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ASM Global invests in ANZ Stadium operator VenuesLive

ASM Global, the global venue-management giant formed by the recent merger of SMG and AEG Facilities, has acquired a 25% shareholding in Australian stadium operator VenuesLive.

The acquisition of a stake (formerly held by Techfront Australia) in VenuesLive gives ASM a further foothold in the Asia-Pacific large-venue sector. VenuesLive operates the 83,500-seat ANZ Stadium and 30,000-seat Bankwest Stadium, both in Sydney, and the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium, in Perth.

ASM Global, meanwhile, manages the 12,000-seat Brisbane Entertainment Centre and 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium, both in Brisbane; the 21,000-seat Qudos Bank Arena and 8,500-seat First State Super Theatre at ICC, both in Sydney; the 15,000-seat RAC Arena in Perth; and the new 17,000-cap. Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, among others.

As part of the transaction, ASM Global’s Asia-Pacific region chairman, Harvey Lister, joins the VenuesLive board, though current directors (and joint majority shareholders) Daryl Kerry and Steve Heytman will continue to lead the business day to day.

“We look forward to the benefits that ASM Global’s investment in VenuesLive will bring”

Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global, comments on the acquisitions: “The real winners from these developments are the fans who will be able to access a greater range of world-class content, services, amenities and technologies in more venues than ever before across Australia.”

Approval for the acquisition has been granted by the government owners of the three stadia.

Kerry, the managing director of VenuesLive, says: “We are excited about ASM Global’s investment in VenuesLive. We look forward to the benefits that ASM Global’s investment in VenuesLive will bring, particularly in delivering additional events to the stadia we manage.”

Collectively, ASM Global’s portfolio includes more than 300 arenas, stadia, convention centres and performing arts venues. ASM was formerly known locally as AEG Ogden.

ASM’s sister company, promoter AEG Presents, in April absorbed Frontier Touring, Australia’s last major independent concert business.

 


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Dubai “go-to” tour destination with arena success

Dubai’s 17,000-capacity Coca-Cola Arena, which opened its doors three months ago, has already hosted shows by Maroon 5, Westlife, the 1975 and Alicia Keys, playing a key role in placing the United Arab Emirates on the international touring map.

The multipurpose arena was born as part of a collaboration between Dubai-based developer Meraas and AEG’s Asian/ Australasian venues arm, AEG Ogden.

The largest venue of its kind in the region, Meraas and AEG Ogden hope the arena will become the premier destination in the Middle East’s burgeoning live events scene.

The arena is fully enclosed and climate controlled, transforming Dubai from a “winter-only” touring destination into a year-round option for promoters. Floor space measuring 3,870 square metres and a variety of seating and stage configurations allow for a range of event types.

“Dubai is already a major entertainment hub for the entire region and the opening of Coca-Cola Arena has helped to further establish the city as the go-to destination for acts visiting the Middle East as part of global tour schedules,” comments AEG Ogden’s chief executive of Coca-Cola Arena, Guy Ngata.

“Dubai is already a major entertainment hub for the entire region and the opening of Coca-Cola Arena has helped to further establish the city as the go-to destination for acts visiting the Middle East”

“Meraas has shown a great vision to expand Dubai’s live entertainment offering and in doing so has an asset that will become one of the world’s great live venues.

“Together with Coca-Cola and all of our partners and stakeholders, there is a real passion in establishing the venue as the perfect fit for international touring artists, productions, sporting activity and shows of all genres,” adds Ngata.

Coca-Cola announced a ten-year naming-rights agreement with AEG Ogden in April, in what the soft drinks giant deemed a “milestone deal”. The arena also counts Indian ticketing platform BookMyShow among its partners, signifying the first global arena deal for the company.

“Despite only being open for a few months, Coca-Cola Arena is already firmly established as one of the city’s biggest attractions,” continues Ngata. “We look forward to hosting even more great live acts and events as we develop and expand the events industry in the UAE to even greater levels of success.”

Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena opened on 6 June, with a performance by Canadian comedian Russell Peters, before Maroon 5 made the arena’s musical debut on 14 June. A list of upcoming events can be found here.

