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OVG acquires Spectrum Catering

Oak View Group has grown its hospitality division with the acquisition of leading food service and hospitality company Spectrum Catering, Concessions & Event Services.

The Houston, Texas-headquartered firm specialises in music festivals, and artist and tour catering, in addition to major sporting events.

The company has worked on festivals including Bonnaroo, Burning Man and Governor’s Ball, as well as serving as touring with the Eagles and managing tour rehearsals for artists like Madonna and Aerosmith.

“The fact that Spectrum’s growth has been driven by referrals, word-of-mouth, reputation and top talent speaks to the stellar organisation [Spectrum founder and CEO] Dave Smalley has built over the last 30 years,” says OVG Hospitality president Ken Gaber.

“Bringing on the Spectrum team will allow OVG Hospitality to grow our business in non-traditional avenues”

“Whether his team is designing precise event layouts or working closely with cities, municipalities, promoters, producers, artists and nonprofits, they know the ins and outs of planning and executing food and hospitality at some of the world’s largest live events. Bringing on the Spectrum team will allow OVG Hospitality to grow our business in non-traditional avenues.”

The announcement comes eight months after OVG’s acquisition of Spectra, one of the industry’s leading food and beverage providers, in November 2021 to create a leading full-service live events company.

“Dave and his team have been positively disrupting the food and hospitality space for three decades now, which is a concept Oak View Group can relate to,” adds Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke. “Just as Dave looked outside the four walls of restaurant life to create Spectrum, his company continued to transform the food and hospitality industry with cutting-edge ideas and set the standard for live event experiences. We look forward to watching OVG Hospitality continue to grow with this exciting new partnership.”

 


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Oak View Group launches OVG Canada

Global sports and entertainment company Oak View Group has announced the launch of OVG Canada.

The new division will offer strategic services in venue development and management, booking and content development, sponsorship brand consulting and third-party partnership sales.

Led by president Tom Pistore, the leadership team also includes SVP of partnerships & brand consulting Josh Epstein and SVP of partnerships & revenue Zach Feldman.

“You cannot develop, operate, or sell Canadian facilities or assets from the US, and therefore it’s critical for us to be a part of Canada,” says Oak View Group chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke. “We want to create the best sports and facility sales organisation in Canada. Very few companies in our industry have the infrastructure that we have now in Canada and the US to serve our Canadian clients, giving OVG the competitive edge to deliver best in class results.”

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities”

Pistore was most recently president of UBS Arena, while Epstein led Bank of Montreal’s North American sponsorship strategy and Feldman was previously SVP of partnerships & revenue at the Premier Lacrosse League.

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities to the Canadian market,” adds Pistore. “After an exciting journey launching UBS Arena in New York, I could not be more excited to launch OVG Canada alongside a best-in-class leadership team that will deliver incredible results for our present and future partners.”

Oak View Group made its first foray into Canada last year via a partnership with Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) on the redevelopment of the downtown arts and entertainment district in Hamilton, Ontario.

The link-up served as the launching point for the Canadian office and will include the renovation of the 19,000-cap FirstOntario Centre, which will be privately funded with more than CA$50 million. Construction is anticipated to begin in the autumn.

In addition to Leiweke, OVG Canada will be supported by an executive team, including OVG co-founder Irving Azoff, OVG360 co-chair Peter Luukko, OVG business development president Francesca Bodie and OVG360 and Arena Alliance president Chris Granger, who also oversees all venue and hospitality operations in Canada.

“We are committed to putting capital to work in Canadian live entertainment facilities as we’ve done elsewhere around the world and are thrilled for our project in Hamilton to come to life,” says Bodie. “We look forward to expanding and growing the OVG platform with additional owned-and-operated facilities across Canada.”

 


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Boom time predicted for mid-size venue market

Mid-size arenas will provide the new “battlefield” for venue operators in the post-pandemic touring business, it has been claimed.

ILMC’s New Builds: The venue boom panel looked at the growing number of new buildings coming online, from Swansea Arena to Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, along with future projects such as Manchester’s Co-op Live.

With investment in the bricks-and-mortar side of the live music business reaching record levels, leading venue operators stepped up to discuss the arenas and big buildings of the future.

