Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The SMG-managed INTRUST Bank Arena (Wichita, Kan.) was nominated for the Best New Major Concert Venue award by Pollstar Magazine. A total of four nominated venues were announced last Friday including the SMG-managed Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.) along with the 1stBank Center (Broomfield, Colo.) and Williamsburg Waterfront (Brooklyn, N.Y.). The winner will be announced February 5, 2011 at the 22nd Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards and Party at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Pollstar is a weekly trade magazine for the concert industry. Voting is done by Pollstar subscribers and takes place between November 12 and December 17.
A.J. Boleski, General Manager of the Arena said: “We are thrilled with this nomination. INTRUST Bank Arena is world-class facility with a staff that has worked tirelessly this past year to provide top-notch service to tours, artists and our front-of-house guests. To be recognized by our peers is a tremendous honor.”
The $206 million dollar venue opened in January of 2010 and is owned by Sedgwick County.
Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan commented: "Sedgwick County is pleased to hear INTRUST Bank Arena has been nominated for this honor. We believe the new Arena has helped encourage top performers to come to our community, and the outstanding ticket sales have demonstrated that Wichita has a great base of fans for all types of entertainment."
Since opening with a sold-out Brad Paisley concert, INTRUST Bank Arena has hosted 25 of Pollstar’s top-100 touring acts in 2010 including: George Strait with Reba, Elton John and Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Walking with Dinosaurs, Nickelback, Star Wars In Concert, Daughtry, Brooks and Dunn, Tim McGraw with Lady Antebellum, Michael Bublé, Eagles, Rascal Flatts, Celtic Woman, Dave Matthews Band, Rush, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band.
Several major events are scheduled through the end of 2010 including: Dane Cook, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Barney, Wichita State University / University of Tulsa men’s basketball and Cirque du Soleil.
Monday, October 18, 2010
“INTRUST Bank Arena continues to prove to the industry that Wichita is not a market to overlook when routing tours,” said A.J. Boleski, SMG General Manager of INTRUST Bank Arena. “Even during the typically slower third quarter, we were able to book big shows including Dave Matthews Band, Rush and Rascal Flatts to keep this trend going and offer a wide variety of entertainment.”
With 186,433 concert tickets sold as reported to Pollstar, INTRUST Bank Arena ranked higher than several regional venues including the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and the United Center in Chicago.
“The schedule for the fourth quarter is full and includes Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band and the Radio City Rockettes. We expect to finish strong for the entire year,” Boleski added.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
"Now we know it can be done better in the private sector," Charlotte County Commissioner Tricia Duffy said.
Read more: http://www.sunnewspapers.net/articles/pnnews.aspx?NewsID=462037&a=newsarchive2%2f082510%2fch6.htm&pnpg=1
Friday, August 27, 2010
The Superdome: Super Once More
Five years after Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, the city and the Superdome are making a comeback
By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
1. The Saints and Their Superdome Home Five Years After Katrina
As it was five years ago, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans, the Louisiana Superdome is at the center of that city's revitalization. And now its tenant, the New Orleans Saints, is the latest Super Bowl champion. As the Saints prepare to kick off their 2010 season, they're celebrating not only their remarkable win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, but also the rebirth of their structural and spiritual home. ...
Forget the $185 million it cost to repair and refurbish the Superdome following Katrina. The Superdome is in the process of a $320 million renovation, which will make it one of the most modern sports facilities in the U.S. Among the planned upgrades are 16 new luxury suites (bringing the building's total to 153), 3,100 new sideline seats, two new field-level lounges, and a remodeled Saints' locker room.
Last year, the State of Louisiana and the Saints reached an agreement to extend the team's Superdome lease through 2025. What's more, according to the Saints and Superdome management contractor SMG, the Superdome upgrades will increase opportunities for more ancillary revenue for the franchise, thereby reducing Louisiana's obligations to the team under the old agreement. ...
