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Silver Lake, Roc Nation invest in merch company Fanatics

Sports merchandise company Fanatics has raised US$325 million from investors including Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation, a joint venture with Live Nation, and private-equity company Silver Lake Partners, which owns shares in TEG, WME, Oak View Group and Madison Square Garden Company.

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and with international offices in Tokyo and Manchester, UK, e-commerce giant Fanatics sells officially licensed products for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, Nascar and more, and also operates several bricks-and-mortar shops.

The new funding will be put towards launching a non-merchandising division focusing on ticketing, gaming, media and sports betting, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company recently launched a company focusing on NFTs (non-fungible tokens), Candy Digital, and also has a partnership with leading esports competition Overwatch League.

The new investment values the company at more than $18 billion, the WSJ reports. The company expects to make $3.4bn in revenues in 2021.

Last week, the company hired Dan Goldberg, formerly of Warner Music Group, as senior vice-president for music and entertainment development, signalling its intention to branch out beyond sports apparel into music merchandise.

 


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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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Denmark’s restart team submits recommendations

Denmark’s ‘restart team’ has submitted a catalogue of recommendations on the reopening of the cultural and sports sectors to the ministry of culture for government approval.

The ten-person team, which was assembled by the government in autumn 2020, has met with more than 80 key stakeholders across the two sectors to determine how the government should allocate the 50 million DKK it previously earmarked for the restart.

The restart team has made the following recommendations for the government:

“It is crucial that we get as much momentum as possible in culture and sports under the conditions we live in right now”

The team has also made a number of recommendations that require a longer-term effort and/or funding that is outside the allocated 50m DKK.

The team – which includes Esben Marcher (Dansk Live), Signe Lopdrup (Roskilde Festival Group) and Sara Indrio (Danish Artist Association) from the music sector – has outlined the financial loss event organisers have experienced due to the pandemic, and the risks that lie ahead with the reopening.

The team has recommended the following solutions:

• Compensation schemes and other support that must ensure that organisers in culture and sports can receive financial coverage for losses during a reopening.
• Risk capital, possibly in the form of a loss guarantee or government-backed insurance for organisers in case they are forced to cancel their events.
• Ongoing compensation for those who have to wait longer to open.

Joy Mogensen, Denmark’s minister for culture, says: “It is crucial that we get as much momentum as possible in culture and sports under the conditions we live in right now.”

Dansk Live’s Marcher says: “We have gone for broad, embracing proposals that can benefit all actors, which of course means that recommendations are not necessarily directly aimed at live organisers. However, I think it is positive that the SAFE project on testing quick tests is included in recommendations, just as it is positive that there is a focus on pushing for innovation in culture and sports.”

Roskilde Festival Group’s Lopdrup, who is deputy chairman of the restart team, says: “Cultural and sports life has been hit hard by closure and restrictions. In our work, we have encountered a sector that, on the one hand, fights hard for survival and, on the other hand, does everything possible to come up with proposals for solutions and the development of formats that can pave the way for those cultures and sports experiences we all lack so much.

“Our recommendations certainly do not solve all the challenges, but I hope they can help inspire and open up new opportunities for the players and thus pave the way for the reopening of cultural and sports life, so we can meet about the community-creating experiences again.”

 


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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.

Other music companies with sporting divisions include CAA (CAA Sports), Endeavor (IMG), Paradigm Talent Agency and Crockford Management (Coda Independent Sports) and UTA (Klutch/UTA Sports).

 


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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.

 


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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.

 


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ILMC speaker spotlight: Christoph Scholz, Semmel Concerts

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) is now less than a month away and, as more and more chairs and panellists are announced, IQ catches up with some key speakers to hear what they hope to get out of this year’s conference.

First up is Christoph Scholz of SC Exhibitions, a division of German promoter Semmel Concerts and the company behind Los Angeles conference the Experience Economy Meeting (TEEM) – formerly the Touring Exhibitions Meeting.

