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Richard Krezwick announces departure from ASM Global

ASM Global’s chief commercial officer Richard Krezwick has announced his departure from the company.

Krezwick, who has spent more than four decades in live events, announced on LinkedIn that he is to pursue new opportunities from September after concluding his notice period.

His previous roles include senior vice president facilities at AEG Europe from 2014 to 2018, in which he was responsible for all of the group’s venues in Europe including the O2 in London, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, AccorHotels Arena in Paris, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Friends Arena in Stockholm.

He relocated in 2018 to the US to head up AEG Facilities’ new office in Manhattan, New York.

He also spent four years as president of Devils Arena Entertainment, New Jersey, from 2009 to 2013, as well as two years as regional vice-president of AEG Facilities from 2007 to 2009.

“I’m looking forward to doing all I can for ASM in the coming weeks, then start brewing some entrepreneurial ideas”

“I realised my entire career has been like driving the Autobahn… full throttle… every day, pedal to the metal,” he wrote. “From the old Spectrum in Philly, around the world and back to ASM in Philly where it all began. It’s time to exit the highway once in a while and take the road less travelled.”

“I’m looking forward to doing all I can for ASM in the coming weeks, then start brewing some entrepreneurial ideas, doing a few deals and staying close to the business that’s been so good to me and my family, for so many years. Stay tuned…” he concluded.

Uwe Frommhold, AEG chief operating officer, wrote: “Thanks for everything Rich! Has been a great pleasure to join you for a couple of ‘fast rides’ on the German Autobahn. Hope to see you again over here soon – there are lots of nice roads still to be taken at a slower pace!”

Marie Lindqvist, senior vice-president Europe at ASM Global, wrote: “You challenged me, believed in my capabilities and taught me so much about our amazing industry. For that, I will always be grateful. I wish you the best of luck in your next phase and look forward to meeting soon. Hopefully in a sold-out arena!”

John Langford, AEG Europe chief operating officer, wrote: “Good luck boss. It’s been a pleasure sitting shotgun on parts of the journey.”

 


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VenueShield: ASM Global prepares for venue reopenings

ASM Global, the world’s biggest venue operator, has taken the first steps towards reopening its properties with a new series of hygiene protocols, dubbed ‘VenueShield’, to be put in place for when restrictions are eased after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic passes.

Described as a “comprehensive, best-in-class programme” which will provide “trusted protection” for visitors, VenueShield will be rolled out at more than 325 of ASM Global’s venues, which include leading entertainment arenas such as Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK; König-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany; the Globe in Stockholm; the SSE Arena in Wembley, London; Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai; and American Airlines Arena in Miami.

“At the very heart of this effort is our focus on making our employees, tenants and guests safe and comfortable in a welcoming environment,” comments Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global. “ASM’s unique and unmatched worldwide footprint of leading convention centres, arenas, stadia and theatres provides the input, data and resources to adapt to our guests’ needs and expectations while further enhancing the quality of their experience in our venues.”

VenueShield protocols will be tailored towards each venue, according to ASM, with a VenueShield taskforce responsible for implementing the new measures (in accordance with international healthcare guidelines from the US’s CDC, the UK’s NHS, Australia’s PHAA and the WHO, among others).

“At the very heart of this effort is our focus on making our employees, tenants and guests safe”

Among the measures being explored are the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), food safety measures, air quality control, surface cleaning, physical/social distancing, temperature checks, thermal cameras, hand sanitisers, reduced touch points, contactless transactions and daily monitoring systems.

Additionally, consultants have been hired to assist with “more technical aspects of the protocol”, adds the company, such as air purification, filtering and the maximisation of fresh-air exchange.

“We realise that each of our venues across the globe are economic engines for their respective communities, representing local tax revenues, travel revenues and jobs,” continues Newman. “We look forward to reopening these local and regional economic foundations, stimulating local economies and again delivering the entertainment experience that has defined us for decades.”

ASM Global, headquartered in Los Angeles, Manchester, Brisbane, Dubai and Sao Paulo, was formed last October by the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG.

