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Ticketmaster inks global ticketing deal with OVG

Ticketmaster will provide digital ticketing technology for six Oak View Group (OVG) arenas as part of a new global partnership between the two firms.

“OVG is setting a new standard for arenas with world-class hospitality and state-of-the-art technology. Their portfolio boasts some of the most modern and progressive new venues in the world,” says Mark Yovich, president of Ticketmaster. “Through our leading-edge ticketing technology, Ticketmaster will help OVG deliver premium fan experiences for sports fanatics and music lovers.”

The partnership includes New York’s UBS Arena; Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena; Austin’s Moody Center; Coachella Valley Arena in Palm Desert, California; Savannah Arena in Georgia; and Co-op Live in Manchester, UK, with the OVG venues able to call on “Ticketmaster’s digital technology to provide the industry leading tools needed to operate and adapt to the needs of concerts, games and other events”, say the partners.

This includes ‘Ticketing Concierge’, a contactless box office powered by Ticketmaster’s TM1 product suite which enables all ticketing transactions, account support, refunds and ‘will-call’ (on-the-door tickets) to be handled digitally, reducing the need for physical interactions between fans and staff.

“We know what a strong partner Ticketmaster is when it comes to bringing that premium ticketing experience to fans, and we look forward to partnering with them”

Venues equipped with Ticketing Concierge may admit fans through contactless scanners, with digital tickets accessed on their mobile devices, providing faster entry.

The venues may also implement new capabilities for contactless payment, mobile ordering and in-venue experiences via the Ticketmaster app, says the company.

“Ticketmaster is the best ticketing system in the world, and we’re pleased to offer their industry-leading technology across all of our world-class venues,” says Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. “We know what a strong partner Ticketmaster is when it comes to bringing that premium ticketing experience to fans, and we look forward to partnering with them to bring the biggest artists and sporting events as we return to live.”

The deal with OVG follows the signing of a new agreement by Ticketmaster with ASM Global (formerly SMG/AEG Facilities) across its venues in North America.

 


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OVG helps develop safe-venue certification ahead of reopening

Oak View Group (OVG) has partnered with Sharecare, an Atlanta-based health company, and CAA’s Icon division to launch a new hygiene certification for venues that aims to boost fan confidence and mitigate risks associated with Covid-19.

Sharecare’s Verified ‘health security’ certification programme, which provides a Covid-secure seal of approval for hotels and other tourism businesses, will now be extended to events venues through the partnership with OVG, which operates or is building arenas in North America, the UK and continental Europe, and CAA Icon, the agency’s venue consulting arm.

To achieve verification from Sharecare, venue operators must meet certain standards across 600 venue ‘checkpoints’, explains the company, including building preparation, the fan journey, sanitisation and cleaning, and air circulation. The process is navigated via a chatbot-enabled screener, which also offers other relevant guidance, including the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and requirements for sports leagues.

After completion of the process, stadia, arenas and other public venues earn Sharecare’s Verified badge. Atlanta’s 21,000-capacity State Farm Arena became the first venue to achieve this designation, in January 2021.

“We’re pleased to align ourselves with Sharecare as we prioritise safety”

“As we begin to see the industry reopen, bringing innovation to the sports and entertainment industry that sets a new standard for the health and safety of fans, artists and staff must be a top priority,” says Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke. “We’re pleased to align ourselves with Sharecare as we prioritise safety so all who enter live entertainment venues can feel comfortable and confident in attending sporting events and concerts once again.”

“We were drawn to Sharecare because of their ability to customise their verification platform for this unique building type and their willingness to commit the time to do so,” adds Tim Romani, chairman of CAA Icon. “This allowed us to interactively collaborate on the technology so that it is flexible for changing protocols, league requirements, and clinical recommendations.”

In addition to State Farm Arena, the new venue-focused Sharecare Verified platform was trialled with two under-construction arenas, OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and UBS Arena in New York, both of which have also adopted the Verified Solution.

“Whether resuming activities or building next-generation event experiences, we’re proud to deliver stadiums and arenas a flexible solution precisely designed to align with their operational needs, yet easily configured to best practices, as well as league and public health protocols as they evolve,” comments Hermann Elger, executive vice-president of travel, entertainment and health security for Sharecare. “We’re grateful for the support of CAA Icon and OVG in bringing this high-tech, high-touch solution to venues worldwide to enable visitors a safe and sustainable return to live event experiences.”

