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OVG International launches in London

Oak View Group (OVG), the US-based venue development, advisory and investment company co-founded by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, today launched its new international business at the International Live Music Conference in London.

OVG International, based in London and led by notables from the European venues world, is tasked with building arena and stadium development and partnership opportunities in the UK, Europe and the Middle East and Asia. According to OVG CEO Leiweke, OVG International is already in “advanced discussions” on a number of projects in those territories.

Jessica Koravos, president of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, and formerly MD of AEG Live and COO of AEG Europe, will serve as co-chair of OVG International alongside Leiweke.

Other appointments include:

“Oak View Group is growing rapidly, and we’re delighted to welcome seven exceptional executives to our team as we launch OVG International,” says Leiweke.

“We look forward to extending the Arena and Stadium Alliance to like-minded venues outside North America”

“Our aim is to create a new generation of state-of-the-art entertainment facilities. Our venues will be an elite class in terms of fan experience, artist experience and technology, and will provide an unparalleled platform for the activation of global brands.”

Oak View Group was founded in 2015. In addition to its major arena development projects at the Key Arena in Seattle, Belmont in New York and the University of Texas in Austin, OVG runs the Arena and Stadium Alliance, an invitation-only partnership of 28 arenas in North America that seeks to help independent venues attract global sponsorship opportunities, additional events and content.

It also has a venue-management outfit, OVG Facilities, launched last October following the acquisition of Pinnacle Venue Services, and a security arm, Prevent Advisors, and owns industry trade titles Venues Today and Pollstar, the latter which it bought last summer.

“The live events market has grown significantly in the United States since Oak View Group launched three years ago, and we see a huge opportunity to drive similar growth internationally by creating world-class experiences in world-class arenas,” continues Leiweke.

“We look forward to extending the Arena and Stadium Alliance to like-minded venues outside North America and to announcing more about OVG International’s plans soon.”

 


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Gary Hutchinson out at Wembley Stadium

Gary Hutchinson is to leave his position as head of venue sales and commercial partnerships at Wembley Stadium.

The former Sunderland AFC exec joined the UK’s largest stadium earlier this year, effectively replacing its ex-head of business development, Jim Frayling. He will leave the FA, the venue’s owner, at the end of 2017 to run a private hospitality venture, Chrysalis Leisure Group.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the FA, and I’m committed to supporting the organisation over the next few months, until they have plans in place to take [membership organisation] Club Wembley forward in the new year,” he says.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the FA and I’m committed to supporting the organisation over the next few months”

“However, I have been pursuing a new business venture for the last few months, and it has very quickly moved from being just a concept to something I am ready to push the button on and turn into a reality. It’s moving ahead rapidly, and I am sure it will continue to develop quickly.”

The Sun FM radio station reports Hutchinson has taken over the Fat Buddha restaurant in Newcastle, which he plans to transform into a “must-visit Tyneside venue”.

A spokesman for the FA tells IQ Danielle Russell, the stadium’s partnership development manager for music and new events, will continue to be the key contact for live music, while her colleague James Taylor supports sporting events.

 


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New management at Wembley Stadium

Gary Hutchinson, formerly commercial director at English football team Sunderland AFC, has joined Wembley Stadium in London as head of venue sales and commercial partnerships.

Hutchinson’s position is similar to that of ex-head of business development Jim Frayling, who departed the 90,000-cap. venue last month, but is a newly created role with a wider remit.

In his 17 years at Sunderland, Hutchinson (pictured) – who was previously head of venue and events – was instrumental in bringing several major touring acts to the club’s Stadium of Light, including Coldplay, Take That and Foo Fighters.

Other recent staff changes at Wembley, the UK’s largest stadium, include the promotion of Liam Boylan to stadium general manager, where he will work alongside Hutchinson and partnership development manager, music and new events, Danielle Russell to “bring the best of music to the stadium”, says Russell.

“We have a great music calendar ahead of us,” she tells IQ, “which will currently see Stone Roses and ELO come to Wembley, as well as four nights of Adele – with more to come.”

 


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