is very excited about the Learfield’s acquisition of Paciolan this month, noting they are very invested in the arts as well as college sports, having bought MogoARTS, with 200 clients of which 160 are performing arts clients, prior to buying Paciolan.
Learfield is focused on live entertainment, she said. They also own ANC and GoVision, scoreboard/leaderboard companies.
Damron’s ascendency to the presidency of Paciolan has been precipitous. Jane Kleinberger, Paciolan founder, recalls that day when she learned Butler would be sidelined for health reasons for a time, and she was asked to step back in and lead. Her first executive decision was to bring Damron more deeply into the management picture.
“I find her to be one of the most exceptional manager/leaders that I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” Kleinberger said. “Unlike many of us, including myself, Kim has a way of holding people accountable and holding herself accountable. If she says she will do it, she will do it. If someone else says they’ll do it, she expects them to. If they don’t, she will always go back and confront them. Those she’s hardest on care the most about delivering the best. She’s consistent and clear with everyone. You always know where she stands.”
One of the first things Damron did as president was promote Craig Ricks, Steve DeMots, Christian Lewis, Deanna Barnes and Lisa Langam, the core team she’d been working with for 10 years. “I think I empower people to run their business and department. I mentor them more than manage them,” Damron said.
Ricks, SVP of Marketing, confirms that Damron is about empowerment. “She is the best boss. She empowers all of us to step up, take on more responsibility and own our role.
When Damron joined Paciolan, she gradually took over departments — ecommerce, marketing and then, “a few years ago, Dave promoted me to COO, giving me customer support and tech operations, professional services, everything except finance, accounting and development, which Dave ran.” This year, Butler promoted her to president. He is CEO, working on the strategy. All of the business now reports to Damron.
She never thought, early on, that she would be running a ticketing company. “What I love is the vision, leadership and culture here, I’ve never been anywhere 11-12 years, not even elementary school. And I want to work here for the rest of my career, and I’m not that old. I feel lucky I work with these people every day.”
John Herr, her first boss, is one of those mentors who made a big difference in Damron’s career. “He was the first person who actually told me, ‘you can run a company one day.’ When he said that, I thought, what is he talking about?”
He told her the key to her future growth was simple. “Just get out of the weeds. You’re so into detail; you need to empower your team and think more big picture. It’s the best advice anyone gave me.”
Clearly, Kim Damron got out of the weeds.


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GIVING BACK AND GROWING BUSINESS DRIVES HER
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

Jane.jpgDriving to Mammoth, Jane Kleinberger, founder of Paciolan, got a call from Mark Mettes, chair of IAVM and CEO of Hersberger Theater Center, Phoenix. She immediately jumped to the conclusion he was returning her call about a closer association between IAVM and INTIX, which she chairs.
“It is a topic I had been encouraging ever since Brad Mayne got the job (as CEO and president of the International Association of Venue Managers). I just assumed this was the call,” Kleinberger said.
So she went right into her pitch for INTIX. Ten minutes later, she thinks they’re done and Mettes said, “Oh, about the reason I was calling. I wanted to congratulate you; you are the winner of the Joe Anzivino Distinguished Allied Member Award.”
“Oh. Oh my.”
That’s Kleinberger’s MO. She is always on, always jumping ahead, always humble. “I was extremely humbled and a little embarrassed,” Kleinberger said. The Joseph J. Anzivino Distinguished Allied Award recognizes those Allied members who have made extraordinary contributions to the sports, entertainment, convention and exhibition industry. Kleinberger has done that.
At INTIX next year, she will oversee the Awards Committee. As recipient of a few, she’s very excited about the process.

