UK cricket stadia to host concerts this summer
Cricket venues in England and Wales will become outdoor concert venues this summer as part of a new partnership between a new cricket competition, The Hundred, and the BBC’s emerging-music platform, BBC Music Introducing.
The Hundred, which kicks off in July, is a cricket tournament which aims to attract younger and more diverse crowds to cricket, its ‘100-ball’ format ensuring that each match will last less than three hours. It will feature eight men’s and women’s teams from London, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff and Hampshire.
The tie-up with BBC Music Introducing will see artists including Jerub, Lady Sanity, Oscar Welsh, the Orielles, Coach Party and Rachel K. Collier performing at their respective local cricket grounds, with the shows (along with the match) broadcast on the BBC and Sky TV.
Lady Sanity, who will perform at Edgbaston Stadium (25,000-cap.) at Birmingham Phoenix game, says: “I’m excited to finally be on a stage, especially in Birmingham. I can’t wait to perform at The Hundred and get back to live audiences.”
“It’s been far too long since we were last on stage together,” collectively add the Orielles, who will play a Manchester Originals home match at Emirates Old Trafford (26,000-cap.). “We can’t wait to hit the stage at Emirates Old Trafford and watch Manchester Originals smash it all summer.”
In addition to the live performances at matches, a local BBC Music Introducing DJ will be associated each of the eight new teams, tasked with curating a soundtrack which reflects their city and the people, artists and sportsmen and women in it. “From walk-out music to game reaction sounds, the venue DJs are in full control of the sound of their team,” explains a Hundred spokesperson.
“We are curating a real festival line-up to deliver a groundbreaking music programme”
Jess Iszatt, the DJ for London Spirit, says: “This time just over a year ago, I was already looking forward to being a part of The Hundred, but it is safe to say I am even more buzzing to be a part of a huge major event coming back this summer, like coming out of a cold dark winter hibernation. We all know that both sport and music are key in helping maintain mental and physical wellbeing, and during the pandemic both the sporting and music world have been halted.
“I can’t wait to be playing great new music that I have discovered over the past year while cheering on London Spirit.”
Sanjay Patel, The Hundred managing director, comments: “In collaboration with BBC Music Introducing, we are curating a real festival line-up to deliver a groundbreaking music programme that is integrated into a world-class sporting event, unlike anything that has been delivered before.
“Each of the acts, DJs and hosts we’ve announced embody the spirit of The Hundred in their own way and they’ll be bringing the energy all summer long. With fast-paced cricket on the pitch and live music performances off it, we’re delivering on our promise to provide entertainment for the whole family.”
Adult tickets for Hundred games start at £10, while under-16s will pay £5 and under-fives go free.
The Hundred matches and live performances announced so far are:
Fri 23 July: Birmingham Phoenix vs London Spirit, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Lady Sanity
Mon 26 July: Trent Rockets vs Northern Superchargers, Trent Bridge, Nottingham – Jerub
Weds 28 July: Manchester Originals vs Northern Superchargers, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester – The Orielles
Mon 2 Aug: Oval Invincibles vs Welsh Fire, Kia Oval, London – Oscar Welsh
Mon 16 Aug: Southern Brave vs Oval Invincibles, Ageas Bowl, Southampton – Coach Party
Weds 18 Aug: Welsh Fire vs London Spirit, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff – Rachel K Collier
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
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Oxynade by SecuTix launches sports ticketing solution
Oxynade by SecuTix, the SaaS ticketing solution, has announced a new fully digital sports ticketing platform specifically for mid-sized clubs.
The new sports solution on Oxynade’s platform is designed to serve sports organisations that might not be able to implement a dedicated ticketing service or who currently only have an online ticket registration form for collection.
The new sport-specific solution follows the success of Oxynade’s work with sports clubs, including German football club Viktoria Berlin and the Latvian professional basketball team VEF Riga.
The Oxynade platform features a new season card sales system, which will soon have an online renewal feature, allowing smaller clubs to handle their own season cards. It also has a new web point-of-sales system to ease sales on match days.
Other recent developments include a membership option to register fans and grant privileges and also allow them to transfer seats to friends or business partners. By converting sales to online channels, Oxynade by SecuTix enables clubs to collect much more fan data, essential to marketing processes and customer service.
IQ caught up with Hans Nissens, northern Europe operations lead for SecuTix, to find out more about the new online, mobile sports platform, which is designed to help mid-sized clubs manage tickets and fan engagement…
IQ: What made you decide to launch a solution specifically for sports clubs?
