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Tom Benson Stadium latest addition to ASM portfolio

ASM Global has added the second venue to its extensive portfolio since its inauguration earlier this month, announcing a management agreement for the 23,000-capacity Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Ohio.

The venue operator, which formed as the result of a merger between AEG Facilities and SMG Europe, has signed a deal with Hof Village, the owner of the Johnsons Controls Hall of Fame Village entertainment complex, where the stadium is located.

“This wonderful venue is located within one of the most important places for pro football fans anywhere in the world,” says Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global. “ASM Global’s management of this special and unique facility is an exciting addition to our family of venues.”

ASM Global’s Blake Schilling has been named as the stadium’s general manager. Schilling will also continue to oversee operations at ASM Global’s nearby Canton Civic Center (5,200-cap.).

“We will ensure that the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is not only a great football stadium but a spectacular concert venue as well”

“ASM Global is a world-class company that will help us provide the highest quality of operation and service to our fans,” comments HOF Village LLC chief commercial officer Ed Kiernan.

“We are pleased to bring on board a company of their calibre as we expand the programming in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, ensuring that it is not only a great football stadium but a spectacular concert venue as well.”

ASM Global manages 22 other major stadiums around the world, including Soldier Field in Chicago (61,500-cap.), Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans (74,295-cap.), Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (83,500-cap.) and the NRG Stadium in Houston (72,220-cap.).

The Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium is the second addition to the ASM Global portfolio in as many weeks, following the recently announced Gateshead Quays (12,500-cap.) venue complex in the UK.

 


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AEG acquires leading US indie PromoWest

AEG Presents has acquired leading US independent promoter PromoWest Productions.

Columbus, Ohio-based PromoWest, founded by Scott Stienecker in 1983, is the largest independent concert business in the American Midwest, and formerly one of the US’s most prominent remaining indie promoters.

PromoWest runs Express Live! (2,300-cap. indoor/5,200-cap. outdoor) in Columbus and Stage AE (2,400-cap. indoor/5,500-cap. outdoor) in Pittsburgh, and books and operates Columbus’s Newport Music Hall, the Basement and A&R Music and owns Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati.

The acquisition comes a year after AEG’s buy-out of the Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, and five months after rival Live Nation bought an independent regional promoter of its own, Texas’s ScoreMore Shows.

“After getting to know AEG Presents and their senior management, it became more and more clear to me that both of our organisations were built from a common entrepreneurial spirit and culture. I am certain this partnership is right for PromoWest and AEG Presents is truly the right fit for us,” comments Stienecker, who will run PromoWest as a division of AEG.

“Scott and his team have built an incredibly respected organisation with a proven track record of success”

“I believe our partnership with AEG Presents will provide us an additional collection of resources and assets that will allow us to continue to build on our achievements and take our company to an even higher level.”

Shawn Trell, executive vice-president and COO of AEG Presents, adds: “PromoWest and AEG Presents share a passion and commitment to delivering the best music experiences to fans. Scott and his team have built an incredibly respected organisation with a proven track record of success and we are pleased that they chose to partner with us.

“We look forward to working closely with them to continue to deliver first class concert experiences and further grow the PromoWest brand.”

Upcoming PromoWest shows include Parliament-Funkadelic (Stage AE), St Lucia (Newport Music Hall), Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (Express Live!), Django Django (Newport Music Hall), Years and Years (Stage AE) and Owl City (Express Live!).

 


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Live Nation adds Cleveland’s Masonic Auditorium

The Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, has become part of Live Nation’s Club & Theatre division.

The 2,000-capacity venue, located in Cleveland’s former Masonic Temple – purchased from local freemasons by new owner TempleLive last year, and recently renovated –is Live Nation’s latest in north-eastern Ohio, joining House of Blues, Jacobs Pavilion and Blossom Music Center. Rival promoter AEG Presents took over its first venue in Cleveland, the 2,000-cap. Agora, last July.

“The Masonic was the next logical move for us in Cleveland. It is a vibrant music market with a very large population base that we think is under-served at the theatre level,” says Ben Weeden, COO of Live Nation Club & Theatre. “We look forward to establishing the Masonic as the must-play, 2,000-capacity venue in Cleveland.”

