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Super Bowl party organisers slammed for unsafe gigs

Rapper 50 Cent and DJ Steve Aoki both performed at Super Bowl parties during the weekend where there were no masks or social distancing.

The ‘In Da Club’ rapper celebrated the annual championship game of the NFL (National Football League) with a performance in an airport hangar in St Petersburg, Florida, with a crowd of maskless fans who had paid between $85 and $7,000, according to TMZ.

The concert was slammed by St Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman, who tweeted: “This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid. We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent.”

Aoki, meanwhile, played a gig at WTR Tampa Pool inside the Godfrey Waterfront Hotel, at which he shared a bottle of champagne with a few fans in the huge, maskless crowd.

The Tampa Police Department said: “Scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing. The city spent the better part of a year educating residents on precautions due to the pandemic and have recently put a mask order in place for both the entertainment and event zones to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to our great city.

“We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent”

“When the governor lifted the capacity restrictions and opened bars, we turned to the tight-knit hospitality community to reopen safe and sound but there’s a level of personal responsibility that must be followed or risk getting shut down.”

The event organiser, Michael Piper, says the concert was in a 40,000 square-foot outdoor space with sanitation stations throughout and Covid-symptom detectors at the entrance – adding, “It’s the best we can do”.

“I’m not sure what else [we could do],” said Piper. “We expanded the area. We encourage masks. We clean. We put up the machines that can help identify someone who maybe didn’t know they had it.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to US president Joe Biden, had urged Americans to watch the Super Bowl within their immediate households due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying large events could become “mini super spreader” events.

Around 25,000 people were in attendance at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the Super Bowl 2021.

 


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Endeavor confirms On Location acquisition

Endeavor has confirmed the acquisition of a majority stake in On Location Experiences, a luxury hospitality firm formerly part of the US’s National Football League (NFL).

The deal, reportedly worth US$660 million, sees Endeavor – the parent company of global booking agency WME Entertainment, among others – acquire On Location from its current owners, RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital, the Carlyle Group and 32 Equity. The NFL remains a minority shareholder through 32 Equity.

News of the acquisition was first reported last September, ahead of Endeavor’s ultimately scrapped initial public offering.

“By bringing together a leader like On Location with Endeavor’s access and reach, we can advance the way consumers and brands think about money-can’t-buy experiences,” says Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor.

“Partnering with the NFL will enable us to leverage the best-in-class executions around one of the biggest events in the world, the Super Bowl, and extend this same level of service and experiences to other sports and entertainment properties globally.”

“Together […] we can advance the way consumers and brands think about money-can’t-buy experiences”

On Location organises experiences for both corporate clients and fans around major sports and entertainment events, including the Super Bowl Music Fest, which last year featured Cardi B, Bruno Mars and Aerosmith.

“We are excited to partner with Endeavor to grow On Location Experiences globally,” comments NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“We are committed to offering NFL fans unique and first-class experiences at our events. On Location shares this commitment and delivers value for its partners and delights fans at events around the world.”

The new Endeavor-owned On Location Experiences will be led by president Paul Caine, formerly of Bloomberg, Time Inc. and Westwood One.

 


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StubHub debuts ‘practical use for AR’ with immersive view

StubHub has upgraded its virtual view feature, which allows potential ticket buyers to preview their seat in virtual reality (VR) before buying, with an AR component, in a development the company’s CTO, Matt Swann, calls “an important milestone for the industry”.

The latest version of the StubHub app uses augmented reality (AR) – the same technology that allowed Pokémon Go players to catch digital creatures in real locations – to create a virtual model of the US Bank Stadium (66,555-cap.) in Minneapolis ahead of next month’s Super Bowl LII.

Using the feature, dubbed ‘immersive view’, eventgoers can visualise both the stadium and the surrounding area by pointing their iPhone/iPad camera at an open surface, where a 3D rendering of the venue will appear.

