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OVG’s Jessica Koravos on Manchester’s Co-op Live

Oak View Group (OVG) International president Jessica Koravos has previewed the company’s new Manchester venue Co-op Live ahead of its hotly-anticipated opening next week.

A joint venture between OVG and City Football Group (CFG), the 23,500-cap development will become the UK’s largest arena when it launches at Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium, on 23 April. Harry Styles has also invested in the project.

Speaking to IQ, Koravos says the “music-first” arena – which boasts an innovative bowl design and state-of-the-art acoustics – will give the UK “one of the best music venues in the world”.

“The only reason I say ‘one of’ is because my boss, [OVG MD] Tim Leiweke, will get very angry if I say it’s the best, because we’ve built some other very good music venues in the US,” she says. “But given that we haven’t had to make any of the kinds of compromises around basketball or ice hockey that maybe North American buildings have to make, I feel like it is going to be the best arena for music in the world.

“For whatever reason, the rest of the venues in the UK, for the most part, are designed around North American sports despite there being a very limited audience for those. We have the biggest standing floor and our back seat on the top row is actually 24 metres closer to the stage then at other venues. There’s not a bad seat in the house, so that’s another big selling point.”

“Manchester has revolutionised itself over the last 20 years and is a top cultural destination in its own right”

Koravos indicates that OVG’s decision to move into Manchester was at least partly influenced by statistics.

“From the late 1990s onwards, Manchester has punched way above its weight and sold more music tickets than many other cities with much bigger populations,” she explains. “And so it was an obvious market that we felt was underserved by its current infrastructure, with a lot of room to expand. And just as a city, Manchester has revolutionised itself over the last 20 years and is a top cultural destination in its own right.”

Comedian Peter Kay will kick-off Co-op Live’s star-studded opening lineup, with The Black Keys set to be the first music act to tread the boards on 27 April.

“Those two Peter Kay shows actually broke the Co-op presale record,” notes Koravos. “There have been 60 onsales to date and that’s been the biggest response. Peter Kay is just loved in the UK and in Manchester in particular. I believe he’s actually the top selling act in the UK currently and so we could think of no better start.”

Other highlights from its first few months include residencies by Take That, Eagles, Liam Gallagher and The Killers, exclusive arena dates with Pearl Jam and Stevie Nicks, plus shows by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Nicki Minaj, Jonas Brothers, Kings of Leon, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Eric Clapton, Pet Shop Boys and Megan thee Stallion.

“We are absolutely thrilled to see the number of artists that are doing two, three, four, or even five or six nights at Co-op Live”

“It was the hope that we would attract multi-night residencies, but it had not been the case traditionally in Manchester before Co-op Live, so we are absolutely thrilled to see the number of artists that are doing two, three, four, or even five or six nights at Co-op Live,” says Koravos. “It really vindicates our hopes for the market. But it’s the artists’ decision, so we’re thrilled they are showing their faith in this venue and in Manchester – those are the decisions that tell us we’re onto a winner.”

Koravos points out that several shows have sold at a faster rate than their London equivalents.

“What’s unusual about their presale is that becoming a member of Co-op costs £1, so it’s a very low barrier to entry,” she says. “It’s a much more accessible presale than the others and I think that is one of the key reasons that it’s been so successful and has come out of the gates incredibly strongly.”

Co-op Live will go head-to-head with ASM Global’s near 30-year-old AO Arena in Manchester, which recently underwent a £50 million reconstruction which included a capacity increase from 21,000 to 23,000. Koravos believes that upgrade in itself illustrates the benefits of competition to consumers.

“We can see that that just the announcement of Co-op Live – never mind the opening – has had a great impact on competition in that that venue has announced its own programme of renovations and such,” she says. “So I think we can say that Co-op Live has pulled the entire infrastructure stock up by the bootstraps in that way, and that is classic competition operating in a good way for Manchester.

“But it’s also the case that having extended the availability of that scale venue dates in the country, enables more tours to come through the country. Every time a new project opens in the UK, it means that more artists can tour at a larger scale and expands the availability for fans.”

“It’s a gift to be able to design from scratch when it comes to sustainability, because these systems are very hard to retrofit once you’re up and running”

Co-op Live has been designed “with sustainability at its core”, according to OVG, and will use electricity for everything from air-source heat pumps for heating and domestic hot water through to cooling and catering, without any gas supply serving the site.

“It’s completely fundamental and has been from day one of our design conversations,” says Koravos. “It’s a gift to be able to design from scratch when it comes to sustainability, because these systems are very hard to retrofit once you’re up and running. The biggest thing was that we were able to design the building to be 100% electric from the beginning.”

