Meet the LA Firm Behind ‘Shaq’s Fun House’ Super Bowl Party

For Los Angeles Medium Rare companies, Super Bowl LVI is a game-changer.

On Friday night, the live events company will host a giant pre-Super Bowl party, with 5,000 tickets sold at the Shrine Auditorium – hosted by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.

At the party, which is expected to gross seven figures, guests will snack on food from local businesses like Pink’s Hot Dogs, and musicians including Lil Wayne will perform as part of Shaq’s Fun House.

Medium Rare is among several small businesses in the Los Angeles area banking on the Super Bowl to give them a welcome boost after the two-year pandemic halted live entertainment and hit the local economy.

“LA is the entertainment capital of the United States, a place people love to come and visit,” said Adam Richman, one of Medium Rare’s co-founders. “Fortunately, it feels like we are turning a bit of a corner on COVID. … We are really excited that the Super Bowl is happening in Los Angeles and that we can play a big role this weekend.

Fans coming to watch the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals face off at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday are expected to net $477.5 million in economic benefits, according to Micronomics Economic Research and Consulting.

Many Super Bowl attendees will look for ways to entertain themselves outside of the game, by eating at local restaurants, staying in hotels and attending concerts.

“It’s very rare that they only come for this event,” said Mazen Bou Zeineddine, director of research firm Beacon Economics. “They’re going to be staying for a few days, and as such they’ll probably be touring LA. They will indulge in various different recreational activities.

Medium Rare, which alludes to the co-founders’ love of steak, aims to cash in on some of the loot from big game.

Formed in November 2018, Medium Rare hosts a range of live and virtual events, partnering with celebrities such as Shaq, chef Guy Fieri and soccer star Rob Gronkowski to promote their brands. Past events include beach parties such as “Gronk Beach” and music festivals such as DJ Carnage’s Rare Festival.

The company was started by two executives with years of experience in the live event industry.

Richman was a former executive vice president of LiveStyle, overseeing the affairs of New York’s electronic music festival Electric Zoo; Co-founder Joe Silberzweig was previously Senior Director of Business Development at Live Nation.

A worker cleans the tracks of bumper cars preparing for Shaq’s Fun House.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Through their past professional experiences, the couple saw that it took at least three years to launch a major music festival and for it to be profitable.

“We said there was something wrong with it…you have to find a way to be profitable from the start,” Richman said. “That’s when the light bulb went out in our head.”

To test their idea, the two friends team up with O’Neal at a carnival-themed music festival, also called “Shaq’s Fun House”, in March 2018 during Miami Music Week.

The festival drew 2,500 people and generated interest from media and sponsors, as well as revenue to match much larger events, Richman said.

The duo split the profits with O’Neal and realized they had a successful formula for a business, which they launched in November of that year.

“We quickly realized the power of a celebrity partner and we didn’t just book him for a guest appearance like so many others do, but we actually started a joint venture with him, where our celebrity partner is incentivized that the event is a success,” said Silberzweig. “It really opened our eyes to this potential new business model.”

The business took off. Medium Rare projects $30 million in gross revenue this year, up from $21 million in 2021, and says it’s profitable. In 2020, the company had about $10 million in gross revenue, executives said.

The company makes money by selling sponsorships, VIP tables, merchandise and tickets. Rare Medium covers production costs and shares profits with celebrity hosts.

Last year, Medium Rare produced four events, and this year it plans to do at least six.

The company, which has eight full-time employees, has offices in Los Angeles and New York. Investors include Authentic Brands Group – whose owners include Shaq – which took a 20% stake in Medium Rare in 2020.

General admission ticket prices for Shaq’s Fun House ranged from $300 to $600, with VIP tickets selling for between $1,000 and $1,300. Tickets sold out on Wednesday — with half of the guests coming from out of town — and the event is expected to be Medium Rare’s highest-grossing yet.

A worker replaces the bulbs of a merry-go-round

A worker replaces light bulbs in the ride at Shaq’s Fun House.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

The average price for a VIP table was around $20,000. A package priced at $1 million included a private jet for up to 12 people and a fleet of Rolls Royces to take them to the event, a private VIP deck on the stage and unlimited bottles of Brut champagne.

“I’ve been going to the Super Bowl for about 30 years and most parties, I hate to say it, are boring, hovering around rich people, regular people and no one having a good time,” O’Neal said in a post. interview. “I want people to have the same type of fun that I would in my own regular home.”

Laura J. Boyer