By Barry Janoff
December 7, 2015: On Location Experiences, which just named John Collins as its CEO and is in the process of rebranding from NFL On Location, has added rock-and-roll icon and businessman Jon Bon Jovi to its enterprise.
On Location Experiences, a premium experiential events and hospitality business jointly owned by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital and the NFL, has signed what it called a "creative partnership and strategic investment" with Bon Jovi.
The alliance sees On Location Experiences acquiring Runaway Tours, a VIP hospitality business for premier music acts created by Bon Jovi. Concurrently, Bon Jovi has made a "strategic investment" in On Location Experiences and becomes a member of the board.
This is not Bon Jovi's first foray into the business of pro football. He was majority owner for the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul from 2004-08. More recently, his name has been attached to a potential partnership seeking to purchase an NFL team, including an unsuccessful bid in 2014 to acquire the Buffalo Bills.
On Location Experiences, which already works with the NFL on such jewel events as the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, International Series and NFL Draft, signed Collins, former COO for the NHL, last week as it moves to expand its premium platform to such sports events as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
The addition of Bon Jovi and Runaway Tours now adds the potential of offering customers "one-of-a-kind" experiences at such events as The Grammys, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and festivals, in addition to concerts with Bon Jovi.
Bon Jovi's global hits include "Livin' on a Prayer," "Runaway," "Bad Medicine," "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Wanted Dead or Alive," the latter of which was covered by Rob Riggle (dressed as Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder) for a comedic opening to Fox Sports' coverage of Thanksgiving Day NFL games.
Bon Jovi said that his relationship with Gerry Cardinale, managing partner and founder for RedBird Capital Partners, was a key factor in the deal.
“This is an exciting day for Runaway Tours and for me personally,” Bon Jovi said in a statement. “I have a longstanding relationship with the NFL and with Gerry Cardinale, and becoming a part of On Location Experiences is a unique opportunity for me to combine my passion for football and my love of music and entertainment to provide fan experiences worthy of the rights holders that will be our partners.
"On Location Experiences' partnership with the 32 NFL owners and with me sets the foundation for similar global partnerships going forward across sports and entertainment," Bon Jovi said.
RedBird Capital Partners and Bruin Sports Capital were brought into NFL On Location this past April when the league gave them a long-term license and operational control, with the NFL remaining a minority partner.
According to Cardinale, “Our partnership with the NFL is predicated on the expansion of the On Location platform to include other global iconic rights holders in sports and entertainment. I can't think of a better example of fulfilling this mandate than welcoming Jon Bon Jovi as our partner and co-investor in the business.
Collins joined On Location Experiences after some 25 years as an executive with the NFL and NHL.
“Runaway Tours is an established and recognized brand for VIP hospitality, and this partnership will add new opportunities and capabilities to the premium events On Location Experiences can offer.” Collins said in a statement.
Added Eric Grubman, evp-business ventures for the NFL, “Jon Bon Jovi's interest in joining this initiative speaks volumes about the On Location platform. On Location represents the intersection of business and entertainment. Jon Bon Jovi is a person who has world class talents in both areas, and we could not be more pleased to welcome him as a partner.”
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