 


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Tim Leiweke: “Climate change is the fight of our lives”

Oak View Group (OVG) co-founder and chief executive Tim Leiweke has issued a call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change.

“Climate change is without a doubt the fight of this generation’s lives,” he tells IQ. “At OVG, we believe that we, along with the whole live entertainment industry, have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue,” adding that sustainability is one of OVG’s core values.

The global sports and entertainment company, along with ecommerce giant Amazon, is a few months out from opening the world’s first carbon neutral venue, Climate Pledge Arena (CPA) in Seattle.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud and excited that CPA will become the world’s first certified carbon neutral arena when it opens later this year. It’s also going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events and using recycled rainwater to service the NHL ice-rink,” explains Leiweke.

OVG and Amazon have set their sights on the 18,100-seat arena becoming ‘the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world’ – a commitment underpinned by four goals.

The first goal is to maintain CPA’s carbon elimination by eschewing fossil fuel consumption for daily use; generating renewable energy from onsite solar panels; reducing all carbon emission activities and offsetting those not possible – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

“We have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue”

CPA will also aim to eliminate single use plastics and achieve zero waste by ‘greatly simplifying the supply chain’.

Finally, the arena, home to ice hockey team NHL Seattle, will conserve water via its ‘rain to rink’ system which will harvest water off the roof and collect into a 15,000-gallon cistern. According to OVG, the system will save 50,000 gallons annually.

Other ways the CPA will conserve water include waterless urinals and ‘ultra-efficient’ showers, significant on-site retention tanks reducing stormwater runoff and water bottle filling stations throughout the arena.

Beyond this the CPA will have an advisory committee with partners at Amazon; create transparency and public reporting on initiatives progress; host arena events that celebrate the environment and its commitment to green operations; partner with educational institutions to utilise the arena as a classroom for environmental education.

Leiweke says that OVG is taking the learnings from CPA to guide future projects: “All of our arenas in both the US and around the world, from the UBS Arena in New York to Co-op Live in Manchester, are putting sustainability at the heart of both design and operations”.

If all goes according to plan, the UBS Arena (cap. 19,000) in Belmont Park, New York, won’t be far behind CPA in achieving a carbon-neutral status.

The arena, scheduled to open in time for the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season, is projected to be 100% carbon neutral by 2024 – which will make it the first to do so on the East Coast of the US.

“Climate Pledge Arena is going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events”

The UBS Arena is currently being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (Leed) standards.

Elsewhere, Manchester’s Co-op Live (cap. 23,500) is leading the way for environmentally sustainable arenas in the UK, both in terms of design and future commitments.

The roof alone boasts 10,500 square-metres (1.5x a football pitch) of rooftop solar panels, air source heat pumps, high spec insulation and façade designed to reduce cooling and heating requirements.

The venue’s architecture is paired with renewable energy, low carbon technologies and intelligent building controls such as LED lighting design and smart building systems to minimise energy use).

Plus, in a bid to meet Manchester City Council’s 2038 net zero carbon goal, the venue is also using 100% electric fuel.

Taking note from CPA, Co-op Live will also use 100% rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, bathroom use and water efficient catering, and will aim to be zero waste.

The Co-op Live development is targeting Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent’ accreditation.

Other arenas OVG is currently developing include Moody Center, Austin; Coachella Valley Arena, Palm Springs; Savannah Arena; Cardiff Bay Arena; and Santa Guilia, Milan.

 


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Co-op Live Manchester makes senior hires

Co-op Live, the upcoming arena in Manchester, UK, has made its first three senior hires.

The appointments, announced today for International Women’s Day (8 March), are Sara Tomkins, who is the venue’s new marketing and CSR (corporate social responsibility) director; Katie Musham, who has been appointed head of partnerships; and Becci Thomson, who been named Co-op Live’s sales director.

The 23,500-capacity Co-op Live, which is being developed by Tim Leiweke-led Oak View Group (OVG), will become the UK’s largest arena when it opens in 2023. Construction is due to begin this spring.

Tomkins brings more than 20 years of brand-building in Manchester to the role, having formerly served as chief executive of GreaterSport, destination director for Marketing Manchester and assistant chief executive for marketing, communications and customer services at Manchester City Council.

