UCSD Partners with Concert Company to Bring More Acts

Students can look forward to higher-profile entertainers on campus as a result of RIMAC Arena’s new partnership with Nederlander Concerts, a West Coast entertainment production company.

The five-year contract, announced Feb. 23, stipulates that the company will bring a minimum of six large arena shows to RIMAC per academic year. Nederlander will also have rights to RIMAC Field, which has a max capacity of 20,000.

“RIMAC is a fresh venue that is well suited for concerts and attractive for performing artists,” Nederlander CEO Alex Hodges said.

The partnership went into effect in early February. The company’s first event on campus this year was last month’s Interpol concert.

Rise Against is scheduled to perform at RIMAC Arena on April 8 and Sugarland will play at RIMAC Field on July 23.

According to Hodges, Nederlander will help RIMAC Arena become a popular destination for musicians and other live entertainment acts.

“If artists aren’t constantly reminded about other venues, they will continue to be booked in the same places,” Hodges said.

He also noted that the bolstered venues should generate more revenue on campus.

According to Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Life Gary Ratcliff, the university generates income from large concerts.

“Expanding the number of concerts at RIMAC Arena and Field will enable the numerous departments involved in these events to support their budgets through additional event revenue,” Ratcliff said in an e-mail.

According to Ratcliff, Nederlander will be required to pay a percentage of the gross tickets sales of each show, with a rental amount that increases each year of the agreement, though Ratcliff did not disclose specific figures.

If Nederlander does not meet the minimum number of shows in a year, it is required to pay rent for that number of shows and the university has the option to end the contract, Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff said the deal will bring critical funds to campus.

“UCSD has become a model on the West Coast for schools looking to expand student life through increasing numbers of events,” Ratcliff said. “This partnership with Nederlander Concerts will enable our campus to keep raising the bar as a premier presenter of the arts and live events.”

Hodges hopes the partnership will succeed and plans to continue booking shows at RIMAC after the contract is up.

Nederlander will work with student organizations to put on shows, but the partnership will not prevent student organizations from using RIMAC’s facilities for existing annual campus traditions, like the Sun God Festival and Fusion — Multi-Asian Student Association’s annual hip-hop dance competition.

“In the last decade, UCSD has grown to producing over 250 concerts a year,” Ratcliff said. “Student surveys have repeatedly demonstrated that continuing this trend is a priority for our students.”

The partnership is a result of an open request from the sports facilities office to local concert promoters for an exclusive partnership in spring 2009, Ratcliff said.

The office wanted to see if promoters could increase the quantity and quality of advertised and ticketed shows and increase student participation in concert planning. Nederlander responded with a proposal outlining its plans to achieve the goals.

According to Ratcliff, students will be able to purchase discounted presale tickets. The discounts will vary for each show.

Students will also have the opportunity to intern with Nederlander in the areas of marketing, production and programming.  For the booking and programming internship, students will learn about concert promotion and contract negotiations. The production internship includes learning about technical aspects of shows, such as lighting and audio, and working with artists.

The details of internship positions are still being finalized, though Ratcliff expects the positions to be available during the 2011-12 academic year. Nederlander will work with A.S. Concerts & Events to create programs to incorporate students into activities around live shows.

ASCE will act as an adviser to help create student events, Associate Vice President of Concerts and Events Brian Wong said.

Nederlander will also consult ASCE to set ticket prices and presale dates.

Per the agreement, student organizations may not partner with other promoters, such as Live Nation or Anschutz Entertainment Group, Wong said. He expects ASCE to partner with Nederlander in the future.

“The nature of RIMAC shows are difficult to do by ourselves, as there are lots of overhead [costs] to cover,” Wong said.  “Working with a partner would make it easier, so I see it being beneficial.”