Tom Lynch, ASM Global’s commercial director & SVP, Europe, brought up the company’s management of Olympia London, which includes a 4,400-cap live music venue and 1,575-seat performing arts theatre, and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. He also referenced the firm’s involvement in the 3,500-cap Wolverhampton Civic Halls and Derby arena schemes, which are both in development.

“We think more of these mid-sized venues will come to the market and help the industry grow”

“It’s reflective of where we think there’s some growth in the market,” said Lynch. “It’s great to build new arenas and stadiums, but actually, you look all across Europe and there are venues that cap out at 2,000 in every single city, and the next step is 10,000 to 15,000 capacity arenas.

“That’s a problem. It’s a limitation on shows and we think more of these [mid-sized] venues will come to the market and help the industry grow and sell more tickets, rather than saturate or steal tickets. We want to create venues where there aren’t venues and try and drive economic impact that way.”

DEAG executive Detlef Kornett agreed: “The new battlefield will be mid-size arenas… It’s very important to fill that gap between 2,000 and 23,000.”

Kornett said there was an increasing realisation that music events were no longer just attended by fans of the artist.

“Our industry had grown a lot over the last few years because of the baby boomers. Then we had a pandemic and that group is a bit hesitant to come back”

“It’s very similar to what happened in sports and that’s where the premium offerings and the diversification kicks in,” he said. “People come for more reasons than just listen to the music: they want to socialise, they want to have a good time prior and after, and they want to communicate on socials that they were at the event. New arenas have the ability to provide for that.

“Our industry had grown a lot over the last few years because of the baby boomers. Then we had a pandemic and it’s very clear now that group is a bit hesitant to come back. So all of the efforts of the new venues to take that anxiety away, will be very important. Once we’re out of this pandemic, if that ever is the case, you will see a lot of pent-up demand.”

Lynch explained the pros and cons of refurbishing an existing building compared to pressing ahead with a new build – referencing ASM’s 12,500-cap Newcastle Gateshead Quays arena scheme, which will succeed the city’s near 30-year-old Utilita Arena.

“Once you’ve built a venue, there’s so much carbon, trying to be sustainable from that point on is damage limitation,” he said. “You can do great things in energy consumption, and just the way that you interact with the community, but you need to be really conscious of the decision you’re taking.

“Newcastle Gateshead is a good example of where we’ve actively looked at renovating what’s there, rather than changing and building new. The reality for us was that it was built for £10 million in 1994, so it’s a shed, it’s not even an aircraft hangar. It’s been an incredibly successful venue. And we’ve evolved it over the years, but actually trying to renovate something that is all metal and was built for £10m, so long ago, is counterproductive.”

“New builds are a fantastic anchors for a regeneration project”

Opening in 2024, the arena is the centrepiece of a £260m regeneration scheme which will include a conference and exhibition centre, restaurants, a hotel and large areas of ‘outdoor realm’ and performance space on the same site.

“We’re shutting down one venue and bringing something new to market with other event venue aspects to it which we think, in turn, is more sustainable and better for the environment,” explained Lynch. “It brings more people in from different walks of life. What we’re aiming to get to in the end is not just one customer base or demographic, but a cross-section of society.”

John Rhodes, design director of HOK London Studio, whose past work includes Leeds’ First Direct Arena and recently recently completed the 18,000-cap Etihad Arena on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island Arena, outlined the wider economic benefits of new arena developments.

“They’re fantastic anchors for a regeneration project,” he said. “The footfall that these buildings attract just reinvigorates districts. You can see that in Leeds where the the amount of private investment around there, after we built the arena, is just incredible. Having 12,000 people going every week ensures that all of the local community, shops and bars and such like, have that footfall to survive from.

“There’s great opportunity for these buildings to be actually engaged in the community to actually become an anchor and facility for community activities and such like. The ’00s was about an experiential economy: buying stuff, buying experiences. I think the next generation is going to be buying experiences that improve us. And part of that is our cultural footprint – how we engage with these venues, how we engage with our communities – and we need to create buildings that allow you to do that.”