In addition, Co-op Live and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) last month announced a ground-breaking initiative which will see travel on Metrolink and new city centre shuttle buses included in all arena event tickets from 20 April to 30 June, during the venue’s opening season.

“Our efforts are going to be focused on ‘Scope 3 sustainability’, which is trying to influence the behaviour of the audiences coming to and from,” adds Koravos. “We can control our own operations, but we can’t control the audience choices so much in terms of how they get to the venue and back. So we have spent a lot of time and money with Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester in crafting a raft of measures.”

 


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Oak View Group appoints new COO

Venue management giant Oak View Group (OVG) has appointed Francesca Bodie to the newly established position of chief operating officer (COO).

Bodie’s role will increase from capital development, mergers, and acquisitions to a focus on new revenue streams including overseeing all day-to-day operations for OVG globally, as well as leading OVG’s executive committee. She previously served as OVG’s president of business development.

The move comes as OVG announces a major strategic investment in Family Entertainment Holdings (FEH), as well as Navarro’s activations in partnership with Christian Navarro following OVG’s April 2023 announcement of the venture. Bodie served as the architect of both deals that bring “new premium entertainment offerings to OVG venues and partner venues globally”.

“I am honoured to lead and work alongside my exceptional team members that have worked tirelessly and passionately since OVG’s inception,” says Bodie. “Together, we’ve steadily developed Oak View Group into a world-class brand that resonates with fans, artists, and venue and sports professionals. With today’s announcement, we are continuing our focus on elevating all guests’ experiences through premium offerings and content at all OVG venues and those of our partners as well.

“I’m proud to be a part of a company that is passionate about continually raising industry standards”

“I’m proud to be a part of a company that is passionate about continually raising industry standards and exceeding guest expectations to reshape the live entertainment experience.”

OVG is adding touring family content with the investment in FEH, developer of family-oriented live events including toys-to-life shows of Mattel’s Hot Wheels Monster Trucks, Magic of Lights.

In addition to her ongoing responsibility for capital investment strategy and mergers and acquisitions, Bodie will lead the company in building processes across human resources, finance, legal, and marketing to fuel the continued growth of OVG. Based in Denver, Bodie will report to Tim Leiweke, chair and CEO of Oak View Group.

Prior to her new role, Bodie oversaw multiple global projects for OVG and the expansion of the company’s brand, and its venues, and creating growth in third-party partnerships by leveraging industry relationships and identifying new business opportunities globally.  She played an instrumental role in leading key service company acquisitions and raising $12-billion-plus of invested capital for OVG’s multiple venues that have opened over the last 18 months, including the $1-billion-plus makeover for the redevelopment of Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena.

“OVG is the only company in history to build and open seven brand-new state-of-the-art venues within 18 months”

She has also spearheaded new arena ventures deployed in areas such as New York’s $1.5 billion UBS Arena, home to the NHL’s New York Islanders; the $375 million Moody Center for the Texas Longhorns at the University of Texas in Austin; the $280 million Mullett Arena in Tempe, AZ; the $365 million Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA; Acrisure Arena in Greater Palm Springs, home to the AHL’s affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, the Western Conference Champion Coachella Valley Firebirds; the $200 million CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore.

“2023 was a pivotal year for Oak View Group across its service business and owned and operated portfolio,” adds Leiweke. “OVG is the only company in history to build and open seven brand-new state-of-the-art venues within 18 months, and Francesca contributed greatly to that growth and success. As we look to the future, we’re honored to have Francesca as OVG’s first COO to nurture and mature our current businesses and spearhead our next phase of growth in 2024 and beyond.”

Presently, Bodie, who is Leiweke’s daughter, is leading upcoming OVG development projects including the new $10 billion arena and live entertainment district in Las Vegas; a new arena in São Paulo, BZ; renovation of the FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, ON; and the $365 million Co-op Live in Manchester, UK, which will be the UK’s largest indoor and most state-of-the-art entertainment venue, and Europe’s first carbon net zero building when it opens in April 2024.

 


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OVG’s Tim Leiweke predicts arena development boom

Oak View Group (OVG) chief Tim Leiweke says he has no plans to take the company public while predicting the next 20 years will see the greatest number of arena developments “in the history of the business”.

OVG, which was founded in 2015 by former AEG CEO Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, oversees the operations of new venues such as Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas, and Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California, as well as the Co-op Live development in Manchester, UK.

In a recent appearance on The Bob Leftsetz Podcast, Leiweke said the purpose of the Silver Lake-backed firm was to “think outside the box and be a positive disruption to the live industry”.

