Tag: March 2019

Pacnet ’19: Build That Wallet

Paciolan Chief Technology Officer Keith White: The wallet is “going all digital, so we need to be ready for that.” (Courtesy Paciolan) Coming mass acceptance of digital passbook drives changes in ticketing Digital wallets are old enough that some of the most familiar have moved on from their original names: Apple Passbook, which made its debut in 2012, is now Apple Wallet, and Google Wallet has become part of Google Pay. What’s new is the level of enthusiasm that consumers, including ticket buyers, are showing for them.  E.J. Liao, who is vice president of product management for Paciolan after coming over from Amazon last year, noted that even three years after Apple came out with digital passes, adoption numbers were, well, passable in most cases, save some areas of relative strength such as airline boarding passes.  But 2019 looks to be when digital wallets will seriously fatten up, Liao said. […]

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Texas: Big and Getting Bigger

The Austin City Limits Music Festival is a major festival in a state that’s full of them. (Charles Reagan Hackelman) The Lone Star State has four big-time concert markets, thanks to population growth and committed music fans There’s never been a better time to be in the live event business in Texas. With four cities that could anchor most states as routing magnets, and enough distance between them to keep from cannibalizing box office, Texans get to enjoy visits from all the major tours on the road each year. Regional dynamism helps cultivate local flavors and new promoters, and the dozens of small and midsize festivals every month of the year provide great variety. Grosses and ticket sales grew strongly in 2018, thanks to population growth all over the state, with new venues coming online to fill the few noticeable gaps in certain cities, giving hope that the growth will […]

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Live! Roundup: Church Off and Running With Double Down Tour

Eric Church’s Double Down tour features a Friday and Saturday night performance in a different city every week. (Getty Images) Eric Church began 2019 with the launch of his Double Down tour that spans the first half of the year booked for two-night engagements at venues in 18 North American cities. Generally, the tour schedule features a Friday and Saturday performance in a different city every week. Although most of the shows will be staged in arenas, the country superstar added a stadium date, May 25 at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, as part of Memorial Day weekend. As he did on the Holdin’ My Own trek in 2017, Church will forgo opening acts and perform marathon sets for each show, drawing from his six studio albums. The first five dates on Church’s 2019 tour all rank among the 10 highest-grossing Hot Tickets this month in the category for venues with more […]

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Miami Open: Paradise in a Parking Lot …

At Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Open extends to 30 combined competition and practice courts outside the NFL facility. (Courtesy Hard Rock Stadium) … and inside an NFL venue, as the Miami Open makes its debut at Hard Rock Stadium Over the past decade, big league teams have become more aggressive and creative in booking nontraditional sports events to fill stadiums and generate incremental revenue. The X Games, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the U.S. Women’s Open bowling tournament and Fenway Park’s Big Air snowboarding and ski jumping competition are just a few examples. In South Florida, the Miami Dolphins are ready for the next step: For the first time in sports, professional tennis is taking over an NFL venue.  The Dolphins’ 65,000-seat Hard Rock Stadium and a portion of the vast parking lots surrounding the building have been transformed into a sports and cultural oasis for the Miami Open […]

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California: Anaheim’s City National Grove Still Growing After 20 Years

Styx opened the concert space in 1999 and has played the venue 11 times. (Courtesy City National Grove of Anaheim) The lead guitarist from the band Styx loves the eye contact with fans when performing at smaller venues like the City National Grove of Anaheim.  “At the Grove, it is very easy to interact with the crowd, and I think the crowd really likes that,” guitarist James Young of Styx said. “It’s a great setup for the fans, and there’s not a bad seat in the house.” Styx was the headliner when the indoor concert venue opened in 1999. The band was back in January at the Grove for the 11th time for its 20th anniversary season.  Over the last 20 years, the 1,700-seat venue has had more than $45 million in gross ticket sales and catered to 2.3 million fans, according to Los Angeles-based Nederlander Concerts, which manages the […]