“We’re seeing much bigger event floors now. Everyone loves a mosh pit”

Rhodes quipped that the quest to design a bowl that is as large as possible but still capable of providing an intimate experience remained “the Holy Grail”.

“How can it be scalable to 6,000-7,000 – where you have a completely authentic experience without feeling like you’re in an empty venue? There are ways of doing that,” he said. “The size and scale of the event floor is key. We’re seeing much bigger event floors now. Everyone loves a mosh pit, so let’s make these mosh pits bigger. And you can flex in relation to that.

“There is technology there in terms of curtaining and such like, but I’m particularly interested in the super-theatre model, which ties in with that smaller scale arena, where you actually force the short stage configurations to create walls of people for the performers. The bowls have been tailored to create that Liverpool FC Kop or Borussia Dortmund Yellow Wall-type feel.”

“The driver of our business is music – and it took us a long time to figure that out”

Guy Dunstan, MD of ticketing and arenas for Birmingham-based NEC Group, spoke about the evolution of arenas, most notably in regards to the customer experience.

“I think of what the venues were like 20, 30 years ago and they’ve evolved significantly,” he said. “Venues back then were very much concrete, soulless spaces, and it was about getting people in, getting them to their seat, watching the show and maybe grabbing a beer. But as we’ve developed our facilities, we’ve elevated that whole experience. And what we’ve also done is open up the premium opportunity.”

Asked directly about return on investment by panel chair Stephanie Bax of CAA Icon, Oak View Group (OVG) UK’s Brian Kabatznick said 60% of revenues came from VIP offerings, naming rights and sponsorship deals.

“If you look at the revenue generation for New York, Seattle, Manchester, you’re basically driving your revenues by having a naming rights partner that’s engaged in the local community and wants to be associated with a quality venue that touches their consumer base – and they’re willing to pay for that,” he said.

“We all know that the VIP product, 10 and 15 years ago, was VIP boxes. Well, that’s over – people want to be communal, and they want diversity of product. So in all of our buildings, you have roughly 10 to 15 different price points, locations and amenities to cater to specific corporate and non corporate customers. So if you get sponsorship right, and if you get premium right, that solves it. But at the end of the day, we all know that it all comes down to content.”

He added: “In the old days, you’d have operators building arenas arenas around a hockey rink or a basketball court, but ultimately, let’s be honest, the driver of our business is music – and it took us a long time to figure that out.

“Getting out of the pandemic, it was strange timing that we just opened in four new buildings. But we’re pretty clear that the return on investments have been very successful.

“Moving forward, I think we’ll be a little bit more challenged with the supply chain and materials and the rising inflation rate. But we know that more people are listening to music before and more people are playing music than ever before. And our partners seem to be pretty pleased with what we’re doing, which is why we’ve got 10 other venues under development.”

 


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Execs talk investment opportunities in live music

A trio of leading live music executives have shared their views on the areas of the business most ripe for investment.

With the market bouncing back internationally following the Covid shutdown, Mumford & Sons musician and venue boss Ben Lovett, Oak View Group (OVG) International’s Jessica Koravos and Jarred Arfa, COO of Artist Group International, weighed in on the biggest opportunities for the industry.

Speaking during the Industry Investment: Field notes panel at the recent ILMC in London, US-based Arfa suggested the concept of Live Nation’s upcoming “emo nostalgia” festival When We Were Young in Las Vegas, which has expanded to three days due to demand, pointed a way forward for the industry.

“There are obviously so many festivals out there, but we’re seeing a lot of success where they’re focusing on specific niches,” he said. “People want to be part of that moment in time and relive that, as opposed to, ‘Let’s give everyone a little flavour of everything.’ Those that are focusing on specific genres, or overfeeding one time period, are seeing some success and a point of distinction.”

“The pandemic has made people really appreciate those coming together moments that maybe they took for granted before”

Koravos, who is also president of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, which oversees some of the world’s biggest theatrical titles, said Covid-19 has prompted a change of mindset in the public when it comes to live shows.

“One thing that pandemic has absolutely done is made people really appreciate those coming together moments that maybe they took for granted before,” she said. “Flipping hats and talking about the West End and theatre for a second, what’s very interesting to me is that what’s very successful in the West End right now is the shows that have been there the longest.

