Metal Band Five Finger Death Punch’s Master Plan to Catapult From Club Gigs to Arena Tours

How Five Finger Death Punch graduated from clubs to arenas and doubled its gross.

Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) doesn’t have the name recognition of a band like Foo Fighters, but that may be about to change. An unusual united strategic marketing effort by the group’s management, label, promoters and agency has propelled the Las Vegas metal act from headlining rock clubs to a 2015 arena tour in the span of two years.

Formed in 2005, FFDP has sold some 2.9 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, but as of 2013 the act had yet to graduate from ballrooms and second stages at festivals. “We had a band that was selling records; we just didn’t think there was a proper global effort to elevate them” as a live act, says Allen Kovac, CEO of FFDP’s management firm, 10th Street Entertainment.

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So, during the course of two meetings, one in April 2013 and another a year later, Kovac engaged FFDP and its support team to devise a cohesive plan to develop the band as an arena act.

“The idea was to drop two albums within six months, each preceded by promo tours in the U.S. and Europe” that included press and radio ­appearances -- “stuff they hadn’t done before,” says Kovac. In Germany, for instance, Kovac worked with international promoter Marek Lieberberg to navigate the country’s four regional radio markets and with his social and digital teams to raise awareness of the band there.

In Europe FFDP played festivals behind the July 2013 release of The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1. When Volume 2 arrived in November, the band was packaged as support in the United Kingdom and Europe for Avenged Sevenfold. “Even though their guarantees were lower,” Kovac explains, “playing in front of 10,000 people” enabled FFDP to headline 2,500- to 3,000-seat venues -- up from 500 -- when it returned the following spring.

In April, Kovac called a second meeting that included the band, FFDP’s lawyer Doug Mark; business manager Bernie Gilhuly; North American agent Ron Opalesky from William Morris Endeavor; executives from North American promoters Frank Productions and NS2; the head of the band’s North American label, Prospect Park president Jeremy Summers; and, by phone, International Talent Booking agent Ian Sales.

The brainstorming session led to a fall North American mini-tour -- packaged by the band’s primary stateside promoter, Frank Productions -- that had FFDP co-headlining with Volbeat. Frank, NS2, Prospect Park and the band’s overseas label, Eleven Seven (which Kovac owns), also pooled resources for a $750,000-plus shared global marketing and ad spend that, for instance, used Live Nation direct marketing to raise awareness of the tour to fans of similar bands. The result: The band doubled its per-show gross, and Kovac says FFDP “made 200 percent more [in touring revenue] than they’ve ever made on the road.” And when the group releases its sixth album in May, it will embark on an arena tour that will take it to North America and Europe in the fall and early winter and Japan and Australia in early 2016.

This article first appeared in the Dec. 13 issue of Bllboard.


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