LEGOLAND Dubai opened at the end of October 2016 as the first gate of Dubai Parks & Resorts theme park destination. It is the seventh LEGOLAND park in the world and first in the Middle East, developed jointly by Merlin Entertainments Group/LEGOLAND Parks and DXB Entertainments. A LEGOLAND Water Park was also opened as a second gate. With more than 40 rides and attractions, as well as over 15 water slides, the 3.2-million-square-feet LEGOLAND Park and Water Park cost an estimated USD300 million to develop. ECA was retained by Merlin Entertainments Group/LEGOLAND Parks and Meraas (holding company of DXB Entertainments) to complete the market and financial feasibility study for the project.
LEGOLAND Dubai: www.legoland.com/dubai
ECA and blooloop present a new resource for the Attractions Industry: the ECA blooloop Global Attraction Landscape Report
The attractions industry is expanding and evolving rapidly, introducing new projects, players, and relationships. Covering this fast moving industry, blooloop brings attractions professionals together online and in-person with up-to-date news, interviews, commentary, and events. Within this context, ECA and blooloop saw an opportunity to add a resource that profiles and catalogs the diverse mix of key players that are driving attraction development around the world.
This is an idea that grew out of many conversations with industry professionals interested in understanding the mix of operators, relationships, and projects that define the attractions industry.
With our first release of this resource (‘1.0’), the ECA-blooloop Global Attraction Landscape, we explore how this information can be organized, presented, and shared. The focus of this version 1.0 is large-scale parks, including a diverse set of theme, amusement, cultural, and marine parks. Composed as a collection of profiles, the report is organized into three sections – 15 leading operators, 10 emerging players, and 5 other pipeline projects to watch.
ECA’s Christian Aaen and Janice Li Discussed the Impact of Shanghai Disneyland with Attractions Management Magazine
ECA’s Christian Aaen and Janice Li describe the recent opening of US$5.5 billion Shanghai Disneyland as the start of “a new era in the development of the Chinese theme park industry.” Shanghai Disneyland will introduce to the Chinese theme park market the highest quality international-standard themed attractions. It will also create a “tent pole effect” for other domestic and international attraction operators in China, as it “sets a higher price point that other parks price up against.” ECA expects there will be “double-digit attendance growth” in the overall industry in China.
NBA Playzone, the first NBA-themed and branded entertainment attraction in China was recently opened in Hubindao Shopping Mall in the Xintiandi area of Shanghai. The 1,500 square meter indoor attraction features basketball-themed interactive activities like trampoline dunk zones, mini-courts, obstacle challenge areas, as well as a party room, snack bar and retail area. ECA was retained by the NBA to provide business planning strategy and identify key attendance and economic parameters for the project.
The National Football League (NFL) and Cirque du Soleil recently announced a 40,000-square-feet NFL themed and branded attraction in Times Square, New York, to be opened in Fall 2017. Fans will have the opportunity to test their skills to see how they measure up to professional football players, learn game strategy, in addition to experiencing the adrenaline-pumping action of the NFL. ECA was retained by Cirque du Soleil Theatrical for program and business planning advisory services.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – KidZania Singapore on Sentosa Island Opening April 12, 2016
KidZania Singapore, located on Sentosa Island, officially launched on April 12, 2016. The 81,000 sq.ft indoor attraction can hold up to1,500 people at one time, offering children real-life experiences through different role-play activities. As of April 2016, KidZania has opened 21 attractions worldwide. ECA was retained by Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd (TAR) to provide a feasibility study for KidZania Singapore in 2011.
ECA Dubai Attraction Market Snapshot on Blooloop.com
Two years after ECA’s first Dubai market profile was posted on Blooloop, ECA continues its Blooloop Dubai market profile series with updates on the current state and future outlook of the attractions market in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This feature was written by Beverly Hills-based Senior Associate, Edmond Chih. ECA recently has worked on a variety of theme park and live entertainment development projects in the Dubai/UAE market.
ECA’s Christian Aaen Discusses China Museum Industry Development with InPark Magazine
ECA’s Christian Aaen discusses development trends for China’s museum industry with InPark Magazine. In the museum feature, Mr. Aaen points out that “China is still doing well compared to other countries. There is a fast development – 150 to 200 new museums per year.“ Also, ECA expects continued growth in the Asian museum and culture sectors.
