http://www.amusementbusiness.com/amu..._id=1000865685


The Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles is being rechristened the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk as part of a partnership between Gibson Guitar Corp., Universal Studios Partnerships and House of Blues Concerts.

The 10-year pact with the Nashville-based instrument maker -- which markets Gibson, Epiphone and Dobro guitars, Steinberger basses, Slingerland drums and Baldwin pianos -- also will entail a partnership with House of Blues on a select number of special events at the Universal City venue. HOB operates the amphitheater and books more than 100 shows a year there.

UPS and Gibson executives declined to put a dollar value on the agreement, but sources indicated the deal is worth $10 million-$15 million. The target for an official opening for the Gibson Amphitheatre is late summer.

The 32-year-old, 6,089-seat amphitheater will receive a facelift that will include the installation of a skybox, Gibson-branded signage and lighting and the installation of an external "Gibson Guitar Garden" for on-site presentations and events.

"There's a whole new light show and a gigantic guitar sculpture," Gibson chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said. "It's going to jazz up the way the amphitheater looks outside ... It's going to be very iconic."

Gibson has already poked its corporate toe into the venue side of the music business. It operates the Gibson Lounge, a club adjacent to its Memphis facility, and a club near its factory and retail outlet at the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville.

Syd Smith, vp business development at USP, noted that that the Gibson name will now receive high-profile exposure with the 10 million who visit Universal CityWalk and the Universal Studios tour and theme park each year.