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Legends announces acquisition of ASM Global

Legends has confirmed its long-rumoured acquisition of venue management giant ASM Global, creating a premium global live events company.

The blockbuster deal will enhance Legends’ services portfolio, positioning it to “meet the expanding needs” of sports organisations, venues and attractions around the globe, while “supporting its vision to deliver exceptional live experiences for fans in the digital age”.

Founded in 2008, premium experiences specialist Legends – which is backed by global investment firm Sixth Street – provides venue planning and project management, premium sales, sponsorship, hospitality and merchandise services.

High-profile clients include prestigious brands such as Real Madrid, SoFi Stadium, Dallas Cowboys, FC Barcelona, New York Yankees, and Ryder Cup, as well as the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA of America and FIFA World Cup.

“Legends and ASM Global are both deeply client-centric and fan-focused and together we will deliver maximum value for our global client roster with even greater support and service options,” says Legends CEO Shervin Mirhashemi.

“Welcoming ASM Global to Legends is a capstone achievement in our 15-year journey”

“Welcoming ASM Global to Legends is a capstone achievement in our 15-year journey toward becoming the world’s trusted partner for connecting people with the brands and communities that matter most to them, and for helping our clients create memorable moments that keep their fans and patrons returning time and again.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Bloomberg previously reported that Legends was in talks over a US$1.85 billion financing package to fund the acquisition, which will expand both its geographic reach and range of services.

ASM Global, which was formed in 2019 following a merger between arena operators AEG Facilities and Onex’s SMG, operates buildings including ICC Sydney Convention Center, Avicii Arena in Stockholm, OVO Arena Wembley, Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Current ASM Global equity holders Onex and AEG will sell their ownership interests as part of the deal, while ASM Global will continue to serve existing and in-development AEG venues.

“We’re thrilled to join Legends, which shares our client-first approach and advances our goal of offering our partner organisations a truly seamless experience while driving the growth of their businesses,” says Ron Bension, president and CEO of ASM Global.

“Our clients will benefit from Legends’ robust services, innovation, technology, and global partnerships which, combined with ASM Global’s venue management and content and event booking expertise, will provide our clients with locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to achieve outstanding fan experiences and improved venue owner results.”

 


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ASM Global holds second international job search

ASM Global’s second international virtual “collaborative job fair” generated more than double the applicants of last year’s maiden event.

Held over two days in late July, ASM’s The Next Great Opportunity job search encompassed five continents attracted 3,000 applicants as part of the venue giant’s big to unearth diverse talent and expand its reach within its local communities.

The event enabled venues to fill a wide range of roles from hourly to salaried levels with highly skilled and diverse candidates. The jobs include the areas of operations, business development, finance, food and beverage, human resources, sales, marketing, booking, security, guest services, audio visual tech and catering, among others.

“It validates our belief that the remarkable electricity, joy and sense of community in our industry transcends so many work paths for so many people”

“This international turnout is amazing,” says ASM Global CEO and president Ron Bension. “It validates our belief that the remarkable electricity, joy and sense of community in our industry transcends so many work paths for so many people.”

An added focus of this year’s outreach was to university students, with the company’s internal GROW programme aimed at providing impactful and meaningful career experiences to ethnically diverse university students globally who are interested in the venue management space.

“It’s tremendously gratifying to see ASM Global’s message of fostering diversity and the career development of talent and motivated individuals resonant internationally,” adds ASM chief human resources officer Shauna Elvin.

A worldwide roster of cities joined in the job fair, with participating ASM venues from North America, Europe and APAC.

The inaugural event, held in February 2022, was billed as the largest job fair in live entertainment history as it bid to help address the global staffing shortage that has hampered the recovery of the live music business, along with other industries, since the onset of the pandemic.

ASM has also partnered with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on the Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme for the past two years.

 


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ASM Global sets ambitious sustainability target

ASM Global has announced an aggressive plan to convert its venue portfolio into the most sustainable collection in the world.