The company’s rivals in the international large-venue space, including Live Nation and Oak View Group, are also believed to working on similar guidelines in anticipation of the lifting of lockdowns around the world.

 


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ASM Global to manage Baltimore venue

Venue management giant ASM Global has added Baltimore’s Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric (2,565-cap.) to its expanding portfolio.

The Modell Lyric joins recent ASM additions the Gateshead Quays (12,500-cap.) in the UK the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium (23,000-cap.) in Ohio, USA. ASM Global also holds a 25% stake in Australian stadium operator VenuesLive.

ASM Global, which formed as the result of a mega-merger between AEG Facilities and SMG, has a five-year agreement with the Lyric Foundation for management of the Baltimore venue. An Outback Concerts-promoted Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band show will be the first to take place under ASM’s management on 16 and 17 June 2020.

“We are excited to welcome the Lyric to the ASM Global family of performing arts centres,” says Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global. “We have a long and successful history in Baltimore at the Royal Farms Arena (14,000-cap.) and more recently at MECU Pavilion (4,400-cap.).

“ASM Global understands the Lyric’s vision and mission”

“The Lyric further expands our portfolio in the region and compliments the other two facilities, enabling us to better serve our patrons, promoters and partners in the area.”

“We are happy that our first booking at the Lyric is Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band,” adds Bob Papke, vice president of theatres for ASM Global. “The Modell Lyric is an incredible venue and we look forward to bringing a variety of artists and attractions to the theater.”

John Denick, chair of the Lyric Foundation comments that ASM Global “understand[s] the Lyric’s vision and mission.

“They represent a great opportunity for growth, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship,” says Denick.

The Modell Lyric, a not-for-profit performing arts centre serving the greater Baltimore area, has hosted acts including Aretha Franklin, Robbie Williams, Chris Rock, Diana Ross, Santana and the Grateful Dead.

Tickets for the Ringo Starr show go on sale at 10 a.m. EST today (Friday 15 November) here.

 


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ASM Global to operate new £260m venue complex

ASM Global will be the venue management provider for a new £260 million arena, conference and exhibition centre on Gateshead Quays in Newcastle, as the operator further expands its UK footprint.

ASM Global, the result of a merger between SMG Facilities and AEG Facilities today  (11 October) cleared by the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority, has signed a long-term agreement with developer Ask Real Estate and investor Patrizia to operate the 12,500-capacity venue.

It is estimated that the ten-acre Gateshead complex, due to open by 2023, will generate £30m for the economy and attract up to 300,000 new visitors to the region each year. Global architecture firm Hok has been appointed to design to new arena.

“We are thrilled to have selected ASM Global as our operator,” comments Ask Real Estate MD John Hughes.

“ASM Global have a global reputation for excellence and their experience will be key in helping us to develop what will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations”

“They have a global reputation for excellence and their experience will be key in helping us to develop what will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations. We have been working closely with them to ensure the arena will be able to accommodate the rapid advances in sound and production technology.”

ASM Global’s executive vice president for Europe, John Sharkey, says the operator is “delighted to bring to market such an ambitious development”.

“We look forward to building upon the success of the Utilita Arena (11,400-cap.) and Whitley Bay Playhouse (630-cap.), and leveraging our regional strength to further develop the events landscape and grow the north east economy,” says Sharkey.

In addition to its venues in the north east of England, ASM Global’s UK portfolio includes the O2 Arena (20,000-cap.), the SSE Arena, Wembley (12,500-cap.), Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.), the First Direct Arena in Leeds (13,700-cap.), Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena (13,000-cap.) and the York Barbican (1,900-cap.).

 


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New AEG-backed MTS Live Arena bound for Moscow

MTS, Russia’s leading telecommunications operator and digital services provider, has signed an agreement to be the branding partner of, and help equip, a new 11,500-capacity arena in Moscow, set to open in 2020.

