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Marc Geiger and SaveLive sued by US venue

Marc Geiger and his company SaveLive are being sued by the owners of a US venue The Alibi for breach of contract, interference and fraud, according to Billboard.

The Alibi owners Melanie Tusquellas and Elizabeth Garo said in a lawsuit filed on 25 May that their 200-capacity venue and restaurant in Palm Springs was struggling after the Covid-19 pandemic forced its temporary closure in 2020.

Worried about losing their investment, they began discussions with Geiger late that year about a possible plan to save the venue.

Geiger, along with his business partner and former WME principal John Fogelman, had launched a “war chest” to “bailout” struggling US music venues.

His proposal for the venture, named SaveLive, was to buy at least 51% of the equity in those clubs and help them expand into regional forces once the live sector returns to full strength.

In April 2022, the company completed its first round of financing, raising US$135 million, and signed its first round of venue partners – which included The Alibi.

“Being able to partner with SaveLive is a dream come true,” Garo said in an April 2022 press release announcing the partnership between The Alibi and SaveLive. “Tusquellas and I can stay true to our roots knowing we have their full support,” Garo continued, adding, “It doesn’t hurt that we’ve known some of the people at SaveLive for years — we all came up through the business together.”

Garo is an LA talent buyer who had booked Spaceland, The Echo and The Echoplex and co-founded the Echo Park Rising Festival, while Tusquellas is a co-owner of the historic Edendale Grill & Bar and El Chavo Restaurant in Silverlake, Los Angeles.

“SaveLive responded with personal threats and intimidation,” ultimately…forcing The Alibi to close again

The pair’s attorney Miles Feldman, in the complaint, said that “SaveLive was committed to maintaining the character of the businesses with such existing owners continuing to have control of the operations.

“Based on Geiger’s misrepresentations,” the complaint reads, Garo and Tusquellas sold a 51% ownership interest in The Alibi to a holding company controlled by SaveLive and contributed their remaining 49% interest to a second holding company controlled by SaveLive. Under the deal, Garo and Tusquellas would retain the liquor license for The Alibi through a business entity called 369 Palm Inc, which entered into an agreement with Geiger’s group to serve as The Alibi’s concessionaire.

“Shortly after 369 Palm sold a majority interest in The Alibi, Save Live’s true intentions became crystal clear,” Feldman wrote in the civil complaint. SaveLive officials allegedly “insisted that its accountant be responsible for keeping the financial books and records for the concessions business,” despite an agreement that the concessions business “would be run separately from SaveLive’s operation and booking of The Alibi.”

When met with objections, “SaveLive responded with personal threats and intimidation,” ultimately stifling “the resurgence of The Alibi, forcing it to close again in July 2022 less than four months after its grand re-opening,” the complaint reads.

After allegedly ignoring the concessionaire agreement and assuming control over food and beverage profits, SaveLive allegedly tried to force the owners to sell their liquor license to SaveLive for only a fraction of its fair market value.

When that failed, SaveLive officials allegedly used “repeated threats and intimidation” to try and force the women to transfer their liquor license to DLS Events, a concessionaire and bar service company that services Live Nation clients like the Palladium and the Wiltern in Los Angeles, along with 16 other venues under exclusive contract.

When Garo and Tusquellas refused, SaveLive shut down The Alibi and unsuccessfully attempted to trigger an option in the concession agreement forcing the sale of the liquor license. The shutdown of the venue, however, rendered the liquor license inactive, causing it to be surrendered to the California Alcoholic Beverage Control agency.

According to California law, the complaint claims, the liquor license for The Alibi “must be reactivated within one year; otherwise, the liquor license will be revoked, which would destroy the value of one of 369 Palm’s most valuable and prized assets.”

Garo and Tusquellas are suing SaveLive and Geiger for breach of contract, interference and fraud. They are asking for punitive damages against SaveLive, a cancellation of the concession agreement and a preliminary injunction forcing SaveLive to reopen The Alibi.

IQ has approached Geiger for comment.