“Our initial senior hires … demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group”

Musham has over 15 years’ experience working in venues in the UK and Australia, with previous roles at Wembley Arena, the O2 London, Perth Arena and Sydney’s SCG, while Thomson formerly led sales for special events at the O2 in London.

Jessica Koravos, co-chairperson of OVG International, says: “In Co-op Live we want to deliver a venue that brings the best possible experiences for fans and artists, while also making a positive impact on the local community and the planet around us.

“Our initial senior hires reflect our ambition to assemble an industry-leading team at Co-op Live and also demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group as part of OVG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

“At OVG, we’re building exceptional teams at all of our venues around the world,” says Ann Jackson, chief people and culture officer of OVG. “I’m delighted to see three outstanding women join the Co-op Live team as our first recruits, and look forward to them helping deliver a new kind of arena that has diversity, inclusivity and sustainability at its heart.”

 


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Live Nation selected for new Cardiff arena

Live Nation has been identified as the preferred bidder to manage a new 15,000-capacity indoor arena in Cardiff.

The new venue, which will become Live Nation’s second arena in the Welsh capital, will cost around £150 million to build and, it is hoped, attract more than 1m visitors and an estimated £100m into the local economy annually.

A Live Nation-led consortium – which also includes venue company Oak View Group (OVG) and property firm Robertson – was behind one of two offers to Cardiff Council, which was seeking a private-sector partner to “deliver a top-tier UK venue that that will enable events of all sizes to be hosted in the city.”

Live Nation also operates the 5,000-capacity Cardiff International Arena (formerly Motorpoint Arena Cardiff), as well as converted warehouse venue Titan Warehouse. OVG, meanwhile, is currently constructing a new arena, Co-op Live, in Manchester, England.

Russell Goodway, Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for investment and development, says: “The city’s strategy is to establish the Cardiff Arena as a top-tier UK arena and to make it the premier arena in the south-west region of England and Wales.”

“Our combined experience in the delivery and operation of facilities of this nature will result in a world-class facility”

A rival arena in Bristol, in south-west England, YTL Arena, is now expected to open in 2023, after years of delays. It was originally due to open in 2018, with SMG Europe (now ASM Global) managing, but is now under construction at a new site.

According to Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas, the council will commit less than 15% of the arena’s cost, with the remaining 85%+ of capital investment coming from the council’s private-sector partners.

In a joint statement, Live Nation, Oak View Group and Robertson say: “We are delighted to have been announced preferred bidder today to deliver the new Cardiff arena. We look forward to working in partnership with Cardiff Council to bring this ambitious vision to life over the next few years.

“Our combined experience in the delivery and operation of facilities of this nature will result in a world-class facility that will bring economic benefits to the entire region, both during its construction and for many years to come once it’s open. In 2021 we will embark on the next phase of the planning process, which will provide the wider community the opportunity to see our exciting proposals for the site.”

 


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Turin’s Pala Alpitour joins International Venue Alliance

Pala Alpitour, the second-largest indoor arena in Italy, has become the fifth member of the International Venue Alliance.

The alliance, an initiative of venue consultancy Oak View Group (OVG), is also home to the UK’s NEC Group, Silverstone Circuit and Ascot Racecourse and Germany’s D.Live. The association is modelled on OVG’s Arena and Stadium Alliance in North America, whose 28 venues able to achieve “efficiencies of scale by booking, buying, selling and thinking together”, according to the company.

Built as a host venue for ice hockey during the 2006 Winter Olympics, Live Nation-operated Pala Alpitour in Turin has since become a leading concert venue, with a maximum capacity for live music of 18,500. Past performances at the arena include Madonna, U2, Ariana Grande, Vasco Rossi and Tiziano Ferro.

Pala Alpitour also recently signed a deal to bring the ATP Finals tennis competition, formerly held at the O2 in London, to the arena from 2021.

Its membership of the alliance and relationship with OVG will focus specifically on finding new corporate partners for the arena and elevating its profile both in Italy and internationally, says GM Daniele Donati.

“Pala Alpitour is … set to become one of Europe’s most high-profile arenas in 2021”

“We are focused on coming out of the pandemic in better shape than ever,” she explains. “Our aim is to maintain our established position as a leader in the Italian market and continuing to bring a platform for strategic and innovative partnerships.

“Through its international expertise, we believe OVG is the ideal partner to support us in achieving our goals.”

