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Oak View Group: ‘We’re coming to London’

Oak View Group’s chief executive revealed plans to build “the greatest arena in the world” in London, during yesterday’s ILMC.

Tim Leiweke told delegates that the venue giant will plant its flag in England’s capital city, which he called “the greatest market in the world for music”.

“London has the O2 and Wembley – it needs another great arena,” he said during the Hotseat interview, accompanied by his daughter and the company’s COO, Francesca Bodie.

“The west side of London needs a new arena and the city can handle two or three arenas,” he continued. “If you look at LA, they have the Intuit Dome, The Forum, Crypto, Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theatre and Honda Center down in Anaheim. So technically, you have six buildings in the marketplace. And by the way, we have the new Acrisure Arena down in Palm Springs. So, look at the competition in that marketplace.

“London needs an arena as good or better than OVG’s Co-op Live or Intuit Dome or the Sphere or Madison Square Garden. London’s the greatest market in the world for music, period, end of story. Why don’t we build the greatest arena in the world for London?”

The CEO shared his admiration for Jim Dolan, CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which opened the 20,000-capacity Sphere in Las Vegas in September 2023 with U2’s residency.

“London has the O2 and Wembley – it needs another great arena”

“I’m inspired by what he did,” said Leiweke. “I have so much respect for Jim taking that kind of risk and so much respect for U2 stepping onto that stage – it took guts to carry that belief.”

Leiweke revealed that OVG, which owns and operates more than 300 venues worldwide, has also set its sights on Singapore.

The firm’s portfolio includes Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas and the Co-op Live development in Manchester, UK.

Discussing Co-op Live, Leiweke said: “It’s the largest single investment in the history of our industry internationally. It’s the most expensive arena ever built outside of North America.”

The venue, which is due to open in April, will be the world’s second carbon-neutral arena after the firm’s Climate Pledge Arena, with UBS Arena slated to follow.

Leiweke added: “Climate Pledge can’t be the only carbon-neutral arena in the world or else [the industry] has failed. We as an industry should lead this charge… sustainability should be the cause of our lifetime in our industry.”

Lieweke said that Co-op Live will be the firm’s “prototype” going forward

“We as a company are going to continue to build these arenas and make sustainability a priority and a way of life in our culture and then hopefully, it will inspire our industry to come along with us.”

Bodie agreed, adding: “Sustainability is part of our core DNA and we want to make sure that we’re not only championing but challenging our industry to get better”.

Lieweke said that Co-op Live will be the firm’s “prototype” going forward when they’re building venues in Vienna, São Paulo and Singapore.

“It’s my favourite building,” he said. “I’ve had the great privilege of being a part of building 20 arenas and this is the best arena I’ve ever seen.

“The way we’ve designed our nine private clubs is economically what will drive our ability to privatise this building. We didn’t take one pound from anybody, not the city, not the UK authorities, we didn’t accept any subsidies of any kind. We’ve committed close to 50 million pounds back to the community, to you, to music, to ultimately impacting our community through the Co-op foundation over the course of our lease. It’s going to revolutionise our businesses.”

The two executives also discussed the importance of the recently announced arena in Lagos, Nigeria, and the challenges of operating in an underdeveloped market.

“I predict 12 more arenas are gonna get built by us or somebody else in Africa because we’ll show people that it works”

“We’ve identified Africa, from a content perspective, as an important strategic investment because they have so many great artists but nowhere to play,” said Bodie.

“The key was local partners, who made us aware of this healthy dose of scepticism because there’s been a lot of promises that haven’t been fulfilled.”

Leiweke added: “We could sit here for a half hour and tell you the obstacles that we had to go through. We’re fortunate that the chairman is so well respected there that he’s been trying to get our money into Nigeria, which is really hard. Trying to get our money out of Nigeria, nearly impossible. Dealing with inflation is unbelievable right now, as is the cost of goods. It is a risky move, by the way. Live Nation jumped in with us as well because what we do understand is that it’s a huge opportunity to grow music and Africa and Nigeria.

“I predict 12 more arenas are gonna get built by us or somebody else in Africa because we’ll show people that it works and when it does work, it can be a pride point of that entire community. Wait to see what it does for emerging artists that are coming out of Nigeria. It’s going to change and give them a platform and a voice.”