ECA completed the site evaluation and market feasibility study for the recently announced LEGOLAND theme park in Shanghai, China. ECA was retained by LEGOLAND Development / Merlin Entertainments Group and worked closely with its partner, China Media Capital (CMC) based in Shanghai.
The proposed LEGOLAND Shanghai Theme Park will be developed jointly by Merlin Entertainments and China Media Capital (CMC). The park will be the first LEGOLAND theme park in China. As part of the agreement, Merlin and CMC will develop additional indoor Midway attractions across China as well.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – Margaritaville Resort Water Park Project
Recently, Encore Capital Development announced a water park project plan for the proposed 300-acre Margaritaville Resort development in Orlando, Florida. ECA was retained to complete the market demand and feasibility analysis for the water park.
The 12-acre themed water park is expected to open in 2017. In addition to the water park, the resort will also feature a 200-room Margaritaville-branded hotel, a themed community, vacation-rental homes, time-share units, on-site residential apartments as well as a 200,000 sq.ft retail area.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – LEGO Brand House to Open in Billund, Denmark (2017)
LEGO Brand House, a hands-on LEGO experience center, is slated to open to the public in Billund, Denmark in the second half of 2017. The 129,000 sq.ft project will be the only LEGO brand house in the world.
Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the building will stand 23m tall and consist of 21 huge LEGO bricks, built on top of one another. The LEGO House will feature a 21,000 sq.ft area with free-of-charge access, offering a café and a special LEGO store. Paying visitors are able to access four specially designed play zones of the LEGO House with different, but interconnected play worlds.
ECA was retained by LEGO Co. to complete the business planning, attendance projections and feasibility analysis for the project.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – Universal Studios Beijing Theme Park Resort (US$3.3 billion) Approved by China State Council for 2019 Opening
Universal Parks and Resorts (UPR), a long-time ECA client, recently announced a major milestone for the Universal Studios Beijing project that ECA Principals Ray Braun and Christian Aaen have been involved with since 2001 (multiple feasibility studies over the past 13 years). The Chinese government (NDRC/State Council) approved the Universal Studios theme park resort that will be owned by Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co., a consortium of four state-owned companies, and Universal (UPR).
Beijing Tourism Group (BTG) and Universal Parks and Resorts (UPR) retained Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) to conduct an independent market, attendance and financial feasibility study in 2013/14 to assess the market potential for Universal Studios destination theme park and resort in Beijing. ECA Principals have a long-time working relationship with BTG and UPR on international theme park attractions projects worldwide, including previous feasibility studies of the Beijing market in 2001/02 and 2008/09. ECA Principal/Co-Founder, Christian Aaen, led the study together with Janice Li, Regional Director (HK) and Edward P. Shaw, Associate Principal, Viviette Luo, Associate (HK), Martin Wong, Associate (HK) and Dominic Wong, Associate (HK). Ray Braun, Principal/Co-Founder, was the senior advisor.
Abstract Brief Summary: After 13 years of negotiations and planning, Universal Parks & Resorts said Monday it would open a $3.3-billion, 300-acre theme park in Beijing. The company and its Chinese partners did not set an opening date, but state-run media said the complex would debut in 2019.
The long-rumored park will be among the company’s largest and include the same kind of movie-themed attractions featured at Universal parks in Los Angeles, Orlando, Japan and Singapore. It will include attractions specifically created for China and plans also call for a Universal CityWalk retail-dining-and-entertainment complex as well as a “first-ever” Universal-themed resort hotel. The park is to be in an eastern suburb called Tongzhou. Additional phases could see the complex expand to 1,000 acres.
The park’s Chinese partner, Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co. Ltd., which was formed in 2013, completed a $300-million deal for the land in March, Chinese media reported. The park will be jointly owned by Beijing Shouhuan, which is a consortium of four Chinese state-owned companies, and Universal Parks & Resorts.
Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of NBC Universal, signed an agreement to develop the Beijing park in December of last year, the state-run Beijing News said, and the National Development and Reform Commission, which approves such projects, signed off on the plans last month. Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive of Universal Parks & Resorts, said the Beijing park would showcase some of the best themed attractions to be found anywhere. “We will work together [with Shouhuan] to create experiences based on China’s best-loved stories and centuries-long rich cultural heritage,” he added.
