SFX Announces Multi-Year Pact With Digital Radio Pioneer XM Radio

News   SFX Announces Multi-Year Pact With Digital Radio Pioneer XM Radio SFX Entertainment, which has been actively establishing unprecedented alliances and marketing networks in sports, venue management, as well as theatre and artist representation, has announced a long term "exclusive sponsorship deal" with XM Satellite Radio.

SFX Entertainment, which has been actively establishing unprecedented alliances and marketing networks in sports, venue management, as well as theatre and artist representation, has announced a long term "exclusive sponsorship deal" with XM Satellite Radio.

Newcomer XM Radio, which is developing its own bandwidth of digital radio, is scheduled to launch a $9.95 monthly subscription service in mid 2001.

Meanwhile, SFX's 60-million strong audience base will soon be exposed to XM's digital music, talk, news, sports and kids fare at demo kiosks that will be operating at each of SFX's numerous venues. SFX said it controls more than 24,000 events annually.

SFX develops and manages touring Broadway shows, and sells Broadway subscription series and individual productions in 55 markets. An integrated franchise that promotes and produces a broad variety of live entertainment events locally, regionally and nationally, SFX has 120 venues overall, and owns or operates venues in 31 of the top 50 domestic markets.

A joint SFX/XM Radio statement indicates that by exposing its audience base to XM Radio, SFX will thus help educate the public and build brand awareness for the new service. One of several sponsorship deals announced this year, the XM pact further redeems SFX's 1999 promise to Wall Street to sign several major sponsorship deals and boost company values. Deals have already been announced with sponsors Budweiser and Wrenchead.com.

XM will also benefit, from signage, video spots, branded premium giveaways, public address announcements, presence on the SFX.com portal and in SFX programs.

In a typical press statement, SFX executive chairman Robert F. X. Sillerman often allows his leading group executive in a given merger or sponsorship to speak for the company, but in this instance -- for whatever reasons -- Sillerman himself was quoted in the SFX prepared statement.

"This latest alliance is more than a traditional corporate sponsorship," Sillerman said in the release. "It fully realizes the true potential of SFX's unprecedented face-to-face marketing network, which allows XM Radio to quickly and effectively reach 60 million consumers annually. Our companies occupy the same space in four categories: music, theater, family entertainment and sports. And among live entertainment providers, we offer the broadest range of assets and audiences. As a result, our audiences mirror each other. We are confident that XM's varied programming will have enormous appeal to SFX's unparalleled consumer base. Ultimately, through the sponsorship, SFX will help enable XM Radio to gain significant consumer acceptance of this innovative new radio service."

According to the joint statement, XM Radio will create up to 100 channels of digital-quality programming "which will be uplinked to XM Radio's powerful satellites and beamed directly to vehicle, home and portable radios coast-to-coast for a monthly subscription fee of $9.95."

XM Radio's strategic investors include General Motors, Clear Channel Communications and DIRECTV, respectively the leading car, radio and satellite TV companies in the US.

XM plans to provide commercial-free and advertiser-supported channels from studios at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, and will cover "every format imaginable" as well as brand name entertainment and information from NASCAR, BBC World Service, USA TODAY, BET, Radio One, One-On-One Sports, the CNN News Group, Bloomberg, Hispanic Broadcast Corporation (formerly Heftel) and PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Sony, Alpine, Pioneer Electronics Corporation, Delphi Delco Electronic Systems, Audiovox, Clarion, Mitsubishi Electronic Automotive America, Motorola and Sharp Corporation are said to have agreements with XM radio to manufacture and distribute radios equipped for the XM signal.

XM Radio reports it has a 12-year distribution agreement with General Motors to integrate XM-Ready radios into the company's vehicles commencing in 2001.

For further information visit www.xmradio.com.

-- By Murdoch McBride