Venues Today and OVG staff meet in Los Angeles, including, from left, Brad Weissberg, Francesca Leiweke-Bodie, Rob Ocampo, Linda Deckard, Samantha Le, Kimmi Wolfe, Monique Potter, Nazarene Kahn, Karmen White, Rich DiGiacomo, Dan Griffis and Jay Nguyen. (VT Photo)

(Los Angeles, CA) – December 22, 2016 – Oak View Group (OVG) today announced the acquisition of Venues Today, a leading live entertainment and venue trade publication and media company. In addition to the acquisition, award-winning live entertainment journalist Ray Waddell has joined OVG as SVP of Media and Conferences.

Ray Waddell, OVG SVP of Media and Conferences

In his new role, Waddell will oversee the Venues Today print publication,, the e-newsletter, VT Pulse, as well as the company’s directories and conferences. Venues Today founder, publisher and editor Linda Deckard will remain with the publication and continue to lead the newsroom as publisher.

Venues Today is the voice of record for our industry and a key acquisition for OVG in bolstering our media portfolio,” said OVG CEO Tim Leiweke. “Linda is an icon in this business and has built an incredible brand and with Ray now at the helm the potential to grow that brand and its reach is unlimited.”

Besides Venues Today and VT Pulse, the 15-year-old corporation publishes two resource guides: the International Venues Resource Guide and the North American Fairs & Festivals Resource Guide. Venues Today is also involved in three conferences – Venue Operations Summit (VOS) in Nashville, Sport, Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow (SEVT) in Columbia, S.C., and Raising the Industry in Sport & Entertainment (RISE) in Long Beach, Calif.

“I'll always be grateful to Billboard for providing me the opportunity to cover this dynamic industry, and I wish nothing but the best for the brand going forward,” added Waddell. “If I've learned anything in covering this business, it's that change is to be embraced, and I am thrilled to play a role in the game-changing vision of Tim Leiweke and the incredible OVG team. Stay tuned!”

During his three-decade run with Billboard, Waddell spearheaded the trade’s successful touring conference in addition to leading its coverage of the industry. With OVG, Waddell will oversee OVG’s move into the media and event sector and look to build out a robust conference program under the Venues Today brand.

“This is a tremendous opportunity not only for us to work with visionaries such as Tim and Ray, but to experience powerful growth for the Venues Today brand by tapping into OVG’s resources and expertise,” said Deckard.

Interestingly, Deckard and Waddell worked together for 15 years at Amusement Business, a Billboard publication, covering this live entertainment and sports venues industry.
The news of OVG acquiring Venues Today follows the company’s recent investment in sports technology media company SportTechie in November.

For more information about the acquisition, click on the video below.

For more information on OVG, click here.