“OVG is a private company. I’m proud of that.” he said. “I hope we never go public. I don’t want to go public. My intention is never to sell the company. We have certain guiding principles and core values as a company. One of them is we don’t want to be public and don’t have any intention of ever being public. It’s not a quick spin. My daughter is one of the key executives here. She’s hopefully going to inherit this company and run it.

“My executive committee’s average age is in their 40s, so we’re built to be long term. We’re built to be private. We’re built to be generational – and that’s what we intend on doing.”

“There are billions and billions of people on the planet, but there are only probably 250 arenas that I would consider to be A-class, and even fewer stadiums”

Other OVG projects include Arena São Paulo in Brazil; CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; a new arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV, and a new arena in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Pointing out that OVG had built the only seven new arenas to have opened in the last couple of years, Leiweke was critical of the existing standard of venues worldwide.

“There are billions and billions of people on the planet, but there are only probably 250 arenas that I would consider to be A-class, and even fewer stadiums,” said Leiweke. “Most of them aren’t very good. Most of them are very old. There are hundreds of arenas that are driving our industry as we know it today, but there are not very many arenas like we have in North America and the rest of the world.

“It is pretty shocking, but therein lies the opportunity, which is we’re going to see a huge explosion and a huge opportunity to build these world class arenas, and take what we’ve learned here… and be able to take that with us everywhere we go in the world.”

Leiweke went on to speak glowingly about MSG Entertainment’s Las Vegas Sphere project, which is set to open on 29 September with U2’s residency, U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere.

“If you don’t think the industry is changing, then go look at what Jim Dolan’s building with Sphere, because it’s revolutionary. It’s masterful,” he said. “I don’t know how heck he came up with all of this [and I’m] not sure how the hell you pay for it. But what I know is he’s going to change our industry forever. And the minute that opens up in September we will never be the same.”

“If you look at how quickly it’s changing because of technology… we’re in a revolutionary moment in time”

He continued: “We spent $1.1 billion on Climate Pledge, Jim’s spending billions of dollars on the sphere. Steve Ballmer’s spending billions of dollars on the Intuit [Dome in Inglewood, California]. And if you look at how quickly it’s changing because of technology, and you look at how quickly it’s changing because of the customer experience – just things like engineering and acoustics and LED – we’re in a revolutionary moment in time.

“Even though there’s thousands of arenas, there’s very few new arenas outside of North America, and yet the demand has never been greater,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see the greatest amount of development of arenas in the history of the industry in these next 20 years.”

Last week it was revealed that OVG had won the contract to manage Chicago’s McCormick Place and Tulsa’s BOK Center, taking over from ASM Global, but Leiweke played down the rivalry between the two venue giants.

“I always remind our folks, stay focused on us,” he said. “We’re the greatest asset we have and we’re our own worst enemies. So stay focused on us. We’re going to be great, not because ASM is bad. We’re going to be great because OVG is going to excel.

“We bid on 33 accounts here in the last roughly six months. We won 30 of the bids. We don’t pay attention to the other guys. We stay focused on us. Our success is not because of their failure. We can both succeed and we both will succeed.”

“We hopefully are going to get an arena on the west side of London one day”

OVG has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Philadelphia and Toronto. Speaking about the company’s international ambitions, Leiweke revealed he had recently returned from a trip to Riyadh, predicting the Saudi Arabian capital would be “the centre of the universe” by 2030.

“I am shocked at the trillions and trillions of dollars they are putting into that country and rebuilding that country as quick as they are,” he said. “By 2030, Riyadh is going to be the centre of the universe… The arenas they’re building there, they’re off the charts. I’ve never seen anything like it. Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Dubai – that whole world there is just amazing and it’s the centre of the universe.

“Let’s not forget they are right next to India, which is one of the fastest growing most important countries in the world. They’re right near Africa, and Africa is going to be a really critical part of the world and a part of our society that we need to pay attention to. Think of what Nigeria is doing to music today and the artists that are emerging and dominating our music from places like Lagos, so we’re going to build an arena in Lagos because that’s the future.”

He added: “We spend a lot of time in the UK – we hopefully are going to get an arena on the west side of London one day. We’re working on another project in Bristol, so we’re excited about that. We just won the bid in Vienna… We’re excited about Sao Paulo. You cannot ignore Brazil and the growth of that country. We’re trying to bid in Singapore because we we understand that part of the world is growing as well, so the majority of our growth is international.”

 


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Tim Leiweke talks OVG’s international focus

Oak View Group (OVG) chief Tim Leiweke has given an insight into the sports and entertainment giant’s global plans in a wide-ranging new interview.

OVG, which has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Philadelphia and Toronto, boasts a US venue portfolio including Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas.

