Sotheby’s Realty in, Elliman out as Art Basel Miami Beach sponsor

Elliman had held sponsorship for nine years

Sotheby’s Int’l Realty Sponsors Art Basel, Replacing Elliman
From left: Sotheby’s International Realty's Brad Nelson, Douglas Elliman's Howard Lorber in front of Art Basel Miami Beach (Getty, Douglas Elliman, Sotheby's International Realty)

Sotheby’s International Realty is sponsoring Art Basel Miami Beach, replacing Douglas Elliman, which was a show partner for nine years, The Real Deal has learned. 

Sotheby’s International Realty, which is under Anywhere Real Estate’s umbrella, inked a multi-year deal with the art show, said chief marketing officer Brad Nelson. The brokerage will have a lounge within the Collectors’ Lounge, where it will showcase architecturally significant properties, including new developments, as well as homes for sale.  

Art Basel Miami Beach will run from Dec. 8 to Dec. 10 this year at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Nelson declined to disclose the cost of the sponsorship or other details about the arrangement. But it is likely hundreds of thousands of dollars. UBS, Audemars Piguet and Saint Laurent are among the show’s major sponsors. 

Art Basel Miami Beach started in 2002, and became the catalyst for Miami Art Week. It has since expanded dramatically, and the week’s events include Art Miami and dozens of other art shows. Real estate brokers and developers will often take advantage of wealthy buyers in town and host their own events or sponsor fairs to capture market share. 

About 76,000 people attended Art Basel Miami Beach last year, but more than a million visitors were estimated to have traveled through Miami International Airport for the week. 

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Nelson said Art Basel has “become a stop on the global social calendar.” 

“When you look back a few decades ago, the affluent really spent their vacation time pursuing leisure,” he said. “Today they pursue access.” 

New York-based Douglas Elliman was a show partner for nine years, but this year focused on reducing costs in a down market, an industry-wide move. Chairman and CEO Howard Lorber said that it “cut costly sponsorships,” during the company’s first quarter earnings call in May, in addition to eliminating 35 positions and streamlining advertising. Elliman reported a net loss of $5.2 million in the second quarter, a significant improvement from the $17.6 million loss in the first quarter, but down 49 percent year-over-year. 

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Elliman declined to comment on why it pulled out of sponsoring Art Basel Miami Beach. 

Anywhere, the parent company of Sotheby’s International Realty, Corcoran, Coldwell Banker and Century21, posted a net income of $19 million in the second quarter, down 78 percent year-over-year, but up from the $138 million loss reported in the first quarter. 

Nelson said Sotheby’s International Realty has a “long term view on the business and market cycles” and took the opportunity with the Art Basel sponsorship to follow its clients.