Event Innovators 2019: Bruce Orosz
The founder of the Miami-based ACT Productions turns to music to inspire large-scale sporting events.
Bruce Orosz got his start in production when he founded ACT Travel, which primarily served Wall Street clients and rock band tours. Seeking to provide a broader roster of services, he established the full-service production company ACT Productions in 1981. The company now focuses on developing and bringing world-class, large-scale events to Miami, including the Beach Majors Volleyball Championship for five years; Art Basel since 2003; the Orange Bowl halftime Show; and the halftime show at Dolphin Stadium with Marc Anthony and Flo-Rida during the El Classico Soccer Finals in 2017. He mixes the work with civic contributions, including serving as the current chairman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
But these days, Orosz still approaches events with the innovative, newness-obsessed mindset that rock stars require on tour.
“We try to stay very relevant and current on what’s trending and who’s being talked about musically. I watch almost ad nauseam The Voice, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent. I watch the CMAs [Country Music Awards],” Orosz says. “We use that [inspiration from] the sound and the sight—whether it’s lighting or simply just the music and how it’s [resonating] with today’s youth.”
Indeed, Orosz turns to music-minded productions and other sources of inspiration to make sure he’s always continuing to approach the huge-scale sporting events he handles with an eye always toward both uncompromising newness and constant stimulation.
“Sporting events have taken on a completely new direction—the sport is only part of it,” he says of the unrelenting expectation for nonstop stimulation, demanded by both clients and attendees alike. “So, it might be a soccer event, but that’s only one piece—because when the event has a break people need to be entertained. The new appetite is very robust because people are fed so much stuff now,” he says, pointing to stimulation from their smartphones, marketing messaging, and all other kinds of feedback in the world.Photo: Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com
Orosz knows he has a captive audience at the sporting events he produces, because they’re there for a purpose: to watch the field of play. But that’s just the first level of engagement the audience expects to get from their tickets.
“They now have become spoiled because every time they go to another event, they’re being fed visual entertainment and audio entertainment all the time,” he tells BizBash. “Even soccer now has adopted expanded halftime and entertainment in halftime—that didn't exist 10 years ago. Today it’s an expectation by the audience.”
The new thinking is, “Hey, what are we going to do pre game, what are we going to do halftime, what are we going to do post game? There’s an expectation by the audience.”
That’s why Orosz’s innovative approach is essential. “There’s an enjoyment factor for something that is unexpected. It might be lasers, it could be a new firework, it could be ground fireworks versus air fireworks,” he says. “There are so many ways to try to keep that wow factor and stimulation going with a sophisticated audience.”
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