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LEIWEKE & AZOFF TEAM UP ON SPORTS & CONCERTS VENTURE

Tim Leiweke and Azoff MSG Entertainment have announced the launch of their new venture, the Oak View Group; which is described as “a global advisory, development and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industry. Leiweke, former AEG President/CEO and OVG’s founder, will be CEO of the L.A.-based company, and Irving Azoff will be a board member.

Central to the formation of the new company is the “Arena/Stadium Alliance.” The alliance is 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 unprecedented scale and resources to realize considerable added value through sponsorship optimization, untapped revenue streams, insights and access to premier sports and live entertainment content.

OVG is already working with a roster of iconic sports and live entertainment brands for its Arena/Stadium Alliance, including Madison Square Garden, the Forum, Prudential Center, Philips Arena 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. “

“Tim has a skill set 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,” Azoff offered.

Michael Rapino voiced his support of the venture, noting, "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."

The release also contains a quote from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: “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."

Finally, Jon Bon Jovi chimed in effusively. “I've trusted Tim Leiweke with my career both on and off the stage for the last 10 years,” he said. “When you consider his teaming up with music business legend, Irving Azoff, AND the iconic MSG brand, OVG positions itself as seasoned-veteran superstars, but this powerful NEW TEAM also possess the passion of every kid who ever had a dream to succeed…AGAIN.”

In addition to the Arena/Stadium Alliance, OVG is also developing three additional areas of the company: a sponsorship/partnership division, a consulting division and a venture-fund division.

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.

The release contains no specific mention of any involvement on the part of OVG with efforts to put an NFL team or teams into Inglewood on acreage adjacent to the Forum, or rival stadium site Carson.

OVG will assist MLSE in preparation for the NBA All-Star Game and World Cup of Hockey, while also advising Beckham’s MLS bid and the development of a privately funded stadium in Miami, as well as advising TownSquare Media on its 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 app.

OVG has named former Target VP olf Marketing Dan Griffis as its EVP, as well as President of the sponsorship and partnership company, which will operate under the name Narrative.

The company has also hired Francesca Bodie, who led a private wealth group looking to acquire an NFL team and stadium; Jason Gonella, who has over 20 years of sales experience in premium seats and suites with the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Atlanta Braves, AEG and Prudential Center; and Andrew Feinberg, who instrumental in selling sponsorships and naming rights deals across all five major sports leagues. 

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