Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Wichita, Kan. (February 25, 2014) – INTRUST Bank Arena is set to host thousands of guests in downtown Wichita this week as it prepares to host four events in four days. One concert, two Wichita Thunder hockey games and the inaugural game for the Wichita Force of Champions Indoor Football will take place at INTRUST Bank Arena this Thursday through Sunday. 

“It’s an exciting week for our staff at INTRUST Bank Arena and we hope it’s an exciting week for our fans,” said A.J. Boleski, SMG General Manager. “We strive to attract a variety of entertainment to our community and this weekend exemplifies that.”
The Avett Brothers concert kicks off the busy week on Thursday, February 26 at INTRUST Bank Arena. The Avett Brothers last played Wichita in 2012 for a sold out performance at the Wichita Orpheum Theatre, an SMG managed facility, and will play in an intimate half-house set up at INTRUST Bank Arena. Tickets are still available for the concert which starts at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. 

The Wichita Thunder takes to home ice for two games this weekend, taking on Brampton on Friday night, February 27 and capping off the weekend on Sunday, March 1 versus Allen. Friday night’s hockey game features the team’s first-ever adult jersey giveaway where the first 1,000 adults in attendance will receive a special Thunder jersey. Sunday’s game features a special post-game skate for fans. More details on the promotional nights can be found at Tickets for both games are still available. 

The Wichita Force kicks off their inaugural season at INTRUST Bank Arena on Saturday, February 28 with their home opener versus the Salina Bombers. Fans can experience this exciting brand of indoor football which provides fun for the whole family with tickets starting as low as $10.

Monday, February 16, 2015


(Wichita, Kan.) – The Wichita Business Journal has recognized INTRUST Bank Arena, an SMG managed facility, as a nominee for the 2014 Best in Business Award. The Best in Business competition recognizes Wichita-area companies for revenue growth, community involvement, and marketing and product innovation.

In addition to INTRUST Bank Arena, 2014 Best in Business nominees include Account Recovery Specialists Inc., Building Controls and Services Inc., Custom Cupboards, Dean E. Norris Inc., Equity Bank, Foley Equipment, Goodwill Industries of Kansas Inc., Larksfield Place Retirement Communities Inc., LifeTeam, Occidental Management, Quality Solutions Inc., Transitions Group Inc. and Voice Products Inc. Best in Business winners will be announced at an awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 14 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

“It’s an honor to be recognized on a local level for achievements in the areas of community involvement and innovation,” said Chris Kibler, SMG Assistant General Manager/Director of Finance. “SMG strives to be a leader in both the entertainment industry and in our community through community service, charitable giving, and creating memories through world class entertainment. We’re proud to be nominated for this award and are appreciative of the recognition.”

SMG Names New Regional Director of Marketing from Houston

HOUSTON, TX (Feb. 16, 2015) – SMG, the world leader in arena and venue management, announces the appointment of Nina Jackson as Regional Director of Marketing for the company’s Midwest region. Jackson will conjoin this role with her current position as Director of Marketing & Public Relations at SMG’s Harris County facility, NRG Park – home to the NFL’s Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™.

“We have always revered the way Nina has led the marketing and public relations efforts at one of our largest and top tier facilities – NRG Park, said John Bolton, Vice President of SMG Entertainment. “It is with great admiration, we appoint her to such a position that will allow her to enrich those at the different facilities with the same formula and methodology that has been successful for SMG, NRG Park and beyond.”

In her new role, Jackson will provide extra support in the ongoing marketing, public relations, media buying and sponsorship efforts and development for SMG venues in the Midwest region, including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas.

Jackson has been with SMG for 25 years and during her tenure, she has been instrumental in securing some of the biggest sporting events in the country for NRG Park including the Big 12 Conference Football Championship (2002 and 2005), Super Bowl (XXXVIII and LI), NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship South Regionals (2008, 2010 and 2015), and NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four (2011 and 2016).

Jackson is a native of Houston, Texas and a graduate of Sam Houston State University, where she received her bachelor of business arts in accounting. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Wichita, Kan. (February 12, 2015) – The SMG-managed INTRUST Bank Arena ranked #1 in the US and #3 in the world among mid-size venues in the most recent edition of the Venues Today Social Media Power 100 Chart, released in their February issue. The chart ranks venues' social media reach using a number of publicly available data points among Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram.

“Social media is an ever-changing landscape and it’s such a fun and unique challenge to keep up with it,” said SMG Director of Sales & Marketing, Christine Pileckas. “We’re excited to kick off 2015 with a brand-new social media contest for fans with our 5-Star Fan Experience promotion. One Five-Star Fan Experience will be given away for each of our 5th Anniversary Concert Series shows and will include tickets, limousine transportation, hotel stays and dinner in the Arena’s exclusive Cox Lounge.”