Through its corporate social responsibility platform, ASM Global Acts – and in partnership with Honeycomb Strategies – the company says it will dedicate its full resources to achieving measurable results using a comprehensive tracking system, “intended to reflect that scale and create substantial collective impact on every continent it operates”.

ASM already boasts the largest collection of certified green venues with more than 40 throughout the portfolio, and the firm’s global president and CEO Ron Bension says it is “now raising the bar even higher”.

“This entire program will be integrated into all of the relationships with our existing and future clients as part of our intrinsic ASM Global DNA,” says Bension. “As we stated when we first partnered with Honeycomb Strategies last summer, demand from our established and newer clients for state-of-the-art sustainability innovations has been consistently increasing. We are now in a position to work with them and lead the industry in this incredibly important space.”

ASM has committed to reduce energy consumption by 25% for all its venues, as well as achieving 20% of all energy consumed through renewable energy sources by 2025. It has also set the targets of being carbon neutral by 2050, diverting over 50% of waste overall by 2025 and eliminating single-use plastic in front of house, also by 2025, and reducing water consumption by 25% by 2030.

“The project has already begun. We’ve selected a group of pilot venues across size, type and continents that have begun reporting against the goals”

In addition, it will award 50% of its reportable spend to suppliers adhering to its environmental purchasing policy by 2030, and is bidding to increase plant-based menu options by 35% by 2024 within its Savor food division venues and decrease food waste by 75% by 2026 in those venues.

“The project has already begun,” adds Lindsay Arell, one of Honeycomb Strategies’ two principals. “We’ve selected a group of pilot venues across size, type and continents that have begun reporting against the goals. The aim is to add additional venues at a fast pace to obtain important baseline information for 2023.”

ASM has partnered with WeTrack, a SaaS company that provides planning, sustainability goals and operations solutions. The WeTrack system has been developed to help customers track progress on sustainability, ESG and CSR initiatives.

ASM Global venue ambassadors will each have a system set up for them with common indicators that ASM Global wants to track along with venue goals specific to the community in which they operate.

 


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ASM announces inaugural Global Month of Giving

ASM Global has announced its first worldwide “Global Month of Giving”.

Launched this week, the scheme will provide opportunities for team members internationally to dedicate their time, talent and “treasure” through volunteering, giving back and engaging in local community initiatives.

It marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the venue giant’s corporate social responsibility platform ASM Global Acts, which is centred on three commitments: protect the environment, invest in people and strengthen communities around the globe.

“Our Global Month of Giving represents our shared intention to make a difference in the lives of others around the world”

“ASM Global operates hundreds of stadiums, convention centres and arenas around the globe, which boost local economies, employ area residents and provide meaningful opportunities for the communities we call home,” says Ron Bension, president and CEO of ASM Global. “Our Global Month of Giving represents our shared intention to make a difference in the lives of others around the world.

“Building strong, vibrant communities requires commitments that extend beyond the walls of our venues. We bring that to life by giving back and investing in organisations that are making both the world and our local communities a better place to live, work and play.”

ASM Global Month of Giving is an extension of the firm’s longstanding commitments to creating a better workplace, a more diverse workforce, serving the communities where it operates, and contributing to a healthier environment and planet.

“This partnership between ASM Global, Savor and Wicked Kitchen is an integral part of ASM Global’s commitment to establishing the most sustainable venues in the world”

Earlier this week, ASM announced a multi-year partnership with plant-based food provider Wicked Kitchen to increase the selection and availability of vegan food options throughout its network of arenas, stadiums, theatres and convention centres.

The announcement establishes Wicked Kitchen, a 100% plant-based, flavour-forward global food brand, as the “Preferred Plant-Based Food Partner” of ASM Global venues and “Exclusive Plant-Based Food Provider” across all catering, suite and concessions managed by Savor, ASM’s chef-driven culinary division.

Wicked Kitchen also becomes an official partner of the ASM Global Acts Foundation.

