Venue Veteran Joins Venue Coalition As Senior Booking Advisor

In a new role with Venue Coalition, live entertainment industry veteran Jim McCue says he’s eager to be able to focus on his prime area of expertise.

“I feel very fortunate,” said McCue after taking on a new job as senior booking advisor for Venue Coalition, a group of 100 arenas banding together to book events at their buildings.

In his new role, McCue will focus on talent relations and booking venues in North America. He was most recently ASM Global’s senior vice president of sports and entertainment.

“I was having a number of conversations and we came together; this is a good fit for me,” McCue said. “I enjoyed my time with a big corporation, but this gets me back focused on booking, the majority being with arenas. This company is all about empowering independent venues and I’ve had experience there. It gets me to focus on the things that I enjoy doing, working with the talent, the agents and promoters.”

McCue’s extensive experience includes 16 years as an agent at ICM, followed by executive roles at Palace Sports and Entertainment in Detroit; the Rose Garden (now Moda Center) in Portland, Oregon,;House of Blues in Colorado; and ArenaNetwork.  He is a two-time Pollstar Award winner for facility executive of the year, with other awards including Venues Today’s Hall of Headlines and Ticketmaster’s Platinum Ticket.

At ASM Global, McCue oversaw booking and national support for 75 arenas, 60 theaters and seven stadiums. 

McCue said he parted ways amicably with ASM Global in the summer of 2020 at the height of the COVID shutdown, adding he “had a very fun, successful run and I’m very proud of my work there.”

He took some time off to exercise, mentor students at his alma mater Boston College and play the stock market.

“But I still had a lot of energy left, and I love having the ability to work with this team and focus on booking concerts and events,” McCue said, adding that he’s eager to reconnect and help connect the dots with some venue executives he’s known for a long time across several facilities, including Golden 1 Center, Tacoma Dome, Moda Center, Footprint Center and SAP Center.

McCue joins recently promoted Venue Coalition director of booking Julia James and vice president of booking Aaron Thomas.

“We are a team,” McCue says, also noting Venue Coalition CEO Andrew Prince. “I feel I’ve got some experience I can lend to them and they’ve welcomed me and I can learn from them as well. I’m enjoying that aspect of it.”

With calendar management and touring traffic more complex than ever following the prolonged shutdown, McCue says the mindset among the booking community has shifted to a certain extent.

“Like all our businesses coming through the pandemic, the styles have changed a little bit, and there is a greater feeling that we’re all in this together,” he said. “We all have to take care of our clients because that’s our business, but we’ve got to take care of each other, too.”

Noting the “air traffic control” situation among the venues over holds and avails, McCue says it’s important “to ensure that every show you’ve got has the best windows and opportunities to be successful. It doesn’t make sense for a building manager to be greedy and cause some softness in the market. All of us — and by that I mean agents, promoters, venue managers —have to be cognizant that we can’t overtax the consumers who provide our livelihoods. Like Bill Graham said, it’s all about the fans.”