Continuing a series of interviews with the 2022 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Benji Fritzenschaft, a talent buyer at DreamHaus (DE)
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Continuing a series of interviews with the 2022 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Grant Hall, director of business services and strategy at ASM Global (US)
By IQ on 25 Oct 2022
The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Daytona Häusermann, agent at Gadget ABC. The series continues with Grant Hall, director of business services and strategy at ASM Global in North America.
Hall is currently the director of business services and strategy at ASM Global, where he is involved in corporate strategy and overseeing multiple initiatives that support ASM-managed arenas, stadiums, and theatres across North America. Some of the recent projects he’s been involved with are: the roll-out of a KPI reporting system, the reopening of venues post-pandemic, and helping to stand up a new Live Entertainment Division within ASM Global. Before entering this role, Hall served as the business operations manager for ASM Global and New Orleans properties, including the Caesars Superdome and Smoothie King Center.
Hall’s experience outside of ASM Global centres around his time at Ohio University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s in sport management, an MBA, and a Masters in sports administration. While in school, he interned for Spectra’s (now OVG) corporate office and did several projects for notable sports and entertainment organisations.
You studied sport management and administration at university. Do you see any obvious areas where other forms of live events can learn from the sports sector? Or vice versa?
Absolutely. Both sports and live events have many similarities in how they operate and how they generate revenues. However, where I believe they become distinct from a typical social event is that fans often affiliate themselves with their favourite sport team or artist. This creates a much deeper connection for these fans and ultimately leads to higher expectations that these industries are expected to achieve.
Speaking from my experience at ASM Global and the events that we manage in conjunction with our event partners, I believe both sports and live events can learn from each other by thinking through the full journey of their customers at an event and doing everything they can to make each touchpoint a memorable and seamless experience. From purchasing a ticket, to trying to beat traffic on the way home – how can we in the industry make the guest experience the best it can be? This is something that I think should be on everyone’s mind.
You have rapidly risen through the ranks at ASM Global. What advice would you give to anyone trying to climb the ladder in such a competitive business?
It is important to understand the big picture and always look into the future for the opportunities and headwinds that may be coming. Although it is vital to complete the tasks that are right in front of you, it is also extremely important to always keep an eye forward and understand how the task impacts each stakeholder connected to the project. This has helped me keep a progressive view when looking at various projects and troubleshoot potential pitfalls I may not have thought about beforehand.
“I believe our industry should focus on creating more opportunities for younger generations to get experience”
The reopening of venues post-pandemic has been a monumental task. What are the biggest lessons you have learned through that process that will benefit you in the years to come?
It was a large but very fulfilling task, as I saw many venues reopen for events and the excitement that came with it. During the reopening process, I learned not to hesitate to raise my hand and help with projects I might not be entirely comfortable with previously. For me, this was stepping into the role of becoming ASM Global’s in-house expert on government stimulus opportunities that were offered in the United States during the pandemic. The initiative I took with this aided and assisted each of our venues, as well as supported our clients who were negatively impacted financially due to Covid-19. With this we secured a combined total of over $100m in stimulus funds.
Are there any particular events or forums you rely on to help you connect and network with peers and potential business partners?
I am looking forward to getting more involved in this since a large portion of these events were halted during the pandemic. I do follow many entertainment publications including Pollstar, VenuesNow, Sports Business Journal, Front Office Sports, SportBusiness, and of course, IQ Magazine.
As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
I believe our industry should focus on creating more opportunities for younger generations to get experience and explore different career paths in the live entertainment industry. As a university student, you may not have a connection within the industry or a good understanding of all the roles and companies that it takes to put on an event. Opportunities like internships, one-off event jobs, job shadowing, and entertainment-based school projects are all things that I think can be beneficial to students while also providing value to our live entertainment organisations. Together, I believe expanding these opportunities will increase the number of talented individuals entering our industry and help continue to improve the event experience.
“I acted as the ASM in-house government stimulus expert during the initial timeframe of Covid-19”
What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
I have a few highlights that I would like to share during my time with ASM Global. I acted as the ASM in-house government stimulus expert during the initial timeframe of Covid-19, leading to over $100m in funds for ASM clients to be used to offset Covid impacts.
I have been involved in the strategy and execution in almost all company-wide initiatives since April of 2020. This has included the successful creation and launch of the VenueShield Program – Project Renaissance – an effort to reopen 200+ venues after Covid-19, the roll-out of our KPI reporting system, and helping to stand up a new Live Entertainment Division within ASM Global.
On behalf of the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, I successfully oversaw a three-year transition period of a 10,000-seat baseball stadium to a multipurpose stadium. During this time period, I negotiated the early termination of a MiLB Triple-A baseball team, negotiated a new lease with a professional MLR tenant, booked multiple other revenue generating events and community events at the stadium, all while navigating through Covid-19 impact on the industry.
One accomplishment that I am particularly fond of is receiving an MBA and Masters in Sports Administration from an Ohio University graduate programme that is continuously the top-ranked sports management graduate programme in the world. While at Ohio University, I was also a member of the team that won the National Sports Forum Case Cup in 2019, a competition between the top sports management graduate programmes.
In addition, as part of being in such a compelling industry, I have been on the sidelines of the CFP National Champions, on the floor of the NCAA Final Four Tournament, and have been up close for many top concerts including AC/DC and the Rolling Stones.
“The best way to identify what you like to do and don’t like to do is to get hands-on experience wherever possible”
If you could offer the 18-year-old Grant one piece of advice, what would it be?
The best way to identify what you like to do and don’t like to do is to jump right in and get hands-on experience wherever possible. So, if a volunteer, internship, or short-term job opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to say yes even if it isn’t what you had in mind. These experiences can create a snowball effect; before you know it, you will be in a position you never even knew existed.
What is your favourite venue and why?
The Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Not only is it an iconic venue that has been around for 45+ years hosting major touring acts, sporting events, and playing a pivotal role in acting as a shelter during Hurricane Katrina, but the Caesars Superdome was where I was lucky enough to get my first job here following post-graduate school.
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