Rides based on the “Transformers” franchise and the “Despicable Me” series as well as “Harry Potter” seem likely candidates based on those films’ popularity in China. The fourth installment in the Transformers series, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” became the top grossing film ever in China this year. In a videotaped greeting played at the press conference, Steven Spielberg, a creative consultant for Universal, said the “Chinese people deserve the very best our creative teams are capable of creating.”
Universal will have a 30% stake in the construction and ownership joint venture; Shouhuan will hold 70% of that. Universal will own 70% of the management and operations joint venture with Shouhuan having a 30% stake. “Universal theme parks are the best theme parks in the world today,” said Beijing Shouhuan chairman Duan Qiang, adding that “Chinese people love the movies and exciting entertainment.”
Recent ECA Project Highlights – New LEGOLAND Theme Park to Open in Nagoya, Japan (2017)
Merlin Entertainments plc (Merlin) recently announced (June 30, 2014) it will open its first LEGOLAND park in Japan, which is the second biggest theme park market in the world (1). The new park, to be located in the city of Nagoya, will cost c¥32 billion (c£185 million) in total and adds to Merlin’s existing portfolio of six LEGOLAND parks in five countries.
Merlin Entertainments (LEGOLAND Development) retained Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA) to conduct an independent market and attendance feasibility study in 2013 to assess the market potential for LEGOLAND Japan family theme park in Nagoya. ECA Principals have a long-time working relationship with LEGOLAND Parks and Merlin Entertainments on international theme park and attractions projects worldwide, including assisting with the previous preliminary study of the Nagoya market in 2010. ECA Principal/Co-Founder, Christian Aaen, led the study together with Janice Li, Regional Director (HK), Edward P. Shaw, Associate Principal and Viviette Luo, Associate (HK). Ray Braun, Principal/Co-Founder was the senior advisor.
The Japanese theme park market is the largest in Asia, with an estimated value of £4 billion (1), and already boasts some of the world’s most successful theme parks. Given the high level of LEGO brand awareness and the specific ‘young family’ target demographic, LEGOLAND Japan is expected to be complementary to the existing parks in the region. Nagoya is ideally located in the center of Japan and is approximately two hours from Tokyo and one hour from Osaka, with independent market research suggesting a potential catchment area in excess of 20 million people (1). The park will be located on a site close to the Nagoya Port, with excellent road and rail links. The initial development will focus on the theme park, with potential options available for further park expansion and the development of on-site, themed accommodation over future periods. LEGOLAND Japan will be of similar scale to the recently opened LEGOLAND parks in Malaysia and Florida.
Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Today’s announcement is another major milestone in the development of the LEGOLAND brand. We are delighted to be working closely with the City of Nagoya and with KIRKBI on the project, both of whom appreciate the potential of the brand in the second biggest theme park market in the world. The park will make a significant contribution to the growth of the Merlin group from opening in the second quarter of 2017, as well as supporting our continued geographic diversification.”
ECA Yangtze River Delta and Shanghai Market Profile Feature on Blooloop.com
ECA continues its series of attraction market profiles with an overview and insights on the greater Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region in Eastern China and theme park attraction development. ECA is currently working on multiple theme park and entertainment destination developments in China including Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, and Ningbo/Zhoushan in the greater YRD region. This feature was written by Hong Kong-based Associates, Viviette Luo and Martin Wong.
ECA continues its Blooloop market profile series with insights on the current state and future outlook of the attractions market in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This feature was written by Beverly Hills-based Senior Associate, Edmond Chih. ECA is currently working on a variety of theme park and live entertainment development projects in the Dubai/UAE market.
ECA Pearl River Delta Market Profile Feature on Blooloop.com
ECA continues its series of attraction market profiles with insights on the market scale and major attractions in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region in Southern China. This Blooloop feature was written by Hong Kong Director Janice Li and Associate Dominic Wong. ECA is currently working on multiple theme park and attraction development projects across China including multiple projects in the PRD market.
