On Location Experiences broadens its entertainment offerings
Editor’s note: This story is revised from the print edition.
When the NFL’s official hospitality partner goes to the Super Bowl, it doesn’t want to be crashing parties that belong to someone else, which is what has happened in the past. On Location Experiences, the hospitality firm that was spun off by the NFL more than a year ago, has set out to own the signature events at the year’s biggest game.
|On Location is in a joint venture with the event business that produces the Super Bowl halftime show.
Each of the three companies has had significant behind-the-scenes roles in planning and executing the entertainment around the Super Bowl, not to mention other big events outside of the NFL.
By combining forces with these high-end production houses, On Location now has its hand in the biggest Super Bowl concerts and parties, the official tailgate and fan fest, the halftime show and 9,500 of the best tickets, all under the banner of an official NFL hospitality partner. On Location is owned by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital, 32 Equity (the entity that oversees the NFL’s private equity efforts) and Jon Bon Jovi.
“Outsourcing the production of these events and parties … that was the old business,” said John Collins, On Location’s chief executive. “We’re moving into a totally different world now” by buying and owning these entertainment businesses.
“We want world-class people building out world-class events at the Super Bowl, and that’s what we’ve got,” Collins added.
Kirshner’s events company produces the Super Bowl halftime and pregame shows, as well as the Tony Awards and the Democratic National Convention. After the 2008 DNC, Kirshner was assigned to produce all televised events around President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Connolly’s Kreate agency is best known for putting together the NFL’s official pregame tailgate and producing the NFL Experience. Connolly has also produced fan fests for the NHL Winter Classic, MLB events and U.S. Open tennis.
During Super Bowl LI, Kreate will manage the Texans House, a hospitality site for Houston’s hometown team to entertain its best clients and fans.
Murphy, meanwhile, founded Nomadic Entertainment earlier this year, but for years he’s been producing Super Bowl activations like DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night, Pepsi’s Super Friday Night and the Motorola Mile. Nomadic will run the three-day concert series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to Super Bowl Sunday.
Beginning with Super Bowl LI, Nomadic will build its own 60,000-square-foot, three-level modular facility called Club Nomadic that will be the site for the music fest with acts like Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. AT&T/DirecTV and Pepsi are back as two of the title sponsors.
Murphy’s team began pouring concrete over five acres of an empty lot in Houston last week, on top of which the club will be built. Because of its modular structure, Club Nomadic can be broken down, stored and used again. Murphy came up with the concept last year in San Francisco, where he discovered an abandoned warehouse in the city and turned it into a night club. The modular format gives him the flexibility to take the club to different sites and events.
Knowing that he intended to build Club Nomadic, and that On Location wanted to put on big-name concerts as well, Murphy scheduled a meeting with Collins in New York. The intent was merely logistical — to make sure their start times wouldn’t overlap. They got along so well that Collins made an offer the next day, something Murphy was not expecting.
“We’re going to be in the same business,” Murphy said. “We just connected. My mindset is to create really elevated experiences, and that fit into what they wanted to do.
“At the Super Bowl, you’ve got this hodgepodge of events. People just bounce around all over town, going from one tent to another. We saw this opportunity to create a real high-end experience.”