The next threat will not come from the ground, explained the Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke. His new security group Prevent Advisors is preparing arenas for a new anti-terrorism challenge — the use of drones by bad actors seeking to do harm.
“Anyone can buy one, anyone can figure out how to put something bad in that drone, and anyone could fly it over a stadium, an arena, an entertainment district, a festival site,” Leiweke said Thursday during the second day of the Billboard Touring Conference in Beverly Hills during a Q&A with Billboard Senior Editor Jem Aswad that touched on everything from his days with AEG owner Phil Anschutz to working with legendary rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
“He’s aging better,” Leiweke said of Bon Jovi, whose newest album “This House is Not For Sale” was the number one album on Billboard this week, in part due to an aggressive bundling strategy with concert tickets. “They sold 35 million tickets. If you sat down and thought about that, that’s 2,800 concerts. They played in 50 countries. They were really the first one to go over to the Soviet Union and have a live, sanctioned concert. As they mentioned last night (during the Billboard Touring Awards), they really believe their best days are ahead of them.”
Speaking of AEG, Leiweke said “I have nothing but respect for them and if you look at the 20 years of work, that partnership between Mr. Anschutz and myself worked well.” He called Coachella and Stagecoach founder Paul Tollett “a genius. He’s an institution. He’s a name that people talk about.”
On the secondary market, Leiweke told Aswad “I don’t dislike StubHub. I admire StubHub. I admire the brand that they’ve become and the technology that they’ve created,” later adding, “the issue is that the artist should ultimately be at the table and deserves a large portion of the upside of that money.”
Part of the clawback will come from artists and how they activate new sponsorship deals, Leiweke said.
“I think that we have an opportunity for a large artist to be in a position to generate several million dollars more in revenue,” he said, explaining a plan to build high-end premium club spaces at the member venues in his 22-facility Arena Alliance.
“The buildings will help implement it. The buildings will sell it. The buildings will make sure that you don’t have to go load up couches and curtains for people to take on the road in order to do premium seating with this concept,” he said. “The rooms are there. The staffing is there. The database is there. When we work together with Live Nation and with the artist and with the venue, we actually have found an idea that is capable of generating another $25 million worth of new revenue for everyone. There’s an enormous amount of money out there for us to generate.”
One way to generate revenue, Leiweke explained, is to route around playoff dates for the basketball and hockey tenant teams at the Arena Alliance venues.
“We should do the same thing with our concert business as they do with the sports business, which is, take an artist and say he’s going to be here on one of these three dates depending on the playoffs. We’ll let you know as soon as schedules get locked in if our team’s in the playoffs,” Leiweke said. “You begin to design tours so that they have flexibility. If Cleveland is in the Finals and we lose a day on a Saturday night, we could move that artist over to Columbus or we could move that artist over to Pittsburgh and be able to announce the date a week out, and be able to put all of those people in those seats into that date.”
Besides shaking up security, developing a new sponsorship platform and disrupting the way tours are routed, Leiweke explained that he wants to shake up the conference and trade media space to bring more of the big players in sports and music together.
“We shouldn’t have a music conference anymore. We shouldn’t have a facility conference anymore,” Leiweke said. “We should have an entertainment and facility conference because that’s the investment that they made. That’s how they see the world. They consolidate all of this into one balance sheet at the end of the day,” he said.
Leiweke said OVG will be a positive force for disruption in the entertainment industry and is not looking to put anyone out of business.
“We are not promoters, we are not managers, and we are not agents,” he said. “We come in peace. Our job is to create new content. We think we are going to bump content in our buildings by at least two or three shows minimum this year. I think that will continue to grow as we fight hard to make sure that we get every tour that we can go through our arenas and be a part of our industry.”