The firm also has international developments in the works such as a 20,000-cap arena in São Paulo, Brazil with Live Nation and Co-op Live in Manchester, UK. And speaking to Billboard, Leiweke suggests it is set to further widen its horizons.

“The majority of projects we’re working on are overseas,” he says. “Latin music and K-pop are the biggest industry influencers now. We are also highly focused on Singapore and Asia; Lagos, because look at the artists coming from Nigeria. That’s where you’ve got to go for live music and culture and arts. We have a partner from Nigeria to build the single best arena in all of Africa.”

Leiweke confidently predicts Manchester’s 23,500-cap Co-op Live, now scheduled to open in April 2024, will become a “top five arena in the world”.

“It’s the first time we said, ‘Make it about music – make the bowl perfect – and then we’ll shoehorn in whatever else is important outside the bowl,'” he says. “I think that arena is going to change our industry.”

The company is also exploring opportunities elsewhere in Europe, he reveals.

“We want to go to the great cultural markets of the world where they have arenas that are 30, 40 years old and make those the next flags for the company”

“We’re sniffing around in Barcelona and Madrid,” says Leiweke. “We want to go to the great cultural markets of the world where they have arenas that are 30, 40 years old and make those the next flags for the company.”

Leiweke credits streaming services for their role in changing the game for international acts, pointing to the success of Mexico’s Grupo Firme and Puerto Rico’s Rauw Alejandro.

“The amount of tickets that Latino artists sell is unheard of,” he says. “The same with K-pop. We just did four nights of K-pop including Suga, and UBS [Arena] sold out everything. We had record merchandise sales. We’re going to continue to see that, and I give a lot of credit to the streaming industry. That’s going to be the live pipeline. So, maybe the economics ultimately got kind of turned a little bit against the artist, but it’s created far more artists that can now go sell out arenas.”

Leiweke also offers an update on OVG’s plans for a $3 billion entertainment district in Las Vegas, including a 20,000-seat arena.

“The biggest bet we’ve ever made is our project in Las Vegas,” he says. “It’s the live entertainment capital of the world. But let’s look at the venues. There must be 10 nice theatres on the Strip. You need good arenas, too. T-Mobile was my last deal at AEG. It’s a nice arena, but it pales in comparison to what we just built in Seattle, New York and Austin. How do you have the No.1 live-entertainment marketplace in the world and its arena is not one of the 30 nicest arenas in the country?

“You’ll hear about this soon, but we have a lot of world-class partners, brands and entrepreneurs who have come together to build out a 100-acre campus that will be the destination for live entertainment, culture, the arts and hospitality.”

 


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Manchester’s Co-op Live opening pushed back to ’24

A new opening date has been revealed for Manchester’s Co-op Live.

Set to become the UK’s largest live entertainment arena, the 23,500-cap venue was originally due to be completed by December this year, but will now open in April 2024.

The Manchester Evening News reports test events are being lined up for next spring, with an official opening act due to be announced in the coming months. No specific reason has been given for the delay, although a statement references “the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, supply chain shortages, and an energy crisis”.

“Co-op Live will be opening our doors to fans in April 2024,” says a Co-op Live spokesperson. “It’s huge kudos to BAM, and the dozens of local subcontractors working on the project, that we are well within our original timeframe and on-budget given the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, supply chain shortages, and an energy crisis.

“We’re proud to be on the home stretch to delivering Co-op Live”

“We’re proud to be on the home stretch to delivering Co-op Live and we can’t wait to invite fans in to experience the biggest and most sustainable arena in the UK.”

The £365 million development is a joint venture between Oak View Group (OVG) and City Football Group (CFG) and will play host to over 120 shows annually at Manchester’s Etihad Campus. Former Ticketmaster UK executive Gary Roden was brought in as executive director and general manager earlier this year.

OVG says Co-op Live has been designed “with sustainability at its core”, and will use electricity for everything from air-source heat pumps for heating and domestic hot water through to cooling and catering, without any gas supply serving the site.

As well as pledging to support Manchester City Council’s target of becoming net zero carbon by 2038, the venue will donate at least £1m annually to the Co-op Foundation to support local and national initiatives focused on young people, food security, education and sustainability.

Manchester is fresh from hosting one of its busiest ever weekends of live music, with headline more than 300,000 concert-goers flocking to the city for shows by Coldplay at the 60,000-cap Etihad Stadium (31 May, 1, 3-4 June), Arctic Monkeys at the 50,000-cap Emirates Old Trafford (2-3 June) and Elton John at the 21,000-cap AO Arena (31 May, 2-3 June).

