PIANO MAN: Billy Joel performs during the Grammy Awards at Crypto.com Arena on Sunday. It was the 21st time that AEG’s flagship facility played host to the recording industry’s biggest event. (Getty Images)
Premium inventory, including press boxes, drives sales
The Grammy Awards, for the second consecutive year, set a venue record for food and drink sales at Crypto.com Arena, driven by the pricey cost of premium seat packages.
Levy, the arena’s concessionaire, reported a per cap of $97.13, a monster number for Sunday’s event, which is on par with Super Bowl food and drink sales.
The number eclipsed last year’s average spend of $95.94 for the Grammys, which stood as the previous record, arena president Lee Zeidman said. The per caps encompass both general concessions and catering services.
Official attendance for the 66th Grammys was 11,195. Doing the math, Levy generated more than $1 million in food and beverage receipts.
Crypto.com Arena opened in 1999. Historically, those per caps are more than double the average spend compared with NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals at the facility, Zeidman said, given bigger crowds for the sports events.
For the Grammys, the food theme was tied to a stroll through downtown Los Angeles, celebrating its diverse local culinary offerings.
Suite packages featured, among other items, Tomahawk steaks, roasted Pacific spiny lobster tails, mushroom focaccia, Mexican asada torta sandwiches, Santa Barbara smoked salmon and caviar produced from Israel.
Depending on the package, food pricing for suites ran $195 a person for snacks, antipasto, sandwiches and fruit to the Caviar Bar, with crab claws and the salmon, at $2,500 for 12 people.
For dessert, Chicago-style cheesecake and red velvet cake, both options serving 10 people, cost $115.
Total units sold included 12,000 glasses of champagne served during the awards show. About 60% of menu offerings were vegan and gluten free.
“Levy and our AEG sales team did a phenomenal job in pushing the F&B packages,” Zeidman said. “They came up with a lot of new ideas to combine a lot of things that drove sales.”
The concessionaire had 700 employees working the event, which took six months to prepare, arena officials said.
Crypto.com Arena has 154 traditional suites, but that number was reduced by the Grammys production, whose centerpiece is a massive stage with cabaret-style tables taking up a portion of the floor.
Together, AEG and Levy sold out of the combined 117 suites and terrace boxes, which are similar to loge boxes, plus four tunnel suites, a new piece of inventory tied to the arena’s nine-figure renovation project.
Suite rentals ran $45,000 to $117,000 for the night, depending on size and location.
AEG controls the suite inventory for special events such as the Grammys and all-star games. Suite holders for the Lakers, Kings and Clippers have the option to buy their suite for the Grammys, but for the most part, they pass on the opportunity. As a result, Zeidman said many suites are purchased and occupied by sponsors of AEG and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences/.
The arena’s NBA and NHL press boxes, which are open air structures, were sold as individual suites, both with capacity for eight people.
“We maximize every bit of space that we have in the venue to sell for the Grammys,” Zeidman said.
For merchandise, Rank & Rally, Levy’s retail group, reported a $5.17 per cap for items produced by the academy. It’s a decent number for the Grammys, Zeidman said.
The 2024 Grammys marked the 21st time Crypto.com Arena, formerly Staples Center, has played host to the event. The award ceremonies extended to the Peacock Theater next door.
“I’m proud of the work that both our arena and theater staffs did in such a challenging environment with record-breaking rainfall, protests (over Middle East issues) taking place outside, street closures and people trying to get into the building,” Zeidman said. “We worked closely with NARAS and LAPD to pull off a successful Grammys.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.