Christian Aaen appointed to TEA Asia Pacific Board
ECA Principal, Christian Aaen, has been elected to the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Asia Pacific Board of Directors for a 3-year term. The TEA is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Mr. Aaen leads ECA’s Asia practice. Prior to co-founding ECA, Mr. Aaen opened the legacy ERA (now AECOM Economics) Hong Kong office as the Managing Principal in January 2009.
ECA’s Matt Earnest Discusses Reinvestment Trends with InPark Magazine
ECA’s Matt Earnest discusses reinvestment trends for the attractions industry with InPark Magazine. In this discussion, ECA encourages operators to “think beyond the ride” and explore revenue enhancements across the guest experience.
ECA Singapore & Southern Malaysia Market Profile Feature on Blooloop.com
In association with Blooloop, ECA has started an attraction market profile series that explores the market scale and major attractions in today’s most dynamic and active attraction development markets. The first profile in this series discusses Singapore and Southern Malaysia’s emergence as a multi-theme park hub in Southeast Asia. This Blooloop feature was written by ECA Associate Principal Edward Shaw. ECA is currently working on multiple theme park and attraction development projects across Southeast Asia, including multiple projects in the Singapore and Malaysia markets.
In exploring current industry trends, ECA’s Matt Earnest comments on price increases following recent reinvestment in the attractions and guest experience at Disney and Universal parks and the role that reinvestment plays in improving the revenue “yield” per visitor.
ECA Hong Kong Office Expands with Viviette Luo and Martin Wong
ECA has expanded its operations in Hong Kong with the hiring of Viviette Luo, Senior Analyst, and Martin Wong, Associate. Viviette and Martin join Janice Li, Senior Associate and leader of ECA’s Hong Kong operations.
Viviette Luo joins ECA after working with AECOM Economics in Hong Kong. Ms. Luo has a concentrated background in economic and feasibility analysis for various leisure, entertainment and hospitality projects in Asia. With ECA, Ms. Luo will provide advisory services through research and analysis on master planning, competitive market assessment, demand forecasting, case studies and industry benchmarks, business model and development strategy (scale and phasing) for diversified land-use developments. Project types include entertainment and cultural attractions, tourism developments, hotels and resorts, new town planning, retail and other real estate related development.
Ms. Luo received her Master of Science from the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Raised in Mainland China, Viviette is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, and also reads and writes in Japanese.
Martin Wong has years of experience in conducting different types of tourism and real estate economic analysis including available and competitive market assessment, demand forecasting, business model and development strategy, new town planning, master planning land-use mix, feasibility analysis, financial analysis and economic impact assessment. In particular, Mr. Wong has provided professional advice to private and public sector clients in different parts of the world investing in projects in the Asia-Pacific countries.
Mr. Wong previously worked as an Economist with Enright, Scott and Associates and AECOM Asia Economics. He worked closely with key members from different geographical locations and his areas of expertise included market assessment, financial analysis and economic impact assessment. Mr. Wong also had several years of experience working as an Economist at Arup, where he was engaged in market research, economic modeling and strategy recommendation.
Mr. Wong received his Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in International Economics from Loughborough University and his Master of Science in Economics and International Financial Economics from University of Warwick. Raised in Hong Kong, he is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Edmond Chih joins ECA team in Los Angeles
Edmond Chih has joined ECA as an Associate in the Los Angeles office. Prior to joining ECA, Mr. Chih was an Associate with AECOM Economics (formerly Economics Research Associates) where he conducted economic feasibility studies on a variety of leisure and attraction products, including theme parks, museums, aquariums, and casino resorts. Past clients include municipalities, cultural institutions, and various private-sector developers and operators throughout North America, South America, and Asia. Mr. Chih holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – LEGOLAND Malaysia Opens
LEGOLAND Malaysia opened in September 2012 in Johor, Malaysia. Developed jointly by Merlin Entertainments Group/LEGOLAND Parks and Khazanah Nasional/Themed Attractions Malaysia (TAR), the park is Asia’s first LEGOLAND theme park and the sixth worldwide, further positioning Southern Malaysia/Singapore as a major entertainment hub.
The 30.7 hectare park cost RM720 million (US$240 million) to develop and contains more than 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions spread across 7 lands. More than 50 million LEGO bricks were used in the construction of the park. Over the next few years, Khazanah Nasional/TAR will also open a LEGOLAND themed waterpark adjacent to the theme park and a LEGOLAND themed hotel.