HN: There are several reasons why SecuTix has jumped into this market. The Covid period has made a shift to digitalisation for all sports clubs, imposed by the local government as a condition to stay open or reopen. The clubs have to register who is in their venue and where they are seated. For this, they need a good ticketing solution.
But most of the existing ticketing technologies and platforms are way too complex and too expensive for mid-size sports clubs, especially when they want to take control over their own sales (in terms of process, collecting fan data and payments). Besides some local initiatives, there are no real 100% self-service platforms in the market to give mid-size sports clubs an easy-to-use full ticketing and season card management system (including renewals).
Following the the earlier acquisition of Oxynade, SecuTix now had the possibility to create such a self-service platform on top of the existing Oxynade platform.
Is the future wholly digital, or is there still a space for paper tickets?
Undoubtedly, there is a shift towards digital tickets. Oxynade supports plain PDF tickets, PKPass mobile formats and (soon) the TIXnGO mobile wallet (a secure mobile wallet solution within the Elca/SecuTix family, but which can also be easily integrated with other external ticketing platforms).
During the analysis in preparation for this new product, we interviewed many mid-size sports clubs all over Europe. One of the main reasons why mid-size sports clubs are opting for our solution is to have less, or even no, sales at the door anymore. So it’s certainly their intention to move as much as possible ticketing towards digital.
“Most of the existing ticketing technologies and platforms are way too complex and too expensive for mid-sized sports clubs”
How are you gearing up for the return of live events, and when do you see the this happening?
We are ready for them to return. Steadily we see some activity with our customers; the hope is slowly returning.
We all hope for a vibrant summer, but we can assume it will take us until late summer/autumn before bigger things can happen. I wish it could be different.
What else has Oxynade by SecuTix been working on during lockdown? For example, do you have any other new Covid-secure technology?
The year 2020 was quite a busy year in terms of product development for Oxynade. Besides the new sports clubs project, the Oxynade platform is already widely used by marketplaces and distributors. Because of Covid, the Oxynade platform has developed further its museum possibilities with advanced time slot features.
But we launched also a full web POS (a point-of-sales system to sell – ironically – easier at the door), we have integrated PeakProtect (our in-house queuing and peak monitoring system), adopted a new range of PDA scanners for access control, upgraded our self-service seat plan creator and so on.
With all these improvements and extensions we have made our position in the market as self-service B2B ticketing system even stronger.
Anything else we should know?
We are still looking for partners who want to distribute our mid-size sports club product in their specific market. When interested, they can contact Oxynade through our web form.
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Details of UK Events Research Programme revealed
The British government has revealed details of its initial line-up of spring ‘pilot’ events intended to pave the way for the return of large, non-socially distanced audiences to UK venues from June.
As reported last month, the flagship Events Research Programme (ERP) pilot will be 15 May’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium in London, attended by 21,000 people, with events at Liverpool nightclub Circus Club (3,000 people) and three 10km (6.2mi) runs around Hatfield Park in Hertfordshire (3 x 3,000 runners + 3,000 spectators) among the newly announced dates. Additionally, IQ understands another ERP event for music may yet be announced.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the pilot programme will harvest “key scientific data and research into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen” in line with the fourth and final stage of prime minister Boris Johnson’s easing of lockdown restrictions, set to come into force from 21 June. Venues participating in the ERP will test specific settings to collect evidence and best practice, with the data informing how event venues “could operate this summer”.
The list of ERP events so far is:
- 16 April: Hot Water Comedy Club, Liverpool, 300 people (indoor seated)
- 18 April: FA Cup semi-final, Wembley Stadium, 4,000 people (outdoor seated)
- 17 April–3 May: World Snooker Championship, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, up to 1,000 people a day (indoor seated)
- 23–25 April: Luna Outdoor Cinema, Liverpool, 1,000 people (outdoor seated)
- 24–25 April: Three 10km runs, Hatfield Park, 3,000 people and up to 3,000 spectators at each event (outdoor, mass participation run)
- 25 April: EFL Cup final, Wembley Stadium, 8,000 people (outdoor, seated)
- 29 April: Business event, Liverpool, 1,000 people (indoor, seated and mixing)
- 30 April: Circus Club, Liverpool, around 3,000 people (indoor club night)
- 15 May: FA Cup final, Wembley Stadium, 21,000 people (outdoor, seated)
Researchers at the events will explore different approaches towards ventilation, social distancing and rapid testing, while “Covid-status certification” – effectively a health passport proving eventgoers are vaccinated or otherwise Covid-19-negative – will also be trialled during the programme.
The ERP will produce a report for government ministers on its findings by the end of May.