“StubHub’s immersive view experience demonstrates a practical use case for AR within ticketing and live events”

“StubHub’s immersive view experience not only demonstrates a practical use case for AR within ticketing and live events, but also serves as an important milestone for the industry,” comments Swann. “When it comes to our users, we’re passionate about providing solutions in ticket buying and selling that offer a clear value.

“As the first ticketing player to implement this technology, we hope to further enhance the purchasing experience ahead of the biggest day in [American] football.”

 


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Nissen assets seized over $120m ticket ‘scam’

A New York judge has ordered the seizure of cash, property, shares and other assets from a ticket broker who allegedly conned investors out of US$32 million to prop up a “basic yet audacious” ticket-selling scam.

Jason Nissen and eight of his companies are accused of funnelling more than $120m through a ponzi scheme in which investors were promised “impossibly high returns” on resold tickets for events including Broadway musical Hamilton, Adele’s Adele Live 2016/2017 world tour, the Super Bowl and several other sporting events. In reality, allege prosecuting lawyers Morrison Cohen, “the ‘returns’ on the ticket sales were illusory, financed by cash infusions from new investors who were told their money would be used to purchase tickets for resale”.

The two investors who brought the lawsuit, Taly USA Holdings and SLL USA Holdings, said in the initial complaint they have been “damaged in an amount to be determined at trial, but believed to be in excess of $25m, plus interest”.

According to the complaint, Nissen confessed he had faked financial documents in order to secure investment from Taly and hide the scam from other investors. “They’re inflated numbers,” he allegedly told Taly’s Yaron Turgeman in a phone conversation. “We really had those events and really sold the tickets and they’re inflated, you know, two- to three-fold depending on how it was.”

In a court order yesterday, judge O. Peter Sherwood authorised New York sheriffs to seize five of Nissen’s bank accounts, his stocks and shares in two companies (New World Events Group and National Events of America) and two properties, both in New York, with all monies held until the conclusion of the case.

“The ‘returns’ on the ticket sales were illusory, financed by cash infusions from new investors”

In addition, Nissen is forbidden from making “any sale, assignment or transfer” or property or money “in which the defendants have an interest as will satisfy $25m” to any person other than a sheriff.

While the case continues, Sherwood says he believes the Taly and SSL “have a cause of action for a money judgment against the defendants for no less than $25m” and that “plaintiffs are likely to succeed”.

Nissen’s National Event Company (NEC) was part of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), roughly equivalent to the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA-UK) in the UK, prompting criticism from some outlets about the association’s effectiveness in policing its members.

In a response provided to TicketNews, NATB says the criticism is unfounded, suggesting it is “outlandish […] to suggest that our trade association should have known about it and taken measures about it before law enforcement did”.

NEC’s website was still up as late as yesterday, although it now shows an “under construction” page. National Event Holdings has reportedly filed for bankruptcy.

Hamilton last summer became the most expensive ticket in Broadway history after producers raised the price in response to touts taking a reported $30,000 out of every show.

 


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Post-Super Bowl, Lady Gaga announces world tour

Lady Gaga’s triumphant, drone-filled, subtly Trump-bashing comeback show at yesterday’s Super Bowl LI will be followed by a 48-date world tour.

The Joanne world tour, produced by Live Nation’s Global Touring division, kicks off at the Rogers Arena (18,630-cap.) in Vancouver on the 1 August, taking in arenas and stadia in North America and Europe – and a solitary festival date at Rock in Rio in Brazil on 15 September – and wrapping up at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena (19,911-cap.) on 14 December.

No Asian or Australasian dates have yet been announced. A full list is available on Gaga’s website.

Lady Gaga’s last headlining tour, 2014’s ArtRave: The Artpop Ball, was the seventh highest-grossing of the year. The Cheek to Cheek tour in 2015, co-headlined with Tony Bennett, failed to place in the top 100.

She was then represented in North America by WME, but switched to CAA in January 2016.

 


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