After years of sipping back Molson while taking in the sounds of Dave Matthews, Motley Crue, The Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams and others, concert-goers at Toronto’s beloved amphitheatre can expect a bit of a mental adjustment when they buy their tickets this coming concert season.
Known for some 22 years as the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, the concert venue at the Ontario Place complex will be known henceforth as Budweiser Stage.
The move comes as part of a multi-year, exclusive partnership (the companies won’t say how long or what the deal is worth) that will see Budweiser Canada partner with Live Nation, the entertainment company that owns the ampitheatre on land leased from the province.
Budweiser is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the mammoth multinational brewing corporation that owns other iconic brands such as Labatt and Stella Artois.
“The Budweiser brand has a long association with music in Canada and around the world, and we look forward to continuing to grow and evolve our music presence in collaboration with Live Nation,” Todd Allen, vice president of marketing at Labatt Breweries of Canada, said in a news release. “Our partnership marks the beginning of great things to come for music fans from coast to coast.”
The company says that concert-goers will notice a few immediate changes in the 2017 season, namely a total refurbishment of the concession stands at the venue that will see a refreshed look, as well as cashless payment options such as tap and mobile payment apps that will speed up lines.
The companies are also promising an enhancement of the “pre-show experience” that they say will allow patrons to arrive earlier to enjoy the space before a show with live entertainment by local bands.
No changes to the physical concert space or seating have been announced.
“The amphitheatre at Ontario Place has been a landmark entertainment destination for the Ontario and Toronto communities for years,” John May, president of media and corporate partnerships at Live Nation Canada said in the release. “With the upgrades to Budweiser Stage, we look forward to enhancing the concert experience for the fans as we continue to fulfill our mission of connecting fans with the artists they love.”
The partnership between Live Nation and Budweiser involves a slew of music events and venues across the country.
While the Budweiser name will grace Toronto’s downtown ampitheatre, patrons will be able to purchase a variety of labels that fall under the same company, including Millstreet, Corona and Brickworks cider and the company is promising that consumers will have “more choice than ever before.”
The choice of the Budweiser brand for the venue is consistent with the label’s sponsorship of other sporting and music events in Canada, such as the NXNE Festival and the Calgary Stampede according to the company.
It is not clear whether Molson, which has held the name rights for the venue since its last major refurbishment in the 1990s, attempted to extend its deal. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately return a call for comment.
The name change comes as the province and the city work to revitalize the entire Ontario Place complex, which has been partially shuttered since 2012 amid declining attendance and ageing infrastructure.