 


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Leiweke & Bodie set for ILMC Hot Seat interview

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has announced that Oak View Group’s (OVG) Tim Leiweke and Francesca Bodie will appear at the conference for this year’s Hot Seat interview.

The first-of-its kind keynote conversation with the father and daughter team will provide the finale to ILMC’s Wednesday (28 February) conference programme at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel.

Weeks from doors opening at the new Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, OVG CEO Leiweke and COO Bodie will give their thoughts on the future of live entertainment, and ponder how venue operators and the broader business can keep pace in this fast-changing, golden era of live.

With just two weeks until the live music industry’s principal annual gathering begins, the line up of guest speakers is now largely in place. ILMC’s opening session, The Open Forum session, chaired by CAA’s Maria May, will feature Niamh Byrne of Eleven Management (UK) and Live Nation Spain chair Pino Sagliocco, plus ASM Global Europe’s Chris Bray and DEAG’s Peter Schwenkow.

After a recent UK government report found that misogyny is “endemic” in the music industry, ILMC will be hosting a discussion on Thursday 29 February to consider the response from the live sector. Misogyny in Music: Report & Action will be chaired by Eunice Obianagha of ENSPIRE Management/UK Music with guests speakers Jen Smith from the CIISA (Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority), John Shortell from Musicians’ Union, Christina Hazboun from PRS Foundation/Keychange and the Royal Albert Hall’s Louise Halliday.

Other speakers include Cindy Castillo (Mad Cool), Jan Quiel (Wacken) and Jess Philips (Untitled), who will join Jim King (AEG Presents) and Annika Hintz for Festival Forum: Headline Topics, while Wacken co-founder Thomas Jensen is the latest addition to The Heat Is On: Extreme Weather & Live Music, alongside Jamal Chalabi (A Greener Future), Prof Richard Betts MBE (The Met Office), May Ling (Chugg Entertainment) and Alexandra von Samson of Dekra.

In addition, Matías Lóizaga of PopArt Music (AR), Bradlee Banbury of CAA (UK), Heather Lowe of Fred Perry (Global) and Nillie Münir of Virgin Media O2 (UK) are added to Sponsorship: The Brand Space.

And Rense van Kessel of Friendly Fires (NL) and Coralie Berael of Be At Venues (BE) complete the lineup for Teamwork: Culture & Careers In Live Music, joining the previously announced Jana Watkins of Live Nation (UK), Obi Asika of United Talent Agency (UK) and Sönke Schal of Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion (DE).

This year’s Breakfast Meeting keynote conversation sees AEG’s Jay Marciano sit down with longtime host Ed Bicknell, on Thursday 29 Feb.

ILMC takes place from 27 February-1 March with 1,500 delegates travelling from 53 markets this year. The full conference programme is on the ILMC website here.

 


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Next generation: 2024’s new wave of arenas

On the heels the launch of the revolutionary $2.3 billion Las Vegas Sphere last year, the concert business is braced for a fresh wave of game-changing arenas in 2024.

A joint venture between Oak View Group (OVG) and City Football Group (CFG), Manchester’s long-awaited Co-op Live is scheduled to open in April. The 23,500-cap development will become the UK’s largest arena when it launches at Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium.

Confirmed shows so far include Olivia Rodrigo, Take That, Liam Gallagher, The Killers, Eric Clapton, Jonas Brothers, Nicki Minaj, Noah Kahan, Pet Shop Boys, Barry Manilow, Niall Horan and Slipknot. Several of the acts will perform multi-night runs.

“The idea and the mission is to be the biggest and best arena in Europe, and secondly, to bring more global talent to Manchester – that is ultimately the focus,” general manager Gary Roden told IQ last October. “Our model is based on bringing in international and UK artists to Manchester and sit there for longer. Manchester has now got seven Take That [shows] and London’s only got six, and that’s a massive step forward for us.”

Co-op Live will go head-to-head with ASM Global’s long-established 21,000-cap AO Arena in Manchester, but Roden insisted the goal was to “grow the overall pie” for live music in the city.