 


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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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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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US appointments: OVG360 and MSG Sphere name presidents

Oak View Group has named Gregory O’Dell as president of venue management at the company’s newly rebranded facilities division, OVG360.

O’Dell will oversee venue operations for more than 230 properties that OVG owns and/or operates globally, including stadiums and arenas, state fairgrounds, performing arts centres and convention centres.

His responsibilities will include setting a strategy to strengthen venue staples like sustainability efforts, booking and content development, premium and sponsorship sales, public safety and public health, and parking and transportation.

The live events veteran joins OVG from Events DC, where he was president and CEO since 2009 and oversaw three business lines (conventions and meetings, sports and entertainment, special events).

O’Dell is due to start his role in April and will be based in DC and Philadelphia, reporting to OVG360 CEO Chris Granger.

O’Dell will oversee venue operations for more than 230 properties that OVG owns and/or operates globally

Elsewhere, Lucas Watson, a seasoned executive with over 25 years of global experience accelerating growth and building brands, will join the MSG Sphere as president, effective 28 March.

In the new position, Watson will lead the strategy and execution of all business aspects of MSG Sphere and the company’s planned state-of-the-art venues.

The first MSG Sphere venue, MSG Sphere at The Venetian, is currently under construction in Las Vegas and is scheduled to open in the second half of calendar 2023.

Watson will oversee the global development of the MSG Sphere brand, including selectively extending the MSG Sphere network to other markets.

He will be based in Burbank, CA and report to James Dolan, executive chairman and chief executive officer, MSG Entertainment.

Watson most recently served as SVP commercial operations at Cruise, where he was responsible for leading the development of the commercial strategy and go-to-market operations plan for the self-driving car technology company.

 


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Ticketmaster condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Ticketmaster has “strongly condemned” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has raged on for almost three weeks.

The ticketing giant follows in the footsteps of its parent company, Live Nation, which recently said it would not do business with Russia.

“Ticketmaster joins the world in strongly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” a spokesperson from Ticketmaster tells IQ. “We are taking care of our employees in the region with assistance and support, and many of our markets, including Ticketmaster Poland, have started initiatives to support local non-profits assisting the crisis.

“The team is also working on a variety of concerts where money from ticket sales will be donated to foundations supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom.”

Ticketmaster Poland is providing ticketing services for a number of concerts, from which the profits will be allocated to the Polish Medical Mission and carried out by humanitarian aid to the residents of Ukraine.

“The team is also working on a variety of concerts where money from ticket sales will be donated to foundations”

The concerts, organised by a number of domestic promoters, will take place across Poland between 4 April and 1 May, under the banner ‘Free Ukraine’. Fans can choose to pay between 75 PLN (€15) and 300 PLN (€63) for a ticket.

Ticketmaster, which is in 30+ countries worldwide, says it will announce global efforts early this week.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation aren’t the only live music behemoths that have denounced the actions of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Venue management and services company ASM Global, whose portfolio includes Moscow Convention Center and MTS Live Arena, says it “stands with the people of Ukraine and condemns Russia’s actions”.

Sports and entertainment firm Oak View Group (OVG) pledged to “not do business in or with Russia, nor serve Russian brands in any of our venues on a global basis, effective immediately”.

In the world of recorded music, all three major music companies (Universal, Sony, and Warner) have announced they are halting their own business activities in the market.

Other major music companies to take action include streaming platforms Spotify and Apple, publishers Kobalt Music Group and Downtown, and collection societies PRS For Music (UK), CISAC (France) and SoundExchange (US).

 


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OVG secures ‘industry-first’ Co-op Live deal

Oak View Group (OVG) has secured an “industry-first” debt financing to fund the construction of east Manchester’s new Co-op Live arena.

The £365 million, 23,500-cap venue – a JV between OVG and Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG), will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in late 2023. Harry Styles has also signed up as an investor.

It has now been announced that OVG and CFG have closed and funded a 27-year senior secured note and five-year senior secured credit facility for the project. The private non-recourse financing is said to be a first for a music-focused live entertainment facility without a professional sports anchor tenant.

“It shows the confidence in our business model and ability to deliver on a robust, year-round calendar of unparalleled music and other content”

Long term financing is provided by Apollo and Barings, supplemented by a five-year bank loan from JP Morgan. The deal is secured by Co-op Live and the cash flow generated by the arena over 27 years. The balance of funding towards construction is provided by Co-op Live’s shareholders.

“We’re proud to have closed this pioneering financing to help fund the development of Co-op Live, which will deliver one of the world’s best arenas to Manchester,” says Francesca Bodie, OVG’s president of business development. “It shows the confidence in our business model and ability to deliver on a robust, year-round calendar of unparalleled music and other content.”

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.

 


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