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NY stadiums, arenas permitted to reopen

New York governor Andrew Cuomo will allow major stadiums and arenas to reopen with a capacity of 10% from 23 February.

The guidelines for reopening will be based on the testing pilot programme conducted by the NFL team Buffalo Bills at the weekend, in which 6,700 fans who presented negative tests, and agreed to contact tracing, attended the game socially distanced

In order for stadiums and arenas to reopen at 10%, all fans and staff planning to attend an event will need to provide a negative PCR test within the 72 hours prior. Fans must also be temperature checked upon entering a venue and will be required to wear face coverings while in attendance.

Indoor arenas must observe enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards, as well as socially distanced seating configurations. The permission applies to stadiums and arenas with a capacity of 10,000 or more.

The Barclays Center (cap. 19,000) in Brooklyn has already announced plans for their first event and will welcome fans back to the arena on 23 February for a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings.

“While we continue to fight Covid on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy reopened intelligently and in a balanced way,” said governor Cuomo.

“While we continue to fight Covid on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy re-opened intelligently”

“Live sports and entertainment have long been engrained in the fabric of New York and the inability to hold events has only added to the isolation we have all felt at the hands of this virus.

“Thankfully, our pilot program to reopen Buffalo Bills games to fans was an unparalleled success and now we are taking that model and expanding it to other large venues across the state to not only reinvigorate local economies, but also help bring some fun and joy back into people’s lives as safely as possible.”

Cuomo has also announced that the state will host concerts for the first time in a year as part of the New York Arts Revival programme he announced in January.

More than 300 pop-up gigs will take place between 20 February and 6 September (Labor Day) at venues including the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage, La Mama, and Alice Busch Opera Theatre.

The governor says the gigs will visit flexible venues with no fixed seating so event formats can be reconfigured to allow adequate social distancing.

In January, Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to US president Joe Biden, predicted that live performances could resume this autumn, depending on how widely the Covid-19 vaccine can be distributed by then.

Fauci suggested that if between 70% and 85% of the US population would have to be vaccinated, venues with good ventilation and proper air filters could open without social distancing – though some theatres may ask audience members to continue to wear masks.

 


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Endeavor confirms On Location acquisition

Endeavor has confirmed the acquisition of a majority stake in On Location Experiences, a luxury hospitality firm formerly part of the US’s National Football League (NFL).

The deal, reportedly worth US$660 million, sees Endeavor – the parent company of global booking agency WME Entertainment, among others – acquire On Location from its current owners, RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital, the Carlyle Group and 32 Equity. The NFL remains a minority shareholder through 32 Equity.

News of the acquisition was first reported last September, ahead of Endeavor’s ultimately scrapped initial public offering.

“By bringing together a leader like On Location with Endeavor’s access and reach, we can advance the way consumers and brands think about money-can’t-buy experiences,” says Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor.

“Partnering with the NFL will enable us to leverage the best-in-class executions around one of the biggest events in the world, the Super Bowl, and extend this same level of service and experiences to other sports and entertainment properties globally.”

“Together […] we can advance the way consumers and brands think about money-can’t-buy experiences”

On Location organises experiences for both corporate clients and fans around major sports and entertainment events, including the Super Bowl Music Fest, which last year featured Cardi B, Bruno Mars and Aerosmith.

“We are excited to partner with Endeavor to grow On Location Experiences globally,” comments NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“We are committed to offering NFL fans unique and first-class experiences at our events. On Location shares this commitment and delivers value for its partners and delights fans at events around the world.”

The new Endeavor-owned On Location Experiences will be led by president Paul Caine, formerly of Bloomberg, Time Inc. and Westwood One.

 


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Schneiderman turns his attention to the NFL

New York attorney-general Eric Schneiderman, known in the live entertainment world as a crusader against ticket bots, has succeeded in his efforts to force the National Football League (NFL) to abandon its price floor for match tickets, under which American football fans were “forced to pay inflated prices for even the least desirable NFL games”.

Under the previous arrangement, ratified by all 32 NFL teams, secondary sellers were not permitted to list inventory on NFL’s officially sanctioned resale sites at a price lower than the face value of the ticket.

As the result of an investigation by Schneiderman, the league has abandoned the price floor and agreed to pay US$100,000 towards legal costs.

“My office will continue to fight for the rights of sports fans and concertgoers by ensuring that secondary markets are free and competitive”

“No sports fan should be forced to buy, or sell, a ticket at an artificially inflated price,” Schneiderman said yesterday. “Under the NFL’s price floor scheme, fans were forced to pay inflated prices for even the least desirable NFL games. That is a slap to both sports fans and free markets. My office will continue to fight for the rights of sports fans and concertgoers by ensuring that secondary markets are free and competitive.

“In the meantime, I encourage every NFL team – and every team in professional sports – to heed the call of all sports fans and remove price floors from every team-authorized secondary ticket market.”

The attorney-general in April fined several concert ticket resellers found to be using ticket bots $2.7 million and moved to introduce harsher penalties for future offenders.

 


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