“We decided on Manchester on the basis that it is the UK’s second biggest music market by a significant distance after London,” he says. “And if you’re looking to build a new facility, then London’s got two [arenas], Birmingham’s got two, etc. I also think that people up north in general just love live music, and we see that in the stats. So I think there’s definitely room for us in Manchester.”

“There’ll be a defined next generation of artists and venues coming to the marketplace that has never been seen before”

OVG is also partnering with Live Nation and GL events to build Arena São Paulo, which is projected to open this year. OVG’s Brian Kabatznick has tipped the 20,000-cap venue to be “the greatest arena in Latin America,” and prove transformative for the region.

“Routing in Latin America today skews more toward festivals and stadiums because there’s a football stadium in every market, whereas arenas are limited. But with São Paulo coming on stream, and GL Events managing the Jeunesse Arena in Rio, you’ll see that there’ll be a defined next generation of artists and venues coming to the marketplace that has never been seen before,” he said.

Also slated for completion is the 18,000-cap Intuit Dome in Inglewood, California, US, which will house NBA side the LA Clippers from the 2024-25 season.

Other developments include South Korea’s 20,000-cap CJ LiveCity Arena, which is being built as part of AEG and CJ LiveCity Corporation’s new K-pop-focused entertainment complex in Goyang City, Seoul. It will also includes an outdoor performance space capable of accommodating 40,000 people.

And Hong Kong will welcome Kai Tak Sports Park, which will feature a 50,000-capacity stadium and 10,000-capacity indoor arena, with retractable seating. Operated by ASM Global, the venue will predominantly hosting sporting events.

“ASM Global will bring world-class sports and entertainment events and deliver an outstanding experience to fans and clients alike,” said ASM’s executive director Darren Burden. “The renders of the venues provide a tantalising glimpse as to what that experience will look and feel like and we can’t wait to start delivering events.”

 


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Oak View Group appoints new COO

Venue management giant Oak View Group (OVG) has appointed Francesca Bodie to the newly established position of chief operating officer (COO).

Bodie’s role will increase from capital development, mergers, and acquisitions to a focus on new revenue streams including overseeing all day-to-day operations for OVG globally, as well as leading OVG’s executive committee. She previously served as OVG’s president of business development.

The move comes as OVG announces a major strategic investment in Family Entertainment Holdings (FEH), as well as Navarro’s activations in partnership with Christian Navarro following OVG’s April 2023 announcement of the venture. Bodie served as the architect of both deals that bring “new premium entertainment offerings to OVG venues and partner venues globally”.

“I am honoured to lead and work alongside my exceptional team members that have worked tirelessly and passionately since OVG’s inception,” says Bodie. “Together, we’ve steadily developed Oak View Group into a world-class brand that resonates with fans, artists, and venue and sports professionals. With today’s announcement, we are continuing our focus on elevating all guests’ experiences through premium offerings and content at all OVG venues and those of our partners as well.

“I’m proud to be a part of a company that is passionate about continually raising industry standards”

“I’m proud to be a part of a company that is passionate about continually raising industry standards and exceeding guest expectations to reshape the live entertainment experience.”

OVG is adding touring family content with the investment in FEH, developer of family-oriented live events including toys-to-life shows of Mattel’s Hot Wheels Monster Trucks, Magic of Lights.

In addition to her ongoing responsibility for capital investment strategy and mergers and acquisitions, Bodie will lead the company in building processes across human resources, finance, legal, and marketing to fuel the continued growth of OVG. Based in Denver, Bodie will report to Tim Leiweke, chair and CEO of Oak View Group.

Prior to her new role, Bodie oversaw multiple global projects for OVG and the expansion of the company’s brand, and its venues, and creating growth in third-party partnerships by leveraging industry relationships and identifying new business opportunities globally.  She played an instrumental role in leading key service company acquisitions and raising $12-billion-plus of invested capital for OVG’s multiple venues that have opened over the last 18 months, including the $1-billion-plus makeover for the redevelopment of Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena.

“OVG is the only company in history to build and open seven brand-new state-of-the-art venues within 18 months”

She has also spearheaded new arena ventures deployed in areas such as New York’s $1.5 billion UBS Arena, home to the NHL’s New York Islanders; the $375 million Moody Center for the Texas Longhorns at the University of Texas in Austin; the $280 million Mullett Arena in Tempe, AZ; the $365 million Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA; Acrisure Arena in Greater Palm Springs, home to the AHL’s affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, the Western Conference Champion Coachella Valley Firebirds; the $200 million CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore.

