Oak View Group, the venue and events services company led by industry veterans Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff, has acquired Pollstar, the long-running publication covering the concert and ticketing industries.
Under the agreement, the firm will take over Pollstar’s weekly print publication, Pollstar.com, Pollstar Pro and the Pollstar Live conference.
Los Angeles-based Oak View also owns Venues Today, the publication’s main competitor in the live-entertainment field, as well as VenuesNow and SportTechie.
According to a release, Oak View “will leverage its sponsorship division and Arena Alliance to generate advertising sales efficiencies across each publication and conference.”
“Pollstar has represented the voice of record for the live music and ticketing industries for over three decades and bringing them into the OVG family is a true honour for all of us,” said Leiweke, the former AEG chief executive.
“Working hand-in-hand with Pollstar’s leadership team, we’ll look to greatly optimise the reach of its print, digital and conference assets.”
Azoff, head of Azoff MSG Entertainment, said: “Pollstar has served our industry as a trusted and invaluable resource during an era where music and ticketing have evolved dramatically.”
Pollstar’s long serving editor-in-chief Gary Bongiovanni and chief executive Gary Smith are remaining with the company, and will play key roles in its day-to-day operations.
“We’re so proud of our team and everything we’ve accomplished over the years, and are looking forward to our next chapter with OVG,” said Bongiovanni.
Smith added: “Joining OVG gives us an opportunity to take Pollstar to an entirely new level and realise the brand’s full potential as the benchmark for our industry.”
Oak View last year announced the launch of its Arena Alliance, a group of major North American venues that will work together to exchange ideas about improving the experience of ticket-holders and spectators. Initial charter members include Chase Center (San Francisco), The Forum (Los Angeles), Madison Square Garden (New York) and Philips Arena (Atlanta).
Since news of the Pollstar deal broke yesterday, some within the industry have suggested a potential conflict of interest between the impartial industry news platform and the new owners’ position in the concert business.
Speaking to the New York Post, one music touring executive called the deal “astounding,” raising concerns that Pollstar’s new owners could press the publication into one-sided coverage.
“How can anybody think there is credibility from this publication?” the executive said.