“I see it with Phantom of the Opera, which has flipped its age demographic down by 10 years over the course of the pandemic, and I think it’s because of exactly that – you take for granted that something that’s always been there will keep being there. But I don’t think that’s the assumption anymore.

“People want to go see Billy Joel at [Madison Square] Garden. They want to go see Phantom of the Opera. They want to make sure they are appreciating the things that might not always be there.”

“There are just not enough good venues. It’s really that simple”

TVG Hospitality co-founder Lovett urged would-be investors to put their faith (and finances) in the independent sector.

“I would back indie promoters,” he said. “Everything’s getting so algorithmic, we could end up with pretty watered down creative inputs into our lives unless those indie promoters go and stick their neck out. So I would say, invest money into those indie promoters… If we can get some great promoters coming through, it’s going to be good for everyone.”

Earlier this year, TVG Hospitality announced the closing of $50 million in new funding to expand its team and venue portfolio in the UK and US, backed by a heavyweight list of investors including OVG, founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff.

TVG is bidding to create the next generation of music venues alongside elevated hospitality offerings in order to enhance the artist and fan experience and create gathering spaces as community assets. The company’s current portfolio includes London music venues, Omeara, Lafayette and the Social, and broader hospitality offerings at Flat Iron Square and Goods Way.

“This is going to be the most exciting few years”

“Across the board, I think what Tim and Irving saw – and the same issue that we were trying to solve – is there are just not enough good venues. It’s really that simple,” said Lovett, whose latest project – the 8,000-cap Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, Alabama – opened earlier this month.

“For the last couple of decades there just hasn’t been enough investment into truly inspiring places,” continued Lovett. “There are people buying incredible bars and restaurants and hotels, and there’s lots of other things that are being constantly being reimagined and the envelope is being pushed. But when it comes to music venues it’s just stagnated. And this is going to be the most exciting few years where all of these new venues are going to [launch].”

OVG has already opened the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Moody Center in Austin and the UBS Arena in Long Island, New York, with schemes also on their way in Manchester, Baltimore, Coachella Valley and Cardiff.

“Venues are very expensive,” added Koravos. “The 2,000 seaters are expensive, the 20,000 seaters are super-expensive, so investment is a crucial part of getting those off the ground. But the whole point of Oak View Group is really just looking around at the fact that, around the world, the big music venues are actually all buildings that were built 20 years ago or more, for the most part.

“They were built for sports for the most part, not by anybody who knew anything about the content about what needed to go in them and what the fan needed to experience. So at Oak View, our whole reason for being is to build the best experience in the best markets.”

 


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$375m Moody Center opens in Austin, Texas

New multi-purpose 15,000-seat arena the Moody Center has opened in downtown Austin, Texas.

Developers of the US$375 million project, which replaces the city’s 42-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr Center, include Oak View Group, Live Nation/C3 Presents, The University of Texas at Austin, and Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey.

It has been named in honour of a $130m grant from Texas-based charitable organisation the Moody Foundation, and promises to provide a “world-class venue for top touring concerts and shows” in the self-styled live music capital of the world, which hosts the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival.

The arena, which will also host basketball and other sporting events, debuted to the public last night (20 April), with the first of two concerts by John Mayer and officially launched with two sold-out gigs by George Strait with special guests Willie Nelson & Family and Randy Rogers Band from April 29-30.

“The Moody Center will be a must-play arena and we look forward to bringing our concerts and tours there”

Speaking in 2019, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said: “The Moody Center will be a must-play arena and we look forward to bringing our concerts and tours there as soon as the doors open in 2022.”

Other artists scheduled for Moody Center in 2022 include Bon Jovi, Justin Bieber, The Who, Dave Matthews Band, Eagles, Machine Gun Kelly, Andrea Bocelli, Florence + The Machine, James Taylor, Leon Bridges, Shawn Mendes and Daddy Yankee.

Jeff Nickler, who was previously SVP of Arena Alliance, a collection of 29 NBA and NHL venues in North America, will serve as the arena’s general manager. Facilities include 44 Suites, nearly 2,000 club seats, three premium clubs, 57 loge boxes and one super VIP club, the Moët & Chandon Impérial Lounge.