“2023 was a pivotal year for Oak View Group across its service business and owned and operated portfolio,” adds Leiweke. “OVG is the only company in history to build and open seven brand-new state-of-the-art venues within 18 months, and Francesca contributed greatly to that growth and success. As we look to the future, we’re honored to have Francesca as OVG’s first COO to nurture and mature our current businesses and spearhead our next phase of growth in 2024 and beyond.”

Presently, Bodie, who is Leiweke’s daughter, is leading upcoming OVG development projects including the new $10 billion arena and live entertainment district in Las Vegas; a new arena in São Paulo, BZ; renovation of the FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, ON; and the $365 million Co-op Live in Manchester, UK, which will be the UK’s largest indoor and most state-of-the-art entertainment venue, and Europe’s first carbon net zero building when it opens in April 2024.

 


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OVG ‘very disappointed’ at Vienna arena veto

Oak View Group (OVG) has expressed its disappointment after an Austrian court revoked the decision to award it the contract to build and run a new “world-class” arena in Vienna.

OVG was identified as the ‘best bidder’ in July this year, with construction on the 20,000-cap venue scheduled to begin in 2025, aiming for completion in late 2029.

The €384 million arena was to be largely financed by OVG, with the City of Vienna contributing an amount in the “double-digit million range” according to the final offer.

However, Kurier reports the tender process is now back to square one after the award was “declared void for formal reasons” by Vienna Regional Court, following an objection by rival bidder CTS Eventim.

“Of course we are very disappointed with the result,” says OVG CEO Tim Leiweke, as per Die Presse. “This beautiful city has always been the jewel in Europe’s cultural landscape, but it had no arena to match it.

“We are pleased that the court assessed our offer in such a way that we meet all the tender requirements and also require the least amount of effort for taxpayers.”

“Should we decide to go ahead and continue the procedure, we remain confident that we will be able to overcome the court’s objections”

Jessica Koravos, president of OVG International, adds the company is now considering its options.

“Together with our partners in Vienna , the Oak View Group will now analyse the procedure and decide on the next steps,” she says. “Should we decide to go ahead and continue the procedure, we remain confident that we will be able to overcome the court’s objections and our project of a bespoke, contemporary venue with the latest technology will ultimately prevail.”

The opening of the arena was originally planned for 2024, but the City of Vienna began looking for a partner due to the expected high costs.

The Vienna arena was to have marked OVG’s ninth arena project in the last two years. The developer oversees the operations of Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY, and Moody Center in Austin, TX as well as arena development projects for Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, CA and Co-op Live in Manchester, UK.

Its other projects include Arena São Paulo in São Paulo, BZ; CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD; FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, ON; a new arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV; and a new arena in Cardiff, Wales.

Last week, it was announced that Climate Pledge Arena had become the first arena in the world to achieve International Living Future Institute’s Zero Carbon Certification. The certification is awarded to buildings that are energy efficient, can demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon footprint and offset the remaining embodied carbon and energy use through high-impact offset programmes.

 


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Oak View Group names Ade Patton as CFO

Oak View Group (OVG) has appointed Ade Patton as chief financial officer, where he will direct and oversee the global financial and accounting activities of the firm.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Patton will report to OVG chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke. He assumes his new role effective immediately.

“I’m pleased that Ade will be joining OVG as our new chief financial officer,” says Leiweke. “Ade is a seasoned financial executive who has helped lead world-class companies, and I look forward to having him on our team to help guide OVG’s continued strategic and sustainable growth at scale.”

“Ade is a seasoned financial executive who has helped lead world-class companies”

Patton adds: “I am both proud and excited to join Oak View Group at this moment. We truly have an opportunity to transform the sports, live entertainment, and hospitality industries globally, and I am eager to join the world-class management team that Tim and Irving Azoff have assembled.”

Patton most recently as chief financial officer of HBO Max/Global DTC at WarnerBros Discovery and previously in investment management roles at Millennium Management LLC and Citadel LLC.

He earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

 


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OVG’s Tim Leiweke predicts arena development boom

Oak View Group (OVG) chief Tim Leiweke says he has no plans to take the company public while predicting the next 20 years will see the greatest number of arena developments “in the history of the business”.

OVG, which was founded in 2015 by former AEG CEO Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, oversees the operations of new venues such as Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas, and Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California, as well as the Co-op Live development in Manchester, UK.

In a recent appearance on The Bob Leftsetz Podcast, Leiweke said the purpose of the Silver Lake-backed firm was to “think outside the box and be a positive disruption to the live industry”.

“OVG is a private company. I’m proud of that.” he said. “I hope we never go public. I don’t want to go public. My intention is never to sell the company. We have certain guiding principles and core values as a company. One of them is we don’t want to be public and don’t have any intention of ever being public. It’s not a quick spin. My daughter is one of the key executives here. She’s hopefully going to inherit this company and run it.

“My executive committee’s average age is in their 40s, so we’re built to be long term. We’re built to be private. We’re built to be generational – and that’s what we intend on doing.”

“There are billions and billions of people on the planet, but there are only probably 250 arenas that I would consider to be A-class, and even fewer stadiums”

Other OVG projects include Arena São Paulo in Brazil; CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; a new arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV, and a new arena in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Pointing out that OVG had built the only seven new arenas to have opened in the last couple of years, Leiweke was critical of the existing standard of venues worldwide.

“There are billions and billions of people on the planet, but there are only probably 250 arenas that I would consider to be A-class, and even fewer stadiums,” said Leiweke. “Most of them aren’t very good. Most of them are very old. There are hundreds of arenas that are driving our industry as we know it today, but there are not very many arenas like we have in North America and the rest of the world.

“It is pretty shocking, but therein lies the opportunity, which is we’re going to see a huge explosion and a huge opportunity to build these world class arenas, and take what we’ve learned here… and be able to take that with us everywhere we go in the world.”

Leiweke went on to speak glowingly about MSG Entertainment’s Las Vegas Sphere project, which is set to open on 29 September with U2’s residency, U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere.

“If you don’t think the industry is changing, then go look at what Jim Dolan’s building with Sphere, because it’s revolutionary. It’s masterful,” he said. “I don’t know how heck he came up with all of this [and I’m] not sure how the hell you pay for it. But what I know is he’s going to change our industry forever. And the minute that opens up in September we will never be the same.”

“If you look at how quickly it’s changing because of technology… we’re in a revolutionary moment in time”

He continued: “We spent $1.1 billion on Climate Pledge, Jim’s spending billions of dollars on the sphere. Steve Ballmer’s spending billions of dollars on the Intuit [Dome in Inglewood, California]. And if you look at how quickly it’s changing because of technology, and you look at how quickly it’s changing because of the customer experience – just things like engineering and acoustics and LED – we’re in a revolutionary moment in time.

“Even though there’s thousands of arenas, there’s very few new arenas outside of North America, and yet the demand has never been greater,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see the greatest amount of development of arenas in the history of the industry in these next 20 years.”

Last week it was revealed that OVG had won the contract to manage Chicago’s McCormick Place and Tulsa’s BOK Center, taking over from ASM Global, but Leiweke played down the rivalry between the two venue giants.

“I always remind our folks, stay focused on us,” he said. “We’re the greatest asset we have and we’re our own worst enemies. So stay focused on us. We’re going to be great, not because ASM is bad. We’re going to be great because OVG is going to excel.

“We bid on 33 accounts here in the last roughly six months. We won 30 of the bids. We don’t pay attention to the other guys. We stay focused on us. Our success is not because of their failure. We can both succeed and we both will succeed.”

“We hopefully are going to get an arena on the west side of London one day”

OVG has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Philadelphia and Toronto. Speaking about the company’s international ambitions, Leiweke revealed he had recently returned from a trip to Riyadh, predicting the Saudi Arabian capital would be “the centre of the universe” by 2030.

“I am shocked at the trillions and trillions of dollars they are putting into that country and rebuilding that country as quick as they are,” he said. “By 2030, Riyadh is going to be the centre of the universe… The arenas they’re building there, they’re off the charts. I’ve never seen anything like it. Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Dubai – that whole world there is just amazing and it’s the centre of the universe.

