Marquee buys tour booker

NEW YORK — The Marquee Group, which produces and markets TV sports programming, is expanding into music and general entertainment with the purchase of QBQ Entertainment.

QBQ books tours for such performers as Billy Joel, Metallica, Motley Crue, Rodney Dangerfield and Andrew Dice Clay.

Dennis Arfa, founder and CEO of QBQ, will stay on, taking over the CEO post of a new division called Marquee Music.

The QBQ pickup, which cost Marquee $3 million, follows Marquee’s $15-million purchase of Proserv earlier this month. Proserv owns the TV rights to such tennis tournaments as the French Open and the U.S. Open, and the company has offices in Asia and Europe.

TV coverage of the Breeder’s Cup, which Marquee represents worldwide, will increase its global visibility through Proserv’s foreign presence, said Bob Gutkowski, president and CEO of the Marquee Group. Marquee also will use Proserv’s resources, he said, to ramp up its production of sports programming for ESPN and Lifetime Television and for worldwide TV syndication.

Marquee’s most recent TV syndication project is “More Than a Game,” a weekly half-hour series dealing with human-interest sports stories. Starting next month, Marquee will produce the series for Raycom Sports, which will distribute it to TV stations throughout the U.S. and sell the national advertising time.

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