 


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Co-op Live announces multiple sponsorship deals

Co-op Live, the new arena opening in Manchester, UK, in 2023, has announced a raft of official suppliers taking the total number of partners signed so far to seven.

Britvic, Elavon, Unilever and Schneider Electric are the latest brands to join the growing list of partners, led by Co-op as the naming rights partner.

Britvic joins as official soft drink partner with exclusive rights to provide the full range of Pepsi drinks, including 7-Up, Tango, and London Essence Tonics. To help deliver on commitment to keep sustainability at the heart of Co-op Live, the British based soft drinks company will provide sustainable packaging. Britvic will also have two permanent branded locations in the venue for Pepsi Max and London Essence.

Adam Russell, director of Foodservice & Licensed, Britvic, says: “Co-op Live is such an exciting project to partner with, and strengthens our brand association with live music even further. Supporting the venue on its sustainability footprint is important to us and we will be using all of the tools available in our Healthy Planet, Healthy People strategy to implement this brilliantly.”

Co-op Live will use a range of cutting-edge technology to create the best live music experience in the UK, and Elavon will be the official supplier providing the technology that underpins the arena’s status as a cashless venue. Elavon is working with Co-op Live to create an innovative and seamless customer journey that showcases the future of payment processing.

To support the venue’s drive for sustainability as well as providing the increasing number of people enjoying a plant-based diet with great-tasting products, Unilever-owned brand, The Vegetarian Butcher, will be working alongside naming rights partner, Co-op, and providing the tastiest plant-based meat alternatives for venue-goers to enjoy with its unrivalled range of meat-free Butcher’s cuts. In addition, with hygiene and safety continuing to remain a top priority when visiting venues, Unilever brand Lifebuoy, the world’s number one hygiene soap brand, will be supplying its superior hand sanitisation products through the venue’s first-class sanitation and hygiene services.

“It’s proof of the excitement that Co-op Live is bringing that global brands are committing to the project at this early stage”

Hazel Detsiny, VP Away From Home Channel, Unilever UK&I says: “As well as attending an exciting live event that gets the pulse racing, we know that more than ever venue-goers are looking to enjoy it in surroundings that are not just state-of-the-art but sustainable too. Which is why we’re teaming up with Co-op Live to provide venue-goers with the tastiest plant-based options that don’t compromise on flavour or texture with The Vegetarian Butcher, as well as ensuring hygiene remains top-of-mind and easily accessible through our hygiene brand Lifebuoy.”

As part of Co-op Live’s plans to become the UK’s most sustainable and first all-electric venue, Schneider Electric has been signed as an official supplier for the both the hardware and software for the electrical & building management systems, Schneider Electric will also provide digital services and preventative maintenance throughout the venue.

Schneider Electric’s David Williams, VP marketing for the UK and Ireland commented, “Acting socially and environmentally responsibly is key to this project and also at the core of Schneider Electric’s business, so we’re proud to announce this close partnership with both Co-op and Oak View Group International. This partnership will see Schneider ensure the venue is sustainable, resilient, hyper-efficient and people-centric.”

All the sponsors announced today will benefit from a range of marketing and branding opportunities including in campaigns to promote Co-op Live prior to opening and once open. One of the defining aspects of Co-op Live’s pioneering approach to partnerships is that all partners are being encouraged to make an annual donation so together Co-op Live with its fans, artists, and partners can donate over £1m to local and national good causes each year via the Co-op Foundation. Britvic, Elavon, Unilever, and Schneider Electric will all make annual donations to this initiative.

Today’s announcement follows several other significant partnership announcements, led by Co-op as the naming rights partner. At the end of last year, it was revealed that Diageo will be the official drinks partner and that Bristol Street Motors is the official motor retailer. The venue is backed by investors, Oak View Group, City Football Group and international superstar Harry Styles.

Sam Piccione, president of OVG International, says: “It’s proof of the excitement that Co-op Live is bringing to Manchester and the UK live entertainment market that global brands are committing to the project at this early stage of development.