“Let’s not forget they are right next to India, which is one of the fastest growing most important countries in the world. They’re right near Africa, and Africa is going to be a really critical part of the world and a part of our society that we need to pay attention to. Think of what Nigeria is doing to music today and the artists that are emerging and dominating our music from places like Lagos, so we’re going to build an arena in Lagos because that’s the future.”

He added: “We spend a lot of time in the UK – we hopefully are going to get an arena on the west side of London one day. We’re working on another project in Bristol, so we’re excited about that. We just won the bid in Vienna… We’re excited about Sao Paulo. You cannot ignore Brazil and the growth of that country. We’re trying to bid in Singapore because we we understand that part of the world is growing as well, so the majority of our growth is international.”

 


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Tim Leiweke talks OVG’s international focus

Oak View Group (OVG) chief Tim Leiweke has given an insight into the sports and entertainment giant’s global plans in a wide-ranging new interview.

OVG, which has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Philadelphia and Toronto, boasts a US venue portfolio including Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas.

The firm also has international developments in the works such as a 20,000-cap arena in São Paulo, Brazil with Live Nation and Co-op Live in Manchester, UK. And speaking to Billboard, Leiweke suggests it is set to further widen its horizons.

“The majority of projects we’re working on are overseas,” he says. “Latin music and K-pop are the biggest industry influencers now. We are also highly focused on Singapore and Asia; Lagos, because look at the artists coming from Nigeria. That’s where you’ve got to go for live music and culture and arts. We have a partner from Nigeria to build the single best arena in all of Africa.”

Leiweke confidently predicts Manchester’s 23,500-cap Co-op Live, now scheduled to open in April 2024, will become a “top five arena in the world”.

“It’s the first time we said, ‘Make it about music – make the bowl perfect – and then we’ll shoehorn in whatever else is important outside the bowl,'” he says. “I think that arena is going to change our industry.”

The company is also exploring opportunities elsewhere in Europe, he reveals.

“We want to go to the great cultural markets of the world where they have arenas that are 30, 40 years old and make those the next flags for the company”

“We’re sniffing around in Barcelona and Madrid,” says Leiweke. “We want to go to the great cultural markets of the world where they have arenas that are 30, 40 years old and make those the next flags for the company.”

Leiweke credits streaming services for their role in changing the game for international acts, pointing to the success of Mexico’s Grupo Firme and Puerto Rico’s Rauw Alejandro.

“The amount of tickets that Latino artists sell is unheard of,” he says. “The same with K-pop. We just did four nights of K-pop including Suga, and UBS [Arena] sold out everything. We had record merchandise sales. We’re going to continue to see that, and I give a lot of credit to the streaming industry. That’s going to be the live pipeline. So, maybe the economics ultimately got kind of turned a little bit against the artist, but it’s created far more artists that can now go sell out arenas.”

Leiweke also offers an update on OVG’s plans for a $3 billion entertainment district in Las Vegas, including a 20,000-seat arena.

“The biggest bet we’ve ever made is our project in Las Vegas,” he says. “It’s the live entertainment capital of the world. But let’s look at the venues. There must be 10 nice theatres on the Strip. You need good arenas, too. T-Mobile was my last deal at AEG. It’s a nice arena, but it pales in comparison to what we just built in Seattle, New York and Austin. How do you have the No.1 live-entertainment marketplace in the world and its arena is not one of the 30 nicest arenas in the country?

“You’ll hear about this soon, but we have a lot of world-class partners, brands and entrepreneurs who have come together to build out a 100-acre campus that will be the destination for live entertainment, culture, the arts and hospitality.”

 


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Music industry heavyweights star at Pollstar Live!

Nearly 2,000 music industry professionals descended upon Los Angeles for the 2023 edition of Pollstar Live!

The three-day conference, which climaxes today at the Beverly Hilton, was hailed as the biggest in the event’s history by Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Pollstar‘s parent company Oak View Group (OVG).

In his opening address, Leiweke spoke of his pride at OVG’s multi-billion dollar investment in new venues, and noted it is opening its seventh building in the middle of a pandemic.

“Music is the future of our company, music is the future of this industry,” he said.