Champions Square presented by Verizon (VZ) is the new special events space at the site of the former New Orleans Centre mall. The new fan entertainment area, Phase I of which opened to the public on Aug. 21, features a large music stage, street vendors, and food and merchandise kiosks, and it can accommodate more than 8,000 people. Visitors to Champions Square will be able to dine on food from an iconic group of restaurants that celebrate New Orleans's rich culinary heritage, including Acme Oyster House, Galatoire's, Drago's, and Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse.
"As New Orleans and the Louisiana Superdome host numerous national sporting events over the coming years, including the 2013 Super Bowl, this new infrastructure will accentuate the fan experience," says SMG Senior Vice-President Doug Thornton. "Champions Square also can be an economic engine outside of sports, serving as the site of corporate events, festivals, and concerts."
Read more: The Superdome: Super Once More
McCarthy recently spoke to Sun Staff Writer Anthony Warren about the center’s successful first fiscal year and its future.
So how are things going at the convention complex?
“Our first year (We call that the ‘honeymoon period.’) was very successful. We had 323 event days that brought in more than 128,000 people to the capital city. We’ll probably shift down a bit for the next year, because we have no grand opening activity. The key now is to get some stability over the next three to five years. For our next fiscal year we’re projecting for 294 event days, which is still considerable, considering there are 365 days in a year.”
Did the activity at the convention complex meet projections?
“It well exceeded our projections for the first year. The convention center was only open nine months during the 2009-10 fiscal year. We budgeted for 271 event days and an attendance of 98,652 people. The numbers were for the whole complex, the TelCom Center and convention center.”
Read more: northsidesun - McCarthy on the convention center
Thursday, August 26, 2010
August 23, 2010
by Iris Eden Santiago
The Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) announced today that it was awarded the “Inner Circle Award 2010,” one of the most prestigious awards in the global conventions industry. The award is conferred by Association Meetings a publication specializing in meetings and conventions worldwide.
Blarys Segarra, General Manager of the Puerto Rico Conventions Center called the award a “great honor.”
“At the verge of our fifth anniversary celebration, this is tremendous news…” Segarra said. “The award is solid proof that our team is focused. We have winning strategies in place to attract and retain business groups and conventions relevant to Puerto Rico. This award belongs to every single employee who works here. They all make us shine.”
The “Inner Circle” is awarded annually by readers of the publication and experts in the management and coordination of groups , meetings and conventions. The Prize is awarded to facilities based on how best each has serviced their meetings and conventions during the past year. Each year 70 winners are chosen in the categories of hotels, resorts, conference centers and convention centers . The winners were announced in August and will be published in the October 2010 Edition of Association Meetings.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.prdailysun.com/news/PR-Convention-Center-awarded-Inner-Circle-2010
SMG’s Contract to Manage the Rockford, IL MetroCentre, Davis Park and the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs Approved by the Rockford Area Venue & Entertainment A
SMG Also To Provide Consulting Services For the Coronado Performing Arts Center
West Conshohocken, PA (August 24, 2010) - At the Tuesday meeting of the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority (RAVE), the Board finalized and approved a five year Management Agreement with SMG. SMG will provide full management services for the Rockford MetroCentre, an 8,000 seat arena that recently underwent a $23 Million renovation, the Rockford IceHogs, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, and Davis Park, a downtown park, amphitheatre and festival grounds.
SMG will also provide consulting services to the beautifully renovated, 2,309-seat Coronado Performing Arts Center, one of the nation’s few remaining atmospheric theatres. Additionally, SMG will immediately begin discussions with Rockford’s On the Waterfront organization to determine the best strategy for cooperation and collaboration for future festivals.
“We are delighted to be a partner of the forward thinking leadership of the Rockford area. This provides a unique opportunity for SMG to manage not just an arena, but its major tenant as well. As we have done in many other cities, we expect to be a major part of the renaissance of downtown Rockford and the entire metropolitan area,“ stated Wes Westley, President and CEO of SMG.
During the Board meeting, RAVE also voted to approve Gordon Kaye as Executive Director/General Manager to oversee the MetroCentre, the IceHogs and Davis Park. Kaye is in his sixth year as general manager of the Reading (PA) Royals Professional Hockey Club and also serves as the team’s governor. He was recommended by SMG to manage the activities in Rockford including bookings, food and beverage operations, marketing, and advertising and sponsorship sales. Kaye, who has been with SMG for seven years, will begin his new role immediately.
