Bruce Eskowitz - PollstarPro

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1 EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW CONCERT VENUE DIRECTORY DIRECTORY A For me, its a change of title CEO has been added to the title, but the job is essentially the same. I wear two distinct hats. I oversee the 153 venues that we own, operate and manage around the world, and I also oversee our Bruce Eskowitz Alliance business. That is, all of our corporate relations and spon- sorship activities, whether its LIVE NATION dealing with a sponsorship on a national or local level, from nam- N ormally, in this space Pollstar profiles a manager or staff member of a notable venue. This time, were deviating from the norm a bit to ing rights and tour sponsorships down to somebody who wants to buy a box at one of our venues. Maureen Ford was recently promoted as president of Local introduce to you someone who oversees not a single Alliances, and she oversees venue, but 153 of them. our local relationships. Russell Wallach, as president of National Alliances, obviously oversees Live Nation is primarily thought Concerts, where he served as presi- When hes not on the road, Bruce, those. They both report to me. of as the worlds largest concert dent of communications. his wife and two sons make their promoter, but it is also the second- After the sale of Pace to SFX home in Los Angeles. With 153 venues owned largest facilities manager. Only Entertainment, that company or managed by Live Nation, SMG manages more buildings was eventually acquired by Clear It seems like were always your division could stand on worldwide. Channel Entertainment where catching up with you almost its own with the top facility And Bruce Eskowitz, Live Bruce became president of national anywhere but in Los Angeles. management companies in Nations CEO of Global Venues, sales and marketing, as well as A I live in Los Angeles, but I just the world. When people think has charge over them all, from the president of CCE Properties. club level to the largest amphithe- happen to be in New York this of Live Nation, they probably Live Nation President and CEO atres in the U.S., Canada, United Michael Rapino named Bruce Presi- week. We all travel like crazy, and think of concert promotion, Kingdom and Europe. dent and CEO of Global Venues and Im definitely running around a not facility management. The job entails more than just Alliances after the company was spun lot, especially this time of year. Im A The establishment of Live making sure Live Nations buildings off from Clear Channel Entertain- hitting a ton of cities over the next Nation as a stand-alone, publicly are clean, the food is good, parking ment, and Bruce continues to beef up three weeks and going to a lot of traded company last year pro- is plentiful and their staffs are pre- his division with new appointments shows. vided us with an opportunity to pared. and new goals for his venues. I spend a lot of time visiting refocus under president and CEO For Bruce, it also means upgrad- The newest addition to Global and talking with a lot of people Michael Rapinos leadership into the people who do the work in our ing existing sheds with state-of- Venues is Live Nation Studios, a company with three distinct venues and know from personal the-art sound and video systems, headed up by Michael Abrams. The divisions, namely venues and wiring most of its venues for audio purpose of the Studios might not be experience about what were doing alliances, live concert promotion right, what were doing wrong, and video capture and distribution, quite as intuitive as it may sound: and Web site brand development. what we can do better and how and creating innovative sponsor- its not about building traditional While concert promotion is we can improve what we do. ship alliances. studios but literally transforming the engine that puts people in our You can sit in your office and Hes worked his way to the top venues into virtual ones. venues, most of our profits come learn a lot of things but you really of his field from somewhat humble Most of Live Nations venues from the venues and alliances side. need to get out there and talk to beginnings, organizing concerts are gearing up to become studios So we are keenly focused on our people. Then, you can see first- for the University of Texas. Once capable of capturing content for venues, improving the customer hand whats working and what graduated, he looked like he might CD- and DVD-quality recordings, experience in that area from top to isnt. And its still early in the year. remain in advertising until his love digital distribution and other pur- bottom and growing the division of music and the right opportunity poses fans as well as artists can use in ways that make sense. combined to bring him back to the to expand the concert experience. It appears theres been some We have a wide variety of concert industry. So, while Bruce isnt a venue recent realignment in your venues around the world, from Starting out in international manager in the traditional sense, division. Youve been named Wembley Arena in London to advertising with firms including he wears more hats than most and CEO of Global Venues and two our amphitheatre group in the Bates Worldwide and Campbell brings a hands-on ethic despite the other positions have been United States, historic theatres Mithun Esty, Bruce made the jump far-flung venues that keep him on announced. What does this like the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles, back into the concert biz at Pace the road for much of the year. mean? right down to the club level. 36 2006/2007 Edition