ECA was retained by Merlin Entertainments Group/LEGOLAND Parks and Khazanah Nasional/Themed Attractions Malaysia (TAR) to complete the market and financial feasibility analysis for the project.
ECA has completed the market and financial feasibility analysis for the recently announced Universal Studios theme park and waterpark indoor destination as part of the Galactica Project in Moscow. ECA was retained by Universal Parks & Resorts (UPR) and ZAO Rusinkom, a Russian development company, which is a part of the B&N group of companies.
The proposed 150,000 square meter indoor park would be the first Universal Studios theme park in Russia and Europe and the largest indoor attraction in the world. There are plans for additional attractions as part of the broader entertainment complex, which has been dubbed “Galactica Park.” The project will include two hotels with more than 1,000 rooms, a convention center, and a 20,000-seat arena, which would be operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). The project is expected to cost US$2.8 billion. Construction could begin as early as 2014 and Galactica Park could open in 2018.
Ray Braun Appointed to Santa Monica Pier Board
ECA’s Ray Braun was appointed to the Board of the Santa Monica Pier by the Santa Monica City Council in February, 2012. The historic Pier is an iconic destination, which attracts nearly 7 million visitors annually. It is the home of an amusement park, Pacific Park, numerous restaurants and shops, a world famous carousel, and a broad range of concerts, events and recreation activities. A major task for the Board will be to develop a long term master plan for the Pier.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – Huayi Brothers Movie World Theme Park in Suzhou, China
Huayi Brothers Media revealed plans last year for a movie theme park in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Founded in 1994, Huayi Brothers Media is one of the major leading media and entertainment companies in China involved in film and TV production and distribution, music label, talent management, movie theaters and advertising. Huayi Brothers Media has a track record of producing blockbusters over the years including Aftershock, “If You Are the One” series, Detective Dee, The Message, The Assembly and others.
The group has formed a joint-venture with Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee to co-develop the 66-hectare theme park along the banks of Yangcheng Lake for a reported total investment of RMB 3+ billion. The proposed development is expected to include an anchor movie theme park with entertainment and interactive experiences based on the company’s blockbusters integrated with Chinese culture and hotel(s) as well as other potential complementary facilities/amenities. Expected opening year is in 2014/2015.
ECA was retained by Huayi Brothers in 2012 to conduct the feasibility study for the theme park which included market analysis, competitive market assessment, attendance projection, pricing strategy, and financial modeling. ECA was part of the client’s senior advisory team consisting also of Frank Stanek, formerly head of International Development at Universal Studios Parks & Resorts.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – Ocean Paradise Theme Park in Southern Hainan Island
Village Roadshow Limited and Guangzhou-based real estate developer R&F Properties recently announced plans to partner and create a RMB 3.5 billion theme park destination resort in Lingshui, near the popular resort city Sanya, in southern Hainan Island. The theme park, Hainan R&F Ocean Paradise, will have a focus on marine life, similar to Village Roadshow’s existing Sea World theme park in Gold Coast, Australia. There are also plans for a branded Wet’n’Wild waterpark as a second gate. Village Roadshow will have the exclusive rights to operate both parks, due to open in 2015, for the next 20 years.
ECA was retained by R&F to provide theme park feasibility analysis, which included an evaluation of the proposed concept, site location, and available markets (resident/tourist markets) as well as projections for attendance, per capita expenditures, and the financial and investment potential for the theme park.
Village Roadshow is Australia’s largest theme park operator with its Gold Coast based theme parks, Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild Water World, Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular. The group is also the owner of Sea World Resort and Water Park, a 405 room hotel adjacent to Sea World.
R&F Properties is one of the leading private property developers in China. The Company is headquartered in Guangzhou with a presence in other cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chongqing, and Chengdu, among others.
Recent ECA Project Highlights – Desaru Coast Resort, Malaysia
Over the past four years, ECA has advised Khazanah Nasional and Themed Attractions Malaysia (TAR) on the planning and development of the Desaru Coast resort on the Southeastern coast of Malaysia. The recently announced project with a 17 kilometer beachfront is set to open in 2015.
