SBS Entertainment & OVG Announce Partnership to Bring Latin-Focused Live Events to New Markets
OVG properties including UBS Arena in New York will play host to marquee SBS events, including the annual Mega Bash concert.
SBS Entertainment, the live event arm of Spanish Broadcasting Systems, and global venue development company Oak View Group (OVG) have inked a multi-year strategic agreement, the companies tell Billboard.
The deal, which has been in the works for two years, is described as an effort to “reimagine the live industry landscape” and an opportunity to reach new markets with Latin-focused music events.
Founded in 2015, OVG has grown to work with more than 400 venues worldwide. The deal with SBS marks the first time they’ve teamed up with a Latin company that focuses on producing and promoting large-scale live events. For 16 years now, SBS has produced L.A.’s Calibash, the best-known urban Latin festival in the U.S. that has boasted J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and Karol G as headliners over the past few years. It also produces the New York-based Mega Bash concert (presented by SBS radio station La Mega 97.9), which in December will take place for the first time at UBS Arena — marking the first event announced under the partnership.
Conversations about a possible partnership began when New York’s OVG-developed UBS Arena, which opened in November 2021, was still under construction. It was then that Mark Shulman, the facility’s senior vp of programming, invited the SBS Entertainment team to tour the grounds.
“When you look where [UBS] is located and [the] diversity nearby, Latin music should be a core of what this building is built on,” says Shulman. “I reached out to SBS, being such a leader in live events, and brought out their entire team so they could experience it from its early days. That began the explorations of what the possibilities might be. What started as a New York discussion quickly turned into a national discussion.”
But it wasn’t until last year that the national deal was sealed, and it happened when Francesca Bodie, president of business development at OVG, and Alessandra Alarcón, president of SBS Entertainment, met at Billboard‘s Women In Music 2022 event (both women were honored that year).
“I knew Mark had a relationship with SBS, but Alessandra and I just sat together at the event and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to work together?’ The fact that our venue in Palm Springs will do over 20 Latin shows this year, we thought, ‘This is not just a New York thing, this is going to be a nationwide opportunity,'” says Bodie. “We could’ve easily done a one-year commitment but doing a multi-year deal instead was a no-brainer. They have the team that can execute these marquee events and we have state-of-the-art arenas in the U.S and in the world. It was just a natural fit.”
“Our division really focuses on expanding,” explains Alarcón. “Partnering with OVG made a lot of sense because we’ll go into cities where we haven’t done shows before. That was a big part of it. It’s an interesting opportunity for both companies to grow.”
“In our continuous dialogue with OVG about where to take the shows next, we suspect we’re going to be bringing our marquee shows to other markets,” says Christopher Martinez, director of business affairs at SBS. “We are focusing a lot on growing our heritage brands. There’s also a focus on regional Mexican and we’re planning on bringing one-off shows to Austin and also to Palm Springs. We’re definitely looking at expanding and not just focusing on reggaeton.”
The deal between SBS Entertainment and OVG comes at a time when Latin music continues to see global growth across multiple metrics, particularly in touring. The top 25 Latin tours of 2022 grossed $990.8 million and sold 8 million tickets (based on Billboard‘s Boxscore reporting period of Nov. 1, 2021-Oct. 31, 2022). Moreover, in 2022, Latin music outpaced growth in the overall industry with a 24% increase, totaling $1.1 billion in revenue, according to the newly-released RIAA U.S. Latin revenue report, which also highlights an all-time high in terms of market share for the genre at 6.9%.
“Companies like OVG are prioritizing the Latin space and now see the value of partnering with media companies like us because we are the general market now,” says Martinez. “We’re seeing people responding to what the new normal is [with] respect to Latin music.”
Adds Bodie, “As we look at the way we want to continue to anchor and prioritize [Latin], it is critically important that we have alignment with SBS.”
With OVG venues under development in the United Kingdom and Brazil, Bodie hopes to keep expanding their deal with SBS by developing Latin-focused content and activations in those markets. “We’ll definitely talk about what those opportunities will look like in the future.”