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ASM Global taps James Taylor from Wembley Stadium

ASM Global has hired Wembley Stadium’s outgoing senior commercial manager James Taylor for the newly-created role of sales director for sports and alternative content for UK venues.

Taylor will be exploring and implementing new and diverse content in sports and entertainment, with a focus on securing more high calibre sporting, e-sports and championship-level events for ASM’s UK venue portfolio, which includes AO Arena in Manchester, OVO Arena Wembley, Olympia London, P&J Live Aberdeen and First Direct Arena Leeds, among others.

Taylor, who has run bookings across sports, entertainment and music at London’s 90,000-cap Wembley Stadium since 2017, recently revealed he will depart the venue later this year after overseeing a record summer of live music.

“It’s a great appointment that will complement our UK programming team”

“I am very pleased to have James joining our team with his background in sports and high profiled events,” says ASM’s SVP operations Europe Marie Lindqvist. “It’s a great appointment that will complement our UK programming team with James Harrison heading up the touring music shows.

“This new role is an important addition to grow and develop the most exciting, relevant and diverse calendar for the growing portfolio of stadiums, arenas, theatres and convention centres in the UK.”

Taylor, who starts his new role in September, served a nine-year stint at Wembley overall and was also responsible for managing the stadium’s sponsors and long-term stadium partners the RFL and EFL.

“I’m really excited to be joining ASM Global in this brand-new role at such an exciting time for the business given the major investments taking place across ASM properties,” says Taylor. “I look forward to working with the team to bring world class events to ASM venues across the UK.”

 


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Wembley Stadium’s music bookings chief to depart

Wembley Stadium’s senior commercial manager for concerts James Taylor has revealed he will depart the London venue later this year after overseeing a record summer of live music.

The national stadium set a new benchmark in 2019 by holding 14 gigs in the space of five weeks and is set to surpass that total this year.

Its extensive 2022 programme kicked off last month with Capital’s Summertime Ball, followed by two shows with Harry Styles and five nights with Ed Sheeran. Creating a second concert window to meet demand, it will also host Westlife (6 August), Coldplay (12-13, 16-17, 19-20 August) and the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert (3 September).

“We still have one show to be announced and the shows that have happened have all been huge successes for the venue, artists and promoters,” he tells IQ. “The events need to work for all parties and that’s when you get true success. If it only works for the venue or the promoter, then you either don’t see the repeat booking or the venue wanting to work with that event again.

“The stadium is in a very good place with music now – all parties seem to be making it work.”

Taylor, who joined the 90,000-cap national stadium as commercial manager nine years ago, was promoted to run bookings for both sport and music in 2017.

“Music has a place right at the heart of Wembley”

“I was given a specific remit to increase the number of music shows and make them more profitable,” Taylor tells IQ. “We were averaging around seven shows a year and so have been very proud over the last two concert seasons – ignoring Covid years – to have packed our stadium with 14 and 17 shows respectively. It was the result of a strategy I thought long and hard over and required some difficult internal and external conversations.

“The 2019 concert window for me is my main highlight. We did seven shows in 2018 which was standard for the stadium and to grow that to 14 the following year through promoting collaboration between promoters and artists has played a part in setting up the multiple shows we see again in 2022 and will be the same in future summers I’m sure. Music has a place right at the heart of Wembley.

“The stadium is in a place now where they can capitalise on music content for many years to come. That what I’m most proud of – not simply coming in and continuing what was already being delivered, but making changes and moving things forward.”

Taylor, who will reveal his next move in the coming weeks, says the time felt right to head for pastures new.

“I have been at Wembley for nine years and I do feel the venue in terms of programming is in a good place and we have moved the bar up considerably,” he says. “I enjoy working in venues and so a combination of the right opportunity coming up and a desire for something fresh have both happened at the same time, fortunately for me.

“I will miss the stadium very much but look forward to returning as a fan and seeing who the future stars at Wembley will be.”

 


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Inside Wembley Stadium’s 2022 music comeback plans

London’s Wembley Stadium has created a second concert window for the summer of 2022 as it bids to meet the “incredible” demand for live shows.

The 90,000-capacity national stadium will welcome Ed Sheeran for five nights from 24 June to 1 July before hosting the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final on 31 July. It will then revert to music with Westlife (originally scheduled for 2021) on 6 August, followed by six dates by Coldplay from 12-20 August.

James Taylor, the venue’s senior commercial manager, tells IQ it was a “huge challenge” to accommodate the level of interest.

“We had to create a second concert season in August 2022 post the Women’s Euro Final to fit the demand in,” he says. “That was incredibly complex to navigate, but with various parties working together we made it work.

“In order to give the acts all wanting to play at Wembley the chance to hit the number of nights they wanted to do, we also managed to gain approval from Brent Council to extend our music cap, so we are in a good position to capitalise on delivering concerts at the venue and satisfy demand for years to come.”

Upon the completion of next year’s shows, Sheeran and Coldplay will have equalled Take That’s record of 12 nights at the new Wembley, with Take That also holding the record for the most dates on one tour, with eight, for their 2011 Progress Live run with Robbie Williams.

“Coldplay are only the second act to reach six nights on one tour at Wembley and have sold these shows out already. We saw incredible demand, which demonstrates that the public are keen to get out and see live shows again,” says Taylor.

“Ed Sheeran became only the third act to reach five nights in a season, which was impressive in itself as he is an ‘in the round’ show, and thus a 90,000-plus capacity. We have Westlife also playing in 2022, with other acts still in the pipeline so hopefully we are not finished yet.”

Wembley set a new benchmark in 2019 by holding 14 gigs in the space of five weeks, including three dates by the Spice Girls and two each by BTS, Fleetwood Mac and Pink.

I’m not seeing anything that gives me concern over market saturation

“We are shaping up well for 2022,” adds Taylor. “We have secured the two biggest tours out in 2022 in Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, which means we are in with a shout of another record number of nights at Wembley for the second consecutive concert season.

“We have seen a number of acts move out of 2022 into 2023, some as they had arena tours building into stadium shows which Covid has obviously delayed. 2023 is looking incredibly strong for stadium shows and I’m doing my level best to accommodate as many of our holds as possible.”

After two barren years due to the pandemic, England’s capital is bracing itself for a stadium rock bonanza next summer.

London Stadium has a triple-header starring Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer (24 June), followed by two nights with Red Hot Chili Peppers (25-26 June), before the return of Foo Fighters on 30 June and 2 July.

Plus, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will make its concerts bow courtesy of two dates by Guns N’ Roses (originally slated for 2020) on 1-2 July, while Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium will stage its first music shows since 2013 when it welcomes The Killers from 3-4 June (also originally planned for 2020).

According to Taylor, the evidence suggests the pent-up demand from the public is sufficient enough to support the huge volume of stadium tours – enquiries for dates at Wembley already stretch to 2025.

“Given the demand for the shows we have already put up, they have definitely met expectations and I’m not seeing anything that gives me concern over market saturation,” says Taylor. “Time will tell, but nothing is causing me concern to date. I believe the stadium shows at other London stadiums have also sold well, which is good to hear.”

 


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