SBD/March 20, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wal-Mart Signs Deal With Oak View Group To Get Marketing Presence In 21 Arenas

Wal-Mart has "signed a massive deal with the Oak View Group," giving it a "major marketing presence at 21 big league arenas," according to Don Muret of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the agreement is "valued in the eight figures annually." One source said that it is worth $40M "over three years." Wal-Mart has "not historically been a big player in sports marketing." OVG officials said that the deal "stands out for its scope, reaching 70 million people a year who pass through those NBA and NHL facilities." It is the "first national sponsorship deal" led by Narrative, OVG's sales agency, since the group was formed 16 months ago. Its activation will "center on 'Walmart Community Playmakers,' a new program recognizing local residents who have given back through education, fighting hunger and sustainability, among other efforts." All 21 arenas will "host at least 15 events with in-game 'Playmakers' presentations over the course of the hockey and basketball seasons." The participating arenas are "members of the Arena Alliance, 26 buildings that pay Oak View Group an annual fee to secure events and sponsorships at their venues." OVG co-Owner and Head of Narrative Dan Griffis said that five members of the alliance -- arenas in Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, San Antonio and Toronto -- "had conflicts with sponsors holding exclusive deals." While details are "still being worked out, in most cases, Wal-Mart can use team and arena marks in its stores in the respective markets" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/20 issue).

CONFERENCE CALL: OVG recently purchased Venues Today and is in talks to buy Pollstar, and the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Hannah Karp cited sources as saying that co-Owners Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff are "primarily interested in using the magazines to break into the conference business." They "poached" Billboard Exec Dir of Content & Programming for Touring and Live Entertainment Ray Waddell late last year to "help run their own conferences and media." The "surge of interest in music’s more obscure trades comes as the concert industry continues a long boom and the recorded-music business rebounds after years of declining sales." Azoff and Leiweke "could use conferences to help Oak View Group, their venue-management company, which collects annual fees from about two dozen arenas in exchange for sponsorships, event booking and other services" (WSJ.com, 3/19).
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