Keith Urban to Undergo Throat Surgery
Keith Urban to Undergo Throat Surgery

Keith Urban has inked an integrated sponsorship deal with AT&T and Samsung for his upcoming "Get Closer" 2011 World Tour, it was announced today. The agreement includes AT&T/Samsung's naming rights as presenting sponsor and Urban's endorsement of the Samsung Infuse 4G2 smartphone, exclusive to AT&T customers. Samsung/AT&T was also the presenting sponsor of the just-concluded Billboard Country Music Summit in Nashville.

The Urban/Samsung/AT&T partnership gets underway when Urban begins the 50-date North American leg of his Get Closer tour on June 16 in Biloxi, Miss. Urban is managed by Borman Entertainment; the tour sponsorship deal was brokered by Marcie Allen, president of MAC Presents.

The sponsorship activation is highly interactive and geared to connect with fans in unique ways through the Infuse 4G device. Urban's fans will be able to follow the tour as the artist records vignettes of life on the road on his Samsung Infuse 4G and posts them to www.keithurban.net. At concerts, in each arenas concourse, fans will have the opportunity to appear in a video and photo with Urban via green screen technology, and share their experience with friends instantly via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Additionally, "brand ambassadors" will be roaming throughout concerts to capture photos of fans, using the camera on the Infuse 4G. Fans will be able to receive their photos instantly via e-mail to share with friends and upload to social media sites.

According to a research presentation by CMA market research director Greg Fuson at the Billboard Country Music Summit this week, country music fans spent $7.6 billion on cellphone service in 2009, country music fans own 2.3 phones per household, and one in four use cell phones instead of land lines as their home phones.

Urban will give fans a sneak peak of the tour as he opens up rehearsals with a performance at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium as one of many fan-oriented throwdowns at the CMA Country Music Festival, which begins in earnest today.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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