2 CONCERT VENUE DIRECTORY DIRECTORY EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW Live Nation is actually second the board. Weve added lower only to SMG in the number of priced beer, water, and other actual venues we manage around items at the fans requests, the world. So while people think including a $6 value-priced of us first as a live event company, meal. Weve really worked hard we are actually one of the world to be responsive to what the fans leaders in venue management. have said they want. Another thing weve done, be- Michael Rapino, first as CEO sides the venue upgrades and the of Clear Channel Entertain- improved concessions, is retained ment and now Live Nation, a company called LRA out of has often talked about putting Philadelphia. They worked with us early in the season to train some serious money into all the full-time and part-time upgrading amphitheatre people at all of our amphitheatres facilities, and making them on how to treat customers and more fan-friendly. What make sure the experience is bet- results can we expect to see? ter than ever before. A We continue to invest a signi- More than 22,000 full- and ficant amount of capital in our part-time employees have been amphitheatres year in and year trained this summer, in every- out. This year, we are making thing from how to interact with great strides in upgrading our the fans, making sure their ques- speaker systems in many of our tions are answered and getting BRUCE ESKOWITZ and other Pace/SFX execs celebrate a sold-out George Strait Country facilities around the country, them to their seats conveniently Music Festival at Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium in May 1999. L-R: Daren Libonati, so that the sound is of the highest to making sure the restrooms Louis Messina, Pat Christenson, Rob Dondero, Rossi Ralenkotter and Eskowitz. quality available for music fans. are clean. Its all the big things We continue to upgrade LED and the little things. screens for the patrons on the And finally, this summer action that occurs in our amphi- more shows in our amphitheatres lawns to enhance their experience. weve been even more aggressive theatres, especially on the lawn. this summer over last. Weve spent a tremendous at gathering customer research. Our younger customers prefer amount of money upgrading We also work very hard to be the amps because they like to As buildings age and real signage, including directional responsive to our customers attend concerts with a group of estate becomes more valuable signage and menu signage, at all feedback. We answer every single friends and the amphitheatres for housing, for instance, the amphitheatres. e-mail that we get every single provide a more attractive envi- suburban entertainment prop- We also invest sizeable dollar comment in order to be more ronment to hang out in groups. erties are being encroached amounts every year to make sure responsive to the fan. Some customers like the amps upon, including amphithe- the parking lots are paved, the because they like to sit on the lawn in fact, a significant por- atres. What do you see in buildings are in top shape and There are people who naysay tion of our overall customers say the future of some your older that theyre landscaped properly. the amphitheatre experience, they actually prefer lawn seating sheds? Beyond those kinds of arguing that fans dont want to changes, we are working closely to reserved. A Were not worried about the brave the elements, who say with our vendor Aramark, which Our research also tells us that future of the amphitheatre busi- the creature comforts dont is the concessionaire at most price is one of the most impor- ness. As the suburbs move out compare to those of an arena. tant factors in deciding whether of our venues, to make some toward some of our venues, we How do you respond to that? or not to attend a concert. We upgrades to our concessions. feel there is a great opportunity Weve worked hard with A First of all, weve done a lot of have a lot of leeway with pricing to actually increase business. them to do a number of things research over the last two years, in our amps and weve worked Over the years we have been to reduce lines for fans and make and thats not what the research hard to offer a greater variety committed to upgrading our them move more quickly. Weve tells us. Weve found that next in ticket scaling in our outdoor amps across the country. With added hawking of product in the to clubs, outdoor amphitheatres venues this summer. the upgrades weve made just venues just to reduce the lines are the preferred venue for con- We have been able to offer this year, the Shoreline Amphi- and gone to even-tier pricing, certgoers, coming in ahead of tickets as low as $10 this summer, theatre in the Bay Area is the where prices end in zero or 50 arenas overall. which has generated a huge best its ever been. Weve put new cents, to make the lines speed up. People tell us they love going response from our customers. screens in the Tweeter Center Our fan research tells us outdoors. They love going out- The artist community is more near Boston. that its important to have lower- side during the summertime, interested than ever in playing The list goes on and on, but priced items on our menus, watching a concert under the the amphitheatres. In fact, we our outdoor venues are going to which weve implemented across stars. They love the social inter- are on track to book 29 percent continue to be a very important 2006/2007 Edition 37

