Irving Azoff, Tim Leiweke Join Forces On The Oak View Group For Sports, Live Entertainment Venues
November 16, 2015 at 11:46 AM (PT)
TIM LEIWEKE and IRVING AZOFF's AZOFF MSG ENTERTAINMENT have launched a new venture, THE OAK VIEW GROUP (OVG), which they describe as "a global advisory, development and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industry," based in LOS ANGELES. OVG founder LEIWEKE will serve as the company’s CEO and AZOFF will bring his "extensive network of relationships and experience" as a board member.
Central to the formation of the new company is the “ARENA/STADIUM ALLIANCE," designed to serve a select group of leading venues that do not need or use a venue management company. The ALLIANCE will provide its members with both scale and resources to realize added value through sponsorships, untapped revenue streams, insights and access to premier sports and live entertainment content.
OVG "ALLIANCE" already includes NEWARK's PRUDENTIAL CENTER, DENVER's PHILIPS ARENA, N.Y.'s MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, L.A.'s THE FORUM and TAMPA BAY's AMALIE ARENA.
]“Having worked with IRVING for decades, we realized there was an opportunity to do something transformative in our business,” said LEIWEKE. “At the very heart of what we’re doing is a deep passion for giving the fans of sports, music and live events the very best experience possible – and we’re doing that by empowering arena and stadium owners with the resources and a level of strategic thinking never before accessible. We will create a business model that is designed to disrupt the normal course of business and one that will Buy, Sell, Book and Think together.
Added AZOFF: "TIM has a skillset and strategic approach that’s unrivaled, and under his leadership we are very confident that OAK VIEW will quickly become a powerful and positive disruptive force in our business.”
NBA Commissioner ADAM SILVER voiced his support for the venture. “I have worked with both TIM and IRVING for many years, and I strongly support their vision of bringing arena owners together to explore new ways to grow their collective businesses. This new venture has enormous potential in the sports industry and beyond, and we expect to be actively involved with them on many fronts."
LIVE NATION CEO MICHAEL RAPINO said: "Both TIM and IRVING are friends of LIVE NATION as well as personal friends. The concept of creating an economic model for both arenas and touring artists that creates new revenue streams and develops an 'anchor' type of platform for music is one we share and are very interested to explore with them and their partners."
OVG is also developing three additional areas of the company, a sponsorship/partnership division, a consulting division and a venture fund division.
OVG has named DAN GRIFFIS as its EVP to not only work across the entire business, but also to serve as the President of the sponsorship and partnership company which will operate under the name, NARRATIVE. GRIFFIS was previously at TARGET CORPORATION as a VP.
“DAN was the obvious choice to be our partner in OVG and lead NARRATIVE. First, he is a proven and creative leader in marketing and sponsorship and builds relationships the right way which is incredibly important to how we will conduct business with people,” said LEIWEKE. “He also has deep and personal ties to brands which are not commonly approached by facilities and sports teams today. We want to be very disruptive and if you look at his career over the past decade, that approach is right up DAN’s alley.”
GRIFFIS commented, “We will be relentless in our pursuit to surround ourselves with those who are passionate about the sports and entertainment industry and who want to author a new and more compelling story than is being told today. Brands will now be able to get more creative and think about arena and stadium sponsorship as a channel with both a national and global reach. This channel will be designed to complement and enhance their current media plan, as well as give brands the ability to customize traditional, digital and experiential media executions that drive engagement.”
The consulting division will offer a suite of services focused on advising sports teams, venue owners and entertainment and media properties on new stadium builds and renovations, naming rights and sales and revenue generation. OVG will continue to assist MLSE in their transition and with preparation for both the NBA ALL-STAR GAME and WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY. In addition, OVG will be advising DAVID BECKHAM’s MLS bid and the development of a privately funded stadium in MIAMI as well as advising TOWNSQUARE MEDIA on their festival and events business. The venture fund division will help seed existing and emerging assets in the sports, music and live entertainment. The initial focus will be on pairing OVG’s equity investments in facilities, content and its revenue streams and ticketing as a secondary ad social media application.
OVG has also hired three other strong industry executives. FRANCESCA BODIE comes to OVG with an impressive record of work for a number of professional sports teams and global live event companies. JASON GONELLA, a seasoned sales executive who comes to OVG directly from VAN WAGNER, has over 20 years of sales experience in premium seats and suites with a number of professional teams, AEG and PRUDENTIAL CENTER, responsible for close to $1B in suite and premium seats sales over his career; and ANDREW FEINBERG, who comes from PREMIER PARTNERSHIPS, where he was instrumental in selling sponsorships and naming rights deals across all five major sports leagues.
For more information on OVG, please visit www.OakViewGroup.com.