ASM Global & Guest Strategists Forward Associates Partner

Florence + The Machine Perform At The AO Arena
Florence + The Machine perform at AO Arena Manchester, Feb. 3, 2023. The arena is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, which Forward Associates have been instrumental in. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)

ASM Global has entered into a strategic partnership with venue strategist Forward Associates.

Described as “guest experience innovators,” in a press release from ASM Global, Forward Associates’s expertise will help enhance the experience of guests at ASM Global’s venues, and its 165 million customers around the world.

Forward Associates was founded in 2015. Today, it has offices in London, England, Milan, Italy, and Helsinki, Finland, and is in the process of opening a home office in the U.S.

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“As venues adopt an increasing focus on the guest experience, Forward Associates CEO Roy Westwood utilizes a unique and holistic approach to the guest journey and live experience, broadening the variety of venue offerings and exploring new and creative ways to elevate this for every single guest,” the press release continues.

Forward Associates looks at the guest experience from all angles relevant to the venue business: architecture, interior design, venue strategy, premium seat sales, and marketing. The company provides “a unique one-stop shop to evaluate, plan, design, execute and commercialize world-class venues across the globe.”

Current Forward Associates projects include Everton FC’s new stadium in England, where the company intends to shape “the next generation of hospitality.”

The company is also working alongside the ASM Global team at Stockholm Live, developing the future strategy for its Swedish portfolio of venues, including Avicii Arena.

Forward Associates have also been instrumental in supporting the new, transformative design at the AO Arena in Manchester, which currently undergoes a $75 million redevelopment. ASM Global projects in the U.S., where Forward Associates has been involved in, include Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Forward Associates is also credited with work on The O2, the stadiums of Tottenham Hotspur, and Aston Villa FC, as well as Koko in London, and the Brighton Dome. In all these examples, the company created what ASM Global described as “multifaceted offers that deliver real, increased commercial returns.”

ASM Global president and CEO Ron Bension commented, “As we continue to embrace cutting-edge technologies and industry disruptors on a global scale, producing renowned content through our unmatched relationships, culinary artistry, sustainability solutions and client profitability, we’re creating a new intersection that fuses these attributes together. Now we are investing in the industry’s leading innovators of guest experience, Forward Associates, who we’ll work with to bring all of this to life, looking at the guest journey, reimagining it for everyone and ensuring there is an even wider choice for the entire audience.”

Chris Bray, president of ASM Global Europe, added, “Demand for market-leading, cutting-edge guest experience is increasing at pace. Our teams are exceptional at what they do, and we need to continue to innovate in this space, always exceeding our guest expectations. Forward Associates are best in class, with a real vision for the future of live entertainment experience, and absolute expertise in their field. They provide a unique, multidisciplinary service with a proven track record of delivering exceptional concepts from start to finish. We’re delighted to enter this new partnership, which will further cement our position as market leaders in venue operations and providers of live entertainment.”

Roy Westwood said, “Whether a new build or a repositioning as part of a master-planning exercise, Forward Associates is proud to be the leader in guest experience innovation. Together with ASM Global, we have a shared vision to continually evolve in this space, with a commitment to always delivering the very best for live entertainment fans. With ASM Global’s international portfolio and reach, this is an exciting move for us; and we are very much looking forward to getting started.”

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