On Location Experiences Acquires PrimeSport

Big news today in the M&A side of sports business.  I’ll first share the details from the official press release and then add my own quick thoughts.

ON LOCATION EXPERIENCES ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF PRIMESPORT

On Location Experiences (“On Location”), a premium experiential hospitality business, today announced it has acquired PrimeSport, a leader in providing direct access to some of the biggest events in sports and entertainment. With the transaction, On Location is now comprised of over 500 employees in nine offices with a premium sales and marketing staff of over 100 people.

On Location’s portfolio of sports and entertainment partners now includes over 150 rights holders, including the National Football League, the NCAA, the PGA of America and the United States Tennis Association. Top tier sporting events include the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, the Ryder Cup, the Rose Bowl Game, Daytona 500 and the U.S. Open.

Partners in the music industry include music festivals Coachella, Bonnaroo, Desert Trip and Stagecoach. CID works with such artists as Metallica, Luke Bryan, Phish, Blake Shelton, and The Lumineers. Produced destination events include “Phish: Riviera Maya”, “Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa”, “Dead and Company: Playing in the Sand”, and “Dave & Tim Riviera Maya”.

John Collins, CEO of On Location Experiences, said:

“On Location’s stated vision is to partner with content rights holders to help them better monetize their intellectual property and expand the activation and fan experience around their big events. The PrimeSport acquisition provides scale for our premium experiential offerings and for our fast-growing organization’s capabilities and expertise.”

On Location’s operations now include:

  • Anthony Travel, the nation’s largest provider of collegiate sports travel management services
  • CID Entertainment, a hospitality leader in the live music and festival industry
  • Kreate Inc, a full service live creative concept and production firm with a focus on the customer experience
  • Nomadic Entertainment, which creates exclusive music and high-end nightlife experiences
  • PrimeSport, a leader in providing direct access to some of the biggest events in sports and entertainment
  • Steve Furgal’s International Tennis Tours, a leader in developing world-class tennis experiences for more than 40 years
  • A joint venture with Ricky Kirshner, one of the entertainment industry’s preeminent event producers

Collins concluded:

“On Location is extremely well positioned to expand our model on a global basis. With the support of our sponsors, RedBird Capital, Bruin Sports Capital, 32 Equity and now the Carlyle Group, we will continue growing our platform and expand our services that will benefit our content partners and customers.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. On Location Experiences is owned by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital, 32 Equity, the Carlyle Group and other PrimeSport investors. Paul Hastings served as legal counsel to On Location and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to PrimeSport.

My Take:

On Location continues to find ways to expand well beyond their original launch as “NFL On Location.” By acquiring these companies that all have significant roles when it comes to major sports and entertainment events, they can scale their offerings rapidly across more premium tickets, more sports, more hospitality options, more experiential events and a much bigger slice of the pie when it comes to marquee event spending, which isn’t decreasing anytime soon.

The challenge and opportunity comes in truly tying these disparate companies together to create a single cohesive experience that spans both the sales process and on-site experience. This process of course will take some time, and while each company does come with some of its own brand value, in the end I think they will be best served in creating a uniform, one-stop shop under the umbrella brand of On Location.