Las Vegas’ Resorts World Theatre set for opening
Resorts World Las Vegas and Concerts West/AEG Presents have unveiled new joint-venture, the Resorts World Theatre.
Designed by Scéno Plus, the multi-level, 5,000-capacity live performance venue is programmed and operated by AEG Presents/Concerts West, and will debut tonight (1 December) with the launch of Carrie Underwood’s production Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency.
Other upcoming acts will include Katy Perry, Celine Dion and Luke Bryan.
We are excited to introduce our guests to an extraordinary venue
“In collaboration with AEG, we are excited to introduce our guests to an extraordinary venue integrating world-class talent, innovative design by our partners at Scéno Plus, and cutting-edge technology,” says Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. “The Resorts World Theatre celebrates our customers by delivering on our brand promise of exceeding industry standards through luxury and high-tech multi-sensory experiences.”
The seventh performance venue in as Vegas designed by Scéno Plus, the Resorts World Theatre features the city’s largest and tallest stage to date, covering an area of 13,550sq ft, with the furthest seat only 150ft from the stage.
It also features fully configurable high-definition LED screens and an immersive audio experience through more than 200 L-Acoustics speakers, powered by L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology.
“We are appreciative of our long-standing and trusted partnership with AEG, and for the collaboration with the Resorts World Las Vegas team to design a unique space, where unrivalled entertainers such as Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, can deliver memorable performances in the unparalleled comfort of the Resorts World Theatre,” adds Olivier Berthiaume-Bergé, president and CEO of Scéno Plus.
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Live Nation unveils NFT ticket stubs
Live Nation is collaborating with artists to launch digital collectable NFT ticket stubs.
Trumpeted as an “industry-first”, Live Stubs will mirror the unique section, row, and seat of each ticket purchased and will be included with tickets on select Live Nation shows in North America, beginning with the upcoming Swedish House Mafia: Paradise Again tour.
Fans will be able to view, share, gift, trade, and resell their Live Stubs on Livenation.com, opening up new avenues for artists to engage with ticket-holders before, during and after live events. The NFTs are designed to be collector items and will not replace the digital tickets needed to physically enter the show.
Live Stubs bring back the nostalgia of collecting ticket stubs while also giving artists a new tool to deepen that relationship with their fans
“Our Live Stubs product brings back the nostalgia of collecting ticket stubs while also giving artists a new tool to deepen that relationship with their fans and we can’t wait to see what the creativity of this community dreams up as it grows,” says Michael Rapino, Live Nation president and CEO. “Special thanks to Swedish House Mafia for kicking it off for their upcoming tour.”
Minted on an eco-friendly blockchain, Live Stubs will automatically be given for free to fans who purchase a primary ticket to Live Nation-promoted shows as well as in venues powered by Ticketmaster.
Fans can share links to view their Live Stubs on social media, with more features and offerings to be announced closer to the concerts. Artists will also be able to work with the Live Nation team to integrate special experiences and rewards.
Arena Network appoints new booking director
Arena Network, the association of US arenas and large theatres, has appointed Justin Kujawa as booking director.
In his new role, Kujawa, who joins from Nederlander Concerts in Los Angeles, will focus on identifying and pursuing national and regional bookings for the association’s 40-plus member venues.
Before joining Nederland Concerts, where he booked some of the premiere concert venues in California (including the Greek Theatre, Vina Robles Amphitheater and the Forum), Jujawa worked for 17 years at Live Nation, starting his career in operations at Deer Creek Music Center in Indianapolis and working his way up to talent buyer.
“I’m looking forward to driving more content to our venues”
“My years of experience as a talent buyer in many different markets throughout the country has provided me with a unique perspective to help Arena Network’s venue members,” says Kujawa.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to build strong relationships with agents and promoters alike, and I’m looking forward to driving more content to our venues and getting to know many new markets and venue execs in the process.”
“We are thrilled to have Justin joining our team,” adds Arena Network CEO Andrew Prince. “As we all navigate this unprecedented time and venues welcome back fans, having someone with his experience and knowledge will be an incredible asset to all our members. We couldn’t be happier to have Justin with us as we continue to grow our membership and services.”