Ahead of the gathering’s standout Ticketing Real Talk panel, Leiweke also alluded to the US Senate’s investigation into the market, sparked by the controversy around the onsale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

“I think it is amazing to me that the politicians can take an issue like this and jump on it with such a lack of understanding about our business,” he said. “What they truly don’t get is that if you look at what the major issue we’re facing today with these big tours is demand, which is a wonderful thing that this many people want to go to your concerts, want to go to your venues, want to come join our industry to be a part of it.”

“The biggest issue now is that demand exceeds supply for many artists”

The subsequent panel was moderated by another business titan, Irving Azoff, and featured Madison Square Garden’s James Dolan, former attorney general for the US DoJ’s antitrust division Makan Delrahim, and best-selling artist Garth Brooks.

“The biggest issue now is that demand exceeds supply for many artists,” said Azoff. “Simple economics. More people want to see Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Adele, than there are tickets for sale. Unfortunately, that means they satisfy every fan that wants to see them.

“For instance, when Adele played Madison Square Garden, four million Adele fans logged on to buy 100,000 or so tickets. With some pretty simple math there, you arrive at over three million disappointed people. There’s not a congressional hearing in the world that fixes that reality. Demand exceeds supply. There is nothing that Ticketmaster, the building or the promoter can do to fix that.”

Meanwhile, winners at last night’s Pollstar Awards included Harry Styles (Major Tour of the Year), Austin City Limits (Festival of the Year: over 30k), Glastonbury (International Music Festival of the Year), Bridgestone Arena, Nashville (Arena of the Year), The O2, London (International Venue of the Year) and Josephine Vaccarello, Madison Square Garden (Venue Executive of the Year).

The victors also included Amy Corbin, C3 Presents (Talent Buyer of the Year), Louis Messina, Messina Touring Group (Bill Graham Award — Promoter of the Year), Arthur Fogel, Live Nation (International Promoter of the Year), Adam Kornfeld, Artist Group International (Bobby Brooks Award — Agent of the Year), Emma Banks, CAA (International Booking Agent of the Year) and CAA (Booking Agency of the Year).

 


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Oak View Group launches OVG Canada

Global sports and entertainment company Oak View Group has announced the launch of OVG Canada.

The new division will offer strategic services in venue development and management, booking and content development, sponsorship brand consulting and third-party partnership sales.

Led by president Tom Pistore, the leadership team also includes SVP of partnerships & brand consulting Josh Epstein and SVP of partnerships & revenue Zach Feldman.

“You cannot develop, operate, or sell Canadian facilities or assets from the US, and therefore it’s critical for us to be a part of Canada,” says Oak View Group chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke. “We want to create the best sports and facility sales organisation in Canada. Very few companies in our industry have the infrastructure that we have now in Canada and the US to serve our Canadian clients, giving OVG the competitive edge to deliver best in class results.”

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities”

Pistore was most recently president of UBS Arena, while Epstein led Bank of Montreal’s North American sponsorship strategy and Feldman was previously SVP of partnerships & revenue at the Premier Lacrosse League.

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities to the Canadian market,” adds Pistore. “After an exciting journey launching UBS Arena in New York, I could not be more excited to launch OVG Canada alongside a best-in-class leadership team that will deliver incredible results for our present and future partners.”

Oak View Group made its first foray into Canada last year via a partnership with Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) on the redevelopment of the downtown arts and entertainment district in Hamilton, Ontario.

The link-up served as the launching point for the Canadian office and will include the renovation of the 19,000-cap FirstOntario Centre, which will be privately funded with more than CA$50 million. Construction is anticipated to begin in the autumn.

In addition to Leiweke, OVG Canada will be supported by an executive team, including OVG co-founder Irving Azoff, OVG360 co-chair Peter Luukko, OVG business development president Francesca Bodie and OVG360 and Arena Alliance president Chris Granger, who also oversees all venue and hospitality operations in Canada.

“We are committed to putting capital to work in Canadian live entertainment facilities as we’ve done elsewhere around the world and are thrilled for our project in Hamilton to come to life,” says Bodie. “We look forward to expanding and growing the OVG platform with additional owned-and-operated facilities across Canada.”

 


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