Tag: December 2019

The O2: Tangled Up in Blue

THE CIRCLE REMAINS UNBROKEN: O2 branding is everywhere at the complex. (Courtesy The O2) The O2’s naming-rights deal for the arena became a pioneering sponsorship in the U.K. The intriguing story behind the O2 London development extends to the cell phone carrier that acquired the arena’s naming rights. The deal represented one of Europe’s first comprehensive marketing programs tied to the title sponsor of a sports and entertainment facility. In 2002, O2 entered the international market as a new brand after a spinoff from British Telecommunications, a public company. In May 2005, O2 signed a 10-year deal for the arena, which opened in 2007. (Spain-based Telefonica acquired O2 in October 2005). In February 2017, O2 renewed the agreement for another 10 years. The deal, based on current exchange rates, carries an annual value of $13 million to $19 million, doubling the numbers of the original agreement, according to multiple media reports.  […]

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The O2: The Jackson 50

The outrageous O2 residency that never happened Concert promoter and entrepreneur Randy Phillips had an insider’s view into The O2 London and its phenomenal draw as a live music venue.  “People love to go out there. It’s a pub culture in London,” said Phillips, CEO of Phillips Digital Media and head of AEG Live from 2000 to 2013. “I don’t think they ever want to go home. It’s where I sold out 50 Michael Jackson shows. Could I have done that anywhere else in the world? Probably not.” Jackson died in June 2009, just weeks before his eight-month residency was set to kick off, and he never played The O2.  At the point AEG Live (now AEG Presents) shut down ticket sales after the 50th sellout, there were 224,000 customers still waiting online to buy tickets. Phillips believes he could have booked up to 200 Michael Jackson concerts. “We sold […]

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The 02: Greatest Hits and Hot Prospects

UNDER ONE ROOF: Retail, along with restaurants and clubs, make The O2 a destination. (Courtesy The O2) Three executives talk about what makes The O2 special and what’s to come John Langford, Chief Operating Officer, AEG Europe At its heart the formula is simple – a great building, in a vibrant city, filled with incredible experiences … where the onstage magic needs to be supported by moments that add value to the fan experience. This is where we make it count!  We’re a close family of diverse, passionate individuals each adding to the experience.  The mantra is be bold, be real, be yourself – and make a difference! The O2 is one of AEG’s flagship properties and will always demand a significant amount of attention from everyone across our European business. While I am no longer involved in the daily operations, I remain close to Steve, Emma and the team […]

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Lockdown: The Birth of Enhanced Security for the Super Bowl Came on Nafe’s Watch

Former NFL executive Jim Steeg and Rick Nafe worked a pair of Super Bowls at old Tampa Stadium when Nafe was its director of operations. The second of those two games came in 1991 during the Gulf War, which marked the first time NFL officials “really started to go through this concern about security” going into the Super Bowl, said Steeg, who for many years served as point man for the NFL championship game. Ten days before the Super Bowl, the U.S. launched a massive aerial attack against Saddam Hussein’s forces in occupied Kuwait. As a result, there was a late scramble to put additional security measures in place to safeguard the fans as well as the teams and everybody else involved in producing the world’s biggest one-day sporting event. Nafe was front and center for upgrading the procedures. “We had pat-downs, which had never been done before … and […]

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Hall of Honor 2019: Wit and Wisdom

SUNSHINE STATER: Rick Nafe spent 23 years operating Tropicana Field, home of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays. (Courtesy Rick Nafe) Charismatic Rick Nafe tackled just about every kind of situation in his 40 years of running sports venues in Tampa-St. Petersburg  Rick Nafe typically issues a warning to first-time attendees of the Stadium Managers Association’s annual seminar: Those caught wearing a necktie are in danger of having it cut in two.  It’s a playful threat, but it sends a message to members of the trade group that they can ditch the workplace suit and tie for a more casual atmosphere at SMA. For Nafe, the association’s longtime chairman, the suits are now permanently stored in his closet. The 67-year-old Miami native retired earlier this year after close to 40 years running sports venues in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Twenty-three years were spent running Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s […]

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Hall of Honor 2019: The Pioneer