“Building strong relationships with a wide range of partners and suppliers this early in the process of creating Co-op Live is another thing that sets the project apart. As we’ve shown already, it’s enabling us to build in shared values from partnerships right from the start. We thank Britvic, Elavon, Unilever, and Schneider Electric for committing so early as partners to Co-op Live.”

 


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OVG plans $3bn ents district in Las Vegas

Oak View Group (OVG) is planning a 25-acre entertainment district in Las Vegas, costing an estimated US$3 billion.

According to the global sports and entertainment company, the district will feature a 20,000-seat arena for live music and sports, a casino, a hotel, and an additional entertainment venue amphitheatre.

The 25 acres is located on 66.5 acres of land near the intersection of two major freeways, I-15 and I-215, adjacent to the planned Brightline high-speed rail station.

The site will boast direct and easy access to and from I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard and streets such as Blue Diamond, Warm Springs, and Dean Martin. The Las Vegas Strip resorts and the airport are a 10-minute drive.

With a focus on the prioritisation of technology, sustainability, and green initiative, the groundbreaking and construction for the district and arena will commence in 2023.

“South of the Las Vegas strip represents one of the few areas of potential future growth of the gaming and entertainment corridor,” says Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group.

“We will usher in the evolution of Las Vegas as the new entertainment and sports capital of the world”

“This unprecedented project is an industry game-changer, and we will usher in the evolution of Las Vegas as the new entertainment and sports capital of the world. As the largest arena developer in the world, we look forward to driving good paying job creation to Clark County as well as creating the most innovative and environmentally sustainable live entertainment point of destination in the world.”

Irving Azoff, co-founder of OVG, adds: “It doesn’t get much bigger or better than Las Vegas. From the world-class Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle to UBS Arena in New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Las Vegas will be the next jewel in the OVG crown.”

Veteran sports industry executive and former president of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Marc Badain, has partnered with OVG to spearhead and consult on the new project along with the president of business development, Francesca Bodie, who will oversee business transactions and operations.

Badain comments: “In the time I have spent in Las Vegas, I have been overwhelmed by both the entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness of its residents and leaders to embrace the innovation and vision that guides its future. This project represents the next step in that exciting evolution. It is an honour to be a part of it and to help deliver on the vision provided by Oak View Group.”

Designed by global industry-leading architecture firms Gensler and Populous, the state-of-the-art privately financed sports and entertainment arena will set a new global standard for events in Las Vegas and represent OVG’s biggest project to date. In addition to Gensler and Populous, the project development will be led by Steve Collins, OVG’s president of global venue development and special projects.

OVG oversees the operations of Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center and UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY. The company’s arena development projects include Moody Center in Austin (Texas), Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs (California) and Co-op Live in Manchester (UK) among others.

 


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Joe Giordano named VP of Arena & Stadium Alliance

Oak View Group (OVG) has announced the appointment of booking veteran Joe Giordano as VP of the Arena & Stadium Alliance.

A collection of the top 38 venues in North America, the Alliance provides a united platform for booking, content development, procurement and sponsorship sales opportunities.

Giordano was previously with ASM Global, having spent six years as assistant general manager at the 19,199-seat BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Prior to that, he was regional booking manager and developed content for 40-plus ASM venues.

He also serves on the board of directors for the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA).

“I want to make sure every Alliance member continues to feel supported by the power of Oak View Group working on their behalf”

“Joe’s success has been driven by his deep relationships – with his colleagues and clients, as well as with top industry touring professionals, promoters, agents, artist management and athletic directors,” says Chris Granger, president of OVG360, the third-party, service-oriented division of OVG. “He’s an inclusive and proactive leader, focused on helping others succeed; he’s an expert negotiator, able to identify mutual wins; and he’s a master at content development, striking the perfect blend of strategy, creativity, and boldness.”

Giordano replaces Jeff Nickler, who is staying with the company as SVP and GM of OVG’s Moody Center in Austin, which is set to open next month.

“I know what it’s like to manage a building that must punch well above its weight to attract major shows. I know the importance of entrepreneurialism and creativity in our industry,” says Giordano. “I’m a building operator, and this business is personal to me. To this end, I understand the collective impact the Alliance yields, and I want to make sure every Alliance member continues to feel supported by the power of Oak View Group working on their behalf – from global partnerships to content and booking to an entire array of arena services.”

