Through his promotional prowess, Axel Sang hits all the high notes for BSC Management and ensures the group’s clubs are ahead of the curve, despite the challenges that have hit Bay-Area clubs in the post-COVID environment.

(Note: This story appears in the March 2023 issue of ED Magazine)

BSC Management Marketing Director Axel Sang entered San Francisco’s nightlife and hospitality industry in 1997 doing non-adult nightclub operations and marketing for a company called “SF Clubs” that operated and marketed six Bay Area nightclubs. Ten years later, in 2007, Sang was hired to do marketing at BSC Management — his first exposure to adult entertainment. For 16 years, Sang has always remained ahead of the curve and helped to ensure BSC’s clubs’ leadership position in the Bay Area’s nightlife market. 

ED Legal Correspondent Larry Kaplan spoke with Sang about what it takes to successfully market eight adult nightclubs — each with its own distinct personality — in a challenging post-COVID market. 

ED: Though you hadn’t worked in adult gentlemen’s clubs, did your operations’ experience help you with marketing when you started at BSC?

SANG: Absolutely, it helped tremendously. On the hospitality side, I understood how marketing and operations go hand in hand: how to create special offers and incentive programs — and on the operations side — how to run the floor, from security to the bar to producing an event from scratch. 

ED: Today, what percentage of BSC’s customers are tourists as opposed to locals?

SANG: Pre-COVID, about 30-40% were tourists, as opposed to locals and people coming into the Bay Area for conventions. Today, that’s probably down to 10-15%, correlating with the loss of conventions, meetings and events. However, this week, we’re in the middle of our first large convention in two and a half years. You can see the bounce back and how these conventions affect our week. In the heydays of 2015-2016, there were big conventions at least once or twice a month. We used to get 300 tech-worker cover charges daily at Gold Club from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

We did get good news that in 2023 — with a large number of upcoming events and meetings — there’s forecasted to be double the number of hotel rooms from a year ago. 

ED: With the downturn in tourism, conventions and meetings, how has this impacted how and where you market the clubs?

SANG: It’s shifted our marketing to be more local, more grassroots and a lot more event-driven — like promoting UFC fights, boxing events, things geared more towards the nine Bay Area counties surrounding San Francisco. Condor, for example, offers free admission with a San Francisco ID. Some of the clubs give free admission with a convention badge. Some are doing special local happy hour pricing for drinks and other offers.

ED: Clubs across the country recognize that social media is their primary marketing avenue, but many struggle to achieve success with it. Do you feel you’ve developed a winning strategy for your social media marketing?

SANG: You must have a strong, relevant social media campaign, most importantly, with UGC (user-generated content). You have to adapt. I’ve tried to always stay top-of-mind on what’s new and upcoming, whether it was TikTok, Instagram reels, video or digital marketing. No matter what club you manage, utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to ensure an optimized website. If a guest can’t find you and your digital profile, you’ll lose them to your competitor. We have a strong digital marketing partner who manages our SEO and SEM, online content and reputation management. And my office handles the social media marketing. Social media management isn’t just one person sitting behind a computer; you must have a team. You have to have the right photographer, and you must understand what people want on social media. I have one full-time person dedicated to San Francisco, plus a videographer/photographer and two designers. 


ED: How has social media marketing evolved for clubs over the past 10 years? Which platforms do you find most effective?

SANG: I would say Instagram, and now TikTok, have the most impact on our industry. I’d highly encourage clubs to get on and understand TikTok and Instagram reels. Invest in creating videos and also in working with proven influencers. Today, in marketing any industry, they use Instagram to promote anything and everything. Facebook’s audience has evolved to my parent’s generation. But for my generation — I’m a millennial/Gen X-er — it’s definitely Instagram and TikTok.

ED: Do your entertainers help you to promote the clubs on social media? And do you need to incentivize them to help?

SANG: Yes, they help: they provide crucial, authentic content for social media. The audience on Instagram or TikTok wants to see what your clubs have to offer, and entertainers are essential to that. It’s become much easier with younger entertainers that want to be on social media versus previous generations that were averse to pictures. Many current entertainers are open to promoting, whether it’s themselves or the club. I would encourage managers to partner with entertainers to get great content. You can see clubs that have nice pages and huge success. If an entertainer takes a photo and tags herself, we will reshare her photo and her profile because she’s just given us content, and I want to reciprocate that to be able to promote her as well. And I think clubs should do that.

If you look at how much content comes from non-adult nightclubs, people there want to be on video and take pictures. For adult clubs, privacy is our biggest challenge (sometimes, people don’t want their faces shown on camera); while at nightclubs, it’s become socially acceptable to have your photo taken while you’re out dancing or getting bottle service. 

Crazy Horse customers want an intimate feature show experience. At “Gold Club,” it’s the high-end business clientele perhaps getting together to host a meeting. “Hustler” is the account executive that doesn’t quite have that black-card expense account but still wants to go out and have a good time. “New Century” is a fully-nude version of the “Gold Club,” high-end and more about the conversation. “Vanity” is a hybrid of a nightclub and an adult club. We do a DJ program there on weekends, a smaller version of Miami’s E11EVEN. We also have entertainers and do bookings, promotions and events. “Condor” is a classic, since 1964 — the nation’s original topless club. “Centerfolds” is like the fully-nude version of “Hustler,” a very local bridge-and-tunnel blue-collar crowd with the best interaction of any of our nude clubs. And “Garden of Eden” is another blue-collar nude club. It’s an iconic Broadway staple that’s been around for years with an intimate feel — a smaller club with a large dance volume.

“(Entertainers) provide crucial, authentic content for social media. It’s become much easier with younger entertainers that want to be on social media versus previous generations that were averse to pictures. I would encourage managers to partner with entertainers to get great content.” – Axel Sang

ED: Many Bay Area tech and financial employers have gone to virtual workforces allowing people to live outside the city. How has this affected your customer base at the Gold Club and your other more upscale clubs?

SANG: It’s probably affected the Gold Club the most. We eliminated the day shift when we saw that tech workers were still working remotely, and we haven’t decided when to bring that back yet. Currently, none of our clubs have a day shift since there are few tech workers in the city. Some companies are starting to require workers to return to the office, but it’s a slow process. On Yelp, people ask every week when the day shift and the fabulous Friday buffet are returning at the Gold Club because that was a big part of our daytime success.

ED: When you started with BSC, there were several adult club operators in San Francisco. Today, BSC owns all eight San Francisco adult clubs and controls the market. Does that make your job easier? Or is the challenge still reaching your target audiences for each club?

SANG: Right now, everything we do is more challenging because of the decline in tourism and the convention sector. You try to make up some of that revenue through local promotions and capitalizing when you do have tourism, like this week’s convention, and making sure promos are scheduled, and managers are notified. Every one of our clubs has something unique to offer, so it’s understanding their niches and what type of customer we serve at each venue. 

Larry Kaplan has for 22 years been the Legal Correspondent for ED Publications. In addition, Mr. Kaplan is a business broker in the sale and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult retail stores and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan: at 313-815-3311 or email


EXPO deal 1