Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Florida punches above its weight. In other words: This casino venue attracts top-billed artists and performers you wouldn’t always expect to see on a casino stage.
Owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hard Rock is one of the premier brands for providing experiences to its customers. In Florida, the Seminoles have six venues for folks who love music, comedy, sports or of course, gaming.
But the headliner of those properties is undoubtedly the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
In an interview with PlayFL, Andrew Saunders, VP of Entertainment for Hard Rock properties in Florida, shared the vision his company has for putting on great shows and events.
Why Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones perform at Hard Rock Live
If there’s a secret to the popularity of the music events at Hard Rock Live, it’s the stage and venue.
“I’ll put it up against any theater in North America,” Saunders said. “The acoustics are brilliant (and) the production we have put it in the top in the country. It ranks among the top in ticket sales under 10,000 capacity.”
The quality of the Hard Rock Live venue is not lost on the performers. In the past, it has attracted Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, acts that don’t typically book venues under 10,000 seats. But that’s why tickets for those shows are so popular.
“You can see the Stones, McCartney or (Billy) Joel, (who) typically pretty much only play stadiums. Seeing them in a 6,500-seat theater is a unique experience for the super fan,” Saunders said.
Others who will be at Hard Rock Live this year at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood will be Steve Martin & Martin Short, the Jonas Brothers and Tom Jones.
Other Hard Rock Live venues in Florida
An even more intimate venue is available at Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee, where fans can slide into the cozy 800-seat Zig-Zag Lounge. Later this spring the Eli Young Band and the Fusion Band will appear at Immokalee, among other acts.
Immokalee is perhaps best known as the host of an annual Blues Festival, Latin Festival and Classic Car Show that also features music.
Music is at the heart of everything Hard Rock stands for.
“Hard Rock is not a rock-n-roll brand. We are a music brand,” Saunders said. “We want to reignite the partnership with Hard Rock and music. It’s in our DNA, and why we were founded. The company is coming back to our roots, like the venue we built in Florida.”
A 1,400-seat venue is also located at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, where music and other entertainment is on stage practically every day of the week. Michael Bolton performed in Tampa last month.
Finally, Coconut Creek features Live at Coco, an outdoor venue with 2,000 seats, which can be expanded to 3,000 with standing room. On May 4, country musician Jelly Roll will appear for one concert at The Stage at Coco.
Hard Rock also partners with Miami Grand Prix, Sports Illustrated
The Seminole Casino in Hollywood is also known for bringing Formula One racing to Florida. For several years, Hard Rock has been aligned with Formula One and served as a partner for the Miami Grand Prix, which is held in early May.
Seminole Casino Hollywood presents headline performers at Hard Rock Live in conjunction with the Grand Prix. The race takes place at Hard Rock Stadium. A list of acts will be announced soon. In past years, Rod Stewart and Metallica appeared during the event.
“We’re thrilled to coordinate with Formula One for the Miami Grand Prix, and also the Las Vegas Grand Prix,” Saunders said. “In Miami we have a portion of the racetrack that is the Hard Rock Beach Club, with an entertainment stage, swimming pools and full-on beach club. Last year Post Malone and Cedric Gervais appeared.”
Also in May, Sports Illustrated will make an appearance in south Florida courtesy of Hard Rock. In coordination with the release of SI’s annual swimsuit edition, Hard Rock Hollywood will host a magazine launch, complete with music and events.
The first weekend of April, Hard Rock hosted the inaugural Pickleball Slam. The event featured tennis legends Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, John McEnroe and Andy Roddick in a double match for a $1 million purse. The event, which drew 4,000 spectators and may be the largest pickleball event ever, was broadcast live on ESPN.
Hard Rock is also partnered with Red Bull Racing. The Hard Rock brand name is on cars and jackets for the team, which competes in Formula One. Because of its partnership with the sport, Hard Rock is able to provide meet and greets for customers with drivers, and immersive experiences.
What makes Hard Rock special
In 2007, the Seminole Tribe of Florida completed its purchase of Hard Rock for $965 million. Included in the deal were more than 100 Hard Rock Cafes, four Hard Rock Hotels, two Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hotels, and two Hard Rock Live concert venues.
The deal was the first by a tribe in purchasing such a large entertainment and hospitality company. Hard Rock is a global brand with an appeal across many demographics.
“Hard Rock is one of few brands that has such an awareness around the world,” Saunders said. “You can see our t-shirts in many countries. Hard Rock means something different to every person. Some have had a fantastic hamburger at a cafe. Some have enjoyed a resort in the Dominican Republic. Others see a show at a Hard Rock entertainment stage.
“Hard Rock is aligned with great experiences, whether it’s restaurants, hotels, resorts and casinos, or music events. I’m lucky because my job is to dream up and execute one-of-a-kind experiential events.”