ASM Global enters into new strategic partnership with guest experience innovators Forward Associates

As the guest experience evolves in arenas, stadiums and theaters around the world, and demand from fans for elevated and enhanced live entertainment continues to increase, ASM Global has entered into a new, strategic partnership with multidisciplinary venue strategist Forward Associates.

ASM Global President and CEO Ron Bension said:

As we continue to embrace cutting-edge technologies and industry disruptors on a global scale, producing renowned content through our unmatched relationships, culinary artistry, sustainability solutions and client profitability, we’re creating a new intersection that fuses these attributes together.

Now we are investing in the industry’s leading innovators of guest experience, Forward Associates, who we’ll work with to bring all of this to life, looking at the guest journey, reimagining it for everyone and ensuring there is an even wider choice for the entire audience.

Forward Associates, founded in 2015, is a fast-growing and dynamic team, with offices in London, Milan and Helsinki and is in the process of opening a home office in the U.S.

Moving the dial

As venues adopt an increasing focus on the guest experience, Forward Associates CEO Roy Westwood utilises a unique and holistic approach to the guest journey and live experience, broadening the variety of venue offerings and exploring new and creative ways to elevate this for every single guest. 

Katie McIntyre moderated a panel session entitled “Rooted in the Real World” with Roy Westwood, Founder & CEO, Forward Associates, Chris Bray, Executive VP, ASM Global Europe, James Taylor, Programming Director for Sport & New Business, ASM Global Europe and Arich Berghammer, Senior VP, Revenue & Growth, ASM Global, at the 2023 ALSD Conference & Tradeshow.

Forward Associates — wide-ranging experiences and areas of specialism ranging from architecture to interior design, venue strategy to premium seat sales and marketing — provides a unique “one-stop shop” to evaluate, plan, design, execute and commercialise world-class venues across the globe.

Currently, Forward Associates is shaping the next generation of hospitality at Everton FC’s new stadium, from the inception of the “All” master brand, which seeks to rebalance traditional football hospitality to the delivery of a state-of-the-art sales showroom in Liverpool’s iconic Liver Building. 

Transformative approach

Forward Associates is also working alongside the ASM Global team at Stockholm Live developing the future strategy for their portfolio of venues including the Avicii Arena. They have also been instrumental in supporting the new, transformative design at the AO Arena in Manchester (pictured, top), as it undergoes a major $75 million redevelopment and have completed projects for ASM Global venues in the U.S. including Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Other transformative projects Forward Associates has undertaken include The O2, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa FC, as well as Koko and the Brighton Dome, creating multifaceted offers that deliver real, increased commercial returns. 

ALSD International 2023 is being hosted at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, October 9-10. Optimising revenue through New Builds, Renovations & Service Expansions is the key focus of this industry-leading event, with architecture & design, fan experience, hospitality, premium seating, sustainability and technology taking centre stage.

The move demonstrates ASM Global’s continued goal: To elevate the experience for all its 165 million customers around the world and to remain the world leader in live entertainment. 

Chris Bray, President of ASM Global Europe, said:

Demand for market-leading, cutting-edge guest experience is increasing at pace. Our teams are exceptional at what they do, and we need to continue to innovate in this space, always exceeding our guest expectations. Forward Associates are best in class, with a real vision for the future of live entertainment experience, and absolute expertise in their field. They provide a unique, multidisciplinary service with a proven track record of delivering exceptional concepts from start to finish. We’re delighted to enter this new partnership, which will further cement our position as market leaders in venue operations and providers of live entertainment.

Roy Westwood added:

Whether a new build or a repositioning as part of a master-planning exercise, Forward Associates is proud to be the leader in guest experience innovation. Together with ASM Global, we have a shared vision to continually evolve in this space, with a commitment to always delivering the very best for live entertainment fans. With ASM Global’s international portfolio and reach, this is an exciting move for us; and we are very much looking forward to getting started.

 The partnership will bolster ASM Global and Forward Associates’ combined commitment to bringing innovative approaches to the future of the fan experience specifically focusing on ASM Global’s vast portfolio of the world’s most iconic venues in the live entertainment, trade show, hospitality and sports spaces.

Sports Venue Business organises and delivers ALSD International – the leading event and 365 community for the Premium Seat & Hospitality sector – on behalf of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD).

ALSD International 2023 is taking place at Etihad Stadium this October, with venue tours complimenting the high-level conference, exhibition and networking events. This year’s edition will feature the inaugural Tech Symposium and a Fan Experience breakout being delivered by IIFX.

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