By Dave Brooks

FIRST AVENUE PRESIDENT Dayna Frank has signed an exclusive ticketing agreement with AXS Tickets for the company’s six venues, including the marquee 1,550-capacity nightclub located at the corner of First Avenue and 7th Street in Minneapolis featured in Prince’s iconic 1984 film Purple Rain and beloved by fans of The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, Semisonic, Atmosphere, The Jayhawks and many more.

The agreement with First Avenue also includes 7th St Entry, Turf Club, Fine Line, The Fitzgerald Theater, and the Palace Theatre, which First Avenue co-operates with Jam Productions. First Avenue had previously been a client of Etix.

First Avenue in Minneapolis (Darin Kamnetz)

“As independent venues and concert promoters, the First Avenue team is constantly looking for innovative ways to offer the best experience from start to finish for the fans. We are thrilled to welcome AXS as our official ticketing partner, elevating our fan experience with new features like 3D seat maps at our theaters, seamless mobile tickets and transfer and a broad array of marketing and distribution capabilities, helping fans discover and purchase tickets wherever they are on the internet. They make the buying processes incredibly easy and secure, which is exactly what we want to offer,” says Nate Kranz, First Avenue’s general manager.

AXS, which is owned by AEG, has enjoyed a number of marquee signings in recent months including Neumos (Seattle), Jam Productions (Chicago), the Pabst Theatre Group (Milwaukee), The Truman (Kansas City), PromoWest (Columbus, Ohio), Zero Mile Group (Atlanta) and the famed Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, as well as major promoters including Bowery Presents, Goldenvoice and AEG Presents.

“Independent venues are the lifeblood of our industry and AXS is committed to bringing the best technology to help them generate new revenues and deliver a world-class consumer experience,” says Stephanie Streeter, senior director for AXS Music. “As a pillar of their community for over 50 years, we could be not be more excited about our partnership with First Avenue.”

Frank is also the executive director of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and played a critical role securing the passage of the Save Our Stages Act, part of the $900 billion COVID-19 aid package, signed into law at the end of 2020.

“We’re increasingly seeing our independent venue partners recognize how ticketing technology can drive greater revenue opportunities. Merely providing the basics leaves too much on the table for these talented entrepreneurs,”says Bryan Perez, chief executive at AXS. “We couldn’t be more proud to partner with the First Ave team and help equip them with the tools to grow their business into the future.”

AXS also counts five of the world’s top grossing venues — The O2 in London, Staples Center in Los Angeles, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the Toyota Center in Houston and Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver — as clients, as well as the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets, the NCAA and the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights. AXS is headquartered in LA with locations worldwide including Cleveland, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, London and Stockholm, Sweden.


Originally published by Billboard, February 2021