Oak View Group has announced the creation of a national Theater Alliance with an initial roster of venues in markets across North America that will benefit from collective buying power, routing of non-traditional content, sponsorship opportunities, industry best practices and resources, as well as shared proceeds from an annual fundraising gala.
The announcement was to be made at the Association for Performing Arts Professionals conference in New York this afternoon.
Named senior director of the Theater Alliance is recent Oak View Group hire Noël Mirhadi, formerly a music agent at multiple major talent agencies. She’s spearheading the Alliance alongside Joe Giordano, OVG vice president overseeing the Theater Alliance as well as the previously formed Arena and Stadium Alliances.
(Oak View Group is parent company to Pollstar and VenuesNow),
“What we’re trying to do is to meet the needs of the venues where they are and make sure that we’re creating value for the entire ecosystem here,” said OVG360 CEO Chris Granger. ”We want to serve the industry and all of its stakeholders. That means how do we best serve the venue, the artists, the fans and corporate partners in the communities in which we operate? All members are going to have access to everything, but venues are different. They do have similar challenges, but they’re gonna be different in terms of what matters most to them.”
Modeled largely after OVG’s Arena Alliance that launched in 2015, the Theater Alliance is designed to provide similar services to a sector that may not have the resources, seating capacity or staff of the typical arena or stadium-sized venue.
“It’s important to note that outside of booking, these buildings have operated kind of in a silo historically,” Giordano said. “Now we’re bringing together all the different departments, from operations, ticketing F&B, all the different things that make the wheel turn.”
Giordano was previously assistant general manager at the BOK Center in Tulsa, also an ASM Global regional booking manager and content developer overseeing more than 40 venues. He notes the Alliance’s “five pillars” – book together, buy together, sell together, think together and brand together. He says the Theater Alliance is an example of the “brand together” mantra, “Showing how high-level the network is and how the program can maximize their revenue and increase buying power.”
Theater Alliance membership is invite only, with Granger saying the annual fee is around the middle five-figure mark. He says the Alliance seeks top-class venues and organizations interested in a long-term relationship.
“We are going out proactively to those venues and operators that are the best of the best,” Granger said. “The value of the Alliance comes not just from the OVG partnership, but from the relationship with one another, right? We want you to participate with us for, let’s say, three or five years as a starting point. We want to make sure there is opportunity for you to reap the benefits of the collective and for us to learn as much as we can about your venue. A one-year relationship serves nobody.”
The Alliance venues (see below for list) range from New York properties Beacon Theatre, Theater at MSG and Radio City Music Hall and extends to other high-profile theaters such as ACL Live at Moody Theater in Austin, the Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee to the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.
“We are thrilled to be amongst the first members of Oak View Group’s Theater Alliance. OVG has proven to be an innovator in our industry,” says Pabst Theater Group Chief Operating Officer and talent buyer Matt Beringer. “With the formation of the Theater Alliance, we look forward to combining their expanded national reach and expertise with our 20 years of experience booking and operating world class independent concert venues.”
“313 Presents is proud to be an inaugural member of the OVG Theater Alliance,” added Howard Handler, president of 313 Presents in Detroit. “The Fox Theatre, Detroit’s crown jewel, is a destination for everyone within our community. This alliance provides opportunities for us to share and learn best practices from other iconic theatres around the country and to deliver even more to artists, tours and our guests.”
Mirhadi has extensive experience in the theater world, being a classically trained musician herself and for 14 years working at talent agencies representing artists largely within the performing arts realm. She says she jumped at the chance to help form the Alliance with Giordano called.
“It was an easy sell coming from Joe, a longtime colleague and friend,” said Mirhadi. “He really wanted someone who had deep knowledge and relationships in the theater space to help identify these partners to formulate not only the menu of services we’re offering but also identify which we wanted to be part of our inaugural class.” She said there are active discussions with several other potential member venues, which could be announced in the coming months.
The Theater Alliance is establishing its own philanthropic organization to raise funds to be shared among members, with proceeds going either directly to non-profit members to philanthropic partners of privately owned or for-profit members to benefit programs such as local music or art education programs.
“Many of these buildings are nonprofit in nature and are extremely expensive to run and operate, so we thought that it was important to support them at the philanthropic level as well,” Mirhadi said. In partnership with music industry’ social responsibility program Music’s Promise, the Theater Alliance Fund will be open for donations all year, Mirhadi said, with an annual benefit gala rotating cities.
Following the announcement at APAP, there will be networking opportunities for Theater Alliance members over the weekend, Mirhadi said, followed by setting up initial upcoming conference calls and consultations.
“All of that will be activated very quickly start on Friday,” Mirhadi added.
Oak View Group Theater Alliance Members
- ACL Live at Moody Theater (Austin, TX)
- AT&T Performing Arts Center (Dallas TX)
- Beacon Theatre, Theater at MSG, and Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY)
- Boch Center (Boston, MA)
- The Chicago Theatre (Chicago, IL)
- First Interstate Center (Spokane, WA)
- Fox Theatre (Detroit, MI)
- Kimmel Center (Philadelphia, PA)
- Pabst Theater Group (Milwaukee, WI)
- Paramount Theatre (Denver, CO)
- Paramount Theatre (Oakland, CA)
- Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Portland’5 Centers for the Arts (Portland, OR)
- Ryman Auditorium & Grand Ole Opry House (Nashville, TN)
- Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa, CA)
- Stifel Theatre (St. Louis, MO)
- Tulsa Performing Arts Center (Tulsa, OK)
This story has been updated.