The events company was given the green light by the Competition Commission to take over the management of the London venue earlier this week (2 September). If concluded, AEG will run the venue with owner Quintain Estates and Development in a 15-year deal alongside other venues in the city such as the O2 Arena and the Hammersmith Apollo.
AEG said the tie-up would allow for “more shows” to come to London offering potential partners a wider platform to tap into the global multibillion-pound live music industry. It is planning to replicate the same strategy that has transformed the O2 Arena into a customer engagement channel for brands, which will see it try and secure partnerships to develop experiential activity around the venue. It would be the first time the arena has had a roster of sponsors.
The company already works with Nissan to host a innovation centre for its LEAF electric car brand at the North Greenwich venue where visitors can also attend a Sky Sports News hub to get a behind-the-scenes look at the broadcaster’s operations.
The company is also planning to revamp the naming rights package so that any potential partner would need to include the “Wembley Arena” in the title. The rights are currently owned by Barclaycard, which will have first refusal on renewing the deal before it is offered to other bidders. Additionally, AEG is planning to generate real-time marketing opportunities for sponsors by rolling out high-density wi-fi networks across all its venues, which could see Wembley Arena attendees offered exclusive content during gigs. Football clubs Manchester City, Liverpool FC and Rangers have already started implementing similar networks to offset declining match day revenues.
The company is hoping the venture can help restore perceptions around the iconic stadium, which has waned in recent years due to emergence of the O2. The company insists the two venues can exist side-by-side without cannibalising sales by managing how it books “sell-out’ shows and those that are smaller moving forward.
Paul Samuels, executive vice president of global partnerships at AEG told Marketing Week, the experiential push would allow brands to capitalise on the increased footfall to the arena following the opening of a shopping complex later this year.
He adds: “ We’re in the process of evaluating the commercial opportunities around Wembley Arena so that we can bring it to life in the same way the O2 has done. We’d like to take the sponsors that we have [at other venues] we own such as Nissan and Sky to new venues to that we can create a more joined-up experience for fans.
“When the retail complex is finished we’ll look at ways we can translate that into dwell time for our partners. We’re not going to try and ambush existing sponsorship activity around the other venues but we do have a responsibility to help generate the maximum engagement opportunities for our partners.”