NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The company that owns the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium is opening two new venues in Tennessee and Oklahoma with the help of country star Blake Shelton.
At a press conference Thursday in Nashville, Shelton and Colin Reed, the CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties, announced details about Ole Red Nashville and Ole Red Tishomingo, in the Oklahoma town where Shelton lives.
The Nashville location will cost $20 million and will open in 2018, while the smaller Oklahoma location is due to open in 2017.
Although Shelton isn't an owner, he will be the face of the properties. The name is based on the song "Ol' Red," a song Shelton recorded on his 2002 self-titled debut album.
Shelton does have some financial stake in the Ole Red brand, besides an additional place to sell his music to new fans. Shelton explained that Ole Red Tishomingo will be housed in the former location of his ex-wife Miranda Lambert's Pink Pistol boutique, which she closed last year to open a new shop in Texas. Shelton said he bought the property and an adjoining business where the new music venue will be located.
The Ryman Hospitality Properties is expanding its live entertainment portfolio, which also includes a new Opry-themed entertainment space in New York City.
"Ole Red is another brand, not a venue but a brand, to communicate with the 20 million people who idolize this guy," Reed said of Shelton.
For Shelton, he hopes music fans will flock to Tishomingo, a town of 3,000 residents about 115 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.
"There's a lot of fans of country music there," Shelton said. "There's a lot of fans of Texas red dirt music there. And that is the perfect location to include a crossroads and have a lot of live music there. 'Cause there are a lot of people that are starving for that in that area."