GOOD SPORT: Jane Kleinberger, co-founder of Paciolan, touched all the bases as a pioneer in the ticketing world. (Courtesy Paciolan) From a Voila! beginning, Jane Kleinberger enthusiastically blazed a trail in the ticketing industry  Jane Kleinberger has been called a “pioneer.” The term gets thrown around a lot, but for Kleinberger, co-founder of ticketing and marketing company Paciolan, there’s no better way to describe her role in college sports, historically a male-dominated industry. Paciolan launched in 1980 and has grown to become North America’s second-biggest ticketing provider. The company boasts more than 135 clients, primarily in college athletics, plus arenas, pro sports teams and venues and performing arts centers.  Kleinberger, who retired Sept. 30 after four decades with Paciolan, said she doesn’t solely deserve to receive VenuesNow’s Hall of Honor, lifetime achievement award. Instead, she says, it’s a group effort.  “It’s very humbling,” said Kleinberger, the first female chief executive […]

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Motor Driven: Monster Jam, Supercross Changed the Game for Feld

GAINING TRACTION: Under Feld Entertainment ownership, Monster Jam has grown into a real athletic competition and expanded into 11 countries. (Courtesy Feld Entertainment) Many industry observers thought Kenneth Feld went off the road when he bought the Monster Jam and Supercross from Live Nation 11 years ago in 2008. The motorsports franchises were nothing like a typical Feld property. They didn’t have storylines and didn’t fall into the Feld wheelhouse of properties where the shows could be changed up every year.  But Feld had a vision. He saw real athletes competing in real sporting events. Feld had a hunch that he could turn the properties into so much more than a display of tricked-out trucks and motorcycle stunts. He saw tours and seasons and big spectacular events. Feld knew exactly what he was doing. Live Nation put on 20-plus stadium shows in 2008-09. In 2019, Feld put on 119 Monster […]

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Hall of Honor 2019

This month we introduce you to another addition to our family of awards: the VenuesNow Hall of Honor, celebrating those who have achieved at the highest level in the venues business and related enterprises during their long and distinguished careers. A small number of honorees whose professional lives exemplify excellence, integrity, ingenuity and a passion for the business will be selected by VenuesNow editorial staff and inducted each year. Our three inaugural honorees — Kenneth Feld, Jane Kleinberger and Rick Nafe — are well known to anyone in the industry, and their careers make them shining examples of what the Hall of Honor is about.  Each took a different path to get to where they are. Feld took over a family business, and with a strong company culture and a commitment to storytelling, he took it to a whole new level. Nafe was an unlikely candidate for his first venue […]

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Bronx Bounceback: Venue Bringing in Big Shows

BERSERK IN THE BRONX: More than 7,500 Halloween revelers attend “Garden of Madness” at New York Expo Center. (Courtesy Dean Entertainment Group) Promoter Eddie Dean’s New York Expo Center now a concert destination The Bronx has one of the deepest, most diverse music histories of New York. Its status as a piano manufacturing hub earned it the title of the “Piano Capital of the United States” in the early 20th century, Afro-Caribbean music dominated midcentury and, famously, the borough is hailed as the birthplace of hip-hop. Its cultural cachet has flagged in recent decades, but veteran promoter Eddie Dean is working to resurrect it. “It’s no different than 15 years ago with Brooklyn,” said Dean, who compared the once “snickered at” borough’s rise to where he thinks the Bronx is headed. “The South Bronx has been gentrifying for some time now; this isn’t really new. But often (in) emerging areas, the […]

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Name Check: Live Nation’s Amphitheater Strategy

SOUND OF MONEY: Huntington Bank has naming rights for Live Nation’s Chicago amphitheater. (Courtesy Live Nation) Longer deals, bigger activations for shed naming-rights clients Andy Peikon, Live Nation’s senior vice president of sales, oversees the group that sells naming rights for the promoter’s 46 amphitheaters across the country. It’s a thriving piece of the entertainment business that keeps Peikon and his 30-person sales staff busy considering the vast number of venues, the steady growth for Live Nation in building new amphitheaters and adding others through acquisition, and the active market for naming rights in general. VenuesNow spoke with Peikon about trends in sponsorship of outdoor music venues and where the business is headed.  Explain Live Nation’s strategy for naming rights tied to amphitheaters. It’s obviously a different dynamic compared with arenas and stadiums. We focus on working with local brands willing to invest back into the community. I remember the first deal […]

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