 


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Paul Sergeant rejoins AEG Ogden

Australian venue management veteran Paul Sergeant has rejoined AEG Ogden, following the winding up of his Paul Sergeant Events (PSE) company.

“I have re-joined AEG Ogden for a third time and taken on a role as director, special projects, ahead of a number of rising opportunities across the Australasian region,” Sergeant – who founded PSE, a niche events promoter and consultancy, in 2017 after stepping down as CEO of Melbourne’s Etihad (now Marvel) Stadium – tells IQ of the move.

“Given my extensive experience at Wembley Stadium, Wembley Arena, Principality Stadium and Marvel Stadium, as well as my previous roles with AEG Ogden at Suncorp Stadium and Qudos Bank Arena, and more than 5,000 major events that have taken place under my management, I am effectively coming home to my specialised area of venue management.”

“I am effectively coming home to my specialised area of venue management”

Sergeant’s return to AEG Ogden comes amid a string of hires and internal promotions for the Brisbane-based company, including Ross Steele as manager of the Christchurch Convention Centre (Te Pae) in New Zealand and Michael Littlewood as director of operations at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

PSE was wound up in March, as a result of Sergeant being unable to raise funding to cover ongoing business costs, according to the Melbourne Age.

AEG Ogden, AEG’s Asia-Pacific venues operation, manages Brisbane Entertainment Centre (14,500-cap.), Te Pae Convention Centre and Dubai’s new Coca-Cola Arena (17,000-cap.), among others.

 


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BookMyShow enters Middle East with Coca-Cola Arena deal

BookMyShow, India’s largest online ticketing company, has expanded into the Middle East after signing a five-year deal with AEG Ogden’s Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.

Under the agreement, BookMyShow will be the preferred ticketing platform for all events at the 17,000-capacity arena, the biggest in the Middle East, as the UAE looks to cement its place as a viable touring destination.

Formerly referred to as the Dubai Arena, AEG’s Asian/ Australasian venues arm AEG Ogden recently signed a ten-year naming-rights deal with soft drinks giant Coca-Cola.

The ticketing platform also aims to provide content for the Coca-Cola Arena in music, comedy, sports and other live events over the next five years. The partnership kicks off with Westlife’s Twenty Tour on 29 August, which is being co-promoted by BookMyShow and Live Nation.

“The Middle East is a critical yet under-served market when it comes to such entertainment experiences for consumers,” says BookMyShow founder and chief executive Ashish Hemrajani.

“The partnership will enable us to bring the best of the world’s and India’s entertainment experiences to consumers in the Middle East”

“The partnership with the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai will enable us to bring the best of the world’s and India’s entertainment experiences to consumers in the Middle East.”

The partnership is the first global arena deal for the Mumbai-based ticketing company and the next step in its international expansion. BookMyShow announced its first foray into sales outside of India in June 2018, with the London West End production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical The King and I.

Guy Ngata, chief executive of the Coca-Cola Arena, comments: “Our partnership with BookMyShow is based around a number of core elements, including live event promotions and preferred ticketing, which enables the vast experience that it has developed in India and South East Asia to be applied in Dubai.”

BookMyShow has received a total of US$224.5m since 2007, most recently securing $100m in an investment round led by Creative Artists Agency owner TPG. According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, the company has a virtual monopoly of India’s online ticketing market, with a 78% market share.

The company recently invested in payment technology company AtomX, to enable the use of cashless solutions at BookMyShow events.

 


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Dubai Arena signs naming-rights deal with Coca-Cola

Dubai Arena, AEG Ogden’s new 17,000-capacity venue in the UAE’s largest city, will be named Coca-Cola Arena when it opens this June.

The new name follows the signing of a ten-year naming-rights agreement by AEG Ogden, AEG’s Asian/Australasian venues arm, with soft drinks giant Coca-Cola, reports Arabian Business.

The project has been three years in the making, originally announced in late 2016. The capacity has since been reduced from a projected 20,000, though the completed Coca-Cola Arena will still be the largest indoor in arena in the Middle East, with no less than 42 hospitality and corporate suites and capability to host concerts, sporting events, exhibitions and conferences.

