OVG joins ASM in race to build Brisbane arena


OVG enters race for Brisbane live Image: Government of Queensland

A major international entertainment and sports company has entered the race to build one of Brisbane’s (Australia) main Olympic venues, turning what was a market-led proposal into a competitive tender process.

‘brisbane times’ stated that the US-based Oak View Group (OVG) will bid to build and operate the Brisbane Live arena, which has been earmarked for Olympic swimming in 2032, with what it says would be “minimal” investment from taxpayers.

OVG Oak View Group, LLC is an American Global Advisory, Development and Investment Company for Sports and Live Entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles, it was formed on November 16th, 2015 by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The 17,000-capacity Brisbane Live is a proposed, multipurpose entertainment and sporting arena which was originally supposed to be located above Roma Street Railway Station in the central business district (CBD) of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

‘brisbane times’ further stated that the proposed 17,000-seat Brisbane Live concert and sports arena was the brainchild of Brisbane stadiums supremo Harvey Lister, the Chairman and Chief Executive of ASM Global Asia Pacific.

Los Angeles (US)-based ASM Global is the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences. It is the global leader in venue and event strategy and management – delivering locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to achieve maximum results for venue owners.

The 2032 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXV Olympiad and also known as Brisbane 2032, will be an international multisport event scheduled to take place from July 23rd to August 8th, 2032 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

In 2015, the Queensland Government invited proposals in which the private sector sought exclusive commercial deals to deliver needed services or infrastructure.

AEG Ogden, as ASM Global was then known, entered into an exclusive early operator engagement agreement with the Queensland Government in 2018 to develop the project’s business case.

But now Oak View Group (OVG), with the backing of music booking behemoth Live Nation, has thrown its hat into the ring after the State Government committed to a competitive tender process to build and operate the venue.

OVG Executive Vice-President Brian Kabatznick said the Brisbane Live was a “natural fit” for the company, which had more than $5 billion of capital tied up in new development projects – “[It is] an amazing opportunity to build a cutting-edge venue that will attract international performers and visitors and showcase top-quality events for Queenslanders. With our consortia partners, including Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, we have the expertise, the experience and, critically, the capital to transform this precinct in Brisbane into Australia’s premier entertainment destination with minimal public funding.”

If Lister was concerned about the competition, he did not show it.

Remarked Lister, “I’m not at all surprised that people would be trying to jump on board, years down the track from when we conceived the original concept and delivered the solution to the State Government. There’s always Johnny-come-latelies who try to jump on. We’ll just continue our cooperative interface with the Queensland State Government, as we have been doing for many years.”

ASM’s venue portfolio includes Brisbane’s 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium and Entertainment Centre, Sydney’s 83,500-capacity Accor Stadium and the 30,000-capacity CommBank Stadium and the 21,000-capacity Qudos Bank Arena, and the 15,500-capacity RAC Arena and the 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium in Perth.

The Oak View Group has built or renovated several arenas and stadiums across the United States in exchange for management rights.

Recently, it announced a $200 million renovation of the 14,000-capacity Baltimore Arena in Maryland, US. In return, the City of Baltimore awarded the Oak View Group a 30-year lease.

Its investors include Live Nation and the private equity firm Silver Lake, which entered the Australian sporting market last year when it bought a 33 percent stake in the A-Leagues for $140 million.

The Deputy Premier of Queensland Steven Miles said the Queensland Government was investigating investment options for the arena – “Further development of the design and project documentation is required before a final funding decision is made by the Queensland and Australian Governments. A competitive tender process will be the best way to deliver value for money for Queenslanders and to finalize the design, project management and construction delivery phases of the arena’s development.”

Brisbane Live was originally slated to be built above the rail lines between Roma Street Station and the CBD, however the masthead revealed in July the Government was also considering the Queensland Police headquarters as an alternative site.

Miles said that the process was ongoing.

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