TRANSITIONS GALORE
Having cofounded Paciolan when a starving student with two men, one of whom left in 1985, the other in 1992, Kleinberger was well aware she was the junior of the cofounders, but she is the last one standing. “I just kind of stuck around,” she says deferentially. “I don’t really think I chose the industry; the industry chose me.”
And she has stuck around through a continuing series of transitions, first an equity split when a co-owner left, then a leveraged buyout when the next co-owner left.
“We had been in business for 20 consecutively profitable years since inception before the first round of outside capital in 2000/2001,” she said.
The next big transition was taking in outside capital. That changed the complexion of the company. “We had been a mom-and-pop shop until then,” Kleinberger said. During that era, she realized the big, publicly-owned companies like Ticketmaster and Tickets.com were going to leave Paciolan in their dust without new money to build the resource.
“We had to step on the accelerator. Outside capital was needed for growth and rewriting product,” and when you bring in outside money “you have a lot of smart equity people on your board. We needed a balancing of the board,” she said. So Kleinberger and company went to Peter Luukko and Ed Snider of Comcast Spectacor and said, “‘We could use some industry folks.’ They were our first strategic investors; it was 2004.”
In 2005, Dave Butler, current CEO of Paciolan, came on board, and in 2007, lo and behold, Paciolan entertained an unsolicited purchase offer from Ticketmaster.
“Dave came into my office and said, ‘You’re not going to believe who I got a call from — Ticketmaster.’ What did they want? ‘To buy us.’”
They chuckled all the way to the bank that year. Live Nation was threatening to leave Ticketmaster and create its own ticketing company at that point. Paciolan brass didn’t think the purchase offer was serious, but they made a counter and Ticketmaster accepted, she recalled.
“We were all a little surprised. But our goal in that transition was to be the best acquisition Ticketmaster has ever made.” Butler came up with that mantra and “by stating that and believing that, it created an environment where people on the Ticketmaster side could trust us.”
The transition commenced. And then Live Nation wanted to merge with Ticketmaster. “We married for life and, a year later, the Department of Justice said you guys are too big,” Kleinberger said. Ticketmaster had to divest assets, including Paciolan which, furthermore, had to be purchased by a company large enough to be truly competitive.
“Which is why we went back to Comcast Spectacor,” Kleinberger said.
Fortunately, they had kept the Paciolan signage in storage, so Ticketmaster’s name came off the building and Paciolan went back up.
There was a hiccup when Comcast Spectacor opted to change the Paciolan name to Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement, but Paciolan stayed on the building.
Today, acquisition number six or so, Learfield Sports has bought Paciolan and restored the original name.
“Spectra sold us to Learfield primarily because even though Comcast Spectacor has a deep commitment to live entertainment, they saw sports, venues and food and beverage as aligned, but ticketing kind of operates independently,” Kleinberger said. “Learfield, who we know well from our college athletics days, is extremely well respected and very Paciolan-esque in culture. They have humble roots. They’re self-grown. People from the beginning are still there. It’s very similar growth.”
“They’ve had five years of various equity firms investing in them to become a high tech, data and analytics based company,” she said of the similarities. “Their core is sponsorship and media rights in college athletics. In the last five years, they’ve invested heavily in companies serving fan, donor and data analytics needs.”
A year ago, Learfield was sold by Providence Equity Partners to Atairos Group, led by Michael Angelakis, former CFO of Comcast. It’s a small world in sports and live entertainment.
This time, to Kleinberger, it’s the best acquirer possible, but still, the mantra returns. “We will be the best acquisition Learfield ever made,” she said, quoting Butler.
Every acquisition has brought lessons. She says Ticketmaster and Paciolan learned a lot from each other.
Learfield is completely different. “Our customers are their customers, but we’ve never been competitive. Every company they’ve acquired over the last couple years swears by the acquisition,” Kleinberger said. “They love Learfield, how they’ve been treated, the way they’ve been able to maintain independence.”

A WOMAN OF INFLUENCE
Kleinberger said Venues Today’s Woman of Influence Award was “the first award that had me stop and realize that if we’ve been so fortunate to get a little more recognition, we need to accept that as a responsibility to do more to lift others up,” Kleinberger said. Her commitment to lifting the Allied world is no less.
“It was a pivotal time for me, the first industry award that recognized me as a female leader. I was saying, ‘It’s not about gender,’ but I think that was a defense mechanism because I felt intimidated.”
Kleinberger has become a big fan of Patty Philips, executive director of Women Leaders in College Sports. With 37 years under her belt (Kleinberger was among the founders of Paciolan on July 17, 1980, date of incorporation), she has always worked in a male-dominated industry.
It shouldn’t be about gender and some day it won’t, she adds. “I’m confident in our youth and changing attitudes, but as long as we’re having the conversation, it is still about gender. I began to realize, there was so much more I had to do to give back. I’m having fun doing some of the most meaningful work of my life. I have a passion right now to help women lean forward, step up and achieve business equality in live entertainment and sports.”
She is working that angle through Paciolan, encouraging women in fan and patron relationships management, donor engagement, marketing, and ticketing. “There’s not a business on earth and, certainly not in live entertainment, where people who can generate revenue don’t make it to the corner office if they so choose,” Kleinberger believes.
“We are Paciolan. Life is good.”