“There is so much positive momentum going on in downtown Rockford, and I look forward to help capitalize and build that energy in the community,” said Kaye. “That momentum combined with the exceptional people at the MetroCentre and great people in Rockford will lead to bigger and better things ahead.”
“We are thrilled to have a company like SMG and a leader like Gordon Kaye with experience and enthusiasm coming to our market,” said Mike Dunn, RAVE Board Chairman. “We look forward to his creative ideas and strong leadership to lead the organization into the future.”
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
by: CARY ASPINWALL World Scene Writer
Sunday, August 01, 2010
8/1/2010 4:43:05 AM
Papa doesn't hear the lyrics as most of you hear them. But he feels them, in the vibrations of the seats, floor and railings, on his shirt sleeves against his arms and in his heart.
He sees Gene Simmons' wild makeup, his pornographic tongue wiggling while the guitarist wails on a solo, and he knows.
Papa wants to rock 'n' roll all night and party every day. He can't hear the words, but the music speaks to his soul.
In the corner of the BOK Center at almost every concert or show, you'll see patrons who are as much a music fan as anyone in the venue. They just can't technically hear the music because they are deaf or hearing impaired.
They understand the heartache and desperation in Eric Clapton's voice when he sings "Layla" because an interpreter signs it for them, and they see it in his face.
They can feel the music, even if their ears don't translate the sounds for their brains.
Papa is a rolling stone
Papa is what everyone calls Rodger Cameron, a 59-year-old who travels regularly from his home in Copan to attend concerts and shows at Tulsa's BOK Center.
In one week, he attended the Professional Bull Riders rodeo, WWE Monday Night Raw and Rascal Flatts. ...
Papa can speak to you, but he can't hear what you're saying (or singing). For that, he relies on the help of Total Source for Hearing Loss and Access, the local agency that provides American Sign Language interpreters for the BOK Center and other venues. ...
Some venues don't have a section specifically set aside for deaf patrons. They'll put an interpreter up front somewhere, but it's not the same. Having the interpreter close by, and a dedicated section for deaf patrons, makes it easier for them to understand what's going on and to communicate with one another.
Papa goes to events everywhere, all the time, and he'll gladly tell anyone that the BOK Center is the best facility for the deaf in Oklahoma.
"No doubt," he says. ...
The universal language
When Papa gets tickets for a concert or show he wants to see at the BOK Center, he calls guest services at least three weeks in advance to request an interpreter. He doesn't have to pay extra, as the BOK provides the service as a courtesy to deaf patrons.
An interpreter's work begins way before the show, Rene Ryan explains. She downloads the songs on her iPod, looks up lyrics to songs, tries to find set lists for the tour online. Part of the interpreter's job is to convey the tone and feel of songs for deaf people, through their hands and expressions.
"So that their understanding is the same," Ryan says. ...
Perhaps you saw Papa rocking out in section 102. You'll likely see him at future shows, from Celtic Woman to Carrie Underwood.
"For me," he says, "a life without music would be pretty boring."
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Published: 7/27/2010 2:22 AM
Last Modified: 7/27/2010 4:50 AM
It was another good year for Tulsa's BOK Center — it did even better than last year's profitable and somewhat surprising performance. And the future continues to look promising.
The new arena brought in $2.8 million in sales tax revenue and showed a $1.6 million profit. That equals last year's $2.8 million in tax revenue and exceeds last year's $1.1 million profit.
Even during difficult economic times the arena's first year was wildly successful. Some expected a continued tough economy and a reduced curiosity effect to dampen the second year's revenue.
But the quality of shows brought to Tulsa by SMG kept the arena on pace.
As the economy slowly recovers there is no reason not to expect the arena to continue its success, especially with the quality of shows it presents.
The BOK Center is the success proponents thought it would be: Attendance is up, profits remain stable or better and much-needed sales tax revenue continues.
