Rendering Courtesy of Live Nation – Project Inspire
A rendering of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s Project Inspire in South Korea.
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and Live Nation are joining forces to get talent for Project Inspire, MGE’s $5 billion entertainment resort in South Korea.
The development is slated to open in 2021 and will feature a 15,000-seat indoor arena and an outdoor performance space. The partnership will ensure that the South Korean venue will attract premier global talent.
“Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and Live Nation have been long-time partners in creating one of the most successful arena venues in the world for its size, the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut,” Mario Kontomerkos, Chief Executive Officer of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, said in a statement. “Now, we are partnering again to do the same, only this time it will be at the Inspire Super Arena at the Incheon International Airport, right in the heart of the burgeoning Northern Asia entertainment market. The move further solidifies MGE’s position as the premier global gaming and entertainment resort developer and operator.”
MGE’s Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., has been partnered with Live Nation since 2001. It came in at No. 21 on Pollstar’s 3Q Worldwide Ticket Sales Top 200 Arenas chart.
“We have been thrilled by the success of what Live Nation and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment have built together through the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville and are excited to continue this partnership through Project Inspire,” Alan Ridgeway, Live Nation’s president of International and Emerging Markets, said in a statement. “Touring throughout Northern Asia has grown significantly over the last few years, and the addition of the Inspire Super Arena can only continue to enhance that growth.”
MGE owns, develops, and/or manages integrated resorts in Connecticut, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Northern Asia, and own the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and professional lacrosse team the New England Black Wolves.
The news of this partnership comes on the heels of AEG’s announcement Sept. 30 of its partnership with Thailand’s The Mall Group, the promotion giant and venue operator’s first major investment in Southeast Asia.
Michael Rapino spoke at length at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in 2017, stating that international expansion was a major part of Live Nation’s plans moving forward.
“For 30 or 40 years, the artists couldn’t tour in South America, they couldn’t tour in Eastern Europe, they couldn’t tour in Asia. Why? Because the gatekeepers weren’t there,” Rapino said at that conference. “It was Germany, U.K., North America.”
He went on to estimate that Live Nation might have 30 percent of the global market share of the live music industry, despite dominance in North America, and that a lot of LN’s attention will be devoted to promoting and selling tickets to more international shows in new markets.
The need to expand into other markets also makes sense in light of the current trend of consolidation in tertiary markets throughout North America.
One act that has had lots of success touring internationally is Maroon 5, which was under the Live Nation umbrella with the late Jordan Feldstein’s Career Artist Management. The group last toured South Korea in 2015, when it also took in Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, and full European and North American tours.
Feldstein said of developing international markets: “Yeah, we [made] a point to try to take our artists everywhere. Even though you can spend multiple years – as Maroon 5 did – losing money or breaking even in a lot of those markets, the band really took the time and invested in spending time in a lot of places that were not easy to get to, in order to build a business around the world.
“We’ve been seeing that benefit for years and years now. It’s allowed us to not have to continually tour the U.S. over and over again. One of the biggest things when I get artists that are established with other managers is a lot of them have over-toured the U.S. A lot of that is probably due to the fact that they haven’t developed other markets and therefore have a need to tour the U.S. over and over again and have atrophied because they have over-toured the market.”