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California: The Circuit

Andrea Bocelli performs at Pechanga Arena San Diego. (Courtesy Pechanga Arena) The Forum, Inglewood Rick Merrill, vice president of arena operations How did you do in 2018? It marked the 50th anniversary of the Forum, and it was a successful year. It was the Forum’s best year since reopening (in January 2014). This year looks to be as good or even better. Big shows We had several artists play multiple nights: The Eagles, Drake, Travis Scott, Fleetwood Mac, U2, Childish Gambino.  Changes Sponsorship: We transitioned from Coke to Pepsi and renewed our Toyota partnership and we’re working on new ideas with them. We welcomed Hilton to the family and did a summer mobile tour with Chase and Coolhaus (ice cream). We continue to encourage fans to arrive early with upgraded exterior space with big-screen TVs, improvement to sound and ambient lighting, photo ops, preshow games and festive flooring.  What went […]

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California: Heavy Traffic

It was a golden year for live entertainment in the Golden State with venues across California reporting robust sales and gangbuster gates in 2018. In fact, some facilities in their golden years topped the charts, showing that older arenas with a few upgrades have still “got it.” Wildfires made somber headlines around the world: November’s Camp Fire was the deadliest in the state’s history. The resulting smoke affected events and activities in Sacramento and the Bay Area.  The holidays and the new year brought some massive storms, but veteran venue executives said that didn’t dampen enthusiasm among fans in a record-setting year for many facilities. In fact, some of these operators said it was as good a year as they could remember, citing a healthy broader economy, facility improvements and additions that increased revenue, plus a deep roster of touring acts with wide appeal.  The new year kicked off in […]

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Houston’s Rodeo: Volunteers to the Rescue

The number of volunteers working at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has more than doubled since 2005, to 34,000. (Courtesy Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) One of the most impressive numbers the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo offers has nothing to do with concert attendance or total heads through the gate. It’s the eye-popping figure for volunteers, a small army of locals that makes sure every aspect of the event goes off without a hitch. The first official volunteer committee was formed in 1938 to sell tickets and exhibits, but the majority these days toil on a variety of working committees that play host to livestock, horse show and commercial exhibitors and the general public, said Joel Cowley, the event’s president and CEO. “It obviously offsets paid labor costs and saves the show a tremendous amount on labor that can be driven back into scholarships and educational giving,” he […]

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Houston’s Rodeo: Data in the Dirt

Cowboys share the arena with A-list musical performers at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. (Courtesy Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) How tireless market research has shaped the diverse concert lineup at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo When you think of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, images of calf roping, BBQ, bareback and bull riding and a sea of endless 10-gallon hats, custom boots and shows by some of country’s biggest names might come to mind. But Cardi B? Panic! at the Disco, Camila Cabello, Zedd and Santana?  It’s all part of the scrupulously market-researched, meticulously planned three-week extravaganza that takes over NRG Stadium in Houston every winter that’s not only the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world, but also one of the city’s signature events, rivaling New Year’s Eve in Times Square, thanks to gaudy attendance numbers (more than 1.5 million in 2017) and the […]

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Texas: Scene: Austin Q&A, Graham Williams, founder, Margin Walker Presents

Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber of Cherub perform at Austin’s Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in October. (Getty Images) Graham Williams has seen his hometown of Austin grow up from a sleepy college town — and an afterthought to most concert tours — to become one of the most prominent cultural and economic powerhouse cities in America. Since he started promoting underground punk and metal shows as a high schooler in the mid-90s, he’s grown into one of the city’s best-known promoters, and his company Margin Walker Presents is the largest independent promoter in Texas, with regular events in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. In the mid-2000s he co-founded Transmission Events, which promoted in most of Austin’s biggest clubs and midsize venues and earned national acclaim during the 10-year run of its multiday Fun Fun Fun Fest. VenuesNow caught up with Williams by phone to talk over what’s happening in his fast-growing and […]

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Texas Q&A: Kristyn Ciani, C3 Presents

Kristyn Ciani, a talent buyer for Austin-based C3 Presents, says Texas is starting to expand the kinds of music that it’s known for.  (Katrina Barber) In the 13 years Kristyn Ciani has logged as a talent buyer with C3 Presents, she’s seen the Austin-based company grow by leaps and bounds. Its festival business, which began humbly with Austin City Limits Festival in 2002, now covers the globe, and the company’s traditional concert and casino business made it attractive enough that Live Nation bought a controlling stake in 2014. Ciani’s split responsibilities for the Austin and Las Vegas markets give her the perspective to dish on the Lone Star State and how it compares to others around the country. Her short answer: Texas is open for business. How is Texas doing? Texas remains a very steady, healthy music market. A large part of that is all the growth in our state […]

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