July 6, 2018: How This Sports Culture Website Is Upping Its Live Event Game, Why Toyota Is Investing More in Music Festivals, Alabama Restaurant Accused of Discrimination After Turning Away Black Fraternity Event

By Ian Zelaya July 6, 2018, 9:02 AM EDT

1. HOW THIS SPORTS CULTURE WEBSITE IS UPPING ITS LIVE EVENT GAME: Sports news and culture website Bleacher Report is venturing into live events this year, starting with a number of installations and parties centered around NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Digiday: “As the NBA Summer League kicks off this weekend, the Turner-owned sports publisher plans to host parties Friday and Saturday night and an afternoon pool party hosted by NBA player JaVale McGee on Sunday, all with sponsors Verizon and the Hakkasan Group. Also planned are a Fortnite gaming challenge hosted by House of Highlights founder Omar Raja and influencer dinner hosted by Turner and Bleacher Report on-air personality Lance Fresh. The Summer League campaign, called 'B/R x Jumpoff,' is described by Bleacher Report CRO and CMO Howard Mittman as a 'branded takeover' for the weekend and a model for future live events. Recent Bleacher Report-hosted events included parties tied to the NBA and NFL drafts and a celebrity soccer competition in New York hosted by former NBA star Steve Nash. Bleacher Report aims to do up to four such tentpole events this year and 15 to 20 smaller ones, led a six-person team that’s supported by other Bleacher Report departments such as marketing, as well as the Turner’s events operation. ... The publisher is also looking to host events during the offseason for the NBA, NFL and other major sports the publisher covers. This is partially because some offseason moments such as the start of NBA free agency or the NFL’s draft are some of the most heavily-trafficked days for Bleacher Report. The first day of this year’s NBA free agency, for instance, drove 11.8 million sessions and 46 million page views on Bleacher Report’s app—both single-day records for the publisher."

2. WHY TOYOTA IS INVESTING MORE IN MUSIC FESTIVALS: In recent years, Toyota has invested more in live music events to connect with a younger crowd—most notably through a partnership with media company Oath. They have worked together on live streaming and branding opportunities since 2016 at events such as Firefly, Panorama, Stagecoach, Life Is Beautiful, and Voodoo. Adweek: “‘Toyota as a whole has been very interested over the fast few years in aligning with a millennial consumer based on the launches that they have, like Prius and Yaris. They felt like music was a great way for them to expand that relationship with that audience,’ Rick Fellen, VP and industry lead, automotive for Oath, said. While the results from the 2018 festival circuit are still in the works, Toyota and Oath shared 2017 results and some tips on what marketers can learn when working in the live music space. ‘It’s great to have onsite vehicle presence at some of these music festivals, but you have other kinds of integrations that you can do that make a lot of sense,’ Fellen said. That’s why creating a branded experience for music fans to live stream their favorite artists was a great fit for Toyota to reach a wider, but targeted, audience. Overall, the 2017 effort led to more than 83 million views (a 107 percent increase from the previous year) across the four festivals with an average tune in time of 15 minutes, which is considered a ‘high average for us,’ according to Fellen. That tune in time was up 26 percent from 2016. Because of the Oath partnership, Toyota was able to target ads to millennials watching the festivals online, who also happened to be in the market for a new car. Toyota found that the push into live music led to a 23 percent lift in purchase consideration among 18–24-year-olds looking to buy a car.”

3. ALABAMA RESTAURANT ACCUSED OF DISCRIMINATION AFTER TURNING AWAY BLACK FRATERNITY EVENT: A restaurant in Alabama refused to rent an event space to members of a black fraternity in February, saying “we’ve had problems with your kind before,” according to the fraternity chapter president and a lawsuit. CNN: “The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by the Tuscaloosa alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, accuses the Cypress Inn in Tuscaloosa of racial discrimination. It also seeks compensation for financial losses fraternity members say they incurred when they were forced to move their event to another, less popular location. The Cypress Inn calls the discrimination allegations ‘completely untrue.’ In the suit the fraternity says it paid $1,500 last December to reserve a waterfront pavilion at the Cypress Inn for a February 23 gathering. But on February 6, just weeks before the event was scheduled to take place, Cypress Inn canceled the reservation and refunded the deposit. The chapter's president, Clifton Warren, said he had gone to the restaurant to make final arrangements when a staff member informed him that the event could no longer be held there due to security concerns. The lawsuit alleges the staff member, a white woman, said she hadn't realized Warren's organization was an ‘all black’ group. … Warren told CNN that more than 300 people turned out for last year's Kappa Alpha Psi event, and a similar number was expected for this year's bash, billed as ‘Blackout On The River.’ ... The fraternity's Tuscaloosa alumni chapter hosts the annual event to raise funds for its philanthropic efforts, which include donating supplies to elementary schools and funding scholarships to a local college, said Warren, adding that members of his chapter felt ‘very disheartened’ by the Cypress Inn's decision.”


KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI:  Visit KC has hired Carmen Moses and Jill Davis as national account managers. The organization also promoted Kyle Sadewhite to the same position.  

LOS ANGELES:  Destinations International’s annual convention for destination marketing and management professionals will take place July 10-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center. New to the event this year, attendees will be able to bring their families.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden’s annual Sprinklerfest will take place July 13. The free family-friendly event will have two acres of sprinklers, local food vendors, crafts, and a rock-climbing wall. 

The seventh annual Long Beach International Film Festival will take place August 1-4 at the Allegria Hotel and Regal Lynbrook 13 & RPX. 

Samantha Weinglass and Paulina Ramirez have launched event management company Crew Events. Weinglass and Ramirez have executed in-house corporate events for eight years. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

PHILADELPHIA:  Social welfare organization the Arena will host its first Northeast summit, “Love and Action,” September 7-8 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 

SAN FRANCISCO:  The American Craft Show will take place August 3-5 at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. The event will showcase 250 craft artists from across the United States.

TORONTO:  The Afrofest music festival, organized by nonprofit Music Africa, will take place July 7-8. The festival will attempt to break two world records: For creating the largest djembe drum ensemble and for the most nationalities playing the djembe drum simultaneously.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The eighth annual D.C. Scoop ice cream social will take place July 13 at Union Market. The event will offer free scoops from vendors including Dolcezza, Trickling Springs Creamery, Peregrine Espresso, Love ‘n Faith, and Ice Cream Jubilee. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Kristine Liao in New York.

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