Oak View Group to merge with Spectra
Oak View Group (OVG) has announced plans to merge with Spectra, a Philadelphia-based venue management firm with arenas, stadia, theatres and convention centres across North America.
Founded in 2015 by industry veterans Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff, OVG specialises in property development and financing, sponsorship and partnerships and venue operation and security, while Spectra provides management, consultancy and hospitality services to its partner venues. The merger of the pair, terms of which were not disclosed, creates a “full-service” company with complementary specialities, according to Leiweke, the former AEG CEO who now serves in the same role at OVG.
“This merger brings together two dynamic leaders in the live events industry with complementary capabilities that will deliver a broad array of services to our clients,” says Leiweke. “OVG’s core competencies in arena development and corporate sponsorships, coupled with Spectra’s leadership in food and beverage services, will create a full-service live events company that will deliver a compelling and highly competitive set of offerings that meet our clients’ evolving needs.
“I look forward to collaborating with the talented team at Spectra and bringing together our two organisations to create something truly unique.”
“This merger brings together two dynamic leaders in the live events industry with complementary capabilities”
Dave Scott, CEO of Spectra, adds: “This is an exciting development for Spectra and an important step in our journey to provide unparallelled services to our clients along with exciting growth opportunities for our team members as part of a larger, more diverse organisation. This merger accelerates our existing strategy and will lead to significant opportunities to cross-sell food, beverage and sponsorship services across our combined client base.
“I look forward to working with Tim, Irving and the OVG team to enhance the future of live events for our valued clients.”
Following completion of the merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter of this 2021 (subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions), OVG will remain headquartered in Los Angeles and Spectra in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Spectra offers venue management, food services and hospitality, and partnerships services for 330 clients in the US and Canada, including stadia, arenas, convention centres, performing arts centres, fairgrounds and casinos, as well as Singapore Sports Hub in south-east Asia. OVG, which has six arenas under construction, including Co-op Live in Manchester, UK, recently inked a global ticketing deal with Ticketmaster.
Man dies after New York concert backflip
A man has died after falling from a balcony at a Dead and Company concert in New York last Friday.
Drinks entrepreneur Ian Crystal, 46, fell up to 50’ (15m) onto concrete after allegedly attempting a backflip during an interval at the show, held at the 42,000-capacity Citi Field stadium on 20 August.
According to local media, Brooklyn resident Crystal was found unresponsive at the scene after hitting the ground headfirst.
Crystal (pictured) , who is thought to have jumped from a second-floor concourse, was pronounced dead at arrival at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, the New York Post reports.
“Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to all the attendee’s loved ones”
A driver outside the stadium said he saw the man later identified as Crystal “flip” before falling and slamming into the ground below, the Post adds.
Harold Kaufman, a spokesperson for the New York Mets, who play at Citi Field, told CNN the following day: “We are aware of a tragic incident which sadly resulted in a fatality last night. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to all the attendee’s loved ones.”
Crystal was the CEO of Evolution Spirits, which produces Monkey Spiced Rum, and formerly worked with brands including Abolsut Vodka, Malibu Rum, and Stoli Vodka, collaborating with artists including Jay-Z, Swedish House Mafia and Ne-Yo.
UTA invests in livestreaming service Moment House
Moment House has received US$12 million in new funding from investors including UTA Ventures, the investment arm of United Talent Agency, artists Halsey and Kaytranada, and Max Cutler, founder of podcast studio Parcast and head of new content for Spotify.
The series-A funding round, led by venture-capital firm Forerunner Ventures, also includes design firm Ideo, actors Whitney Cummings and Tom Felton, artist manager William Robillard-Cole, and YouTuber and comedian Noel Miller.
LA-based Moment House, which powers ticketed livestreamed ‘Moments’ for leading musicians and entertainers, has processed more than million tickets across 168 countries since its launch in 2019. It has worked with artists including Tame Impala, KSI, Halsey, St Vincent, Kygo, Kaytranada, Brockhampton, Grouplove, Yungblud and Justin Bieber.
