NEW YORK Jan 16 T-Mobile US Chief
Executive John Legere unveiled a plan to sponsor a concert by
rapper Macklemore & Ryan Lewis just a week after saying his
upstart carrier wouldn't "waste our money" on such sponsorships.
T-Mobile announced the Jan. 23 concert in Los Angeles just
over a week after Legere said he was kicked out of a Macklemore
concert hosted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by
archrival AT&T Inc after he had crashed the event.
The companies are in a full-scale battle to steal each
other's customers after No. 2 U.S. mobile service AT&T on Jan. 3
offered to pay T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T from the
smaller carrier following months of direct marketing attacks
Legere had said at his own company's press conference on
Jan. 8 that T-Mobile would focus on giving his customers a
better deal rather than charging more so it could afford to hold
expensive high-profile events, like Macklemore concerts.
"We didn't have a big concert with Macklemore the other
night. I had to crash because we don't waste our money on this
kind of stuff," Legere had told reporters in response to a
question about the potential for a U.S. price war.
But only days later, the executive - who peppers his
speeches with expletives and sharp criticism of his bigger
rivals - seems to have found enough spare cash for T-Mobile to
act as presenting sponsor for a concert, albeit a public one.
T-Mobile spokeswoman Anne Marshall argued that its
Macklemore concert, to take place at the Belasco Theater in Los
Angeles, isn't analogous to the one AT&T sponsored for a private
audience at CES.
"If we do something we want to do it for fans, for potential
customers," she said. "It's about the audience, we're not doing
this for an elite group."
She declined to say how much T-Mobile was spending to
sponsor the concert, tickets for which will go on sale Friday.
AT&T's Macklemore concert at CES was a fully-sponsored event to
which no tickets were sold.
"My appreciation for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis seems to be
the worst kept secret in the social hemisphere," Legere said in
a statement about the upcoming show.
Macklemore, a rapper from Seattle, performs with producer
Ryan Lewis. T-Mobile's headquarters are in Bellevue, Washington,
near Seattle. T-Mobile US is 67 percent owned by Deutsche