PBR World Finals Bull Riding in Las Vegas

AEG and Professional Bull Riders have teamed up to create a new touring unit that will serve as a qualifier series for its popular Built Ford Tough tour and create a whole new circuit of venues looking for PBR content.

Starting March 14, the PBR Velocity Tour will stop in 16-18 markets per year that don’t traditionally enjoy stops on the Built Ford Tough tour. Like other events in PBR’s Touring Pro Division, including competitions in Brazil, Australia and Canada, the Velocity Tour will serve as a qualifier for PBR’s top tiered event.

“There’s a big demand for the Built Ford Tough Series events in more markets than we can accommodate and this agreement will bring PBR-produced bull riding to a new audience,” said PBR CEO Sean Gleason.

The deal with AEG is a true partnership, with both sides sharing risk and rewards for the tour’s success. PBR gets a chance to save on venue costs and tap into the marketing and promotion power of AEG, while AEG locks in a popular content provider with a track record for success and selling tickets.

“The appeal for both of our organizations is that we can approach this concept with a long-term perspective,” said Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities. A tour of this nature will take a long-term investment, but Newman said the demand for PBR events, coupled with the brand strength of PBR and the high quality of its events made the deal appealing.

The deal is similar to an agreement with USA Gymnastics in 2012 to tour Olympians through AEG venues after the 2012 Summer Games in London, although the Velocity tour will return each year and tie in with a larger competition.

“The Velocity Tour is destined to become a successful and prestigious event and will be a great part of a venue's annual content,” Newman said.

Gleason said Velocity Tour events will have the look and feel of one of Built Ford Tough’s 26 regular season events and showcase both established and up-and-coming riders. The tour will kick off at the Hampton (Va.) Coliseum and include stops in Omaha, Louisville, Ky., and Minneapolis. A special event is planned for Los Angeles, and a full schedule for the tour will be announced shortly.

“The model behind this tour is for it to stand on its own as a profitable contributor to AEG and PBR’s business,” Gleeson said, citing revenue opportunities through sponsorship, merchandise sales and ticketing.

Over the last decade, PBR has experimented with licensing its events to outside promoters, and Gleason said the company has had success, especially with events in Bismarck, N.D. and Decatur, Texas. But late last year, company officials consolidated a number of existing events in an effort to create a consistent touring and production quality.

“The idea is that we want great control over our branding and messaging,” Gleason said.

Contacts: Bob Newman, (213) 742-7155; Sean Gleason, (719) 242-2800