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XLIVE Interview Series

XLIVE Interview Series: Sit Down with Ety Rybak of CAA

A highly entrepreneurial business builder and strategist, Ety Rybak, while in his 20s, leveraged a new vision and approach to the packaging and sale of sports and entertainment tickets, ultimately building one of the largest companies in the industry.

He was successful in reshaping the traditional aticketing industry and helping to drive todays trend toward experiential marketing. His concept of offering aVIP Insider Experiences that ago beyond the ticket over time attracted a large customer base of major corporations and affluent individuals and helped to build his start-up into a $80 million enterprise and industry icon in under 10 years. XLIVE sat down with Ety to discuss the Evolution of VIP Experiences at Live Events.

As one of the most prestigious and powerful agencies in the entertainment industry, what was the inspiration behind the establishment of CAA Premium Experience?

The real inspiration was to be able to show our clients and their fans what is possible within the landscape of VIP experiences. Weve been in the VIP space since it was nascent and realized early on that many fans were unaware that ainsider experiences - such as being on the field prior to a game or meeting an artist backstage - were even possible. Millennials have definitely expanded our business based on their interest in ˜experiences and desire to share these experiences via social media.  

According to a recent article in Forbes, there were over 800 dedicated music festivals that took place in North America alone in 2016. Do you believe that weve reached a point in the music festival business where festivals need to offer VIP experiences in order to survive and thrive as the industry continues to get more competitive?

Demand for VIP experiences at festivals has surged over the past few years.  Not too long ago, festivals only offered two or three day passes, before promoters realized that some fans may also be interested in a single day festival pass with backstage access to their favorite artists. Today, festivals may offer a variety of ticketing options, in many cases including multiple VIP levels. This is the new template and is far more user-friendly for the fans and more profitable for the promoter.

Can festival producers bridge the gap between the limitless opportunities that VIP experiences provide to help monetize their events while ensuring that the needs of middle-class ticket purchasers arent being ignored?

VIP experiences are becoming increasingly more important now, especially in the music business, since it is driven by touring. Its human nature to want to have an insider experience and there are a growing number of people willing and able to pay for that privilege. But thats not to say that one cant offer unique experiences to festival attendees that arent paying VIP ticket prices. For example, festivals could use Facebook Live or Periscope to broadcast backstage content for fans that dont want to pay for that on-site access. Technology allows us to be more creative with what we can offer to fans at every price point.

Lets finish up by looking ahead to the future of the VIP experience at festivals and live events in general. Do you think its true that emerging technology like VR are actually making VIP experiences more necessary since they can replicate the feeling of being at a concert or a festival?

While new technologies like VR may pique the curiosity of some to watch a show via a VR headset in the comfort of their own home, there will always be an appetite for VIP experiences because people love to personally experience an event that everyone in the world is watching.

XLIVE conference on December 5-7 in Las Vegas, will be discussing current pressing issues in event management, and production. CLICK HERE to Register, and HERE to view the agenda for XLIVE 2016.

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