Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons has raised $50 million in new funding to expand his team and venue portfolio for tvg in the United Kingdom and America. The music venue and hospitality group founded by Lovett and his brother Greg and father David, has seen investment from other artists including Maggie Rogers, Ryan Tedder and fellow Mumford and Sons member Ted Dwane.
The venue group — which will open its latest venue, Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, Alabama in May – also saw significant investment from industry heavyweights Nat Zilkha and Gibson Brands, with strong and diverse participation from the music industry including from C3 Presents, Irving Azoff and Oak View Group, Mike Luba and Don Sullivan, Justin Kalifowitz and Andrew Bergman, Coran Capshaw, Ron Laffitte, Lucy Dickins, Adam Tudhope and Tom Windish.
Azoff tells Billboard Lovett’s vision for fan and artist-friendly venues aligns with OVG’s mission for arenas and stadiums across the globe. “It’s a nice way for us to invest in the other space,” says Azoff. “We obviously are committed to helping artists grow their audience that can then graduate up into our arenas.”
Lovett’s group has already established six venues in the U.K. and U.S. including Omeara, Lafayette and the Social in London. The goal, Lovett tells Billboard, is to hit 10 venues by the end of 2023.
“The focus is on building venues in the U.S. right now in cities that could use another venue or two,” says Lovett, who adds that tvg does not intend to “disrupt” live music markets but rather add new ones. The plan is for tvg to build 300-capacity and up venues to help artists have more options in secondary markets and give them room to build to larger spaces as their careers grow.
The venues in the tvg portfolio will focus on artists via ample backstage amenities and a focus on sound. For fans, tvg plans to ensure there is never a bad sightline and create spaces people can come even on nights without concerts.
Lovett says tvg is challenging the traditional venue model by placing its food and beverage offerings outside the four walls of the music venue. People can come and enjoy the buildings on “dark nights” and make the spaces a destination every night of the week. The trend of diversifying revenue streams outside of ticket sales has been growing in recent years, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
“We’re slightly changing the way we think of the model,” Lovett tells Billboard. “That is going to make us more robust, more secure against the potential challenges that face the traditional model.”
The $50 million investment also means tvg can grow its team that has seen recent expansion. In addition to their long-standing leadership group which includes Ben and Greg’s father, David Lovett, co-founder and former vice chairman of Alix Partners in Europe, who acts as chairman for the company, and Graham Brown, the chief development officer, tvg has added Jesse Mann (formerly svp of strategy and operations at AC Entertainment/Live Nation), Dan Pine (formerly managing director at Marathon Asset Management and development partner to the Related Companies) and Lisa Seelinger (formerly head of people for Bergdorf Goodman and Maybourne Hotel Group).
Along with their investment, OVG plans to help tvg from an advisory standpoint. “We are happy to have appropriate artists play the [tvg] venues and we are booking a lot of our artists into the venues now, but in addition to that [Ben] knows he can call us for anything,” says Azoff. “We’re here with our resources to help them any way we can.”