May 24, 2018: Nashville Will Host 2019 N.F.L. Draft, Grammys President Accused of Funneling Charity Money to Cover Telecast Shortfall, Why Mall Owners Want to Replace Struggling Department Stores With Hotels

By Ian Zelaya May 24, 2018, 8:36 AM EDT

1. NASHVILLE WILL HOST 2019 N.F.L. DRAFT: Nashville has been awarded the 2019 N.F.L. draft. ESPN: “The other cities considered for the 2019 and 2020 NFL drafts included Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and a combination bid from Cleveland/Canton, Ohio. It's a big win for the Titans, their controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, and the city of Nashville that the NFL saw enough in a small-market team to put them on a big NFL stage. Reps from Nashville and the Titans promised they won't disappoint. … Nashville was already one of the big favorites throughout the process which was officially narrowed down to five candidates in February, but the NFL loved what they saw at the Titans' April 4 uniform unveiling which had 20,000 fans dancing and partying on First and Broadway Street on a 40-degree Wednesday night. Butch Spyridon, the president and CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp, then sent a text to NFL senior vice president of events Peter O'Reilly: ‘20K, not bad for a fashion show.’ There were NFL reps at the uniform unveiling, and they passed info to decision-makers about the event's success. One of those NFL reps told ESPN that the league wants the Nashville event to be the standard for future uniform unveilings. The uniform unveiling positively impacted Nashville's chances to host the draft. A win-win for all involved.”

2. GRAMMYS PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF FUNNELING CHARITY MONEY TO COVER TELECAST SHORTFALL: Former MusiCares vice president Dana Tomarken has accused Recording Academy chairman and president Neil Portnow of funneling money away from the charity to cover a deficit from January’s Grammys telecast. Tomarken, who addressed the accusation in a letter to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, also accused Portnow of brokering a deal to host the academy’s annual Person of the Year event at a venue that left MusiCares with a major loss in fund-raising efforts this year. Variety: “In the nearly 4,500-word letter obtained by Variety, Tomarken, who was fired on April 16 after 25 years with the Academy, also claims wrongful termination, explaining that she and coworker Dorit Kalev were fired over the bill for a $2,500 MusiCares auction item that she was late in paying. She also says she was terminated ‘after a painful year of trying to protect MusiCares from being exploited, enduring ongoing instances of workplace abuse and harassment’ from two male coworkers whom she names in the letter. MusiCares, which offers emergency financial assistance to musicians and music-related people for medical and living expenses and substance-abuse treatment, has distributed more than $48 million to artists in need since it was founded in 1989. … In holding the Grammys in New York for the first time in 15 years, the Academy suffered an estimated $6 to 8 million shortfall for a multitude of reasons primarily associated with relocating the show—to Madison Square Garden—and Grammy Week events. The Madison Square Garden Company operates the venue, as well as Radio City Music Hall, where this year’s MusiCares Person of the Year event, honoring Fleetwood Mac, was held. Because Radio City is not configured to host MusiCares’ traditional dinner ceremony, a straightforward concert was staged, and attendance and ticket prices were affected. Until last June, Tomarken had been negotiating with Brooklyn’s Barclays Center—which has a venue agreement with MSG rival AEG, operator of Los Angeles’ Staples Center, where the Grammys have been held for many years—to hold the MusiCares dinner and concert there. She claims that last June, ‘I received a call from Irving Azoff [who has a separate company with MSG]. Neil and the Madison Square Garden Company, Irving informed me, had early on in NY Grammy negotiations agreed that the Person of the Year tribute would be held at Radio City Music Hall, a Madison Square Garden Company venue. Neither I nor anyone on the MusiCares staff was ever notified of those discussions or agreement, and as a result, we were forced to walk away from a huge benefit to MusiCares: Barclays’ generous financial commitment and their venue.”

3. WHY MALL OWNERS WANT TO REPLACE STRUGGLING DEPARTMENT STORES WITH HOTELS: At the annual I.C.S.C. Recon retail real estate convention—which took place May 20-23 in Las Vegas—U.S. mall owners expressed an interest in replacing failing department stores such as Sears and J.C. Penney with hotels and apartments. CNBC: “Many industry experts told CNBC at RECon that some department store chains are headed to extinction, while Nordstrom remains the so-called belle of the ball in the mall space—keeping a slimmer real estate portfolio, signing deals with e-commerce brands like Allbirds and maintaining top-notch customer service. … Apartment complexes and hotels were two of the new uses that some of the biggest retail landlords had top of mind this week. Simon, a top-tier U.S. mall owner, announced during the show its plans to open at least five Marriott International hotels at its properties over the next several years. PREIT, which has a smaller portfolio of malls primarily in the Northeast, said earlier this week that it would be looking to add as many as 7,000 residential units and 3,000 hotel units across a dozen properties in the coming years, too. ‘Our business is requiring new creativity that's never been required before,’ PREIT CEO Joe Coradino told CNBC. The marketplace today, especially with younger generations of shoppers, is seeking centers where people can live, work, shop and dine, he said. Coradino, along with other mall REIT CEOs at the show, agreed that more malls are transitioning to ‘mixed use’ spaces. Fitness operators, spa service providers and other entertainment venue owners also flooded the Las Vegas Convention Center's halls this week. ‘Experience is not just food,’ Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research, told CNBC.”


Marketing and communications company Omnicom has launched Omnicom Experiential Group, a network composed of a collection of experiential agencies including GMR Marketing, Auditoire, and Luxury Makers. 


BOSTON:  XV Beacon hotel has appointed Kara Smith director of sales and marketing. 

LOS ANGELES:  The new All My Friends music festival will take place August 18-19 at the Row DTLA complex. Headliners will include RL Grime, Gucci Mane, Jhene Aiko, M.I.A, Jamie XX, and Armand Van Helden.

Danica Patrick will be the first woman to host the Espys. The sports-focused award show will be broadcasst live from the Microsoft Theater on July 18.

The Billboard Live Music Summit and Awards, formerly known as the Billboard Touring Conference and Awards, will take place November 13-14 at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

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

NEW YORK:  The 11th edition of the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One will take place October 11-14. 

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

TORONTO:  Campari will take over Superpoint Pizza for Negroni Week June 4-10. The takeover will feature Negroni cocktails from guest mixologist Aldo Pescatore and a gift shop offering Campari merchandise. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Julia Louis-Dreyfus will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 21. The New York Times:

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

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