The new investors join existing backers including high-profile artist managers Troy Carter, Scooter Braun, Myles Shear (Kygo), Austin Rosen (Post Malone), as well as actor Jared Leto, UnitedMasters’ Steve Stoute, Patreon CEO Jack Conte and ex-TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer.
“This fundraising round allows us to execute on our ambitious product roadmap”
“We’re excited to welcome more top tech and entertainment leaders to Moment House as we continue empowering creators to deliver special live experiences to their worldwide communities digitally,” says Moment House co-founder and CEO Arjun Mehta.
“This fundraising round allows us to execute on our ambitious product roadmap, which involves deepening the consumer social experience, and on the supply side, opening up the platform so that any creator in the world can easily make a Moment.
“Everything we have done so far is just step one of a much bigger plan to help build the ‘metaverse’.”
Upcoming shows for Moment House, which recent made a string of senior hires, include Halsey, Tinashe, Michelle Branch, Louis the Child, the Tiny Meat Gang Podcast, the Small Town Murder podcast and more.
Storm Henri disrupts US concert comeback
We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert, the star-studded show held in New York’s Central Park on Saturday 21 August, became the biggest victim of Hurricane Henri, the tropical storm which battered New England and the north-eastern United States over the weekend.
The concert, first announced by the mayor of New York city, Bill de Blasio, in June, was put together by veteran label exec Clive Davis in association with Live Nation and was to have featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Paul Simon, the Killers, Jennifer Hudson, Run DMC, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J, Andrea Bocelli and more. However, the 60,000-strong crowd were asked to leave Central Park early – at around 8pm, during Barry Manilow’s set, and before Springsteen, Simon and the Killers could take the stage – as the heavens opened and lightning filled the sky.
While most tickets for the show were given free to New York residents, VIP tickets were available, priced between US$399 and $5,000, according to AP.
De Blasio acknowledged that “while it’s disappointing that tonight’s concert had to end early”, the lightning meant that authorities had no choice but to end the show early: “the safety of everyone in attendance had to come first.”
While it's disappointing that tonight's concert had to end early, the safety of everyone in attendance had to come first.
To everyone who came out tonight: thank you. Thank you for showing the world that New York City is coming back stronger than ever before.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 22, 2021
Other events were also called off after the state of New York declared a state of emergency on Saturday morning ahead of Henri (now downgraded to a tropical storm) making landfall.
Eagles’ highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden, part of the band’s Hotel California tour, on Sunday (22 August) was cancelled by the arena, as was a Jason Mraz show at Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000-cap.) in Uncasville, Connecticut, the same night.
Elsewhere in Connecticut, Kiss’s show at the 30,000-capacity Xfinity Theatre in Hartford will now take place tonight (23 August) after being postponed from Sunday due to the hurricane.
Sporting events such as the PGA Tour golf tournament, which is in New Jersey, also cancelled or postponed scheduled fixtures.
WME parent Endeavor appoints new director
Endeavor Group Holdings, the parent company of WME Entertainment, has appointed veteran technology and media executive Jackie Reses to its board of directors.
Reses is CEO of investment firm Post House Capital and previously served as executive chair of financial services company Square. Prior to joining Square in 2015, Reses was chief development officer for technology Yahoo, and also served on the board of Alibaba Group.
She started her career at Goldman Sachs and later led the US media group at private-equity firm Apax Partners for 11 years.
Reses serves on the boards of Affirm Holdings, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, TaskUs and ContextLogic, and is also chair of the Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
“I’m looking forward to partnering with Endeavor’s leadership to develop strategies that fully leverage the power of its diverse portfolio”
“We’re honoured to welcome Jackie to our board of directors,” says Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor. “Her leadership across corporate finance and enterprise technology, combined with her innate talent for driving innovation and cultivating culture, will be incredibly valuable to Endeavor as we continue charting our future as a public company.”
Reses joins a board of directors that includes Emanuel, Endeavor executive chairman Patrick Whitesell, Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban, Silver Lake managing director Stephan Evans, Uncle Nearest CEO Fawn Weaver, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former Xerox Corporation and Veon chair and CEO Ursula Burns.
