Hall of Fame’s Commercial Turn

The Grand Ole Opry

(from Billboard Magazine, October 27, 2012) Some of the music industry’s most well-known institutions, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, are partnering with sponsors to help them promote and align their future plans.

Creative Arts Agency (CAA) reached a deal to represent these institutions as well as Ryman Auditorium as branding clients. The deal includes title sponsorships, on site branding, and national marketing partnerships. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry have both partnered with sponsors before, but this time they are hoping to expand even further. After careful analysis, the Rock Hall, based in Cleveland, found that only 8-9% of their annual guests are from Ohio, and the Grand Ole Opry found that only 15% of their guests hail from Nashville. They foresee that a good sponsoring partner could help promote their organizations to a more widespread market.

A good naming-rights sponsor for the Rock Hall could help keep ticket prices down and make up for financial deficits in the last few years. The foundation’s annual reports show a decrease of almost $10 million in revenue from 2009-2010, and a large amount of revenue is derived from admissions. On the other hand, the Grand Old Opry had major setbacks due to the 2010 floods in Nashville and the millions of dollars that were needed for rebuilding costs.

In addition, the Rock Hall recently spent $8 million for a technology renovation.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO, Joel Peresman, said that because technology goes out of date so quickly, they are looking for a partner that can keep them up to date on the current technological standards.

CAA is working with marketers from categories varying from financial services to automotive for all three venues. They are being careful placing sponsors though to make sure that the naming rights fits into the overall mission. Peresman says that their goal is to raise awareness around the world of their new additions and encourage fan involvement.