Oak View Group Launches New Paid Network for Theater Venues
Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group has created the entertainment industry’s first paid membership-based theater network, signing iconic venues like New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and Orange County’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts as its first clients. Led by executive director Noël Mirhadi, a longtime music agent in the performing arts and theater space, the new Theater Alliance is modeled after OVG’s Arena Alliance and Stadium Alliance and is being developed to utilize the collective strength of its members to scale up booking, routing and sponsorship sales.
The Theater Alliance will have 18 members in total representing 39 performance spaces including the Madison Square Garden-owned Beacon Theater and Chicago Theater, the ACL Live at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas; the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, the Portland’5 Centers for the Arts and Stifel Theatre in St. Louis.
Each venue is independently run, Mirhadi explains, and “will work with OVG as an extension of their team with the two main pillars being programming and sponsorship opportunities.” That includes working with OVG’s Joe Giordano, vice president overseeing the Theater Alliance and Arena & Stadium Alliance, to identify and expand booking opportunities to more member venues, as well as offer sales and development resources not always available at arts organizations.
“Theaters serve as the heartbeat of their community. I understand and appreciate this sentiment having started as a musician and having gone on to dedicate my professional life and career to music and the arts,” Mirhadi said. “I’m thrilled to have joined Oak View Group as we create and launch our new Theater Alliance, which will support these critically important institutions and help them continue to thrive. ”
Having a presence in the theater world has long been a priority for Leiweke and Chris Granger, president of OVG 360, the company’s venue services division. Besides viewing theaters as an important development platform for the company’s many arena clients, Grangers says the formation of the Theater Alliance is a major opportunity to bring together the country’s leading art institutions.
“At OVG, we not only want to support venues, artists and our corporate partners, we also want to be good stewards of the communities that we’re in,”Granger tells Billboard. “We want achieve success through the arena and stadium alliances, and now the Theater Alliance, by bringing together like-minded venues to book together, sell together, buy together, think together and brand together.”
Granger says that facilities will pay a “mid-six figures” annual contribution for their membership in the theater alliance and that members must make a multi-year commitment to the invitation-only Theater Alliance when they commit to join.
“Our goal is to not just to help our members work in concert to improve their operations and overall guest experience, but, perhaps more importantly, to creatively elevate the arts and attract a new generation of theatergoers from within their communities, because we are all better when the arts thrive,” Granger added.
OVG will announce the inaugural members of the Theater Alliance, which also include the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Boston’s Boch Center, the First Interstate Center in Spokane, Loew’s Jersey Theater, the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, the Paramount Theatre in Denver, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, during the Association for Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference opening session today.
“The demand for the Theater Alliance was certainly amplified coming out of the pandemic.” Giordano says. “Performing arts venues across the nation, which are traditionally costly to operate, all face similar challenges. The Alliance, under Noël’s outstanding leadership, is eager to continue building the network of top venues in first tier markets to help them meet and exceed their programming and budgetary goals, and bring opportunities to the table that they didn’t even know were possible.”
More information at OakViewGroup.com
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