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It’s official: Oak View Group acquires Pollstar

Ending months of speculation, the US concert biz magazine, independent since 1981, has joined Venues Today and SportTechie in OVG's growing media portfolio

By IQ on 13 Jul 2017

Pollstar Magazine, Esvy Photography (EsvyPhoto.com)

image © Esvy Photography (EsvyPhoto.com)

Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group (OVG) has completed its long-rumoured acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business title to its portfolio of trade magazines.

The buy-out of Pollstar follows OVG’s acquisitions of SportTechie last November and Venues Today in December, and was announced at Venues Today’s inaugural VenuesNow conference in LA yesterday.

In addition to its weekly magazine and daily news service at Pollstar.comPollstar’s assets include its box-office database, which provides information on tour ticket sales and grosses, annual year-end reports and the annual Pollstar Live! conference in the US.

Speaking at VenuesNow, Leiweke said: “Pollstar has represented the voice of record for the live music and ticketing industries for over three decades, and bringing them into the OVG family is a true honour for all of us. Working hand in hand with Pollstar’s leadership team, we’ll look to greatly optimise the reach of its print, digital and conference assets.”

Pollstar president/editor-in-chief Gary Bongiovanni and CEO Gary Smith will remain in their positions under the new management.

“Working hand in hand with Pollstar’s leadership team, we’ll look to greatly optimise the reach of its print, digital and conference assets”

Oak View Group (OVG), a venue development and investment vehicle founded by former Live Nation chairman Azoff and ex-AEG CEO Tim Leiweke, was launched in November 2015. It comprises five divisions: the 26-member Arena Alliance; Narrative Partners, a sponsorship/partnership operation; Prevent Advisors, its security advisory arm; OVG Consulting, whose services include venue design and seating, branding and ticketing strategy; and the OVG Ventures venture-capital fund.

Azoff is also a partner in Azoff MSG Entertainment, a joint venture with Madison Square Garden Company. The company is currently embroiled in a public ‘booking war’ with rival venue operator AEG, with both parties barring acts from playing some of their venues unless they tie it in with a show at another: for example, MSG’s LA Forum and Madison Square Garden and AEG’s Staples Center and The O2.

“We are very excited to become part of the growing OVG family and its vast array of worldwide resources,” said Bongiovanni. “After 35 years of independent operation, a key factor in our making the deal was OVG’s understanding of the importance of keeping our editorial coverage and services neutral as we speak to, and for, the entire concert industry.”

Pollstar has served our industry as a trusted and invaluable resource during an era where music and ticketing have evolved dramatically,” added Azoff. “Their insights and analysis are fundamental to the success of our business and we’re looking forward to growing the brand’s influence and impact for years to come.”


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