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OVG unveils Palm Springs arena naming rights deal

Oak View Group (OVG) has announced a 10-year naming rights deal with financial services firm Acrisure for its new arena in Palm Springs, California.

Located in the heart of Coachella Valley, the 11,500-seater Acrisure Arena is projected to open in the last quarter of 2022 and will host more than 150 major events annually.

The partnerships also includes permanent exterior signage, entitlement to the arena’s largest premium private hospitality space, and prominent Acrisure logo placement on the roof and throughout the venue. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Acrisure Arena will be the crown jewel of the entire Coachella Valley and a major destination for the biggest artists”

“We are proud to announce our naming rights agreement with Acrisure,” says OVG chief Tim Leiweke, leader of the arena project. “Acrisure Arena will be the crown jewel of the entire Coachella Valley and a major destination for the biggest artists, concerts, and sporting events in the world. Acrisure and Oak View Group are dedicated to using this platform to improve the lives of everyone in the Coachella Valley.”

OVG has pledged the venue, which will be home to the Coachella Valley Firebirds ice hockey team, will focus on “prioritising technology, sustainability and green initiatives”.

In addition to sports and entertainment, the arena will accommodate conventions, large meetings, international events as well as award shows and exhibitions.


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OVG announces new arena in southern California

Oak View Group and the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla, a tribe of Indians native to the Coachella Valley, have announced plans for a new entertainment and sports arena in Palm Springs, California.

The project, which counts Live Nation as a strategic partner for events, will see the construction of an up-to-10,000-seat arena on 300,000sqft (27,870sqm) on Agua Caliente land in Palm Springs city centre. The new venue will be located to the north of the Agua Caliente Casino, also operated by the tribe.

“This is a unique partnership that will forever change the face of sports and entertainment in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley,” says Jeff Grubbe, tribal chairman of the Agua Caliente Band. “We are creating a healthy community gathering place for Coachella Valley families and visitors from around the world to celebrate, play and experience diverse entertainment opportunities in a state-of-the-art arena.”

The privately funded Palm Springs arena comes amid a building boom for Tim Leiweke-led OVG, which is developing venues in Seattle, New York, Texas and, most recently, Milan, in its first international project.

In a tweet, OVG described its recent moves as representing “the most aggressive number of arena developments in the history of the industry”:

The Coachella Valley arena is expected to break ground in February 2020 and be open by autumn 2021. OVG and NHL (National Hockey League) Seattle have also jointly submitted an application for a 32nd American Hockey League (AHL) team, which would play in the new arena.

Other entertainment arenas in southern California include MSG’s 18,000-seat LA Forum, formerly co-owned by OVG’s Irving Azoff, and Staples Center (19,000-cap.) in Los Angeles, owned and operated by MSG/OVG arch-rival AEG.

“Oak View Group has consistently continued to raise the industry standard, and the arena in Palm Springs will be no exception”

Nearby Indio, meanwhile, is the site of AEG’s famed Coachella and Stagecoach festival.

“With each venue, we’ve had the privilege of building and managing, Oak View Group has consistently continued to raise the industry standard, and the arena in Palm Springs will be no exception,” says OVG CEO Leiweke. “We look forward to working with Agua Caliente to build what we consider to be one of the most premiere music and professional sports arenas in the world.”

Oak View Group, a venue development, advisory and investment company founded by former AEG CEO Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Azoff, launched in 2015. In addition to its under-development arena projects, it runs the Arena and Stadium Alliance of 28 US venues.

It also has a venue-management outfit, OVG Facilities, launched in 2017 following the acquisition of Pinnacle Venue Services, and a security arm, Prevent Advisors, and owns industry trade titles Venues Today and Pollstar, the latter which it bought the same year.

“We’re pleased to be able to partner with Oak View Group and Agua Caliente for this new state-of-the-art arena,” comments Bob Roux, president of US concerts at Live Nation, “and look forward to bringing in top touring artists and live events to the Valley for years to come.”


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