Tulsa County voters made a good decision to build the BOK Center with Vision 2025 funding.
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/article.aspx?subjectid=61&articleid=20100727_61_A13_Itwasa136783&archive=yes
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
"The SMG-managed Pensacola Civic Center is a 10,000-seat arena that is playing a role in the battle against the oil. Because of our building's size and 24-hour operational schedule, several contractors and volunteer organizations have used Pensacola Civic Center meeting rooms to host hazardous material clean-up training sessions. For a two week period in late May and early June, participants filled every meeting room at the venue, as well as an outdoor hazmat training area staged at the building's main loading dock. More 20 hour and 40 hour training sessions are scheduled through July 12 and possibly longer.
In late April, as the full ramifications of the massive spill were coming into focus, SMG-managed facilities on the gulf coast mobilized to prepare meals for crews managing the spread of the spill when it was centered off the coast of Louisiana. The SAVOR SMG food and beverage staff at the Mobile Convention Center prepared around-the clock meals for government and private sector employees involved in the clean-up. SAVOR SMG staff at the Pensacola Civic Center pitched in to proved staff support for our neighbor's food service operation."
"Overnight, [the Mobile Convention Center] transformed from a convention center to the focus of international attention. Officials worked around the clock. The building became a hub for meetings, planning and press conferences. Our kitchen served more meals in 24 hours than it would normally serve in a week. We became a major part of the relief effort. We served as a place of hope.
. . . We were proud to look back on our teamwork, superior customer service and many accomplishments over those weeks. We knew we had marked a place in history as part of the effort to restore the Gulf to its former glory."
Monday, July 26, 2010
The figures include concerts and all other entertainment shows but do not include exhibitions, conferences and sporting events.
2010 is proving to be yet another superb year for the Arena with the likes of Michael Buble, MAMMA MIA!, Lady GaGa, Rod Stewart and Stereophonics having already performed, and Peter Kay, Lord of the Dance, Paul Weller, Andre Rieu, Arena record holders Scissor Sisters and a further show from Michael Buble plus many more still to come, offering a huge variety.
Paul Tappenden, Metro Radio Arena’s Marketing Director said: ‘We would like to thank our commercial partners and staff for all their hard work, and of course the North East public for their continued support of our venue. Despite slowly increasing ticket prices it proves that they still want to enjoy a great night out and see world class quality shows, even when times are particularly hard, as during the current recession. There’s nothing quite like being there! Recent announcements including shows like Scissor Sisters with tickets costing only £30, and the Pet Shop Boys later this month also from £30 have driven healthy sales, proving that top class live entertainment is still accessible at reasonable prices.”
"We're obviously extremely pleased to be hosting the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Division I Frozen Four in 2013," RMU Director of Athletics Craig Coleman, M.D., said. "We have a very strong partnership with the CONSOL Energy Center and VisitPittsburgh, and I believe the NCAA recognized the strength of that partnership in considering our bid. We plan on putting on the best Frozen Four ever."
The 2013 NCAA Men's Frozen Four at the CONSOL Energy Center will take place April 11 and 13, 2013, and will be the first NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship event held in the state of Pennsylvania. In addition, it will be the first major team sport in NCAA history to conduct its national championship in the city of Pittsburgh.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen to host the 2013 Frozen Four at the CONSOL Energy Center," RMU head men's ice hockey coach Derek Schooley said. "The Frozen Four will be a major showcase for the city of Pittsburgh as well as our emerging hockey program. This is one of the NCAA's premier events, and Robert Morris and the city of Pittsburgh will be an excellent host."
More . . .
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tulsa, OK – July 12, 2010
Pollstar Magazine, a leading industry publication, has just released their rankings of the top arena venues worldwide based on ticket sales for January 1 – June 30, 2010. The BOK Center ranked #9 in the United States and #24 in the World.
General Manager John Bolton commented on the success, “To be ranked in the Top 10 arenas on the eve of our second anniversary is a great credit to our fans who continue to support the BOK Center by purchasing tickets.”