MTS (Mobile TeleSystems) – which also partially owns Russia’s two biggest entertainment ticket sellers – will provide high-speed mobile data network coverage throughout the venue, including 5G connectivity, and install ultra-high-resolution screens and smart parking, navigation, security and access control systems at the new MTS Live Arena, which is being built by developer Safmar Group near the Skolkovo Innovation Center (aka ‘Russia’s silicone valley’).

The deal between MTS and Safmar’s AND Corporation provides for an initial ten-year period of cooperation, with an option to extend. AEG is also on board as an international partner, says MTS – the US venues giant’s first property in Russia, after negotiations to operate Moscow’s VTB Arena fell through.

Alexey Kornya, MTS president and CEO, says the telco will help market events at the new arena via its ticketing platforms, Ticketland and Ponominalu, as well as broadcast performances via on-site VR streaming.

“We continue to expand into the experiential sphere,” explains Kornya. “The MTS Live Arena project complements our strategy to develop an entertainment ecosystem by leveraging synergies across our business lines, including e-ticketing, virtual and augmented reality, interactive OTT [over-the-top] content distribution and our proprietary mobile apps.

“Combining the expertise of AND Corporation, one of Russia’s largest developers, with MTS’s digital product capabilities will enable us to provide a new level of entertainment, including both world-class live performances by leading global stars [and] online content delivery to smartphones and other devices.”

“The MTS Live Arena project complements our strategy to develop an entertainment ecosystem”

When it opens in mid-2020, MTS Live Arena (pictured), the company says, will feature multiple seating levels “with optimal viewing from all areas”, as well as “world-class stage, lighting, and sound equipment”. “AEG’s participation will ensure the arena is on par with leading global concert venues,” it adds.

In addition to the VTB indoor arena, which has a capacity of 13,000 for concerts, other rival venues in Moscow include the 13,926-seat Megasport Sport Palace, CSKA Arena (14,000-cap.) and the 35,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, or Olimpiyskiy.

“Safmar Group is executing a variety of ambitious projects across the full spectrum of commercial real estate. The entertainment complex that we are building near the Skolkovo cluster will be a flagship platform for large-scale concerts in Russia,” comments Sait-Salam Gutseriev, general director of AND Corporation.

“The venue features a unique combination of advanced technologies, architectural solutions, design concepts and logistics accessibility standards. We are confident that MTS is the perfect partner to help develop this project, which can bring the perception of performances in our country to a new level.

“The innovative solutions that our partner plans to install at MTS Live Arena will provide viewers and attendees an unforgettable experience.”

 


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AEG Facilities, SMG merge: ASM Global is born

AEG’s venue management arm, AEG Facilities, and Onex-owned SMG announced today (1 October) that they have completed their merger to create a single global facility management and venue services company, ASM Global.

The companies, which between them operate and run many of the world’s most important large entertainment venues, first announced their intention to merge in February. The completion of the merger comes following the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority approval of the deal in September.

ASM, headquartered in Los Angeles, has key operations based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, as well as offices in London and Manchester, England; Brisbane, Australia; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

ASM’s portfolio includes Sydney ANZ Stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, Manchester Arena and Lausanne’s Vaudoise Arena, as well as convention and exhibition centres, performing arts centres and theatres. Overall, the company will operate more than 300 facilities across five continents.

Some AEG-owned venues, including the O2 Arena in London and the AccorHotel Arena in Paris, remain under AEG control do not currently feature in the ASM portfolio online. The Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin and Los Angeles’ Staples Center, which were previously thought to be excluded from the deal, are included in ASM’s portfolio.

Bob Newman, former president of AEG Facilities, has been named president and CEO of ASM, effective immediately. Prior to joining AEG Facilities, Newman spent more than 20 years at SMG, last serving as a regional vice president for the company. Wes Westley, former CEO and president of SMG, will focus on strategic growth initiatives and facilitating the integration process.

“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our industry and one that will establish a new standard of excellence in managing live experiences”

“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our industry and one that will establish a new standard of excellence in managing live experiences,” comments Newman.

“Bringing together the combined global expertise of each company with the best content and cutting-edge technologies, we will be able to realise the full potential of the world’s greatest spaces, places and events, create amazing experiences for guests, offer exciting new opportunities to employees and deliver the highest value for all stakeholders. Equally important, our deep bench of talent and shared resources will enable ASM to accelerate innovation and capitalise on the growing market opportunities.”

