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April 5, 2017: N.C.A.A. to "Reluctantly" Bring Events Back to North Carolina After Bill Repeal, How a Cannabis Company Is Targeting Coachella-Goers, Amazon Scores $50 Million Deal to Stream Thursday Night N.F.L. Games

1. N.C.A.A. TO "RELUCTANTLY" BRING EVENTS BACK TO NORTH CAROLINA AFTER BILL REPEAL: The N.C.A.A. has announced it will "reluctantly" end its boycott of hosting events in North Carolina, after the state made minor changes to its anti-L.G.B.T. bill last week. The New York Times: "The organization, which governs college athletics, said in a statement that the law’s replacement in North Carolina had 'minimally achieved a situation where we believe N.C.A.A. championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.' The earlier law, known as House Bill 2, or H.B. 2, had removed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and it required transgender people to use bathrooms in public facilities that aligned with their sex at birth. While the replacement bill bars local governments from passing their own ordinances on the topic until 2020, it left regulation of bathrooms up to the State Legislature. The N.C.A.A.’s carefully worded statement left the door open to its continuing to make decisions on a case-by-case basis and even to retracting hosting opportunities on short notice in light of new developments—as it did last year, when it moved several championship events, including men’s basketball tournament games, out of the state. The N.C.A.A. noted that it requires prospective hosts to submit 'additional documentation'— it includes a questionnaire—about their ability to protect visitors from discrimination. At the same time, by providing a clearer blueprint of what is not and, now, is acceptable, the N.C.A.A. gave comfort not only to North Carolina lawmakers but to those in other states considering restrictions similar to those in North Carolina’s new law. In Texas, where next year’s Final Four is set to be held (in San Antonio), the author of such a proposal, known as Senate Bill 6, or the Texas Privacy Act, cheered the N.C.A.A.’s decision on Tuesday."

2. HOW A CANNABIS COMPANY IS TARGETING COACHELLA-GOERS: While marijuana is banned from the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, one cannabis company named Lowell Farms is looking to cash in on the festival items targeted toward festivalgoers. Los Angeles Times: "The sight of a joint or a pipe being passed around while taking in performers at one of the many festivals in the area is commonplace. Lowell Farms knows this, which is why the company decided to launch a specialized blend in time for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio. Last week, the Santa Barbara-based growers announced a limited-edition “Coachella Blend” of packaged, pre-rolled joints that would only be available during the festival and sold exclusively through the the Palm Springs Safe Access dispensary (roughly 20 miles away from the festival grounds). And to further cash in on the Coachella craze, the company, which made headlines with a very lovely Valentine’s Day bouquet packed with weed, also unveiled their twist on the ubiquitous flower garland that thousands of attendees will be spotted donning on Instagram throughout the festival weekend. Lowell’s version of the garland, naturally, included a quarter-ounce of cannabis intertwined with white roses—it’s beautiful, even if it’ll be quite difficult to get into the festival with a ton of weed nugs on your head. The only problem with this promotion? Lowell violated long-registered Coachella trademarks by marketing the product with the festival name. After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from AEG Presents, the owner of the company that oversees the festival, Lowell posted the notice which they pegged as 'NotChilla.' Though tons of companies smartly find ways to cash in on the 100,000 festival fans that make the annual pilgrimage to Indio, most have done so without infringing upon the intellectual property of Coachella. Lowell said it offered to be the first official cannabis sponsor of the festival and wanted to donate all profits of the limited run to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws but hadn’t heard back from festival organizers (though silence is often an answer)."

