There's a new player in the specialized world of concert logistics. It's big, and it's brown.
In May, UPS Inc. and Live Nation Entertainment, the world's biggest concert promoter, announced a multiyear agreement under which UPS will become the exclusive transportation and logistics sponsor of Live Nation's global operations. New York-based Live Nation produces 20,000 concerts around the world each year.
Under the deal, which is scheduled to run through 2015, Atlanta-based UPS will be responsible for shipping letters and packages between Live Nation's offices as well as tickets and merchandise sold on the company's website. UPS is also in talks with various artists represented by Live Nation about providing logistics services for multicity concert tours.
UPS is not a total stranger to the concert logistics arena. It has long been part of a stable of carriers used by Rock-It Cargo, a provider of logistics planning and freight forwarding services for live events. But the agreement marks UPS's first involvement as the primary provider of logistics services in the entertainment vertical beyond sports. That means Big Brown will be exposed to a whole new audience—one that may not be familiar with its services.
To connect with the younger people who are the core of Live Nation's customer base, UPS is playing the sustainability card. UPS will provide artists with an analysis of the carbon footprint generated by shipping their concert equipment and suggest ways they can reduce emissions. In addition, Live Nation will purchase carbon "offsets" to mitigate the emissions produced by the shipping of tickets and merchandise, UPS said.
As for what Big Brown's arrival might mean for the market, Thomas Paine, Rock-It's chief marketing officer, says he's doesn't view the new player as a direct threat. The two companies' services are complementary rather than directly competitive, he says. "UPS excels at moving overnight and boxed goods—tickets, merchandise, etc.," Paine said in an e-mail. "We excel at the time-sensitive and intricate logistics of daily moves of lights, sets, rigging, sound, band gear, and staging. Our expertise is tour planning and personal supervision of every detail. And in fact, many of the moves we plan are executed through the UPS network."