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UTA duo reveal Take That touring masterplan

UTA agents James Wright and Olly Ward have spoken to IQ about their ambitions and touring strategy for British pop icons Take That.

The duo began working with the beloved group – Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen – last year, and have a huge year planned ahead.

This Life on Tour kicks off in the UK in Sheffield on 13 April, promoted by SJM Concerts, and includes six nights at The O2 in London, six at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena and seven shows at Manchester’s new Co-op Live, as well as multiple dates in Leeds and Dublin, with support from Olly Murs.

It will also take in stadiums in Middlesbrough, Nottingham, West Bridgford, Norwich, Bletchley, Southampton, Plymouth, Swansea and Bristol, followed by outdoor concerts in Cork, Dublin and Belfast.

“I think it’s fair to say that anyone in the industry would bite their arm off to work with Take That”

“I think it’s fair to say that anyone in the industry would bite their arm off to work with Take That,” says Wright. “We have great existing relationships with their manager Chris Dempsey and SJM, so when the opportunity arose to work with them and we got to know Gary, Howard and Mark as well, it felt like a great fit from the off.

“Take That’s legendary status in popular culture, as well as their enduring prominence and value to the music industry over the years made this such an enticing prospect.”

The band, who were previously represented by Wasserman Music, were joined by original members Robbie Williams and Jason Orange on their 2011 Progress Tour, which sold more than 1.8 million tickets to become the biggest in UK history. Barlow, Donald and Owen have continued as a trio since Williams returned to his solo career and Orange retired from the spotlight ten years ago.

Their 2024 European tour, which is being staged in support of their ninth studio album This Life, will go on to visit Germany, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal in June/July. A slate of dates in Australia and New Zealand have also been added for October/November.

“When it comes to touring, the band are hard working, committed and eager to break new ground”

“The new album is something special, such a positive record that adds to their impressive catalogue of hits, and feel like the group are in a great place right now,” adds Ward.

Here, Wright and Ward delve further into their plans for the group both at home and abroad…

What can you bring to a legendary band like Take That at this stage of their career?

OW: “From our initial meetings, it didn’t take long to establish a multitude of tangible things that we could bring to the project, and add to the wider narrative as they build into their fourth decade together. It also became clear that UTA are best placed to deliver the band’s creative and business ambitions; to represent them as a band and as individuals.”

JW: “As a band we can really service them well at UTA, and given the various interests of Gary, Howard and Mark our full service agency can add value to them all as artists at every turn, and we can help craft their careers across a range of industries. When it comes to touring, the band are hard working, committed and eager to break new ground. Our team is here to realise an ambitious creative strategy which is driven by the band and management as much as us, to take them into new territories and explore their global reach.”

OW: “UTA is truly global, so this is something we know how to drive forward and deliver in terms of touring. Then we have the full breadth of our departments, including but not limited to Music Brands Partnerships, Corporate and Private Events, Music Marketing, Music Crossover, IQ, UTA Foundation and Ventures, which are already bringing exciting conversations and opportunities to the table.”

“We’ve detected particular demand from German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese-speaking countries”

What is the strategy behind their upcoming tour? 

OW: “There’s been unprecedented demand for the upcoming This Life on Tour, with same-day sell outs and new dates added to the UK run, which now has 41 arena and stadium dates in 17 cities. Plus we have 20 dates in eight European countries already announced, including two countries the band have never been to before.”

What are your plans for the group internationally?

JW: “Using the data and analytics of UTA IQ we’ve identified audiences for Take That in places they didn’t believe they existed. By pairing this incredible tool with the experience of the team we’re quickly building valuable insights into new primary markets. For example, digging deeper than streaming and social media metrics, we’ve detected particular demand from German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese-speaking countries. Given they hadn’t visited places like Spain since the 2010’s, the strategy is to build in those burgeoning territories and more. There’s a whole host of new countries for us to explore, which we’ll be announcing in 2024.”

OW: “Gary recently visited Australia to announce their Australian tour for the end of the year to a great reaction, and we have Sophie Ellis-Bextor as main support.”

What sort of demand are you seeing and how does their popularity abroad compare with the UK?

JW: “Domestically, they are as popular as ever – the new album saw the strongest week one sales of any British act in 2023 as it landed at No.1 – and what is especially exciting to see is the growing popularity around the world and the potential that brings.”

Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve with the band? 

OW: “Take That possesses a curiosity and genuine appetite, and UTA are here to match it. We want to see the biggest and best shows of their career, open doors globally and help inspire the next step in Take That’s incredible career. The band are excited about the prospect of reaching such significant new audiences for the first time, and we want to nurture that growth and sustain the enthusiasm. Whilst we’re excited and proud of how the new team have hit the ground running with these major announcements for 2024, we’re already plotting years beyond that. There’s a long term vision at UTA for all the members of Take That which we can’t want to see unfold.”

 


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