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TALKING POINTS
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

Rob.jpgROB OCAMPO
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, VENUES TODAY
HOMETOWN: Anaheim, Calif.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB: Mentoring and teaching. It’s fun to figure things out and share it with other people.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T IN YOUR JOB: Personal trainer or soccer coach.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MENTOR: My father.
WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD DO WHEN YOU WERE A KID: Astronaut or working for NASA.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME: Play pool.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE: When people ask you a question but don’t let you fully answer.
PREFERRED ONE DAY ESCAPE: Costa Rica.
WHAT IS THE TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW: “Seek and Destroy” by Metallica.
WHAT IS THE MOST EMBARRASSING SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW: “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue.
FAMOUS PERSON IN HISTORY YOU WOULD LIKE TO MEET: Ghandi.
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED: Always think about what you’d advise your kids when faced with a decision. This applies to anything.
FAVORITE LIVE EVENT ATTENDED: A show I promoted myself called Heavy Metal Sundays, formally known as KNAC Nights. It was a huge night and so exciting to see all my hard work come together.

 

Linda.jpgLINDA DECKARD
PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF, VENUES TODAY
CURRENT CITY: Huntington Beach, Calif.
HOMETOWN: Annandale, Va.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO UNIVERSITY: Indiana University, Bloomington.
FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY: Amusement Business, a trade publication that covered mass entertainment.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR CURRENT JOB: I founded Venues Today after leaving Amusement Business/ Billboard in 2002.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB: The people and the relationships; I’ve made many good friends in this industry over the years.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T IN YOUR JOB: Writing a novel.
MENTORS: Tom Powell, Mike McGee, Jane Kleinberger and Fr. Gordon Walker.
WHERE WOULD YOU GO IF YOU COULD ESCAPE FOR ONE DAY: I’d stay home alone; I like silence.
FAMOUS PERSON IN HISTORY WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET: John F. Kennedy.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU: I lived in a commune in San Francisco in the 60’s called Project One.
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED: Don’t assume. In journalism especially, dig for the true meaning of things.
IF YOU COULD HAVE AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Time.
BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE: Condiments. I like a little hot dog with my mustard.
FAVORITE LIVE EVENT YOU’VE ATTENDED: Peter, Paul and Mary at the Carter Barron Amphitheater when I was 13. And any amphitheater show, especially the Eagles or James Taylor.

 

Rich1.jpgRICH DiGIACOMO
SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, VENUES TODAY
CURRENT CITY: Los Angeles
HOMETOWN: Boston
WHERE DID YOU GO TO UNIVERSITY: San Diego State.
FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY: Peterson Publishing Company, a specialty car and hunting magazine outfit, where I sold ads.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR CURRENT JOB: I sold my company and sailed around the world. When I got home, I was bored and decided it was time to look for another opportunity. I found Linda and Venues Today.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB: Marketing on the sales level; extending the brand name and creating visibility.
YOUR FAVORITE MENTOR: Lee Oser, head of Hampton International Communications.
WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD DO WHEN YOU WERE A KID: Dentist or the first Italian astronaut.
BIGGEST PET PEEVE: People ignoring you and not giving you their time or not responding to you.
WHAT IS THE TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST RIGHT NOW: Anything by the Counting Crows.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU: I’m an amazing cook.
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED: Live as though heaven is on earth.
IF YOU COULD HAVE AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Great wines.
FAVORITE LIVE EVENT YOU’VE ATTENDED: Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull at the Long Beach (Calif.) Convention Center.
DESIRED SUPER POWER: Seeing the future.


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Q&A > TAMMY KOOLBECK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IOWA STATE CENTER, AMES, FOR VENUWORKS
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 3:00 pm

Tammy_Koolbeck11.jpgTammy Koolbeck, executive director, Iowa State Center, Ames, managed by VenuWorks, is the incoming second vice-chair role on the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) board of directors. Venues Today spoke with Koolbeck about her vision for her new role. Koolbeck will be take on her new position at VenueConnect, which will be held at Music City Center, Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 7-10.

Is the IAVM process still one where you will move from second vice-chair to
first-vice chair and eventually be the chairwoman?
Yes. It’s a four-year commitment. I will go from second-chair to first-chair to chair and then past-chair. I became an IAVM member in 2001 and started being very active in 2005 when I joined the Region 3 leadership team.

What are your goals for your new roles at IAVM?
We just passed our “One Member, One Vote” initiative. With the passage of the initiative, Faculty, Young Professionals, Retired, Allied and Students will get a vote now. Previously, allied members who never ran a facility, or managed a venue, did not get to vote on any of our policies. This adds an additional 1,050 to the 4,250 people who had the right to vote. It’s a great thing for the association. Also, we need to continue to be relevant to the industry and continue our educational mission.

What ways can you achieve continued relevance?
Transparency, education and knowing the important issues facing venue managers. The top issues currently are safety and security and budgets. There are a number of governments, both state and federal, that are cutting aid to the arts and infrastructure projects. Certainly, that affects a number of our venues. We’re a unique field with many responsibilities and there are not a whole lot of people who understand how we do things. We also need to keep our educational mission at the forefront, which helps all our members.