“This partnership between ASM Global, Savor and Wicked Kitchen is an integral part of ASM Global’s commitment to establishing the most sustainable venues in the world,” adds  Savor SVP Shaun Beard.

ASM Global and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) recently announced that their partnership to dramatically expand the conference’s Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme, which promotes and encourages the next generation of young executive talent, will continue into 2023.

 


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ASM Global ups Alex Merchán to CMO

ASM Global has promoted LA-based industry veteran Alex Merchán to the position of chief marketing officer.

Merchán, who will oversee the venue giant’s global portfolio, was most recently EVP of marketing, and will spearhead the company’s branding and positioning across key areas including global partnerships, digital and CRM strategy, business development, and advisory and investing efforts.

“In less than one year with our company, Alex has been responsible for reimagining our marketing support infrastructure while simultaneously dramatically enhancing our network’s external initiatives for our clients and partners,” says ASM president and CEO Ron Bension.

Since joining ASM, Merchán has also overseen all strategic marketing, PR, creative services and digital efforts. He has been instrumental in the execution and implementation of the company’s strategic partnership with experience management leader Qualtrics to create an in-depth data and analytics platform for live events, offering “unprecedented” industry insights into fan sentiments, needs and habits.

“This is the thrill of a lifetime. The biggest sandbox in the world and the opportunity to engage with fans across entertainment, sports and business”

He has also actively been involved with ASM Global’s CSR’s Global Acts commitment to sustainability, community and DEI efforts.

“This is the thrill of a lifetime,” adds Merchán. “The biggest sandbox in the world and the opportunity to engage with fans across entertainment, sports and business. That’s what our marketing team gets to work in — with the most prestigious collection of venues on Earth. That means we know the rules of the game better than anyone else, and we play it better than anyone else.”

Prior to his time at ASM Global, Merchán oversaw marketing for Live Nation’s Clubs & Theatres division following a decade-long stint at Hard Rock International.

“Steve’s expertise in food and beverage, on a global-brand-scale makes him an incredibly exciting addition to the team”

In addition, ASM has bolstered its UK senior leadership team with the appointment of Stephen Cooper as VP of food & beverage. Cooper will work alongside the venue teams in the UK to develop new food and beverage solutions for all retail and premium areas.

“It is fantastic to have Steve join the ASM Global team, which continues to see exciting and fast-paced growth,” says Chris Bray, EVP of ASM Global Europe. “Steve’s expertise in food and beverage, on a global-brand-scale makes him an incredibly exciting addition to the team. Food and beverage at all of our venues is a fundamental and evolving part of the customer journey, and as it continues to adapt, grow and move with industry trends and customer behaviours. I am confident that Steve and his team will drive this critical aspect of our business forwards .”

Cooper adds: “I am thrilled to be joining ASM at this exciting time of growth and investment. The opportunity to work alongside the wonderful venue teams to help deliver inspirational, innovative, and memorable events across a diverse and expanding portfolio is a privilege. The passion for excellence in the ASM team is a culture that I have long admired, and I am excited to now be a part of it.”

 


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ASM launches Global Academy training programme

ASM Global is launching multilingual globalised training programme ASM Global Academy.

Described as an industry first, the scheme will be available to its 61,000-strong international workforce, with the aim of “elevating upskilled team members and reimagining the guest experience”.

More than 1,800 multi-language content courses will be available within the initiative, giving ASM staff the opportunity to complete self-paced learning courses designed to support their career development and enhance their knowledge.

The programme is being rolled out in the US, APAC, the UK, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

“This programme continues to reinforce our complete commitment to bringing forward-thinking technologies in every aspect of what we do”

“This tool is a real win and substantial benefit for our clients and employees,” says ASM Global president and CEO Ron Bension. “Our scale allows us to create this initiative and provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for our clients to receive a complete training program as part of our service – a one-stop training and employee education program to its clients.