“It’s great to join Endeavor’s board at this pivotal time,” adds Reses. “I’m looking forward to partnering with Endeavor’s leadership to develop strategies that fully leverage the power of its diverse portfolio and help propel its continued growth across the sports and entertainment landscape.”
Endeavor increased turnover by nearly US$500 million and paid off $600m of debt in the second financial quarter of 2021.
LA’s Staples Center reopens after 513 days
Mexican band Grupo Firme have wrapped up a ten-night arena run in the US, seven of them at Staples Center in Los Angeles, selling more than 100,000 tickets and taking the record for the most shows in a single year at the venue by a Latin act.
The banda performers kicked off their west-coast tour at the 20,000-capacity Staples Center on 30 July – exactly 513 since the last show there, on 4 March 2020 – and returned on 31 July and 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8 August.
They then played a sold-out show at Footprint Center (18,000-cap.) in Phoenix, Arizona, on 13 August; reopened Pechanga Arena (16,100-cap.) in San Diego, California, on 14 August; and concluded with another sold-out show at Mechanics Bank Arena (10,400-cap.) in Bakersfield, California, on 15 August.
The shows, Grupo Firme’s first arena concerts, were promoted by Nederlander Concerts. With the O2 in London having reopened on 10 August, both of AEG’s flagship arenas are now back up to full capacity.
Founded in Tijuana in 2013 by Eduin Cazares and Joaquín Ruiz, Grupo Firme have risen to become one of Mexico’s most popular musical exports with their viral mix of “dance-happy norteñas, ranchera and banda music”.
WME gears up for huge return to live
Powerhouse agency WME is expecting a boom period for the company as live entertainment resumes, with bookings well above where they were even in the pre-coronavirus era, CEO Ari Emanuel has said.
Speaking yesterday (16 August) during parent company Endeavor’s Q2 2021 earnings call, Emanuel, who took Endeavor public earlier this year, explained: “Our WME bookings for the second half of 2021 are double digits over where they were at the same point in 2019, the most recent non-Covid-impacted year.”
Endeavor CFO Jason Lublin said country music is “leading the way” for a rebound in live music in the US in the second half of 2021, with highlights including sold-out tours by Garth Brooks and Eric Church. “As Ari mentioned, we’re pacing ahead as relates to WME booking for the second half of the year, and we’re booking clients for dates much further into the future,” he added.
Endeavor increased revenue to US$1.1 billion in the second quarter of 2021 – up around $650 million on Q2 2020 – and expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of $765–775m for the whole year. The company paid $600m worth of outstanding debt in Q2, reducing its total debt to $5.351bn (compared to $5.872bn in Q1 2021).
In its representation unit (comprising WME, IMG and Endeavor Content) specifically, Endeavor reported revenue of $328.2m (up from $192.8m year on year) and adjusted ebitda of $61.7m (compared to $52m in Q2 2020).
“We have experienced recovery in our business happening slightly faster than we had originally anticipated”
“We have experienced recovery in our business happening slightly faster than we had originally anticipated,” Lublin continued. “And although we continue to closely monitor the delta variant, bookings, ticket sales and other indicators remain positive for the balance of the year.”
According to Emanuel, Endeavor’s strength lies in its diversity, with the business also including sports properties including Ultimate Fighting Champtionship (UFC) and corporate hospitality businesses such as On Location Experiences.
“If you want to think about the whole picture, when you look at the other companies that trade in our space – whether it be WWE, Formula 1, Live Nation – they’re all one-trick ponies,” he told analysts. “We have multiple facets, whether it be sponsorship or sports properties, representation, On Location – there are multifaceted aspects of our business, and we have gone through the pandemic, and we’re raising EBITDA, we’re raising guidance…
“I think you guys are going to learn that we’re a multifaceted business that we get to pivot back and forth from. […] The company has multiple different aspects of our business that protect us against anything in the future.”
Endeavor’s latest quarterly report can be read in full here.