The following article by Natasha Emmous appeared in the August 1999 issue of Amusement Business magazine...
Sting's 'Brand New Day' tour first in high-tech sponsorship...
Sting's upcoming 15-month 'Brand New Day' tour will have a brand new type of presenting sponsor.
Houston-based Compaq Computer Corp. will integrate its technology into every aspect of the tour, which kicks off in Las Vegas in October, but the main focus of its support will be the upkeep of a Web site dedicated to the tour.
"We're the first major technology company to be involved with a tour of this magnitude," said Pam Coltharp, manager of global sponsorship and sports marketing for Compaq. Coltharp was a key player in putting this deal together.
This tour marks the first time a web site address has been incorporated into a tour name and logo. All of Compaq's and Sting's tour material will feature the Web site on the logo - sting.compaq.com - instead of touting that the tour is sponsored by Compaq. "All of the communications will drive fans to the web site," Coltharp said.
Sting's manager, Miles Copeland, owner of Firstars Artist Management, Sherman Oaks, Calif., said this subtle approach to corporate sponsorship was one of the main reasons Sting, former lead singer of the Police, chose Compaq. And "because we are very concerned about where technology is going, we wanted someone to [design] the web site and provide top-of-the-line technology," Copeland said. Compaq plans to "showcase Sting as an artist and a businessman," Coltharp said. "We'll give him different vehicles to communicate with his fans." The web site will feature regular updates on the tour, including digital photographs, a journal written by Sting and live chat sessions with the star. Sting and his support musicians and staff will be equipped with Compaq Armada notebook computers, Deskpro desktop computers and Professional Workstations equipped with sequencing and sampling software.
Compaq technology will be used to track ticket and CD sales throughout the tour and help in "all of the business decisions that go into planning a tour," Coltharp said. Compaq chose to become involved in this tour because Sting represents their brand catchwords: human, gutsy pacesetter and agile, Coltharp said. Also, Sting's 18 to 49-year-old fan demographic closely mirrors Compaq's target customer, she said. Compaq is the second-largest computer company in the world.
The tour, which is scheduled to follow the release of Sting's seventh solo album, 'Brand New Day' on Sept. 28, begins Oct. 14 with two nights at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas.
"Sting decided he wants to be more intimate and personal with his audience," Copeland said. The largest venue he will play in the first leg of the tour is the 5,000-seat Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City Calif., Oct. 26-27, a show which will be broadcast world-wide. This intimacy is a great selling factor, Copeland said. The first 100 dates of the tour have been announced. After performing on a route criss-crossing the United States through the end of the year, Sting will head out of the country, playing Canada, France, Germany Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Slovakia, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Ireland and then the United Kingdom, before returning to the States for a major shed tour next summer. Sting's last tour was in 1996.
Copeland is resisting pressure to raise ticket prices, he said. "One thing we don't want to do is gouge our audience." Tickets range in price from $49.50 to $298. "If we were going for the money we'd play much bigger halls," Copeland said. The only exception is a special New Year's Eve show at the Jacob Javits Center, New York City where Sting will appear with a full lineup of other artists, including Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, Enrique Iglesias, Tom Jones and Chuck Berry. Those tickets are. selling for $1,000 a pop. The booking agents for this tour are Brent Smith and Ian Copeland with Frontier Booking International in Los Angeles; the publicist is Kathryn Shenker and Associates in New York City; Track Entertainment in New York City set up the Compaq sponsorship. Opening acts have not been set yet, Copeland said. Algerian musician Cheb Mami, who is featured on the album, is scheduled to open shows in California, New York and Paris. Merchandising is being co-ordinated by Tom Bennett.
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