“This programme continues to reinforce our complete commitment to bringing forward-thinking technologies in every aspect of what we do for our clients. It furthers our team prep, breadth of knowledge and tools to bring measurable value and delivery of remarkable guest journeys.”

Courses will focus on guest services, diversity, equity and inclusion, food safety, inclusive culture, sustainability, operations, safety and security, and leadership. A number have been specifically customised to ASM Global and created in-house by the venue giant’s training department

ASM Global Academy will utilise gamification, badges, leaderboards, quizzes and evaluations to create comprehensive e-learning experience, including a safety course created specifically for venue management and a customised online guest services programme.

“These are the types of offerings that make a company a great place to work and creates an engaged and enthusiastic workforce,” adds Shauna Elvin, ASM’s EVP, global HR.

ASM joined forces with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) earlier this year to dramatically expand the conference’s Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme.

The scheme, which was founded in 2018 and named after ILMC’s late longstanding producer, promotes and encourages the next generation of young executive talent. The expanded programme, backed by ASM Global’s corporate social responsibility platform ASM Global Acts, saw 30 young executives given a free place at this year’s ILMC.

 


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ASM Global announces Clorox hygienics partnership

ASM Global has announced a partnership with The Clorox Company to enhance health and wellness in venues across the US.

The multi-year “advanced hygienic” link-up will span ASM’s portfolio of arenas, stadiums, theatres and convention centres, with Clorox products, including disinfecting wipes, hand sanitiser and electrostatic sprayers, used to help protect fans and guests.

To honour Covid frontline responders and health care workers, Clorox will also provide $1 million in tickets to premier sports and entertainment events across the country.

ASM previously initiated a series of hygiene protocols, dubbed VenueShield, in 2020 to provide “trusted protection” for visitors in response to Covid-19.

“Clorox’s industry-leading solutions allow us to continually enhance the quality of our event experiences”

“Since the very start of the Covid pandemic, our focus has been on reimagining the future of live events and preparing clean and safe venues for the return of our team members, athletes, fans, partners and guests,” says ASM Global president Ron Bension. “Clorox’s industry-leading solutions allow us to continually enhance the quality of our event experiences, and we’re excited to partner with them in honouring the heroic workers that have supported all of us as we’ve navigated through the pandemic.”

ASM and Clorox will officially launch their partnership at the Oakland Arena in California on 1 June, prior to rolling it out to the venue giant’s other US facilities, with an eye toward expansion across a wider portfolio of worldwide venues.

“Clorox is committed to supporting people’s health and well-being no matter whether they’re at home or out in the world, which is why we are incredibly excited to be working with ASM Global,” adds Tad Kittredge, VP and general manager at Clorox. “It’s especially rewarding to extend our support to those who have been on the frontlines during the pandemic with the well-earned thanks they deserve.”

 


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ASM Global to manage Olympia London

ASM Global has been appointed to run operations at West London exhibition centre Olympia London.

The £1.3 billion redevelopment of Olympia will be completed in 2024 and includes a 4,400-cap live music venue, a 1,575-seat performing arts theatre, a school for the creative arts, restaurants, bars and eateries; two hotels and offices.

ASM will take management responsibility for the venue’s exhibitions and events business. The senior management team and all Olympia London staff will move to ASM Global under TUPE regulations.

“We are proud to partner with Olympia London, Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International on this amazing and historic venue, positioning it at the forefront of the industry for the next 100 years,” says Ron Bension, ASM Global president and CEO. “Our commitment to guest and partner satisfaction aligns with the reputation of Olympia London and we look forward to continuing to serve existing and new clients’ event schedules at Olympia London and developing the programme with other signature events.”

Olympia London joins ASM Global’s network of more than 300 venues around the world, which host 20,000 events, and welcome 165 million guests every year.

“This is a truly exciting chapter in the history of Olympia London”

Nigel Nathan, Olympia London’s MD, will now gradually transition to a new role as chairman over the coming months once ASM appoints a replacement MD to lead the day-to-day running of the Olympia London business.