Westley adds: “I am very proud to have had the opportunity to lead such an incredible organisation as SMG. We have a long history of working closely with our public and private partners and are confident in our ability to continue to meet and exceed their expectations.

“ASM’s focus moving forward will be on providing added value and best-in-class services to its customers.”

Onex, AEG and their respective affiliates are contributing their entire equity investments in SMG and AEG Facilities, respectively, and are now equal co-owners of ASM.

 


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UK’s CMA clears SMG-AEG Facilities merger

The UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has approved the planned merger of AEG Facilities and SMG.

The CMA was one of a number of regulatory authorities investigating the merger of the venue management giants, which was announced in February. If, as expected, the authority’s counterparts across the Atlantic also clear the merger, a new joint venture, Los Angeles-headquartered ASM Global, will likely launch in October of this year, according to an AEG spokesperson.

“We are pleased that the proposed merger of AEG Facilities and SMG has received unconditional clearance from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA),” says AEG. “The parties anticipate closing the transaction in early October.”

“We are pleased that the proposed merger of AEG Facilities and SMG has received unconditional clearance”

SMG has been contacted for comment.

The CMA launched a preliminary (‘phase-1’) investigation into the merger in April, following a partial deferment of the case to British authorities by the European Commission. Regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US are also believed to be looking into the transaction.

Plans for the deal revealed in early February by private-equity firm Onex Corporation, which completed its acquisition of SMG Holdings in January 2018.

Onex says it and AEG Facilities will each own 50% of ASM Global (a trading name of Wildlife Holdings Inc.) – which will manage more than 300 large venues worldwide – following the merger.

 


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Alibaba founder buys Barclays Center

After months of negotiations, Joseph Tsai, executive vice-chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, has bought the 19,000-capacity Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The deal sees the Alibaba co-founder take control of the arena – home to basketball team the Brooklyn Nets – from Russian entrepreneur and politician Mikhail Prokhorov.

Tsai, who already owned 49% of the Nets, also purchased Prokhorov’s 51% controlling interest in the team. Prokhorov had held the stake through his company Onexim Sports and Entertainment.

Bloomberg reported that Tsai paid around US$3.5 billion in total for the arena, team and debt.

Granted the NBA [National Basketball Association] board of governors approves the sale of the team, Tsai will become chairman of the board of directors for the Barclays Center and NBA governor of the Nets.

“I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail’s vision, which puts the Nets in a great position to compete, and for which I am incredibly grateful,” says Tsai. “We are committed to maintaining Barclays Center’s iconic status by bringing together culture, community, and entertainment for our fans and everyone in New York.”

The Barclays Center, which opened in 2012, is operated by AEG Facilities in conjunction with BSE Global (previously Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment).

BSE Global also operates Webster Hall, in partnership with AEG Presents/ the Bowery Presents, and the 16,800-capacity NYCB Live (formerly Nassau Coliseum), which is owned by Onexim.

“We are committed to maintaining Barclays Center’s iconic status by bringing together culture, community, and entertainment for our fans”

Brett Yormark, BSE Global chief executive, is stepping down following the sale. Yormark is the only executive expected to leave the organisation.

“It has been a tremendous honour leading BSE Global, and working alongside some of the most brilliant professionals in the industry,” says Yormark. “I have always envisioned beginning my next chapter when Mikhail and Dmitry [Razumov, Onexim chief executive] sold the arena and the team, and with today’s announcement, that time has come.”

Yormark adds that he will oversee a “smooth transition” of the Barclays Center and the Nets to new ownership and will “continue to oversee Mikhail’s other Onexim assets”.

The potential buy-out by Tsai was first reported by the New York Post in March. At the time, the Post stated that Tsai’s purchase of the Barclays Center would be welcomed by the National Basketball Association, due to the potential for growth in China.