3. AMAZON SCORES $50 MILLION DEAL TO STREAM THURSDAY NIGHT N.F.L. GAMES: Amazon has scored streaming rights to N.F.L. Thursday night games starting this year, offering free live broadcasts to Amazon Prime subscribers. Recode: "Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube had also expressed interest in carrying the games this year. Amazon is paying around $50 million for the 10 games it will show next fall, according to a person familiar with the deal. That’s a big increase from the $10 million Twitter paid for last year’s games. The rest of the deal is roughly similar to the one Twitter had last year: CBS and NBC will each broadcast five games, and Amazon will stream the networks’ coverage, including their ads. Amazon will have the rights to sell a handful of ad slots per game. Amazon won’t have exclusive streaming rights for the games. CBS and NBC will also have the ability to stream the games they broadcast, and Verizon will stream the games to its wireless subscribers. The deal is Amazon’s first significant foray into livestreaming (besides Twitch, the live video game streaming platform it bought a few years ago), and its first major move into sports; Amazon has also worked with the NFL on 'All or Nothing,' a behind-the-scenes documentary series that debuted last summer. But Amazon has been ramping up its interest in live sports. 'For us, this is about starting to bring live sports to our Prime members all around the world,' said Jeff Blackburn, the company’s head of business development and entertainment."


Event software company Bizzabo has announced the closing of $6.5 million series A funding, which will be used to expand its product offering and build its events cloud.


ATLANTA:  The Society of Independent Show Organizers has awarded the Robert L. Krakoff Industry Award of Excellence to Charlie McCurdy, C.E.O. of Informa's Global Exhibitions division.

BOSTON:  Peak Event Services has debuted, uniting Peterson Party Center, Rentals Unlimited, Table Toppers of Newton, and Reserve as an integrated event service brand.

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  Hilton Garden Inn Las Colinas is undergoing a $4 million renovation that will be completed in July. The renovation will include updates to the hotel's 173 guestrooms and suites, more than 4,500 square feet of meeting space, and a 1,500-square-foot patio.

LAS VEGAS:  Great Vegas Festival of Beer, Nevada’s largest beer festival, will now be held indoors at the World Market Center Pavilion in preparation for high winds projected for Friday and Saturday.

LOS ANGELES:  The Academy and ABC have announced the dates for the next four Oscars ceremonies: March 4, 2018; February 24, 2019; February 23, 2020; and February 28, 2021. Variety:

Lupus LA's 2017 Orange Ball: Rocket to a Cure will take place April 22 underneath the space shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center. The event will feature a performance by Rita Wilson and a live auction led by Sharon Stone.

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

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY:  Esquire has partnered with event production company King Sixteen to host the Oaks Night Gala on May 5 at 21C Museum Hotel. Held in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby, the event is sponsored by 21C Museum Hotels, Porsche, and Rabbit Hole Distilling.

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Construction of the Broward County Convention Center expansion and Headquarters Hotel Projects is slated to begin in 2018 and be completed by 2021. The project is expected to add 400,000 square feet of meeting space and an 800-room hotel. 

NEW YORK:  D.K.M.S., an international nonprofit dedicated to eradicating blood cancers and blood-related illnesses, will host its 11th annual "Big Love" Gala on April 27 at Cipriani Wall Street.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance's second annual awards ceremony will take place May 8 at Tao Downtown.

IFC Center's inaugural Split Screens Festival will take place June 2-8. Programming for the event, which celebrates the art and cultural impact of television, will be headed by New York magazine TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz.

The second annual Panorama Music Festival will launch the Point, an open-air club in the center of Randall's Island Park with a shaded, misted dance floor and continuous DJ sets. The club will feature an LED light show and use a Funktion One sound system.

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

PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE:  Royal Palms Resort and Spa is slated to complete a multimillion dollar redesign this fall. The project will include updates to its 119 rooms, 1,700-square-foot Presidential Suite, event lawns, and meeting space.

SEATTLE:  Private event space Block 41 has opened in Belltown. The renovated former ice warehouse has two floors with three indoor spaces and an outdoor courtyard. The 133,000-square-foot space can accommodate more than 800 people standing.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA:  New York-based sports, entertainment, and event management and consulting firm Fast Traffic has launched Fast Traffic Australia. Based in Sydney, the new outpost will be headed by Danielle Heptonstall.

TORONTO:  The 30th annual Images Festival will take place April 20-27 at various venues. Showcasing on- and off-screen contemporary art, the event will include 48 films, 12 off-screen exhibitions, and four live image projects.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  A Capitol Fourth will air July 4 live on PBS. The event will feature a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra along with a lineup to be announced at a later date.

Billy Bob Thornton will headline the third annual White House Correspondents' Jam, which takes place a day before the dinner. Washington Post:

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With contributions from Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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