HOUSE OF BLUES BRINGS MUSICAL FAIR TO GAMES;BUSCH, SUN AND STARBUCKS ARE SPONSORS FOR MUSIC VENUE AT OLYMPICS

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House of Blues has signed on as a national sponsor of the Summer Olympics and will stage nightly music events and a massive street festival.

The chain of popular blues clubs has in turn lured Anheuser-Busch, Starbucks Coffee Co., Sun Microsystems and Motorola as sponsors of the fair and of a 100,000-square-foot music venue in Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park.

AT REQUEST OF MAYOR

House of Blues was wooed by Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who asked chain founder and CEO Isaac Tigrett to create a venue that would draw top musical talent during the Games.

House of Blues will pick up the tab for the music events and festival in lieu of paying a $40 million sponsor fee.

"We're trading culture for the right to be a sponsor," Mr. Tigrett said. "I have 300 kids working around the clock to make this 17-day megaparty happen."

The music site-a renovated 93-year-old Baptist church-opens July 17 and will host performances by James Brown, Al Green and the new Blues Brothers team of Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and John Goodman. Several themed music nights are slated, including a Latino night headlined by Tito Puente and a Caribbean night starring Burning Spear. Raves hosted by European DJs will take place from midnight to 5 a.m. daily.

House of Blues-a 3-year-old chain that operates clubs in Cambridge, Mass.; New Orleans; and Los Angeles and is planning expansion in the U.S. and overseas-will also host parties for athletes, sponsors and Olympic executives during the Games.

SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES

House of Blues is signing up marketers for a variety of sponsorships packages, although Mr. Tigrett declined to disclose pricing. Sponsors get a suite at the music site, tickets to events like twice-a-day gospel brunches and on-site signage.

Sun is helping to set up a cybercafe, supply-ing 100 computers and Internet tech-nical support. Starbucks, already tied to the blues via sponsorships and music premiums, will set up a Blues Coffee Shop next to the childhood home of blues legend Muddy Waters, a rustic cabin House of Blues is shipping to Atlanta.

A-B's Bud-weiser will help organize the street fair, complete with beer gardens, a stage for musical acts and a large-screen TV that will beam in acts from the renovated church.

ATTENDANCE ESTIMATE: 100,000

Mr. Tigrett estimates 100,000 people will show up at the festival each night during the 17-day Olympiad.

House of Blues is working with Raycom to license footage of events and performances at the games and HOB New Media will simulcast performances on the World Wide Web.

The blues chain, also a sponsor of the Russian Olympic team, will sell branded merchandise through 160 retail outlets in Atlanta and host Olympics-related events at its three U.S. clubs.

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