The first phase of the 1,578 hectare, RM5 billion (US$1.65 billion) destination will contain Ocean Splash Waterpark, Ocean Quest Marine Park, an Ernie Els-designed golf course, a Vijay Singh-designed golf course, four hotels and a themed retail, dining and entertainment district. The two core attractions will cost RM267 million (US$85 million) to develop and occupy 12.3 hectares of land. Ocean Splash will feature the largest salt water wave pool in Asia. Ocean Quest will be operated jointly by TAR and US-based Dolphin Quest.
Destination Resorts Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Khazanah, will develop the hotels (Aman Villas, The Datai Desaru Resort, Sheraton Desaru Resort, and the Plantation Hotel). The project will also include the Aman Residences and Els Residences, as well as a retail village and convention center. Troon Golf will manage the two golf courses.
ECA completed the market and financial feasibility study for Ocean Splash and Ocean Quest, and has advised on the phasing and overall master plan for Desaru Coast.
ECA Celebrates First Anniversary
Last year the founding Principals introduced Entertainment + Culture Advisors, Inc. (ECA) to the industry at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando. This year ECA returns to IAAPA after a successful year growing the team to eight staff members, opening a Hong Kong office, and supporting clients in markets around the globe. In 2011, ECA projects spanned across Asia, Europe, and North and South America. Long-standing clients, including Universal Parks & Resorts, LEGOLAND Parks, and KidZania engaged ECA for multiple projects. New clients included Cirque du Soleil and BBC Worldwide. ECA looks forward to continuing to grow the practice and supporting clients with key economic and market insight for entertainment development.
ULI Fall Meeting Panels Feature ECA’s Ray Braun
The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Fall Meeting in Los Angeles featured ECA’s Ray Braun on two expert panels. On the opening day of the conference, Ray joined ULI’s Global Exchange Council (GEC) for a panel discussion on international theme park development trends. On the final day of the conference, Ray participated in a panel titled, “Re-Invention of the Urban Entertainment Center: Theme Park Gated and Non-Gated Real Estate” in a concurrent session for ULI members. Ray is an active member of ULI’s Entertainment Development Council (EDC) and is the principal author of two ULI books, “Developing Urban Entertainment Centers” and “Developing Retail Entertainment Destinations.”
Dominic Wong, Kim Gram, and Sandy Hanagami have joined the ECA team in Los Angeles
Dominic Wong is an Associate with ECA and conducts research and analysis on available markets, economic feasibility, and program sizing for tourism development and entertainment and cultural attractions. Dominic previously interned at AECOM Economics with the entertainment and leisure practice in Hong Kong and he has several years of experience working at an economic consulting firm in Washington D.C. Dominic received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and International Business from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Raised in Hong Kong, he reads and writes Chinese, and is fluent in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Kim Gram is an Associate with ECA and performs research and analysis on various types of entertainment and cultural projects in both the public and private sectors. Previously, Kim was an analyst with Economics Research Associates (ERA). Kim has prepared research and analysis on a broad set of development types, including stadia, arenas, multi-sport venues, public recreation facilities, entertainment anchored retail, fairs, theme parks, waterparks, and tourism strategies. Kim received her Bachelors of Science in Design degree in Housing and Urban Development with a minor in Urban Planning from Arizona State University. Sandy Hanagami is ECA’s Finance Director.
Prior to joining ECA, Sandy was the Controller for Economics Research Associates (ERA). With extensive experience in finance and accounting, Sandy became the Finance Director for the Economics Practice at AECOM after its acquisition of Economics Research Associates (ERA) in 2007. Sandy graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
ECA opens Hong Kong office with addition of Janice Li
Janice Li has joined Entertainment + Culture Advisors in Hong Kong, becoming ECA’s first team member in the firm’s new Hong Kong office. ECA Principals and staff have deep experience in Asia and the new Hong Kong office will allow the firm to commit in-market resources in the fastest growing global market for entertainment and cultural development. ECA plans to continue growing staff and resources in Hong Kong.
Janice comes to ECA from AECOM in Hong Kong where she was a leading member of the entertainment and leisure economics practice in Asia. She has participated in a broad range of themed entertainment and cultural development projects, conducting market and financial feasibility studies for private and public clients including major international theme park and attraction operators. Janice has undertaken research and consulting studies throughout Asia, with significant project experience in Mainland China and Southeast Asia.
