Venues Today To Re-Boot As VenuesNow; Knapp And Muret Join

Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company) continues its mandate to revolutionize the live entertainment industry trade press with the re-invention of Venues Today, which will relaunch in Q1 of 2018 as VenuesNow

Rob Knapp and Don Muret
– Rob Knapp and Don Muret

The debut of VenuesNow is part of an overall focus and investment in OVG’s Media & Conferences division, which includes VenuesNow, Pollstar,, and the newly launched Pollstar Daily Pulse newsletter, as well as a stake in Conferences include the VenuesNow conference, with the second edition set for summer 2018; and the Pollstar Live! Conference & Awards, on tap for Feb. 6-8. Both of these events are set in Los Angeles, and OVG is currently exploring new conference concepts and partnerships in international markets for 2018. 

VenuesNow will build on the VT foundation as a print monthly with digital platforms focusing on issues, challenges and opportunities related to the rapidly-evolving sports and entertainment facilities business, providing insight on deals, trends, technology, security, touring content, team relations, operations, marketing, and sponsorships, and ancillary businesses including ticketing, food and beverage, promotions, VIP/premium, and everything else pertaining to this vibrant, robust business. Additionally, VenuesNow venue charts will be powered by Pollstar’s industry-leading box office data and information resources, tailored specifically for the venue industry as OVG continues to ramp up investment in data collection and information technology.

Venues Today founder Linda Deckard will remain part of the VenuesNow team, along with OVG Media & Conferences division President, Ray Waddell, and Executive Editor Andy Gensler.  The highly respected magazine is currently undergoing a complete re-design of sections, content, charts, graphics, and digital platforms to better provide valuable intel to venue professionals and the businesses that partner with them.

Joining the VenuesNow leadership team will be well-known facilities industry reporter Don Muret, who comes to the publication after a 15-year stint at Sports Business Journal. As Senior Editor, Facilities, Muret will lead VenuesNow’s coverage of the arena and stadium business, as well as reporting on news and trends related to festivals and other venues, touring content, sports business, branding, industry deals, and personnel changes across the spectrum of sports and entertainment. Muret will also contribute content and breaking news to Pollstar platforms.

Also coming aboard the VenuesNow team will be Rob Knapp, formerly assistant managing editor at SBJ and now Managing Editor at VenuesNow. Knapp, a seasoned journalist whose career has encompassed a wide array of media titles (including stints at the Charlotte Observer and Lexington Herald Leader), will oversee all VenuesNow content and editorial management, reporting to Gensler.

Both Muret and Knapp will remain based in Charlotte, N.C. As part of the re-organization, the former Venues Today offices in Huntington Beach, Calif., will cease operation in December as the back-end operations of VT move to Los Angeles, and some aspects of production will be consolidated with Pollstar from its home base in Fresno, Calif.

This re-structuring will unfortunately lead to staff reductions in an effort to maximize efficiencies, though some of the former VT staffers, including Deckard and senior writer Brad Weissberg, will make the transition to VenuesNow. In order to complete the redesign and ramp up VenuesNow, the final issue of Venues Today will be December 2017, with the new VenuesNow to debut in Q1 2018.

“The Facility business is changing, it’s challenging, it’s complex, it’s fascinating. We need a media platform focused on giving the industry up to date news, information and intelligence in the space,” said OVG CEO Tim Leiweke said. “We need to understand what others are doing and how it effects what we do on a daily basis. VenuesNow will be the source for those in the facility business to know everything going on in our industry. And it will cover the critical and impactful issues and topics of our industry and provide a forum for all of us to be a part of.  We want it to be irreplaceable and relevant every day. And we will expand the digital platform to complement the magazine’s in-depth coverage. And finally, if you’re in the facility business, then the conference, the digital platform and the magazine will be the key source for your information and facility to stay relevant” 

Ray Waddell, president of OVG’s Media & Conferences division, added, “I’ve known and worked with Don Muret for over 25 years and his reputation and ability to break the most important stories in our business is second to none. Rob is the type of experienced, visionary editor we need as we dive into the next phase of coverage of this fascinating and dynamic industry. Now we’re bringing their talents to VenuesNow to revolutionize coverage of the venue business.”

OVG was founded in 2015 by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff to be a positive disruption in sports and entertainment, and currently has offices in Los Angeles and New York. OVG’s business divisions include OVG Business Development, OVG Global Partnerships, OVG Media and Conferences, Prevent Advisors and the Arena Alliance.