In the latest of a string of strategic moves focused on live entertainment, Barclays Center's Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment has launched Brooklyn Direct, a new programming division designed to work directly with agents and managers to book events by artists not on tour for Barclays Center and other venues, Billboard has learned.In other words, the arena seems to be competing directly with promoters, though Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark claims it's complementary, aimed at acts that aren't touring or interested in a one-shot or "mini-residency," given they can also book the Nassau Coliseum after renovation, the to-be-renovated Paramount Theatre and--apparently-- "others on the horizon."
The first event announced from Brooklyn Direct is the new Fold Festival, which will be produced by Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist Nile Rodgers. Fold Festival (Freak Out Let's Dance) will be held at Barclays Center on May 22. The lineup for this event is currently being confirmed and will be announced shortly. In support of the launch, Brooklyn Direct will sponsor Roc Nation's annual Pre-Grammy Brunch on Feb. 7 in Los Angeles.
Barclays Center has already found success booking one-off events direct, including sold-out performances by Billy Joel ($2.8 million Boxscore gross), Elton John ($3 million), Barbra Streisand($9.3 million), and Andrea Bocelli ($2.5 million, $1.8 million). In the past and going forward, the direct booking will most often be for special events, anniversaries, holiday bookings, etc.Those are big big numbers, but they are gross numbers, not profit, which was surprisingly scarce during that heavily-staffed, heavily promoted debut year.
On 11/27/12, Billboard reported that Streisand's two shows grossed $9,327,948, selling all 31,176 seats (15,588 per show) at an average $299.20 per seat.
By contrast, Jay-Z's eight inaugural shows grossed $7,361,122, selling all 121,058 seats (15,132 per show) at an average $60.81 per seat.
The press release
Brooklyn Direct, A New Programming Division of Barclays Center, to Bring Exclusive Concerts to Brooklyn and Beyond
BROOKLYN (February 5, 2015)— Barclays Center has launched Brooklyn Direct, a new programming division designed to work directly with agents and managers to book exclusive non-touring artists and to curate live content for Brooklyn’s major sports and entertainment venue and beyond.
As its first event, Brooklyn Direct will premiere the Fold Festival, to be headlined by major artists, and produced by Nile Rodgers, a Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist, who has worked with artists such as Madonna and David Bowie. Fold Festival will be held at Barclays Center on May 22, 2015.
“Several of the most recognized and successful artists in the world will be joining me on stage at Fold Festival at Barclays Center on May 22,” said Rodgers. “It is going to be an extraordinary one-of-a-kind night of dance music and special collaborations. The atmosphere at Barclays Center is known to be electric, and fans should expect the unexpected.”
Brooklyn Direct will be complementing the arena’s live touring content, while bringing one-of-a-kind shows and events to Barclays Center.
Brooklyn Direct is led by its Chief Content Officer Joseph Meli, formally an independent promoter and a Senior Vice President of Warner Music Group under the U.S. recorded music division.
The Brooklyn Direct headquarters will be based in downtown Manhattan.
“Since opening Barclays Center, we’ve enjoyed great success by working directly with agents and managers to secure major artists such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Barbra Streisand and Andrea Bocelli,” said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. “Our goal now is to aggressively grow our direct business by complementing the cyclical touring shows that play Barclays Center. In addition, with the expansion of our venue business that now includes Nassau Coliseum and the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, we need to even further complement touring shows by curating live content. Brooklyn Direct enables us to do this.”
In support of the launch, Brooklyn Direct will sponsor Roc Nation’s annual Pre-Grammy Brunch on Saturday, February 7 in Los Angeles. Named by Billboard Magazine as “one of Grammy week’s hottest annual events,” the brunch hosts artists, industry executives, and VIPs for a star-studded celebration of Music’s Biggest Night.
For Brooklyn Direct business inquiries please contact Joseph Meli at email@example.com. For Brooklyn Direct media inquiries please contact Barry Baum at firstname.lastname@example.org.