“This is a milestone deal for the Coca-Cola Company”

Comedian Russell Peters, promoted by Live Nation Middle East, will open the new arena on 6 June, with its first concert following eight days later, on Friday 14 June: Maroon 5, promoted by Done Events.

“This is a milestone deal for the Coca-Cola Company as the Coca-Cola Arena will bring more than 40 events every year to the hugely anticipated destination, putting us at the centre stage of entertainment,” comments Murat Ozgel, general manager of Coca-Cola Middle East and deputy business unit president of Coca-Cola Middle East and North Africa.

“The Coca-Cola Arena will firmly position itself as a leading destination helping Dubai claim its place among the main global metropoles like New York, Tokyo, Paris and London,” says Ozgel.

 


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AEG Ogden to manage venue opening in New Zealand

AEG’s Asia-Pacific venue management branch, AEG Ogden, has announced it will operate Te Pae Christchurch, a conference centre and live events space opening in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2020.

Te Pae (2,000-cap.) will host national and international events in the biggest city on New Zealand’s South Island. The venue will feature purpose-built features including a 1,400-seat auditorium, 3,600 square metres of exhibition space and 24 meeting rooms.

The centre, situated on the banks of Christchurch’s Avon River, will be New Zealand’s second largest conference and exhibition facility. Ōtākaro Limited, the project development company behind Te Pae, hopes AEG Ogden will help boost the centre’s international reputation.

“With a network of venues across the Asia-Pacific region, including the International Convention Centre Sydney, AEG Ogden has significant experience in delivering world-class events that have people wanting to come back for more,” comments Ōtākaro chief executive, John Bridgman.

“The positioning of Te Pae as an international standard meeting and events hub will assist in the regeneration of Christchurch and the Canterbury region”

AEG Ogden chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister, says the objective is to attract “major conventions”, which “provide a significant economic boost and showcase the exceptional talent and skills of the Christchurch and New Zealand communities.”

“The positioning of Te Pae as an international standard meeting and events hub will assist in the regeneration of Christchurch and the Canterbury region. We are so excited to be involved with this project and our team can’t wait to get started,” adds Bridgman.

Building work for Te Pae Christchurch is underway, and the venue will begin to host events from late 2020.

AEG Ogden manages a range of venues throughout Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, including the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (14,500-cap.) and the Dubai Arena (17,000-cap.), opening in mid-2019.

 


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Thomas Ovesen exits Dubai Arena to go independent

After a year as VP of programming for the soon-to-open Dubai Arena, and COO of its operator, AEG Ogden, Thomas Ovesen is exiting the company to return to promoting independently.

Ovesen joined the Dubai Arena project at the start of 2018 from local promoter 117 Live. The arena’s CEO, Guy Ngata, says Ovesen “has been a key part of the journey so far as we begin the countdown to opening the arena in 2019”.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas on behalf of our team,” he adds. “We look forward to working with Thomas in the near future, which is something both parties are excited about.”

“With the Dubai Arena getting ready to open with what will be an amazing calendar of events, now is as great a time as ever for me to return to being a dedicated independent buyer and promoter,” comments Ovesen.

“We look forward to working with Thomas in the near future, which is something both parties are excited about”

“I wish my fantastic colleagues all the best and thank AEG Ogden for the opportunity with Dubai Arena. I look forward to many future collaborations.”

Owned by state-backed holding company Meraas and managed by AEG’s local operation, AEG Ogden, the 17,000-seat Dubai Arena (originally announced as having a capacity of 20,000) will “put Dubai on the international entertainment touring circuit and make a major contribution to the Emirate’s continued development as a major tourism destination”, said AEG Ogden’s CEO, Harvey Lister, at its launch in 2016.

The venue will open later this year.

 


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Australian man arrested over Ed Sheeran ticket fraud

A 33-year-old man has been arrested and charged with fraud after allegedly taking money for non-existent tickets to this week’s Ed Sheeran show in Brisbane.

