fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Face masks become must-have music merch

Music and sports brands are capitalising on the growing popularity of face masks, with bands including My Chemical Romance, Korn and Megadeth, and the US’s National Basketball Association (NBA), among those to have begun producing their own cloth face coverings.

Though the WHO says face masks only need be worn by those symptomatic with Covid-19, or caring for those who are, many countries, including the US, are now recommending non-medical face coverings be worn in public. Among those responding to the demand are the NBA and its sister league, the Women’s NBA (WNBA), which announced on Friday it would donate all proceeds from its new masks to charities Feeding America (US) and Second Harvest (Canada).

“As a global community, we can all play a role in reducing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by following the CDC [Centers for Disease Control]’s recommendation to cover our nose and mouth while in public,” explains Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programmes. “Through this new product offering, NBA and WNBA fans can adhere to these guidelines while joining in the league’s efforts to aid those who have been directly affected by Covid-19.”

In the music world, thrash metal act Megadeth are sending their fans face masks featuring the band’s Vic Rattlehead mascot, while post-hardcore band Thursday are repurposing existing merch to create masks, the sales of which will go towards making more. Nu-metallers Korn, meanwhile, created masks featuring their logo in early March, which quickly sold out. Fans can now pre-order a new batch set for release on 8 May.

According to trade body Licensing International, the NBA “opened the licensing floodgates” to branded face masks

Recently reformed emo heroes My Chemical Romance will release their masks – originally created for a show in the desert that never materialised – on 29 May, donating all proceeds to the Covid-19 relief fund established by Grammys charity MusiCares.

“We are living in strange times, alienating times, scary times,” reads a statement from the band. “These masks were the brainchild of our beloved Lauren Valencia, who died before this madness, not of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the older evil that is cancer. We had these masks made to keep you dust-free in the desert, a show that never happened, never will – a protection that then seemed timeworn.

“And here we are, with these masks, as though Lauren was prescient or we were unknowingly waiting for the right time…”

Valencia, the band’s longtime manager, died last year.

According to US trade body Licensing International (LIMA), the NBA/WNBA masks – along with the launch of MaskClub.com, featuring masks with the Batman logo, Hello Kitty, Care Bears, Scooby-Doo and others – “opened the licensing floodgates” to branded face masks, with more launches expected in the near future.

LIMA’s Global Licensing Survey 2019 found music merchandise sales were worth nearly US$3.5bn worldwide last year.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

North American arenas compensate part-time employees

Amid widespread cancellations of live entertainment and sporting events, several arenas in North America are taking steps to ensure the livelihoods of their part-time staff.

Large venues including Staples Center (20,000-cap.) in Los Angeles, Smoothie King Center (17,791-seat) in New Orleans and Scotiabank Saddledome (19,289-seat) in Calgary have created employee funds for non-salaried workers who have been affected by coronavirus-induced closures.

In LA, the AEG-operated Staples Center – along with its sports-team tenants, the LA Lakers, LA Clippers and LA Kings – have established a compensation scheme for wages lost by part-time employees.

Payments from the fund, according to NHL.com, will be distributed among more than 2,800 hourly event employees, including box-office staff, ushers, security, stagehands, operations staff, car park attendants and F&B sellers.

Meanwhile, Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, has announced plans to establish an ‘Arena Assistance Fund’ for those left out of pocket by the cancellation of upcoming NBA basketball games.

“We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community”

Benson, whose teams play at ASM Global’s Smoothie King Center, has also made a personal donation of US$1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Fund to remunerate Pelicans employees, as well as local ‘gig economy’ workers in New Orleans.

“We have been meeting and planning a response since the NBA’s announcement to suspend games. Our meaningful discussions have led to what we believe is the most impactful way to best serve the needs of our community as a whole,” she says. “We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community.”

North of the Canadian border, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), which owns the Calgary Flames ice-hockey team and operates the Saddledome, has similarly announced it will pay part-time and hourly employees while the Flames’ season is on hold.

San Francisco’s Chase Center has also established a $1m ‘disaster relief fund’, to be funded by the owners, players and coaches of NBA squad Golden State Warriors, to pay employees while the 19,500-capacity venue is empty.

Yesterday, US president Donald Trump recommended Americans refrain from gathering in groups of more than ten until the end of the month, as well as the closure of bars, restaurants, clubs and schools.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UTA buys into sports agency Klutch

United Talent Agency (UTA) has created a dedicated sporting division, UTA Sports, after making a significant investment in Klutch Sports Group, which represents basketball stars including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Klutch is led by founder Rich Paul, a National Basketball Association (NBA) agent and friend of James. The agency also has an office in UTA’s home city, Los Angeles.

“We started Klutch because we believed there was a different way to represent players,” Paul comments. “We understood the world was changing and how athletes required an entirely new perspective from their agents. When I met with Jeremy [Zimmer, UTA CEO] and the UTA team, it was clear to me they were the perfect partner for Klutch’s next phase of growth. They understand and share our view on the future of sports and recognise how there is an entirely new way to represent elite athletes.

“The innovation, resources and talent at UTA [are] going to supercharge everything we can do.”

According to Variety, Paul, who established Klutch Sports in 2012, will also serve as head of UTA Sports.