“These pilots are a real beacon of hope as we cautiously emerge from the pandemic”
UK culture minister Oliver Dowden says: “Our sports stars and great performers need us to find ways to get bums back on seats safely. This science-led pilot programme will be the springboard in getting the buzz back of live performance. We’ve supported the sports and arts with unprecedented sums, but it’s now time to make that great British summer of live events a reality.”
Adds health secretary Matt Hancock: “We are all longing to see stadiums full of sporting fans and gigs packed with music lovers, but as we continue the roll-out of our vaccination programme, we must find a way to do so safely. By piloting a range of measures to reduce transmission, we can gather vital scientific evidence to inform our plans for allowing events in the future.
“Thanks to the input of our clinicians and the best science available, we can prepare for the moment where we will be able to gather again in some of our best-loved cultural venues.”
Michael Kill of the Night Time Industries Association welcomes details of the pilots, “in particular the Circus nightclub pilot in Liverpool with Yousef [Zaher] and his team, who have been advocates of this sector for many years and will work hard to ensure we are represented”.
“It has been enormously tough for the events sector over the past year, but these pilots are a real beacon of hope as we cautiously emerge from the pandemic,” comments business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. “This programme will not only provide valuable scientific evidence, but also offer confidence to the industry so we can make the most of the Great British summer and host large-scale events in a way that’s safe for everybody.
Similar pilot events of various sizes are also taking place in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and more.
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Tap Management launches sports venture
Artist management company Tap Music has launched Tap Sports, a new business offering athlete management and branding and entertainment services to the sports industry.
Established by Ben Mawson, co-founder of Tap, whose music roster includes the likes of Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding and Dermot Kennedy, Tap Sports will focus on two main activities: offering consultancy and creative marketing services for sports clubs and sports entities, and brand and commercial management for athletes.
Initial Tap Sports clients include English football club Leeds United and Leeds/England player Kalvin Phillips, while Del Rey will record ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for an upcoming documentary on Liverpool FC’s title-winning 2020 season.
Leading the new company is managing director Zoe Prothero, formerly of Coca-Cola (where she worked with Fifa and Uefa), Fuse (FA Premier League) and Formula E, with Carl Fysh, Lottie Lander and Thom Denson handling publicity.
“I am excited to launch Tap Sports with an incredible team alongside me, who all lead their respective industries,” comments Mawson.
“There is much synergy between entertainment and sports and an often-missed opportunity to grow audiences”
“We hold the belief that there is much synergy between entertainment and sports and an often-missed opportunity to grow audiences worldwide. We want to work closely with the best agents and best players and help them build their profile and commercial value.
“We will work strategically on the brand endorsement side, rather than just transactionally, and help players become cultural icons, building brands with a reach far beyond the pitch. I’m especially excited to be working with Kalvin Phillips, an incredible player at such an exciting time in his career.”
Angus Kinnear, chief executive of Leeds United FC, adds: “Following our promotion to the Premier League we have many new and exciting opportunities to engage and grow our fanbase across the UK and internationally. We look forward to working with the team at Tap to help us deliver against these off-field ambitions.”
In addition to Tap Management and Tap Sports, Tap Music comprises a record label, digital and publishing divisions, and a specialist electronic business, launched last year.
Turkish GP shifts 40,000 tickets in six hours
In news likely to make many a concert promoter weep, the Turkish Formula 1 grand prix sold more than 40,000 tickets within six hours of Wednesday morning’s onsale, promoter Intercity has announced.
The first tickets for the race, priced at ₺30 (€3.50) per day or ₺90 (€10) for a three-day pass, were released on 16 September. Organisers are targeting an audience of 100,000 for the grand prix, which will take place on 15 November at the 220,000-capacity Istanbul Park circuit.
According to Intercity chairman Vural Ak, a socially distanced six-figure crowd can easily be accommodated with the track at less than half its capacity. “We know the capacity of this track,” he told reporters at a press conference earlier this month. “Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.
“At the moment, for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”
“About 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules”
Formula 1 is returning to Turkey for the first time since 2011 this year, with Istanbul added to the revised 2020 F1 calendar late last month.
According to PlanetF1.com, Intercity is not expecting to turn a profit for the event.
“Formula 1 normally has certain standards, and ticket prices are at a certain level,” says Ak. “However, we do not seek to gain financial advantage from this, and the government has encouraged us [to go ahead with a low ticket price].”
The first eight races of the F1 season were held without fans, with the ninth, 13 September’s Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, Italy, the first to have an audience, selling 2,880 tickets per day.
T4F sells stock-car biz to focus on music
Time for Fun (T4F Entertainment) has sold its shareholdings in Vicar Sports Promotions, the promoter of Brazil’s popular Stock Car and Stock Car Light racing series, to focus on its core live music business.
