TAG's Founder and President, Paul Thornton, formerly was the President for Bravo Entertainment. Under Thornton's leadership Bravo grew to become the largest live events producer in the Northwest United States, and 8th largest ticket seller in North America. Bravo grew to more than 200 employees and produced upwards of 700 events per year across 19 states. Thornton sold Bravo in 2007 at one of the highest paid multiples in the industry.
BIG EASY CONCERT HOUSE
Thornton designed, owned and operated the Big Easy Concert House chain of venues. These multi-purpose 1,000 to 1,800 capacity facilities hosted touring concerts, speakers, comedians, sporting events and private functions, and were consistently ranked in the top 40 best selling club venues in the US. The Big Easy's won multiple awards including; Best Live Music Venue, Best New Business, Best Concert Venue, Best Club, Best of the Best, and many other awards.
HONDA SKI TOUR & JEEP 48STRAIGHT
TAG's Thornton was a founding partner and the visionary for the Honda Ski Tour in 2007. TAG was the executive producer for the tour; overseeing marketing, talent acquisition, event design, budgeting, and production. In 2008 Jeep became the title sponsor and expanded the tour to more resort towns and rebranded it Jeep 48Straight. The tour took over the cache ski resort towns of Aspen, Telluride, Breckenridge, Squaw Valley and Sun Valley creating ski & snowboard competitions on the hills and sell-out cultural festivals in town. TAG's model to combine sport and music drew the largest audiences ever for similar ski competition events in the United States. The events aired nationally in prime weekend sports slots on ABC and CBS, with follow up coverage on ESPN.
CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS
TAG was the exclusive events management company for Circuit of The Americas in charge of all Events & Entertainment for the 400 million dollar company. TAG developed the fan experience elements, and led the strategy for turning the F1 USGP event into one of the premier social events on the US sports landscape. TAG led the booking and production for all entertainment for the F1 USGP and MotoGP events. TAG was also responsible for creating and acquiring all non-motorsports events, and by the end of 2014 TAG's events accounted for more than 50% of the total annual attendance through the gates at CoTA.
TAG led the design and project management for the build-out of the newest major amphitheater to be built in the United States in more than a decade. Opening in April of 2013 the Austin360 Amphitheater has hosted more than 45 concerts to date, welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests through the gates, and achieved some of the highest per head revenues in the industry. TAG operated the amphitheater for the first two seasons as the general management, overseeing all aspects from marketing and booking to production and venue operations. TAG successfully recruited and trained a staff team over the two seasons to eventually hand off these management duties going into the 2015 season. The amphitheater won Pollstar's international award for Best New Major Venue in 2013, was nominated for Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue in 2014, and was named in USA Today's 10Best Concert Venues.
FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
TAG's vision to help Formula 1 succeed this time in the United States was to turn the F1 Austin race into one of the premier social events in the world. With F1 fans still a niche group in the US, TAG strived to fuse top international artists with the excitement of motorsports to create a cultural event that would attract a much more mainstream audience. With the addition of big name performers and other entertainment activations at the track alongside taking over downtown Austin with a major music and cultural arts festival, the retention rate of year over year ticket buyers to the event was a historical achievement. The F1 USGP won the Sports Business Journal's 2012 Best Major Sporting Event of the Year award.
AUSTIN FAN FEST
As part of expanding the F1 USGP fan experience TAG created the Austin Fan Fest. This multi-day festival took over 12 city blocks in downtown Austin, as well as many of the major venues, and hosted major participatory activations from brands like Red Bull, Ebay, Mobil 1, Shell, CNN, Univision, Tito's, Budweiser, ESPN, Texas Lottery, Fiat, Ducati, BMW, AT&T and many more. Almost 100 bands performed each year, including acts like Aerosmith, Sting, Enrique Iglesias, Flo Rida, Juanes, Berlin, Wallflowers, Lupe Fiasco and others across multiple genres. The Austin Fan Fest exceeded all expectations drawing 200,000 guests in 2012, and increased to more than 225,000 guests in 2013, and brought millions of dollars in new revenues to the F1 USGP event. The addition of the Fan Fest to the F1 USGP greatly expanded the audience demo for the event, boosted media coverage, and developed new sponsorship revenues.
ESPN X GAMES
TAG led the charge for the City of Austin and the Circuit of The Americas Local Organizing Committee to move the ESPN Summer X Games from Los Angeles to Austin. TAG handled every aspect of the extensive RFP process that started out with 18 cities in contention, and then narrowed down to 4 finalist cities. TAG's model to revamp the X Games into a weekend festival ticket with the addition of a large scale music and cultural arts component landed Austin as the winning city of a four year contract. TAG then became a partner in the event and took on the role of Executive Producer for the 2014 inaugural event, which garnered the highest X Games attendance in its twenty year history with 160,000 guests, and had fives times greater revenues than any year prior.
TAG, Jeff Foxworthy, and Jeff's management team joined forces to create a brand new music, comedy, and outdoor lifestyle festival called RedFest. TAG designed the experience and was the Executive Producer of the event, coordinating all aspects from marketing and booking to production, budgeting and venue operations. The event debuted in 2014 and welcomed almost 50,000 guests through the gates, drawing one of the strongest first year crowds for a festival.
AUSTIN AZTEX PRO SOCCER
TAG's Thornton put the investment deal together to buy the USL Pro franchise for Austin, and move the Austin Aztex up to the professional soccer division. As a partner and advisor, Thornton has led the revenue strategy for the organization, developing the marketing, ticketing, sponsorship, concessions, and merchandising programs. Thornton took the lead on developing the organizational staffing needs, then recruited and trained the new staff members. Thornton negotiated a new merchandise apparel deal, landed major media sponsorships with iHeart Media, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin360.com, and led the RFP process for a new ticketing partner. Thornton successfully negotiated with AISD, the City of Austin and TABC for the approval of alcohol sales at the games (never approved prior). Thornton has been working with the City of Austin on locating a site for a new soccer specific stadium in hopes of moving the club up to MLS soccer within the next few 3-5 years.
TAG developed a new MLS pre-season tournament to be held at the University of Texas, which debuted in February 2015 and achieved the years highest MLS pre-season games attendance.
FIFA WORLD CUP WATCH PARTY
The City of Austin tapped TAG to produce a city wide World Cup Watch Party at the Long Center for the USA vs Belgium FIFA World Cup soccer match. The hook though was that there was only 3 days to plan and produce the event. And on top of that TAG had to find a way to get the entire cost of the event sponsored by local companies.
TAG pulled it off, and even though there was only a couple days to get the word out nearly 10,000 people attended the watch party, and TAG got ESPN to broadcast to a national audience live shots from the Austin Watch Party.
AWARDS & ASSOCIATIONS
Thornton, and his companies, have received the following business accolades:
Idaho Business Review "Accomplished Under 40" Award
State of Idaho "Private Sector Recognition" Award
Pollstar's Independent Promoter of the Year Award
Pollstar's International Best New Major Venue Award
Pollstar's Best Major Outdoor Venue Award
USA Today's 10Best Concert Venues
The Big Easy Concert House venues won the following awards:
Best Live Music Venue
Best All Ages Venue
Best Dance Club
Best Venue To See A Band
Best Of The Best
Best New Business
Best Concert Venue
Best Hot New Nightspot
North American Concert Promoters Association ("NACPA")
Executive Board Member
Downtown Boise Association - 501(c)6 Organization
Executive Board Member