Can you explain the restructuring of IAVM that occurred this year?
We took the four sector meetings — Performing Arts Managers Conference (PAMC), International Convention Center Conference (ICCC), Arena Management Conference (AMC) and International Stadium Managers Conference (ISMC) — and put them all into VenueConnect. The four conferences will be in tracts; everyone will be in one place, which we believe will allow for members to cross from one tract to the other. We don’t want people in one silo.

What are your hopes for the new VenueConnect?
It’s two-fold. We need to educate the membership and make money. The money helps support all the initiatives IAVM does with our IAVM venue data source, our safety and security initiatives, and our Venue Management School, the Academy for Venue Safety & Security (AVSS) and the Senior Executive Symposium (SES).

How is registration for VenueConnect looking for this year?
It’s going great. We are currently seeing more than a 20 percent paid attendance increase over VenueConnect 2016 attendance. We’re getting a great response from our membership. From what I’ve heard, people are pretty positive about the changes we’ve made. The goals of the leadership team are for IAVM to engage members, deliver relevancy to members with members connecting and contributing to the industry, and provide them with the educational and networking opportunities that enable them to be more effective in their venues.

Please explain the switch in how the IAVM board operates?
Over the past few years, the IAVM Board has transitioned to a governance model where the board establishes goals and vision for the association. The one employee of the board is the CEO, currently Brad Mayne. The CEO is tasked with carrying out the goals and vision of the board and is responsible for leading and managing the IAVM staff and business. The IAVM board is not involved in the day-to-day management of the association.


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FROM THE EDITOR
 
Posted: 1 Jul 2017, 2:00 pm

Certain personalities rise to the top as I review 15 years of publishing Venues Today. Covering live sports and entertainment is a people business.
Paciolan’s Jane Kleinberger is one of those personalities. What’s lovely about Jane is she is almost always promoting others, which is an admirable use of the limelight. As we talked about all the changes in her life because she is the recipient of IAVM’s Joe J. Anzivino Distinguished Allied Member Award (and Joe was certainly of the same ilk as Jane), she homed in on promoting Patty Philips, executive director of Women Leaders in College Sports.
Patty totally rebranded and refocused the organization, formerly known as the National Association of Collegiate Women in Athletics Administration. Jane and a lot of Paciolan staff (men included) will attend the high-energy rally that is WLCS in Dallas Oct. 8-10. It’s a wonderful opportunity to network and grow.
Change came to that association when Patty began focusing on the business of sports rather than mainly the athleticism and administration. Jane’s mantra to women in the sports and entertainment business is the same as it would be for men — employers want revenue generators. If you can grow business, you can grow in business. The secret sauce is in not disenfranchising the past while looking to the future.
We just concluded VenuesNow in Beverly Hills, Calif., what will be an annual event produced by Oak View Group and looking to the future of the venue industry. This year was invitation only, but going forward you can register to come. I highly recommend it.
The quality of speakers and level of discussion was top line. The reality of what is and the vision of what will be were both embraced for the betterment of all. We were highly entertained by Shelli Azoff, co-owner of the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and husband to super-entrepreneur Irving Azoff, and Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jeanie will be at IAVM in Nashville for Women in Leadership and I suggest you make it a point to be there, because I can’t report on what they said at VenuesNow, other than to say it was riveting.
Both women are about the fan experience and improving it despite what can often be resistance to change among fanatics. For example, when they moved to Staples Center, Los Angeles, the Lakers instituted a dramatic flair to player introductions, darkening the house and bringing them out to the spotlight. Some fans were offended, saying you never did that at the Forum. “We couldn’t. It would take 20 minutes to get the lights back on,” Jeanie said.
Sometimes you have to make decisions to change and roll with the punches when traditionalists balk. Both women have done plenty of that, as does everyone in this industry.
God grant you many years to embrace change and grow the business.


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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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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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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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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.

unnamed11.jpg

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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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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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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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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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. This renovation will assist Florence, South Carolina in booking conventions, events, and performances for years to come, including the “Super Bowl of Horseshoes” which is booked for July 2018. 

The multi-million dollar renovation is already underway and is scheduled to be complete during spring 2018. 

The expansion will include 25,000 square feet of newly constructed space and  28,000 square feet of renovated meeting space, complementing the10,000-capacity arena. Florence Civic Center will also add six new meeting rooms and a new kitchen that will assist with catering services.

Florence, South Carolina will  host the 2017 Horseshoe Tour National Championship in November. Though Florence Civic Center will still be under renovation at the time, the construction will not impede on the event.