Sao Paulo-based T4F is South America’s leading live entertainment company, promoting shows and festivals and running venues in Brazil and Argentina. It has been in control of the Nascar-inspired Stock Car series since 2006.
The sale of Vicar, to Veloci Investments, is “aligned to the company’s strategic planning in order to increase its efforts to the promotion of major music festivals and live concerts, as well as family events and theatre”, according to T4F’s CFO, André Pinheiro Veloso. T4F’s festivals include Lollapalooza Brazil and Popload Festival.
The proceeds will reinforce Time for Fun’s cash position, he adds.
Similarly to other public live entertainment businesses, T4F saw its turnover decline 98% in the second quarter of 2020 as touring ground to a halt.
Venues open doors as demand for hospital beds grows
As demand for hospital beds increases across the world, arenas, stadia and conference centres shuttered by the coronavirus are being repurposed for temporary medical use.
Venue operators in countries including Spain (which has over 33,000 cases at press time), the UK (5,683 cases), Croatia (315 cases), the US (33,404 cases) and Brazil (1,629 cases) are handing over their properties to health authorities to be turned into field hospitals for patients with Covid-19.
In Madrid, Ifema, the 2.9 million m² (31.2m sqft) conference and exhibition centre, has become the largest ‘hospital’ in Spain, welcoming its first 126 patients yesterday and another 90 today (23 March).
Working alongside Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit (UME), the government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, installed 300 hospital beds in Ifema the space of 48 hours, with another 1,300 beds expected to be operational by Wednesday.
Though the Ifema hospital is meant for patients with mild symptoms, the venue is also equipped with 96 ICU (intensive care unit) posts, reports El Mundo, with the hospital site covering a total of 35,000m² (376,740sqft).
Authorities credit fangcang with a crucial role in bringing the outbreak in Wuhan under control
Ifema’s transformation is modelled on that of venues in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originally began late last year.
Wuhan’s 16 fangcang, or shelter hospitals, have been operational since early February, and include hotels, conference centres, arenas, sports stadia and other public venues in the city. According to the Wuhan municipal government, the number of beds in the city, which has a population of more than 11m, reached 30,000 later that month.
Over half of the fangcang beds are now empty, with authorities crediting the shelter hospitals with a crucial role in bringing the outbreak in Wuhan under control.
In Croatia, meanwhile, the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb is similarly being transformed into a field hospital with beds for coronavirus patients to free up space in local hospitals, as many of Brazil’s top football teams hand over their stadia while the Série A season is suspended.
Current South American champions Flamengo, who play in red and black, are among the teams giving control of their stadium (in Flamengo’s case, the famous 78,838-seat Maracanã) to health authorities.
“Let us help those who need it most”
“In this grim moment, I wanted to invite our great red and black nation to renew hope and work for better days,” club president Rodolfo Landim explains in an email to Flamengo supporters. “Let us take care of our elderly and help those who need it most.”
New York’s 1.8m sqft (170,000m²) Javits Convention Center, one of the biggest event spaces in the US, is also being turned into a 1,000-bed hospital, with construction due to begin this week – as is the ExCeL Centre in east London, with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) reportedly planning a 4,000-bed field hospital to cope with the peak of the pandemic in the UK.
Elsewhere in the UK, Welsh rugby club Scarlets says its 14,870-seat stadium, Scarlets Park (Parc y Scarlets), will become a 500-bed hospital, with nearby leisure centres also being used by NHS workers.
“Community has always been a huge part of what the Scarlets is about, and in unprecedented times like these communities stick together,” says Scarlets GM Jon Daniels. “The health service and workers are doing an incredible job in challenging circumstances and we are happy to be offering help and support in any way we can.”
Thrill One: ‘world’s largest indie action sports’ brand launches
Nitro Circus, Street League Skateboarding (SLS) and Superjacket Productions, three of the biggest names in extreme sports, have partnered to create Thrill One Sports and Entertainment, a ‘next-generation content company’ focused on producing live action-sports events.
According to Thrill One CEO Joe Carr, formerly of UFC and the World Surf League, the company “immediately becomes the world’s largest independent action sports operator and media company”, transforming “what has historically been a fragmented landscape into the biggest platform in action sports”.
Investment firms the Raine Group and Causeway Media Partners, along with commercial finance company MidCap Financial, are backing Thrill One, which will produce 30 events globally in 2020 across the three brands.
“Action sports are enjoying a renaissance right now with Olympic inclusion in 2020, the democratisation of media and the worldwide fanbase at an all-time high,” says Carr.