Upcoming shows at the Barclays Center include Kiss, Shawn Mendes, Mary J Blige & Nas, Chris Brown and Blink 182 & Lil Wayne, as well as hip-hop and Latin festival Soulfrito Music fest.

Alibaba has shown a growing interest in the music industry in recent years, launching artist management, booking and entertainment ticketing businesses.

Tsai co-founded the online marketplace in 1999 along with 17 others and continues to hold the second largest individual stake in the company, behind executive chair Jack Ma.

 


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AEG to manage new Las Vegas stadium

AEG Facilities has been selected to operate 65,000-seat stadium under construction in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Set to open in August 2020, the US$2 billion domed stadium will serve as the new home ground of American football team the Oakland Raiders (who will become the Las Vegas Raiders when they relocate from Oakland, California), as well as hosting concerts, festivals, family shows and other sporting events.

AEG Facilities – the arena/stadia management division of AEG – will be responsible for all stadium operations, including hiring staff and planning the schedule of events for its 2020 opening.

“The addition of the stadium … will provide immediate opportunities to bring new high-profile events to Las Vegas”

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to partner with one of sports’ most recognisable, successful and iconic international brands,” says Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities, “and with a city known as the ‘sports and entertainment capital of the world’ in a stadium destined to set new standards for the fan experience that will be created.

“The addition of the Las Vegas stadium into our global stadia network will provide immediate opportunities to bring new high-profile events to Las Vegas to take advantage of the incredible new stadium and a city that knows how to deliver best-in-class experiences and events.”

AEG Facilities already operates the 20,000-cap. T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which opened in 2016. Other venues under construction in the city include the Sphere arena, owned by rival operator MSG.

 


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AEG to open “revolutionary” new arena in Korea

AEG has signed an agreement with CJ Group, South Korea’s largest media conglomerate, to open a new entertainment complex in Seoul.

The deal, with CJ Group subsidiary CJ LiveCity Corporation, will see the creation of CJ LiveCity in Seoul’s Goyang City, comprising the 20,000-capacity Seoul Metropolitan Arena, a recording studio complex, a K-pop/Korean culture-themed entertainment district and a waterfront park.

Centrally located between five of Korea’s largest cities, AEG projects the new venue will attract more than 20 million visitors annually. It will, say the partners, become the country’s “largest and most advanced live performance venue for K-pop, international artist tours, sports events and Hallyu [Korean Wave] content.”

The agreement marks AEG’s entrance into the burgeoning South Korean live entertainment market and further expands its footprint in Asia, where existing and future venues include Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, Thailand’s Bangkok Arena and EM Live, and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China.

CJ LiveCity CEO Michael Kim comments: “This collaboration combines CJ’s long-standing cultural business capabilities with AEG’s venue development and operations expertise and its global live touring and promotions capacities. Seoul Metropolitan Arena, which will be designed by a leading architectural firm, is expected to be a competitive venue not only across Asia, but also globally, due to performances of K-pop as well as world-renowned artists.

“The combination of CJ LiveCity and Seoul Metropolitan Arena will revolutionise Korea and the region’s entertainment landscape

“Securing qualified content based on building a world-class facility is a key success factor for the arena in CJ LiveCity. In this context, the collaboration with AEG, which is one of the world’s leading venue operators and global live music companies, will be one of the most important factors for the arena’s success.”

In addition to its entertainment activities – which include record labels, concert production/promotion and music publishing, as well as television production and the CGV cinema chain – CJ Group is active in food and food service, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, home shopping and business logistics.

The company turned over US$59 billion in 2018, and made $1.7bn profit.

“We believe that the combination of CJ LiveCity and the new Seoul Metropolitan Arena will revolutionise Korea and the region’s entertainment landscape,” says Adam Wilkes, president and CEO of AEG Asia. “Both AEG and CJ share a vision of Korea as a world-leading entertainment destination and we are thrilled to work with such an innovative leader. CJ has an in-depth understanding of the Korean and Asian markets and unparallelled experience in entertainment.

“We believe that Seoul Metropolitan Arena will become a must-play destination for world tours and look forward to breaking new ground together.”

 


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