Prior to joining AECOM Hong Kong, Janice had several years of experience working with the San Francisco office of Economics Research Associates (ERA) as well as in the strategic planning divisions of several US companies as well as in the finance industry in Hong Kong, where she was primarily engaged in market research, financial modeling and strategy development. Janice received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Science from Stanford University. Raised in Hong Kong, Janice reads and writes Chinese, and is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
ECA partners with London affiliate LM Associates
LM Associates is now affiliated with ECA for entertainment and cultural development projects in Europe and the Middle East. LM Associates was launched in 2010 by Lesley Morisetti to provide economic and research consultancy services to the attractions and entertainment industry, following over 25 years of experience in the industry, through both operational and consultancy roles.
Lesley was previously a Director of the London office of the Economics Practice of AECOM (formally Economics Research Associates/ERA) where she was a colleague of ECA Principals. Prior to positions with AECOM and ERA, Lesley was Group Head of Marketing for The Tussauds Group (now part of Merlin Entertainments).
Lesley Morisetti is currently working with ECA on a key project in Scandinavia.
Edward Shaw joins ECA team in Los Angeles
Edward Shaw has joined the Entertainment + Culture Advisors team in Los Angeles. Ed comes to ECA from AECOM where he was a leading member of the Sports + Venues economics practice. Clients include attraction companies, major and minor league professional sports franchises, resort developers, stadium and venue developers, and municipalities throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Ed provides clients with comprehensive expertise for today’s integrated sports and entertainment developments – combining sports venue anchors with related mixed-use development to create 365-day destinations.
Prior to ECA, Mr. Shaw joined AECOM as part of its acquisition of Economics Research Associates (ERA) where he was a member of the Entertainment and Recreation Practice Group. Project work with AECOM and ERA included assessments of major destination attractions, stadiums, arenas, theme parks, multi-sport venues, golf courses, resorts, waterparks, entertainment anchored retail, and museums. Mr. Shaw holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and an M.S. in Finance and Development from NYU’s Tisch Center for Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Management.
Ray Braun, Matt Earnest, and Christian Aaen launch ECA
Ray Braun, Matthew Earnest, and Christian Aaen have formed Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA). Long-time colleagues in the Entertainment and Recreation Practice at Economics Research Associates (ERA) and then AECOM after its acquisition of ERA in 2007, Ray, Matt, and Christian bring deep experience and focus on market and economic analysis for entertainment and cultural development projects worldwide.
Prior to forming ECA, Ray Braun led the Global Entertainment and Recreation Practice at ERA for over 25 years. Clients included major entertainment companies such as the Walt Disney Company, SeaWorld Parks, Universal Studios, Anschutz Entertainment Group and Merlin Entertainments Group. Mr. Braun has helped plan major cultural attractions including the J.P. Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and the Henry Ford River Rouge Factory Tour in Dearborn. Internationally, Mr. Braun has completed assignments in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Australia, Canada and Mexico.
Matthew Earnest has advised entertainment companies, sports franchises, casino operators, private equity groups, and real estate developers on land use options, available markets, program sizing, and economic feasibility. His global practice work included assignments in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Canada, and Mexico. Client work includes assignments for The Walt Disney Company, Harrah’s Entertainment, Paramount Licensing, Blackstone, Georgia Aquarium, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Christian Aaen opened ERA’s Hong Kong office shortly after the AECOM acquisition as the Managing Principal and was responsible for growing the entertainment practice in China and other Asian markets. Mr. Aaen has conducted feasibility studies and provided advisory services for key international clients such as Universal Studios, LEGOLAND Parks (Merlin Entertainments Group), MGM Studios, Village Roadshow, Khazanah Nasional/TAR, Sanrio, HIT Entertainment, OCT Group, Ocean Park (Hong Kong), KidZania, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Genting Group, among others.
ECA is currently working on key entertainment and cultural projects in Asia, specifically in China (Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hainan Island), Singapore, Malaysia, India; in Europe (Denmark); and North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico), among others.
ECA is headquartered in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills), California and has a new office in Hong Kong and an affiliate in London.