In a move welcomed by AEG Ogden, operator of Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (52,500-cap.), Queensland police has charged the man with two counts of fraud after he was discovered to have allegedly “contacted interested concertgoers on a non-authorised online ticket platform and offered to sell them tickets”. The victims, all women aged between 40 and 55, paid the man via bank transfer but never received the tickets.

“This is another clear example of buyer beware,” says Queensland police’s Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence. “I urge entertainment ticket buyers and all buyers of online products to keep control of their purchase.

“Only use the official authorised sellers and their platforms. Do not move away from those platforms to buy tickets or items, particularly if asked to. It is most likely you are being scammed.”

“This is another clear example of buyer beware”

AEG Ogden’s chief operating officer, Rod Pilbeam, comments: “More than 100,000 tickets have been sold for next week’s concerts. However, if they were not purchased through the authorised agent, Ticketek, there could be cause for concern.”

Pilbeam says ticket touting is a “multi-million dollar industry that has attracted major criminal groups and tempted major companies to participate in the easy profits that flow from this deceit”, adding that “patrons should buy their tickets only from the authorised ticket outlet”, which for Suncorp Stadium is TEG’s Ticketek.

Sheeran’s ÷ world tour has broken records down under, selling more than 1m tickets for 18 dates across Australia and New Zealand. He will play Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 March.

 


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Another hire for new Dubai Arena

AEG Ogden has further bolstered the operating team for its soon-to-open Dubai Arena, appointing former IMG vice-president Doug Waller as chief operating officer.

Waller’s appointment follows that of veteran promoter Thomas Ovesen as VP of programming in November and Guy Ngata, formerly of New Zealand’s Eden Park stadium, as general manager in August.

Prior to joining IMG, where he oversaw global sponsorship for the Dubai 2020 Expo, Waller (pictured) was head of sponsorship and licensing at the International Cricket Council, also in Dubai, where he was responsible for commercial rights, reports Trade Arabia.

“I am very excited to be joining a highly experienced leadership team”

“Doug’s commercial experience and leadership in the sports and entertainment space, together with his thoughtful decision-making and proven leadership, makes him a tremendous acquisition for the Dubai Arena team,” says Ngata. “In addition, his ten years’ experience working and living in Dubai has given him a sound understanding of the local culture, not to mention a strong business network.”

AEG Ogden will operate the 20,000-capacity Dubai Arena on behalf of state-owned holding company Meraas. Originally slated to break ground this year, it is now expected to open in 2019.

“I am very excited to be joining a highly experienced leadership team that will support Meraas in delivering this world-class facility to the people of Dubai and the entertainment capital of the Middle East,” adds Waller.

 


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Qld greenlights another new AEG entertainment district

The state government of Queensland, Australia, has approved plans for a A$2bn (US$1.5m) arena-centred entertainment district in the city of Brisbane.

Brisbane Live – a joint venture between the government-backed Cross River Rail Delivery Authority (CRRDA) and AEG’s Australasian/Asian operation, AEG Ogden – will be centred on a 17,000-capacity arena and also include outdoor amphitheaters, cinemas, restaurants, bars and hotels. The new complex will be built over the Roma Street railway line, in the heart of Brisbane’s central business district.

The development, which will be largely privately funded, mirrors similar AEG developments at The O2 in London, LA Live in Los Angeles, Mercedes Platz in Berlin and the recently announced Nashville Yards in Tennessee.

“We have been working closely with Harvey Lister to make sure we create the best entertainment … precinct in Australia”

The project has won bipartisan political support, with the governing Labor party and opposition Liberal National Party (LNP) both endorsing Brisbane Live, which is tied into the larger Cross River Rail underground railway development. State deputy premier Jackie Trad says she hopes to “create the best entertainment and integrated transport precinct in Australia”.

Harvey Lister, chairman of AEG Ogden, tells local paper the Courier Mail he welcomes public support for the project. “It’s very encouraging that the government appears to have recognised the potential for Brisbane Live to be an activator that could eventually see the whole Roma Street precinct become an exciting part of the state’s capital city,” he comments.

AEG Ogden also operates the 14,500-cap. Brisbane Entertainment Centre, which opened in 1986.

 


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