“This is a truly exciting chapter in the history of Olympia London – a partnership with a global venue management company with far wider business reach and resources than we could have ever imagined,” says Nathan. “The future for Olympia London and the events we host has never been brighter as we benefit from the £1.3bn investment to create an outstanding destination for London.”

Tom Lynch, group commercial director and SVP (Europe) at ASM Global, adds: “We’re already working together on innovative plans for the venue, to add value to existing clients of Olympia London and new opportunities for London as an event destination. Olympia completes the jigsaw for our international convention and exhibition portfolio and adds an iconic new platform for our global client base.”

It was announced in 2020 that Olympia’s music venue, located above the existing west exhibition hall, will be operated by live entertainment giant AEG Presents after signing a ‘long-term agreement’ with owners Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International who acquired Olympia in 2017 for €330m.

 

 


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ASM Global to host mammoth global job fair

ASM Global has announced plans to host what is billed as the largest job fair in live entertainment history across four continents next week.

The three-day international “collaborative job fair” – ASM Global Presents: The Next Great Opportunity – will be held from 15–17 February 2022, and is aimed at helping address the global staffing shortage that has hampered the recovery of the live music business, along with other industries, since the onset of the pandemic.

The “unprecedented” event will enable venues to fill a wide range of roles from hourly to salaried levels with highly skilled and diverse candidates. Jobs include the areas of operations, business development finance, F&B, HR, sales, marketing, booking, security, guest services, audio visual tech and catering.

ASM has set out its intention to hire 1,000 employees in 100 of the world’s leading venues amid the return of live performances.

“The return to live is just what the world needs”

“The return to live is just what the world needs,” says ASM Global CEO and president Ron Bension. “There’s a thrill, an excitement, that makes this business feel communal for everyone involved. Our hope is that ASM Global Presents: The Next Great Opportunity helps ignite that excitement.”

The US, Canada and Latin America job fair is scheduled for 15-16 February, with the United Kingdom and APAC both running from 16-17 February. Interested applicants can access the service through the following links: US, UK, APAC

The list of participating stadiums, convention centres, theatres and arenas include AO Arena, Manchester, Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre, Barclays Center, New York, Buenos Aries Arena, First Direct Arena, Leeds, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, OVO Arena, Wembley, P&J Live, Aberdeen, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Te Pae Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre, New Zealand, T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, Utilita Arena, Newcastle and Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids.

 


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ASM Global appoints new chief executive

Ron Bension, the long-time president of Live Nation’s House of Blues Entertainment, has joined ASM Global as president and CEO.

“We are thrilled to have Ron join the ASM Global team. He is precisely the type of executive we seek to lead our businesses,” says Kosty Gilis, managing director of Onex, the parent company of the former SMG and co-owner, with AEG, of ASM Global. “His extensive history of managing enterprises that create superb experiences for customers and visitors will be an enormous asset to the company. In addition, his demonstrated strategic thinking and execution capabilities are a perfect fit for the next phase of ASM’s growth as we exit the pandemic.”

Prior to joining Live Nation, Bension had held CEO and president roles at companies including Tickets.com, GameWorks, MCA Recreation Group and Universal Studios Hollywood.

“We admire Ron’s long and successful track record across a number of highly respected companies”

He succeeds Bob Newman, the former AEG Facilities chief who stepped down to become chairman of the global venue operator in November.

“We admire Ron’s long and successful track record across a number of highly respected companies in the live events and leisure industries and are confident in his ability to build on the progress made under Bob Newman,” says AEG CEO Dan Beckerman. “ASM is poised for success and at AEG we are as committed and optimistic as ever about the future of the company and the industry.”

Bension comments: “I am excited to join ASM Global. The company has an unparallelled track record of success and leading capabilities. I look forward to working closely with the dedicated ASM Global team to grow the business and to build upon the company’s deep relationships with its incredible, best-in-class clients around the world.”

 


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