"Our construction will not inhibit them in anyway, but I think there’s some space that we’re not using," said Brian Davison, head of the horseshoe tournament. "The tournament we’re having in November will be 250 people at the max versus the world tournament, where you’ll have anywhere from 1,000-plus people competing."

Florence Civic Center's renovation has also helped the city become the host of what many call the Super Bowl of Horseshoes, the 2018 National Horseshoe Pitching World Tournament (NHPA world tournament). Florence beat out Shreveport, La., and El Paso, Texas in a bid to host this event.

"Because we’re expanding we were able to get the NHPA world tournament which we would not have been able to do before and due to this expansion this is pretty much our first big score," said Nick Hooker, director of marketing at the venue. 

The 2018  tournament will take place over a two-week span, July 9-21, and will include over 1,200 participants from 50 states, as well as Canada and several other countries. This year the NHPA world tournament will be held at the Dixie Center in St. George, Utah. 

"It’s not just the tournament, there are banquets, social gatherings,  hall of fame inductions. It’s 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," said Hooker.

This event is expected to bring in an estimated $3.5 million to the city of Florence, in hotel bookings, shopping, and restaurant sales."It's going to be a huge boost for us, but we’re also 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. An original deadline was set for a spring 2018 grand opening. However, with renovations ahead of schedule, it may lead to an early opening. 

"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," Hooker said.

With Florence Civic Center's central location off of I-95 & 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.

Longterm, SMG and Florence Civic Center hope to implement an additional two phases of renovation, including addition of a large expo hall, additional ballrooms, a possible hotel extension, and a remodel and expansion to the current arena, including new built-in bistros and bars.

"Phase 2 and 3 are kind of a wish list, we hope that in five- to 10-year range we can revisit that possibility," said Hooker.

 


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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............................................................



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.

Read the full article

............................................................



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.

More...


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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.

More...


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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.

More...


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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.

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



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.

More...


Read the full article

............................................................



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.

More...


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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

More...


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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

More...


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............................................................



Areas of Study
 
Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 7:00 pm
University meetings think outside of the classroom

More...


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............................................................



School Spirit
 
Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 7:00 pm
College stadiums and arenas are a classic choice for large groups

More...


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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.

More...


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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.

Read the full article

............................................................



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.

Read the full article

............................................................



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

Read the full article

............................................................



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

Read the full article

............................................................



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.

Read the full article

............................................................



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.

Read the full article

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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.

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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

............................................................



'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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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.

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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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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

............................................................



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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............................................................



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.

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............................................................



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.

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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.

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............................................................



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.

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............................................................



Virtual Visionaries
 
Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 7:00 pm
Emilie Barta and John Pollard aim to take the fear out of planning hybrid events

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............................................................



All in the Planning
 
Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


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Take 10 - Conference Centers
 
Posted: 11 Jun 2012, 8:00 pm
Take 10 - Conference Centers

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Convention Center Contacts
 
Posted: 7 Jun 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


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New School
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


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Final Bow
 
Posted: 28 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


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IACC Makes Global Push; Criteria to 'Evolve'
 
Posted: 21 Mar 2012, 8:00 pm

More...


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Convention Center Coming to Provo
 
Posted: 25 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


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Gambling Headed for Hawaii Conv. Center?
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


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Las Vegas Conv. Center Adds Digital Signage Feature
 
Posted: 24 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

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Anaheim Conv. Center Plans Expansion
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


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A Duo of Conv. Centers Launches Free Wi-Fi
 
Posted: 23 Jan 2012, 7:00 pm

More...


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IACC Board Sets New Service Standards
 
Posted: 30 Nov 2011, 7:00 pm

More...


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APEC Under Way in Honolulu
 
Posted: 8 Nov 2011, 7:00 pm

More...


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............................................................



Beyond the Box
 
Posted: 24 Oct 2011, 8:00 pm
Expanding convention centers are addressing new planner expectations

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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

More...


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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

More...


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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

More...


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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

More...


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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

More...


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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

More...


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Center Stage
 
Posted: 31 Oct 2008, 8:00 pm

More...


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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

More...


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............................................................



Center Stage
 
Posted: 31 May 2008, 8:00 pm

More...


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............................................................



Head of the Class
 
Posted: 30 Apr 2008, 8:00 pm

More...


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Center Stage
 
Posted: 31 Mar 2008, 8:00 pm

More...


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Center Stage
 
Posted: 29 Feb 2008, 7:00 pm

More...


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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

More...


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............................................................



Better by Design
 
Posted: 31 Oct 2007, 8:00 pm

More...


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