“Rich has built Klutch with the vision, values and entrepreneurial spirit that UTA cherishes”

The acquisition of a stake in Klutch bolster’s UTA’s existing sports business, which includes representation of several NBA, NFL (National [American] Football League) and Olympic athletes.

“Rich has built Klutch with the vision, values and entrepreneurial spirit that UTA cherishes,” says Zimmer. “By focusing on growing clients’ businesses and putting their interests first, Klutch is built for the modern athlete who wants to thrive at the intersection of sports, media, music, art and culture.

“We are thrilled to work with Rich and his team to build Klutch and UTA Sports into a global powerhouse.”

The news follows an aborted takeover by UTA of music powerhouse Paradigm Talent Agency, after Paradigm founder Sam Gores elected to remain independent. Through Coda, Paradigm has its own UK sports agency, Coda Independent Sports.

Among UTA’s Hollywood rivals, meanwhile, CAA has interests in several sports-focused companies, including Elevate Sports Ventures and China’s Momentum Sports, and WME’s parent company, Endeavor, includes sports agency giant IMG.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

StubHub: Brits flock to US sports in 2016

American sports are becoming increasing popular among British eventgoers (or at least those who buy on the secondary market), with three spots in StubHub’s ten top-selling events in the UK this year taken up by basketball or American football matches.

While Capital’s Summertime Ball festival at Wembley Stadium was the top-ranked event overall, National Football League (NFL) matches placed sixth and eighth, with the National Basketball Association (NBA) clash between the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic at The O2 tenth.

Coldplay’s UK A Head Full of Dreams tour dates was ninth.

In addition to their newfound love for all things American, British buyers – in common with the world as a whole – are also increasingly mobile, with StubHub reporting an increase in ticket buying on mobile platforms – and that “users who switch to these platforms from desktop tend to buy more tickets and spend more money”.

“We’re delighted to see people experiencing events that are becoming increasingly popular for British fans, such as the NFL and NBA”

Wayne Grierson, StubHub’s UK country manager, says: “2016 has been a great year for music and sport events in the UK, with popular events such as concerts, rugby and boxing featuring in our top 10 best-selling live events list.

“At StubHub, we believe life is richer when we experience more things, so we’re delighted to see people experiencing events that are becoming increasingly popular for British fans, such as the NFL and NBA.”

The full top ten is:

  1. Capital’s Summertime Ball 2016 (music)
  2. Aviva Premiership Rugby final: Exeter Chiefs vs Saracens (rugby)
  3. Anthony Joshua vs Charles Martin (boxing)
  4. Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook (boxing)
  5. Anthony Joshua vs Dominic Breazeale (boxing)
  6. New York Giants vs LA Rams (NFL)
  7. Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina (boxing)
  8. Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals (NFL)
  9. Coldplay, with support from Alessia Cara, Reef and Lianne La Havas (music)
  10. Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic (NBA)

StubHub sold US$1.1 billion worth of tickets worldwide in the third quarter of 2016.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

WME-IMG appoints NBA exec to head up China office

William Morris Endeavor (WME) has hired Michael Ma, formerly vice-president of the National Basketball Association (NBA), to head its new WME-IMG China subsidiary.

WME-IMG China was formed with private-equity backing in June to facilitate the booking agency group’s “new forays into Chinese sports and entertainment”.

Ma had most recently served NBA’s special assistant to the CEO in Beijing (pictured), where he will be based for his new role.

“Michael brings not only a deep knowledge of the Chinese market, but also incredible experience in cultivating brands within China through his work with the NBA”

“Michael brings not only a deep knowledge of the Chinese market, but also incredible experience in cultivating brands within China through his work with the NBA,” say WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in a joint statement. “We’re looking forward to working alongside Michael to expand our current business in China while creating new opportunities for our clients and partners in one of our fastest growing markets.”

WME-IMG was formed in late 2013 after music and media agency William Morris Endeavor and its corporate parent, Silver Lake Partners, bought sports agency International Management Group (IMG) for US$2.3 billion.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

StubHub to sponsor first primary ticket partner

The Philadelphia 76ers, the basketball team with which StubHub has partnered to launch its first primary ticketing platform, will receive shirt sponsorship from world’s biggest ticket resale site for the 2017–18 National Basketball Association (NBA) season.

The NBA is the first major US sports league to enable its franchises to exploit a commercial opportunity long taken for granted by, for example, English football teams.

The StubHub logo will feature on a small patch on the front left of the Philadelphia 76ers (‘Sixers’)’ 2017–18 jerseys (pictured).

“Since day one, StubHub has been a pioneer and innovator within the live entertainment ecosystem, and we could not be more excited to join the Philadelphia 76ers in making history with this groundbreaking partnership,” says StubHub president Scott Cutler. “The Philadelphia 76ers are not only a beloved global brand, they also serve as incredible partners and collaborators for StubHub, and we look forward to continuously innovating and improving the fan experience together.”

In February eBay-owned StubHub announced its move into primary ticketing by becoming the Sixers’ official ticketing partner.

It last week launched its first Spanish-language website (and fifth localised StubHub site in total): StubHub Mexico.