 


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Green light for new Cardiff arena plans

Construction of Live Nation and Oak View Group’s (OVG) new arena in Cardiff, UK is expected to start later this year after the development was granted planning permission.

The 17,000-cap venue, which is set to open in 2025, will form part of a wider multi-million-pound regeneration of Butetown, Cardiff in Wales.

The venue is being developed by Robertson Group with a view to bringing “some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry” to the city and cementing Cardiff Bay’s position as a “top-tier” visitor attraction.

“We are delighted with this decision, one of the most significant and landmark developments in the region for some years, and we look forward to delivering our vision for a new arena with our partners and Cardiff Council,” says Graham Walters, Live Nation UK Venues COO. “A world-class arena, with a global reputation for culture, will transform Atlantic Wharf for local, national, and international visitors to Cardiff, as well as facilitate job creation and economic growth in the region.”

“We are now looking forward to working together with our partners and the local community to give Cardiff and Wales the top tier arena they deserve”

Live Nation already runs the existing 7,500-cap Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, as well as converted warehouse venue Titan Warehouse. OVG, meanwhile, is currently constructing the UK’s first all-electric arena, Co-op Live, in Manchester.

“It is exciting that the plans for a new arena at Atlantic Wharf have been approved by the council,” adds OVG COO Mark Donnelly. “We are now looking forward to working together with our partners and the local community to give Cardiff and Wales the top tier arena they deserve.”

Phase One of the development formed part of a hybrid planning application that was submitted in November 2021 and has now been approved by Cardiff’s Planning Committee.

Both the arena and the wider masterplan are in line with Cardiff Council’s 2030 climate neutral aspirations, with energy strategies incorporated into the design and operational elements of the redevelopment set to achieve operational climate neutral positions by 2030.

 


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Co-op Live hires Coldplay sustainability consultants

Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live is partnering with Hope Solutions to develop the arena’s net-zero strategy.

Pioneers in reducing live entertainment’s impact on the environment, Hope Solutions has worked with industry sustainability leaders such as Glastonbury and Coldplay – who are embarking on an eco-friendly world tour.

Under the new partnership, Hope Solutions will establish a framework for measuring, tracking, reporting and reducing carbon impacts at Co-op Live.

The firm will also establish a planet-friendly rider that can help shape discussions with suppliers, artists, and promoters.

It was recently announced that the £365 million, 23,500-cap venue – a JV between OVG, Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG) and Harry Styles – will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in late 2023.

The firm will also establish a planet-friendly rider that can help shape discussions with suppliers, artists, and promoters

The venue takes note of OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena, in Seattle, which is the world’s most environmentally friendly venue.

OVG recently affirmed its commitment to addressing the climate crisis at its first-ever leadership conference in Los Angeles.

Francesca Bodie, president of business development, Oak View Group commented: “Climate change is the fight of our lives, and our industry has an important role to play because we have the power to inspire. We were proud to open the first carbon-neutral arena, Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, last year, and the appointment of Hope Solutions will help bring our planet-friendly vision to life at Co-op Live, which will be the UK’s best and most sustainable arena.”

Mark Donnelly, COO, Co-op Live, added: “Co-op Live will be the UK’s first all-electric and one of the world’s most planet-friendly arenas when it opens in 2023. This partnership with industry-leading climate experts Hope Solutions will enable us to deliver on our net-zero carbon ambitions. The creation of an eco-friendly rider for artists visiting Co-op Live will ensure we’re ready to accommodate everyone’s needs as we begin to book some of the world’s best artists later this year.”

Luke Howell, Hope Solutions, said: “This project represents a real turning point in sustainable culture – being able to deliver world-class entertainment in a low carbon and environmentally positive manner is real progress and we are really looking forward to supporting the Co-op Live team in delivering this. Being sustainable and achieving net-zero doesn’t have to impact on the creative integrity and audience experience, in fact it can absolutely enhance it so both people and planet benefit as this venue will prove.”

The OVG team currently has 11 arena projects under development globally, with Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and UBS Arena in New York both opening last year.

Sustainability in live music is at the heart of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI). Find tickets and more information here.

 


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