3 EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW CONCERT VENUE DIRECTORY DIRECTORY chunk of the business we do than Irving Plaza, the Fillmores, Michael every year. the Tower in Philadelphia or the Rapino is set- Tabernacle in Atlanta. ting forth and During the Live Nation earn- am happy to You dont have any venues yet be able to help ings call in August, Michael him execute Rapino mentioned the evalua- in the Far East. Is that a region and fulfill it. tion and even the possible in which you expect to expand? future sale of some sheds. A Weve opened offices in Hong So the back- A We are constantly evaluating Kong but we have no venues that ground in our real estate and all of our we manage in Asia yet. advertising venues. Obviously, were going Live Nation is really just doing certainly to continue to evaluate those concert promotion right now in to look at where we should add Asia, but were certainly always paved the some and well continue to looking for new opportunities way for big- look at it and fine-tune moving wherever it makes economic ger and bet- forward. sense for us. ter things in Im not going to comment Right now, our venues are possibly a dif- on specific venues, but clearly in the U.S., Europe and Canada. ferent indus- BRUCE AND NED COLLETT, Live Nations vice president of venue youll see us continue to look at operations, check out the scene at the loading docks at the try than you Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen near San Bernardino, Calif., amphitheatres, clubs and theatres To change gears for a moment, envisioned before a Family Values Tour show August 19th. to see where we can add and yourself in how did you get into the where we can grow and how to at the start. venues business? make existing venues bigger and better, whatever the case may be. A I used to produce concerts at A I think it taught me about from their mobile phones at their the University of Texas. From that brands and about marketing, seats and having it delivered to college experience, I developed how to grow brands and the them. Were seeing a trend toward my love of music I really en- importance of marketing in Some programs well decide the club and theatre level; to roll out nationwide and others joyed producing shows in Austin. that growth. business is improving there. I learned how brands were we wont, but our goal is to make Ironically, that experience A We have some tremendous taught me the advertising busi- built and that experience has sure the fan experience is the best facilities right now. The Fillmore ness and thats where I started. I proven to be invaluable over the it can be. theatres in San Francisco and worked for big national ad agen- years, especially now as we are Denver are great, historic build- cies, handling the advertising in building the Live Nation brand Speaking of SMS ordering, ings that have never been more the United States for companies from the ground up. theres a lot of talk recently popular with music fans. The like Texaco, Target and the like. more in Europe than in the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles is a I was doing a lot of the entertain- Can you cite a specific example U.S. about using telephones beautiful building. We have the ment component for many of for ticketing. of an area that youre going to Verizon Wireless in Houston, these companies. be concentrating on improving? A Were doing a major program and the Chevrolet in Hartford. I created a concert series for We have some great facilities Texaco, featuring Chicago and A Without question, food and in England with Nokia called around the United States in terms The Beach Boys, and a Target beverage is an area that we are Ticket Rush. Its a unique pro- of business. Our intent is to find back-to-school program with spending a lot of time dealing gram that promotes the mobile other ones and continue to grow David Copperfield and others. with. We believe that its ex- purchasing of tickets. With Ticket that business, which we believe So, when the opportunity tremely important. Rush, a customer can buy tickets is very important. came to enter the live entertain- Were asking the consumers on his mobile phone. Of the 153 buildings we own, ment business, it was at the right for input and testing all kinds These kind of innovations are operate or manage, 43 of them time and place and I havent of programs. Were testing sushi, very exciting to us because they are amphitheatres. So, obviously, looked back since. fresh fruit, veggie wraps, all kinds provide our customers with more the large venues are not our only I joined Pace Entertainment of programs to make sure that we choices in how to purchase tickets business. as one of the division presidents, have what the consumers want. to our events. We are interested We have a wide range of helped Pace grow and ultimately Well continue to roll out the in giving music fans increased facilities between amphitheatres, helped sell Pace to SFX and programs that people have an choice and making the process arenas, clubs, music theatres and joined SFX from there. interest in and well get rid of fun and efficient at the same time. Broadway-style theatres. We have Venue ownership and manage- the rest. We are also testing some a great club-level business. Look ment is a great business and an really innovative programs at Speaking of ticketing, at Irving Plaza. important part of what were some of our venues, such as en- Live Nation has picked up For rock n roll, youre hard building at Live Nation. Im a abling people to order food and MusicToday, which also pressed to find anything better big believer in the strategy that beverage using a text message includes the alternative 38 2006/2007 Edition

