Endeavor, the global sports and entertainment agency, has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the premium hospitality company On Location Experiences for $660 million, SportsBusiness reports.
The agency reportedly acquired two separate shareholdings for 33 percent each — one held by Redbird Capital and the other by the private equity firm founded by IMG’s George Pyne, Bruin Sports Capital — as well as a 10 percent stake by the Carlyle Group. The NFL, On Location Experiences’ founder, increased its 16 percent shareholdings through its strategic investment arm, 32 equity, although SportsBusiness found that the league had wanted to increase its stake to 32 percent before it fell short.
This deal will also add a significant piece of the ticketing world to the portfolio of companies under Silver Lake Partners, Endeavor’s parent company. On Location will join the several companies operating in the space under the Silver Lake umbrella, including UFC, the Madison Square Garden Company, Learfield/IMG College, and the Oak View Group. Additionally, Silver Lake just acquired the Australian ticketing and live events promoter TEG, which owns Ticketek.
Redbird, Bruin Sports Capital, and Carlyle Group invested a combined $70 million into On Location. Since acquiring stakes in 2015, each of the private investors pushed the company to its potential, helping acquire the university and sports travel company Anthony Travel in 2016, followed by PrimeSport hospitality rival in 2017 and the concert experience company Future Beat in 2018. At first, On Location’s only client was the NFL, which brought in $35 million per year. Now, On Location hosts 150 clients and generates $600 million annually.
While On Location provides travel management services, hospitality, ticketing, and live event production for over 150 rights-holders, like the NFL, NCAA, and PGA, it’s known for special Super Bowl ticket packages offered to elite corporate clients. Football superfans and individuals with a high-net-worth can afford On Locations’ premium experiences like on-field and post-game access, pre-game parties, and access to hotel accommodations and VIP events. Currently, the site has ticket packages up-for-grabs for Super Bowl LIV that include a pregame party with Darius Rucker, NFL alumni appearances, and postgame field access, ranging from $4,500 to $20,250.
Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, noted in a statement that he is excited about the partnership to help “grow On Location Experiences globally.”
“We are committed to offering NFL fans unique and first-class experiences at our events,” he said. “On Location shares this commitment and delivers value for its partners and delights fans at events around the world.”
In order to enhance On Location’s current offerings, Endeavor hopes to produce content and experiences in the entertainment and fashion worlds as well. SportsBusiness notes that during discussions of the deal last year, Endeavor told the NFL in a sales pitch that it would “use its strengths in athlete representation to realize cost synergies and unlock value at the company which offers athlete appearances to hospitality clients among other services.”
Through the deal, former Time Inc. and Bloomberg Media executive Paul Caine will fill the role as president of the new entity and will oversee On Location’s integration with Endeavor. He will take over for John Collins, who reportedly benefited from the sale, as he held a small equity stake in On Location since he first landed a job with the NHL in 2015. While Caine does not bring sports experience to the table, he has worked extensively in the entertainment industry – which could help the company’s growth in that field.