From Tigers to Steely Dan, Ilitch and 313 Presents to hold events at six venues on the same day
The 15,000-seat Pine Knob Musical Theater and the Detroit Red Wings are both owned by Palace Sports & Entertainment and share several sponsors, such as United Wholesale Mortgage. 313 gifts
If all goes well on Saturday, June 18, Howard Handler will start his day by heading to the Pine Knob Music Theater, owned by Palace Sports & Entertainment, about 40 miles northwest of his place in the city, which will host a concert of Steely Dan that night. . Levy, the venue concessionaire, will begin serving breakfast for the crew at 8:00 a.m.
Then it’s a 15-mile trip on I-75 to the Meadow Brook Amphitheater on the University of Oakland campus, where the Flogging Molly crew will begin charging at 10 a.m.
It will continue southwest another 17 miles to the Michigan Lottery Amphitheater, where Lee Brice’s “Label Me Proud Tour 2022” team has been unloading for a few hours already.
As he returns downtown to Little Caesars Arena (where VIP check-in for the Maverick City Music and Kirk Franklin “Kingdom Tour” begins at 3:45 p.m.) and the Fox Theater (where comedian Leanne Morgan will perform), he go tune in to the Rangers-Tigers game which starts at Comerica Park from 4:10. This marks the 26th edition of the Negro Leagues Tribute Game, which always draws large crowds.
“And if the timing works out and I feel really crazy, I’ll go back to Pine Knob, because I’m a huge Steely Dan fan,” Handler said.
Three hundred miles.
Six different entertainment venues.
Handler, a Detroit native, is the president of 313 Presents, the joint venture between Ilitch Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons, which manages entertainment operations for Ilitch-owned Comerica Park, the Fox Theater and Little Caesars Arena, as well as the area’s Meadow Brook Amphitheater, Michigan Lottery Amphitheater and Pine Knob Musical Theater.
On Saturday evening, the six sites under his responsibility will simultaneously host a live event, a first for the company.
Irish punk band Flogging Molly will perform at the 7,700-seat Meadow Brook Amphitheater on the campus of Oakland University.313 gifts
Handler joined the company in 2017 after a career that included serving as senior vice president of marketing at Viacom, where he led promotion for MTV; senior vice president of marketing and fan development at the NFL; MLS CMO for six years; five years as CMO for Virgin Mobile and five years as Chief Brand Officer at Quaker Oats.
Handler will oversee approximately 3,000 people working on the events, excluding anyone who accompanies the tours, such as stagehands and promoters.
“On our side, for each show, there is a core of 10 people (one for production; booking; accounting; marketing; communications; security; ticketing; customer relations; parking; and concessions) who are the leaders. They are dedicated to the event from the second it is booked. So the Steely Dan show, for example, has been booked since 2019 and has had a team on our side ever since. We work with the tour to create a specific computer-aided design for each show.
Handler says the most critical part comes when the word “DOORS” is communicated to all staff: Amphitheaters open 90 minutes before a show, all three indoor venues open an hour before.
“It’s the big adrenaline rush.”
By the end of the weekend – Josh Groban is performing at Pine Knob on Friday and there’s a Tigers game and a jazz concert on Sunday – the band will have held 36 events in 19 days, including 200,000 potential fans this weekend , if each event is a sale. At a time when staffing shortages continue to plague the industry, 313 Presents is in a strong position because 75% of its staff are company employees, and only a quarter are under contract, according to Mike Hartnett, vice -President of site security for Ilitch S&E. .
Hartnett will oversee a security staff of approximately 500 on Saturday from the company’s main command post embedded inside the baseball stadium/arena/Fox Theater footprint.
The biggest difference in hosting multiple events at once, he said, is the “increased volume of communication.”
Hartnett spent 21 years with the FBI, most recently as head of the Crisis Management Unit in Quantico, Virginia. He received his Juris Doctor from Boston College and practiced corporate, bankruptcy and litigation law for 12 years for a Boston law firm prior to his career at the FBI. .
The 313 Presents event production team will arrive at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at 4 a.m. Saturday to begin preparing for Live Nation’s Lee Brice “Label Me Proud Tour 2022” show.313 gifts
Chris McGowan, President and CEO of Ilitch S&E, will spend 3-4 innings at the ballpark, then head to the arena and theater. He joined the company in January after nine years as President/CEO of the Portland Trail Blazers (in 2018 he was named to the additional role of CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment, including the Seattle Seahawks). He also spent 16 years at AEG and played a key role in opening Crypto.com Arena.
Like Hartnett, he said he’s not worried about not having enough manpower, as data shows room staff have a very low no-show/call-in rate.
“But coming from the arena world, I spend a lot more time watching the weather than ever!” he said.
Levy manages food and beverage concessions as well as backstage catering at Pine Knob Music Theater, Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre, Meadow Brook Amphitheater and Fox Theater. Delaware North has these ballpark and arena responsibilities.
This staff arrives as early as 5 am to prepare breakfast for specific visits to all sites on the same day. Their main objective is to serve and satisfy the various artists/bands/tours/crews three meals a day.
On the fan side, the two dealers expect their combined sales – excluding the Tigers game – to include around 21,000 beers, 6,500 hard seltzers, 4,000 pretzels and 2,000 hot dogs.
And having six sites under one umbrella allows brands to activate multiple assets that they can activate with. For example, in addition to Comerica Park’s naming rights since the ballpark’s inception, Comerica is also a partner of the Fox Theater and is the title sponsor of the 20th Annual Negro League Weekend. United Wholesale Mortgage is a partner of Red Wings and Pine Knob Music Theatre.