“Action sports are enjoying a renaissance right now”
“I look forward to working with our athletes and talented management team to drive organic growth in our existing businesses while also identifying potential M&A opportunities and complimentary IP.”
Nitro Circus, led by CEO Andy Edwards, creates live events and sports competitions across a portfolio that includes Nitro World Games, Nitro Rallycross and Nitro Circus Live. SLS, meanwhile, is the world’s leading street skateboarding competition series, and Superjacket is the film production company behind TV programmes such as Ridiculousness, The Dude Perfect Show and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory.”
“At Nitro Circus, we have the amazing opportunity to work with the best athletes, content creators and technical geniuses in the business, reaching fans worldwide,” comments Travis Pastrana, co-founder of Nitro Circus.
“Now, by teaming up with SLS and Superjacket to create this game-changing team, we can pull our resources together with the unified goal of growing the fun and progression of action sports on a global level.”
Alexandra Palace darts goes cashless with Weezevent
The World Darts Championship returns to Alexandra Palace in London this December, with all payments cashless for the first time in the event’s history thanks to a partnership with Weezevent.
All bars, food and merchandise outlets at the three-week sporting event will be using a cashless payment system powered by Weezevent. The system, which cuts out the need for cash and provides event organisers with visitor and sales data, debuted in the UK festival market at Standon Calling in 2019.
Moving on from the previous paper-based token system, the 85,000 attendees at the World Darts Championship will be able to top up in advance or on site, and make payments using souvenir NFC cards at Weezevent point-of-sale devices.
These cards can be used on repeat visits to the darts series, which runs from 13 December to 1 January, benefitting fans who attend more than once during the darts’ three-week residency at the 10,000-plus-cap. Ally Pally (pictured).
“The benefits to customers will be instantly obvious, with fewer queues at the bars and speedy transactions”
Olly Goddard, UK country manager for Weezevent, says: “Alexandra Palace is one of the most iconic venues in London and we are very much looking forward to bringing our cashless system here through our partnership with the World Darts Championship. The benefits to customers will be instantly obvious, with fewer queues at the bars and speedy transactions.
“Importantly, it will now be a much simpler process to get refunds back from the cards should there be any pre-paid amount left once the darts has finished. Previously, guests would have to send back the paper tokens; with the Weezevent system all refunds are processed online immediately after the event ends. ”
Matt Porter, chief executive of the Professional Darts Corporation, the Worlds Darts Championship organiser, adds: “ I used the Weezevent system at Standon Calling and saw how easy it was to use. Providing a cashless solution to our fans is an important step to improving their experience at the World Darts Championship. As an organisation, we are always looking at ways to improve our offering and with Weezevent we have partnered with a proven and reliable system.”
New CEO for live entertainment juggernaut Nitro Circus
Nitro Circus has announced Andy Edwards, formerly president of the sports and entertainment brand, as its new chief executive officer.
Edwards co-founded Nitro Circus’s touring arm, Nitro Circus Live, in 2009, and served as chief operating officer and board director, before becoming president two years ago. Under his presidency, the company – founded in 2003 by motorsports personality and stunt performer Travis Pastrana – has grown globally in all aspects of the business, including media production, live touring, sports competition and consumer products.
“Thinking back to where Nitro Circus started – a few crazy friends filming each other in our back yards and editing out of a garage in Utah – to now, where we have the opportunity to work with the best camera crews, editors, ramp builders, riders and logistical geniuses in the business, creating events that are seen live around the world, it’s a dream come true,” says Pastrana. “It takes a truly special type of leadership to run a company like this.
“As Nitro’s grown, Andy’s ability to keep this crazy train on the rails has been unparallelled. I’m so psyched about where we are headed and can’t wait for what’s next.”
“I am beyond excited to be leading the company into its next phase of expansion”
Nitro Circus’ touring team sold its three millionth ticket in 2018, and expects its biggest year yet in 2019: in February an outdoor stadium version of its You Got This tour launched in Australia, drawing 60,000 fans to three shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. A New Zealand is wrapping up soon, with North American and Spanish dates kicking off in May and June, respectively. More tours worldwide are planned for Mexico, South America, south-east Asia and China.
The company also recently announced its first festival, partnering with Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE) and Chris Cole to create Gnarlytown: Bikes, Boards & Bands, a celebration of action sports and punk rock in southern California on 22 June, and more festival projects are in the pipeline.
“We have worked very hard over the years to create a unique brand that straddles entertainment and sport, always pushing the limits of what is possible and delivering incredible content across our live shows, events and movies to a hugely passionate and diverse body of fans around the globe,” says Edwards. “The company has never been better placed to capitalise on this, and I am beyond excited to be leading it into this next phase of expansion.”