4 CONCERT VENUE DIRECTORY DIRECTORY EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW ticketing model they have Weve already wired more than it is what we strive to do, with their fan clubs. 30 of our amphitheatres and this whether it is in Europe or initiative will include theatres, America. A Clearly were excited about clubs and festivals in the U.S. and Because were a global MusicToday. Coran Capshaw has Europe. Were spending millions company we have the built an incredible organization of dollars on this process and advantage that the U.S. that provides a great service both when were finished we will be can learn from the inno- to artists and their fans. able to capture live content very vations we make in Eu- Our involvement with cost-effectively, on a vast scale. rope, such as the Nokia MusicToday enables us to have There is a real hunger out Ticket Rush, and Europe greater communication directly there for this content and were can learn from the U.S., with the music fan, which is working hard alongside the vari- as in the case of the wiring absolutely where we see the ous artists and rights-holders of our venues. future for Live Nation. to develop distribution channels This global perspective The only way you can ulti- for the live shows that we capture. and the fact that we can mately control that fan experi- Were already making huge test new things and roll ence and continue to ensure strides in this area. out the successes world- that its the best it can be is to Over the last year and a wide will hopefully have that direct relationship half weve delivered more than continue to make us with the consumer. 400 live concerts for 3G mobile the worlds leading live phones, not to mention the entertainment company. Live Nation is also currently progress weve made with our pushing to wire its amphi- Instant Live division. Youve also established theatres. Since its inception, weve sold Live Nation Studios, more than 250,000 Instant Live THE WILTERN LG is one of the crown jewels of A Were wiring 120 of our facili- and Michael Abrams Live Nations theatre venues. Bruce takes a tour CDs or digital downloads from ties around the world. From my has been appointed to of the Los Angeles landmark with GM Tina Suca. standpoint, the ability to capture more than 500 shows by 150 head that. Is that part the content and make it available artists. Instant Live has never been stronger. of the wiring program? Just this year we have consoli- for an act or rights-holder to be able to release a DVD, for 3G on A Yes it is. Michael has played dated all of our regional Web sites a cell phone, or for webcasting, It seems like a lot of these a huge role in what weve estab- into a single one at satellite radio or cable TV is innovations happen in Europe lished so far in the capture and Weve honed the focus of this site very exciting for us. distribution of live content. El- down to the essence of what we before they make it to the US. evating him to president indi- think avid music fans want most Is there a differ- cates how serious we are about to be able to search for live con- ence between certs in their area. Live Nation Studios. working with We feel very good about what In his new role, Michael will European venues continue to oversee the wiring weve been able to create in a very and fans than of our venues and the development short period of time here at Live the American of distribution channels for the Nation. We are a community of ones? Are they content we capture. He now over- people who are huge fans of live more receptive, sees our Instant Live division as entertainment. We think its a or is there an- well. great name for what were trying other reason? to do as a company. Clearly having one name and For digital distribution, would A Our company one brand is important as we fans go to the Live Nation Web culture is such that begin establishing it not only in site, the venues site, or an- the entertainment community we are encouraged other dedicated site? but with consumers. to embrace new things and new A Instant Live recordings are al- challenges, con- ready available via digital down- In his Concert Industry Consor- stantly questioning load through, and tium keynote, Michael said a lot the ways we cur- as we continue to build upon our of time, effort and thought went rently do things main Web site,, FOOD SERVICE IS ONE OF THE AREAS Bruce is concentrating into the two words: Live Nation. to try and improve which by the way has undergone on to improve the fan experience. A dining area at the them for the fu- a major investment and retooling A It did! And its a lot of what were Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen gets a personal inspection from Bruce and Alliance team member ture. This is what over the past months, digital about. You couldnt come up with Stephanie Rosen August 19th. a forward thinking downloads will certainly be avail- a better name or better description company does and able. of what we do for a living. Deborah Speer s 2006/2007 Edition 39

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