Scholz will appear alongside Kilimanjaro Live’s Lucy Levitt to co-chair ILMC’s Touring Entertainment: Game For a Show panel – which this year moves to a bigger room to satisfy demand – to discuss why family shows, touring exhibitions and other kinds of immersive, alternative content are piquing the interest of promoters and fans alike.

Joining the chairs are Harlem Globetrotters’ Arnold Bernard, Secret Cinema’s Amy Farrant, Hartshorn-Hook Enterprises/Immersive Everywhere’s Brian Hook, Nicolás Renna from Proactiv and Alex Homfray of Alex Homfray Cultural Destinations.

 


IQ: What do you expect to be the main talking points at your panel?

CS: My co-chair, Lucy Levitt, and I are expecting some exciting guests this year. We will ask Arnold Bernard from Harlem Globetrotters how they have managed to keep such an iconic sports entertainment troupe relevant for so many years.

Amy Farrant, the marketing director of [immersive cinema experience specialist] Secret Cinema, is also joining the panel. Secret Cinema has just signed a deal with Disney and is expanding globally – this will deliver us plenty of talking points. Brian Hook from [theatre experience company] Immersive Everywhere also be there to will tell us everything about the forthcoming Doctor Who Experience in London.

“Our aim is to explore the key developments across touring exhibitions, pop culture and family shows”

You’ve moved up to a bigger room for 2020. How do you expect the session to compare to previous years?

We are hosting a special double-panel event this spring, which provides a great opportunity for our colleagues in the experience and live entertainment fields.

The first will be at ILMC on 5 March in London. Then, on the first weekend of May, we will also have a panel at The Experience Economy Meeting (TEEM) in Los Angeles. The second panel will pick up on the themes discussed in London, creating a fantastic intercontinental partnership of ILMC in London and TEEM Los Angeles.

Our aim with both panels is to explore the key developments and brightest new spectacles across touring exhibitions, pop culture and family shows.

“Touring exhibitions are benefiting from globalisation much in the same way as live touring is”

What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing coming through in the family/touring/alternative entertainment world?

Looking at the classic staples in this non-traditional touring sector – which includes everything that is not rock, pop or another musical genre – touring exhibitions, family shows and events such as comic conventions are benefiting from globalisation much in the same way as live touring is.

There are more venues, more markets opening up and more opportunities. I am personally fascinated by the likes of The Haus of Gaga in Las Vegas or The Zone: Britney Spears in Los Angeles.

Are we seeing new forms of fan worlds here?

To find out the answer to this question and more, come along to ILMC’s Touring Entertainment panel at 5 p.m. on Thursday 5 March.

 


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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 RidiculousnessThe 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.”

 


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Blink Identity wins Manchester City FC pilot

Blink Identity is to deploy its facial-recognition technology in a pilot programme for Manchester City FC, after winning the recent City Startup Challenge in Manchester, UK.

The five-day competition, organised by City Football Group, the Abu Dhabi-based holding company that owns the English Premier League champions, saw Texas-based Blink impress club bosses with its biometric security solution, which can identify people’s faces at full walking speed.

Over the coming weeks, Blink Identity will work with City Football Group on their VIP and Academy access solutions, in order to improve “both the overall experience and guest security”, says the company.

“We’re thrilled to have been chosen to work with the City Football Group, integrating our facial-recognition-at-walking-speed solution into their elite programming,” comments Mary Haskett, CEO and co-founder of Blink Identity.

“Our state-of-the-art biometric technology … will improve dwell times, overall and specific security issues”

“Our state-of-the-art biometric technology has high throughput rates and accuracy, which, combined with our ‘privacy first’ policy, will improve dwell times, overall and specific security issues, and also back and front of the house operations for this prestigious organisation.”

Blink Identity last year summer received US$1.5 million in seed funding from Sinai Ventures and Live Nation, with the latter’s CEO, Michael Rapino, describing how Blink’s tech could be used to “associate your digital ticket with your image”.

The technology made its public debut at the KNOW 2019 conference in Las Vegas in March, with guests entering the event by simply walking past Blink’s sensor.

 


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