Roberto De Luca, president of Live Nation Italy, comments: “We’re fully confident that the live entertainment market will bounce back in 2021, and we can’t wait for the ATP Finals to showcase the world-class facilities at Pala Alpitour. Live Nation works closely with OVG at venues across the world and we look forward to extending our partnership in Italy, starting with Pala Alpitour’s membership of the international alliance.”

The partnership marks the latest collaboration for OVG and Live Nation in Italy, where the pair are building a new venue, Santa Giulia Arena in Milan, set to open later this decade.

Sam Piccione III, OVG’s international president, says:  “Pala Alpitour is in the middle of a transformative phase and is set to become one of Europe’s most high-profile arenas with hosting the ATP Finals in 2021. We appreciate Roberto De Luca and Daniele Donati’s vision to join as the fifth member of the International Venue Alliance and look forward to working as an extension of their team and expanding the roster of like-minded partners.”

 


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Harry Styles invests in Manchester’s Co-op Live arena

Harry Styles has made an investment in Co-op Live, the forthcoming arena in his hometown of Manchester, UK, operator Oak View Group (OVG) has announced.

The arena, which at 23,500 capacity will be the UK’s largest, was given planning approval in September and is set to open in 2023. Styles’s investment, for an undisclosed amount, adds to the estimated £350m in private investment the arena will bring to the city.

According to OVG, the former One Direction star will take “more than a capital interest” in Co-op Live and will be actively involved in the development of the project, working alongside the OVG team “with a particular focus on fans, unique premium and hospitality areas, and artist spaces”.

“I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project”

“I’m incredibly proud and excited to be partnering with OVG on their plans for Co-op Live,” comments Styles (pictured). Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project. It very much feels like coming home.

“I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings to the contribution it will make to the city, and, most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester. It’s just another sign that this amazing city continues to grow.”

Francesca Bodie, OVG’s president of business development, says: “At OVG, our vision is driven by a unique view that puts fans and artists first in every decision we make. There’s no artist in the world right now better placed than Harry to advise us on delivering a first-class experience for visitors and artists at Co-op Live.”

 


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Live Nation, AEG, OVG and more form US coalition

Behemoths of the live music industry, including Live Nation, AEG Presents and Oak View Group, have formed a coalition to petition the US government for relief for live events workers and musicians who have been financially impacted by the shutdown of the live events industry in March.

The Save Live Events Now coalition, which also includes major agencies such as CAA, UTA, and WME, is calling on the US government to expand the Save Our Stages act – a US$10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives in the US – to include live event workers.

The bipartisan Save Our Stages act passed through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on 1 October as part of the wider, revised $2.2 trillion Heroes Act coronavirus stimulus package, but has now stalled after president Donald Trump announced he is walking away from further talks until after 3 November’s presidential election.

“Live entertainment and in-person experiences play vital roles in stimulating our culture, communities, and local economies and venues are the centres that host and make that possible,” says Brad Mayne, CEO at International Association of Venue Managers.

“We need to extend the same [support] to the millions of workers who are just as critical as venues to the future of events”

“Many venues are publicly owned because our society has recognised the important role they play, and now we need to extend that same acknowledgement to the millions of workers who are just as critical to the future of events.”

According to the coalition, 90% of the 12 million industry workers employed by venues and businesses don’t qualify for support under Save Our Stages and it’s estimated that 77% of live event workers have lost 100% of their income.

The coalition is calling for a number of measures including $600 a week in compensation for affected employees for the duration of the shutdown; employer retention tax credits; healthcare subsidies, including an expansion of COBRA to ensure that live events workers do not lose medical coverage; and changes to unemployment insurance to make life easier for live event workers.

More than 20 companies have joined the coalition, to date, including Music Artists Coalition (MAC), Feld Entertainment, Rhino, TAIT, Endeavor, Paradigm, SAG-AFTRA, Bandit Lites, Fullstop Management, Universal Music Group and more.

 


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OVG’s new Manchester arena to be called Co-op Live

Oak View Group (OVG) is joining forces with the Co-op to develop its new east Manchester arena, which was given the green light yesterday.

The 23,500-capacity venue, which will be built on the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands, will be named Co-op Live during the 15-year partnership – which IQ understands is worth £100m.

The partnership will enable Co-op to offer its members a number of exclusive benefits including pre-sale tickets; discounts on food and beverage; the chance to win free tickets and exclusive backstage VIP experiences, plus priority entry-access to the venue.

