"This is not an original model — it's aggregating disaggregated rights, which is something the NCAA does with their television rights," O'Connor says. "Very few D-1 schools can command national brand dollars, so they roll them and package them together. It's similar to how Live Nation handles their sponsorships," which generated $590.3 million for the company in 2019.
Hoping to capture some of that revenue for its clients, Teree and O'Connor created the network and began asking venues "for the right to represent them and aggregate and bundle them as part of a turnkey media buy to large national brands." Big Neon does not pay in advance for the sponsorship and is hoping that an integration with its ticketing platform will entice venues to use the company, but it also offers a non-ticketed option. Teree and O'Connor have signed up 28 venues, including the Masquerade in Atlanta, the Exit/In in Nashville, midwest promoter First Fleet Concerts and venues within the Knitting Factory.
"What Big Neon is building makes a ton of sense for our organization and we will absolutely benefit by being part of a large network," says Knitting Factory chief executive Morgan Margolis, "I trust these guys’ deep experience in our industry and their ability to attract the right brands.”
Joining Teree and O’Connor to lead Big Neon’s brand partnerships is veteran executive Scott Epstein, who spent two decades running all marketing partnerships for Madison Square Garden, including the Knicks and Rangers sports franchises. In addition to Epstein, Big Neon has added Michael Oringer of Stoli Group and Scott McNearney, who oversees all brand partnerships at SXSW, to its advisory board.