ATLANTIC CITY — The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Live Nation Entertainment have agreed to terms to bring beach concerts back to the city, including a three-day event next summer.
The three-year, $1.8 million deal was approved at the CRDA Board of Directors public meeting Tuesday afternoon, with one dissenting vote, after deliberations in executive session. Details, including acts and dates, will be announced after the Governor’s Office signs off on the deal.
“Atlantic City is a terrific market for live entertainment, and it is also a destination market where people will travel from Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., and other surrounding cities, to experience entertainment,” said Geoff Gordon, regional president for Live Nation Philadelphia. “Last summer, we saw representation from all 50 states and other parts of the world travel to Atlantic City for the two-day (Vans) Warped Tour event.”
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Gordon said Live Nation was “thrilled to continue” the partnership with CRDA to “further create opportunities to unite fans with their favorite artists in Atlantic City on an ongoing basis.”
The lone “no” vote came from Resorts Casino Hotel President/CEO Mark Giannantonio, who objected to the 2020 three-day event that will take place over the course of a weekend.
The shows for 2021 and 2022 will have day-of-the-week limitations for certain times of the year, Chairman Robert Mulcahy said.
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“I’ve said for years that beach concerts should be put midweek when we really need the business, not when we’re 100% occupied,” Giannantonio said.
Mayor Marty Small Sr. said he believed Live Nation to be the “No. 1 entertainment company in the world” and noted it has “done a great job here in the city of Atlantic City.”
Small said that while he supported the deal, he wanted to make sure Live Nation understood he would be lobbying for diversification of musical offerings going forward.
“We need some urban acts on the beach as well,” Small said. “I’ve said that to Live Nation, I said it as council president and I’m now saying it as the mayor, because we have to answer to our constituents (about) why is it only certain types of music are being played on the beach.”
Two union representatives also lauded the deal, saying it would create much-needed income for members during the summer.
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John Gray, business agent with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 351, said the beach shows come at an opportune time for his members as some of the casino work slows down in the summer.
“These concerts really provide much-needed income for a lot of people that live in Atlantic City and Atlantic County,” said Joe LaSala, president of the Atlantic City Stagehands. “The income and wages that are made from these are just instrumental. I can’t express how important it is.”
One resident from the Chelsea section of the city asked the board what benefits residents get from beach concerts.
“I think, in general, we’re looking for Atlantic City to prosper,” said Rob Long, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs, the agency with direct oversight of Atlantic City following the 2016 takeover. “It is an entertainment destination, so whenever we can support events that help that part of the city’s economy, that translates into benefits for the residents, helps the city with its finances — it’s all inter-related.”
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The CRDA deal with Live Nation comes against the backdrop of a congressional inquiry into the ticketing marketplace. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th, has launched a probe involving Live Nation and others, including Ticketmaster, StubHub and Tickets.com, into what lawmakers described as “potentially unfair and deceptive practices.”
“Consumers still face a host of troubling practices and trends in the ticketing industry,” Pallone said. “That’s why I am leading an investigation into potentially unfair and deceptive practices occurring in the primary and secondary ticket marketplace. The lack of transparency and fairness put consumers at a disadvantage when attempting to buy tickets in the current marketplace.”
Mulcahy said he was aware of the congressional inquiry the day before CRDA voted on the deal.
“If I thought there was a problem, I would address it,” he said. “We’ve dealt with Live Nation for a long time.”