The Co-op Foundation will also be responsible for distributing the arena’s annual contribution of £1 million to good causes, which will involve helping to tackle food poverty via a zero-food waste initiative and working towards Manchester’s zero-carbon agenda.

Jo Whitfield, CEO, Co-op Food, said: “Ethics are at the heart of the Co-op and we’re proud that one of the world’s greenest and most socially responsible live entertainment venues will carry our name. It will give millions of pounds back to local communities and good causes and we’ll make access to entertainment easier for our members with exclusive and pre-sale tickets.”

She added: “The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact and our multi-million-pound investment is a signal of our intent for the future of the region, creating jobs and helping to bring some of the world’s best events to Manchester.”​

“The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue, including bold commitments on sustainability and community”

Tim Leiweke, CEO at Oak View Group, says: “We’re delighted with this partnership and join together with the Co-op team to build the new world-class arena that Manchester deserves. Our shared vision with Co-op is what makes this partnership so special.

“Our partnership goes way beyond a normal naming rights agreement. The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue, including bold commitments on sustainability and community.

“I’ve said from the beginning of this project that this arena will be of Manchester, for Manchester and by Manchester, and this partnership with one of the city’s most iconic brands is a critical part of that. We can’t wait to work together to bring amazing live event experiences, in one of the world’s best arenas, to Manchester.”

Sam Piccione III, President, OVG International, said: “We started discussions with Co-op over a year ago, and knew from the very first meeting that they were the right partner for our new venue in Manchester.

“We’ve worked hard together throughout the challenging recent months to bring the right deal together. Co-op is both one of the UK’s most recognisable brands and deeply embedded in the local community, so it’s a privilege to partner with them for the next 15 years.”

Manchester City Council yesterday gave OVG the go-ahead to build Co-op Live, which will rival New York’s Madison Square Garden (20,789), The Forum in LA (17,505) and The O2 in London (21,000).

The project will inject £350m of private investment into the local area and will create 3,350 constructions jobs, starting from November this year, and 1,000 roles and apprenticeships. The Co-op will back the arena’s apprenticeship programme and provide direct employment opportunities for its six secondary and college academies across Greater Manchester.

 


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OVG partners with UBS for $1.5bn New York arena

Venue development firm Oak View Group (OVG) has sealed a 20-year naming rights deal with Swiss bank UBS for a new US$1.5 billion arena in Belmont Park, New York.

The UBS Arena at Belmont Park is projected to open in time for the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season, and will be home to the New York Islanders.

The arena will host around 150 events a year, with a 19,000-seat capacity for concerts and 17,000 for sport. According to OVG co-founder Irving Azoff, the arena will be equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and some of the best high-end clubs and VIP spaces in live entertainment.

The redevelopment project, which OVG is working on in collaboration with the New York Islanders and Sterling Project Development, is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs, generating approximately $25bn in economic activity over the term of the lease.

“UBS Arena is poised to become a global landmark entertainment and sports destination, leading us to partner with one of the world’s premier brands, UBS,” says Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group and leader of the arena project.

“UBS Arena is poised to become a global landmark entertainment and sports destination, leading us to partner with one of the world’s premier brands, UBS”

“Together we’re eager to deliver on our shared promise of helping reinvigorate the New York economy, creating jobs, supporting a sustainable future, and safely providing an unrivaled, distinctive premium experience for all.”

Ground was broken on the project on in September 2019 and halted in March 2020, as New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced a suspension of all non-essential projects due to the coronavirus pandemic. Work started back up two months later on 27 May.

“We need good news and we’ve got to make people understand we’re going to get through this (pandemic), we’re going to get back on our feet, and the city’s going to get back on its feet,” says Leiweke. “I don’t care what anyone says, when it came time to invest $1.5 billion, there’s no place we said ‘yes’ quicker than New York because it’s the most important city in the world.

“We’re excited to bring our passion and unmatched guest service commitment to life, and we look forward to welcoming fans to what will surely become a popular global destination for world-class events for many years to come.”

In addition to committing to boosting economic activity and providing jobs in the local area, the UBS Arena team is working with sustainability experts to minimise the environmental impact of the venue and become a zero-waste facility.

OVG recently signed up to the Amazon climate pledge and is working with the ecommerce giant to build the world’s first carbon neutral arena in Seattle.

 


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