Venues Today prequalifies more than 400 venues for consideration and weights scores for venue size and market size. This chart uses a weighted ranking curve so readers can quickly compare engagement within their own size category. INTRUST Bank Arena falls in the 10,001 to 15,000 capacity category and ranked 3rd within the category. Leading the rankings in this category are Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario and The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

SMG Corpus Christi American Bank Center Senior Director of Sales Receives NAACP President’s Award

Corpus Christi, TX (January 19, 2015) - SMG Corpus Christi Senior Director of Sales Donna Cannatella received the highly regarded 2015 NAACP National President’s Award. The Corpus Christi NAACP Chapter held their 46th annual NAACP banquet on January 17, 2015, which honored area residents who were presented with the President’s Award. Donna Cannatella was one of the honorees to have be selected from a group of individuals who embody the principals of the NAACP; those who are committed to fight for freedom and equality and are the voice for the ones who cannot speak. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

“I have been working with the Corpus Christi Chapter President (Terry Mills) of the NAACP to bring their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Fund Banquet to the American Bank Center for six years now. I feel so fortunate and inspired to be working with such a wonderful organization and person such as Terry, who gives so much to the community.”

“Donna is the first SMG employee to have ever received this award,” Terry Mills said, “Her stewardship in working with our organization has been recognized and I am proud that our national committee has chosen her to receive our highest national honor. There is extensive research that we do before we consider someone for this award. She builds strong relationships and friendships with her clients. She is the reason that we come back year after year after year.”

“Thank you NAACP for this prestigious award,” Donna said. “I am honored to have been recognized by the NAACP national committee members and the president of the local chapter of the NAACP. It absolutely takes a team to keep such a high profile event such as this one here annually, and for it to run as smooth as it does,” Donna said. “This event would not be a success if it weren’t for our team of SMG professionals with whom I work on a daily basis, for this I am truly blessed.”


Wichita, Kan. (February 11, 2015) – As part of INTRUST Bank Arena’s fifth anniversary year, it is gathering additional feedback from guests and the community in a variety of ways, including through a survey to help shape plans for the next five years.

“Our staff is working day and night with promoters working to convince them to bring top entertainment acts and events to Wichita,” said SMG General Manager, A.J. Boleski. “With input from the community, we’re able to provide that data to promoters and use it as a tool to help us with our marketing of this facility.”

In addition to asking about interest in types of entertainment acts and events, the survey also gathers input about guest experiences.

“As a staff we are driven by the mission to provide a great guest experience at every single event,” Boleski said. “This survey will provide feedback plus input on what other experiences guests’ desire. We want and believe it’s important for us to have guest and community feedback.”

SMG encourages community and media partners to share the survey with their respective databases, fans and followers in an effort to gather feedback from a wide reach within the community.

SMG Grows UK F&B Portfolio

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Earlier this month, SMG announced that it acquired CGC Events Limited (CGC) — a catering company based in Yorkshire, England — to expand its hospitality presence in Europe. The company will pay an undisclosed amount over a number of years.
The acquisition came as somewhat of a surprise.
“We weren’t for sale, but SMG approached us and was willing to work in partnership with us on partnership and catering,” said Darran Coulson, CGC Managing Director. “When we started looking at it, it was clear that it was more beneficial for SMG to take us on.”
CGC benefits from having more capital to go after contracts and expand to more than a predominately summer-based business, while SMG will benefit from the established brand that CGC has grown.

The company has been around for nearly a century. CGC has an annual turnover of about $30 million with 200 full-time staff and more than 1,000 employees during peak events. It is the exclusive caterer at eight racecourses including York Racecourse, as well as providing matchday catering for five soccer and rugby facilities and custom catering services for individual events.

Due to its reputation, CGC will retain its name and branding as opposed to coming under the Savor name, which is SMG’s food and beverage division.

“People recognize and have a relationship with the brand name,” said SMG Europe Exec.VP John Sharkey. By acquiring a European food and beverage company, it will allow quick access to supply and inventory. “It gives us an opportunity to get to market more quickly,” Sharkey added.

CGC will be able to leverage the size, reputation and financial resources of SMG, with the combined European group reporting total revenues of more than $250 million under management and a turnover of about $68 million.

Some larger contracts where we could have been successful, we didn’t get because we’re not big enough — we’re big enough to do the job, but what they want is a certain financial ability and they want to see a multinational business,” said Coulson. “All of a sudden we’ll be able to get a longer term and be able to invest more.”

Acquisition discussions have been going on for about 16 months.  It took time to figure out the company’s cultures and how they would fit together.

“Culturally, we think that both companies focus on the customer, the experience and innovation,” said SMG Exec.VP Maureen Ginty. “That’s what makes any kind of merger really work well — when you put your customers first and have an emphasis on the employees.”

Business at CGC will mostly continue as usual, with current staff continuing to operate the catering company, led by Coulson, who will take on the title of Sr. VP of Operations.
Both companies plan to learn from each other.

“There’s one way of doing things well and that’s the best way; it’s a sharing experience both for CGC and SMG,” said Sharkey. “We’re not so proud as to think that one particular party has the monopoly in doing this well.”

Though previously seen as more of a regional company, CGC is open for business and conversation across the whole of the United Kingdom.

This isn’t the first time that SMG has expanded its food and beverage operations through acquisition. As recently as June, SMG acquired Premier Food Services in San Diego.

“We’re open internationally for all sorts of opportunities and we’ve been blessed with a lot of success and supportive owners,” said Ginty. “If we see things that make sense, we’re going to take a hard look at them.”

Interviewed for this story: Darran Coulson, Maureen Ginty and John Sharkey, (610) 729-7900.