“The Masonic was the next logical move for us in Cleveland”

“We are proud to have The Masonic Auditorium as part of Live Nation’s portfolio of properties,” adds Mike Brown of TempleLive, which is backed by Arkansas-based Beaty Capital Group. “This agreement with Live Nation will enhance the concertgoers’ experience at the Masonic, while propelling Cleveland more aggressively into this very competitive music market.

Built in 1921, the Masonic Temple Auditorium originally housed the Cleveland Orchestra. Recent performers include MGMT, Bastille, the 1975, Pixies, Joe Rogan and Leon Bridges.

Live Nation Club & Theatre produces more than 15,000 events in 100+ venues US-wide, including House of Blues- and Fillmore-branded clubs.

 


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AEG Presents to operate first Cleveland venue

AEG’s live entertainment division, AEG Presents (né Live), has agreed a deal to purchase the operating rights to the Agora in Cleveland, expanding its reach into the “live music-loving” Ohio city.

The Agora (pictured), which comprises a 2,000-capacity theatre and 600-cap. ballroom, was established as the Metropolitan Theatre in 1913, opening in its current form in 1986. Acts who have played Agora, both in the current venue on Euclid Avenue and in its former home on East 24th Street, include Bruce Springsteen, U2, Duran Duran, Lou Reed, Patti Smith and The Clash.

The venue was founded by Hank LoConti, who died in 2014, and is currently owned by Chris Zitterbart, who has also operated the Agora for the past four years.

“Given its history and the litany of legendary acts that have played the room, the Agora has been the heart and soul of Cleveland’s live music scene for the past 50 years,” says Shawn Trell, AEG Presents’ COO. “It’s a truly unique concert venue and we look forward to bringing a wide array of artists to the live music loving-city of Cleveland.”

“The Agora is a truly unique concert venue and we look forward to bringing a wide array of artists to the live music loving-city of Cleveland”

Zitterbart adds: “The opportunity to work with AEG Presents and to have them enter the Cleveland music scene is significant.  They represent the best of having not only the resources necessary to grow the business, but – because they also remain independently and privately owned – they can afford to be patient and do things the right way.

“That combination bodes well for the future of the Agora Theatre and the types of shows they will bring to this market.”

AEG Presents owns, operates or books more than 60 club and theatre-sized venues worldwide. It acquired New York’s The Bowery Presents in January, with the promotion/venues group joining Goldenvoice, Concerts West, Marshall Arts, Madison House Presents and Messina Touring Group as an AEG subsidiary.

Photo: © Levdr1lp on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 


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Six years, $420k fine for StubHub fraudster

An Ohioan man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for fraudulently buying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of concert tickets and reselling them on the secondary market.

Twenty-nine-year-old Daniel Mercede, of Bay Village, near Cleveland, was yesterday issued with a 79-month prison term and a fine of US$424,222 by judge Sara Lioi after pleading guilty to bank fraud, access device fraud and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

According to court documents, Mercede used stolen credit card information from to buy tickets from recently acquired secondary ticketing site ScoreBig and resell them for profit on StubHub, earning more than $3 million – which he spent on “luxury cars, expensive jewelry [sic] and exotic vacations” – between 2014 and 2016.

“Mercede was motivated solely by greed. … Prison is the proper place for him”

“Mr Mercede was motivated solely by greed,” says the acting US attorney for northern Ohio, David A. Sierleja. “He has shown himself to be a serial scammer and identity thief who is a clear economic danger to the community. Prison is the proper place for him.”

The Internal Revenue Service’s Frank S. Turner II adds: “Daniel Mercede perpetrated a complex scheme involving identity theft and the illegal use of an unlicensed bitcoin exchange service that was driven by insatiable greed and a blatant disregard for the tremendous damage inflicted on innocent victims.

“Be assured that IRS Criminal Investigation, together with our law enforcement partners and the US attorney’s office, will hold those who engage in similar behaviour fully accountable.”

 


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