It might not be as known as Coachella, but Rock in Rio wants to make it big in America. The festival's debut is set to happen in Las Vegas in less than two months, and the organisers have just scored their biggest sponsorship yet: Mercedes-Benz. The carmaker will have its name on the secondary stage and offer an amusement ride called Iron Schöckl.
Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to sponsoring big events in the United States, but this is the first time it actually puts its name behind a #Music festival. Why? Rock in Rio is nothing like what the American market has ever seen. The biggest music events in the US are easily Coachella and Lollapalooza, but the kind of experience they offer is not comparable.
Rock in Rio is more eclectic, appealing to families, children and older people, as well as rock fans and pop-eager teenagers.
Stephanie Zimmer, head of brand experiences marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA, tells the New York Times that one of the reasons they decided to go ahead with the sponsorship is the location of the festival and what it offers in terms of experiences. We're talking clean, abundant restrooms; a high profile V.I.P. area for everyone used to the perks of Vegas and beyond; and a very creative environment that includes mini-cities within the space, called Rock Streets. The venue is huge and is being built on the Las Vegas Strip, near Circus Circus, costing partner MGM Resorts a total of $25 million. Cirque du Soleil is also a partner of the Brazilian festival.
Roberta Medina, the festival's founder daughter and vice-president of Rock in Rio, has been working hard in the United States to get brands on board for the mega event - which was created as a brand-oriented event 30 years ago.
In January, she told me they had secured at least $9 million in sponsorships from multiple brands; that figure is now $14 million. Other sponsors include drinks brands Bacardi, Red Bull, Corona and Hennessy, and Chilli Beans sunglasses.
As for the music itself, Metallica, No Doubt, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars are the biggest names set to perform over two weekends, on May 8,9, 15 and 16. Tickets for each weekend cost $298. The venue will have six stages and will be able to receive 85,000 festival goers per day. The New York Times says 56,000 weekend passes have already been sold. And the total cost of the festival? $75 million.