Top 10 nationwide arenas (with ticket sales):
- Madison Square Garden Arena – New York, NY – 336,482
- Philips Arena – Atlanta, GA – 326,053
- Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO – 312,569
- St. Pete Times Forum – Tampa, FL – 231,868
- The Palace of Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, MI – 225,139
- Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – 206,207
- American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX – 189,901
- Bank Atlantic Center – Sunrise, FL – 188,908
- BOK Center – Tulsa, OK – 180,280
- Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT – 168,462
The BOK Center has reached its #9 ranking by booking a wide array of acts that appeal to purchasers. The arena has hosted 9 out of 10 top North American tours.
Top nationwide tours in order:
- Bon Jovi
- James Taylor/Carole King
- Taylor Swift
- Paul McCartney
- George Strait/Reba/Lee Ann Womack
- The Black Eyed Peas
- John Mayer
- Tim McGraw
- Michael Buble’
# # #
The BOK Center, an 19,199 – seat entertainment venue, is managed by SMG, the world leader in venue management, marketing and development. Headquartered in Philadelphia, SMG provides management services to over 200 public assembly facilities including arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theatres and convention, conference and trade centers. As the recognized industry leader since 1977, SMG provides construction and design consulting, pre-opening services, venue management, sales and marketing and event booking and programming. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through our in house catering company, Savor…catering by SMG, currently servicing 65 accounts worldwide. With facilities across the United States, and in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, SMG controls over 1.5 million entertainment seats worldwide and manages more than ten million feet of exhibition space.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Acrobatic gymnastics combine the beauty of dance with the agility of acrobatics. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds, characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
(July 8, 2010 - Worcester, MA) The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee announced that Worcester has been selected to host the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championships Northeast Regional for 2012. The bid to host the event was submitted this spring by the College of the Holy Cross, SMG-managed DCU Center and Destination Worcester. The event will take place March 24-25, 2012.
NCAA has recognized the DCU Center’s success with the awarding of previous NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championships. As host of the Regionals in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 the DCU Center has developed the experience and understanding of tournament requirements. Nine of the 11 teams to win the regional in Worcester have gone on to play in the national championship game. Five of those teams won the national championship.
2012 will mark the third time that Holy Cross has hosted the Northeast Regionals at the DCU Center, having previously hosted in 2008 and 2010. Holy Cross was also Host Institution for the 2005 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships First/Second Rounds at the DCU Center. "We are thrilled to have the NCAA men's hockey championship return to Worcester in 2012,” said Holy Cross athletic director Richard M. Regan, Jr. “This is an exciting event for our local community and a tremendous experience for the participating teams and fans. We enjoy working with the DCU Center and hope to continue this tradition for years to come."
Sandy Dunn, General Manager of the DCU Center, stated “The DCU Center is proud to have hosted the Men’s Ice Hockey Regional Championships 11 times in the last 17 years. Our wealth of experience and long-standing relationship with the NCAA gives us a great foundation to build upon to continue to provide a first class experience for the fans, athletes, coaches, tournament staff and media”. Dunn added, “We look forward to working with Holy Cross once again as the Host Institution for another outstanding Regional Championship in 2012.”
Destination Worcester’s support and expertise of City amenities and services was key in the bid to host the tournament. “The NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Northeast Regional is a wonderful event for the City of Worcester, said Patrick Lynch, Executive Director for Destination Worcester. “Past Regionals have had significant financial impact on the City, generating over $1 million of direct spending from the 2010 tournament alone. Events such as this bring vibrancy to the City and we are happy that NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey is returning in 2012.”
The DCU Center features a state of the art ice surface that was completely replaced in the summer of 2009, including new chillers, dasher boards and seamless glass. The attached Convention Center provides plenty of space for schools and alumni to hold functions during the two-day event. The DCU Center, renown for being a top-grossing arena of its size, has hosted other major televised sporting events including Professional Boxing, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the Professional Bull Riders, University of Massachusetts Basketball and the NCAA Basketball Championships First and Second Rounds.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Star Wars: In Concert launched their North American tour in 2009 and Ford Center was one of first of ten venues to host the event in the United States. Therefore the goal behind the localized marketing and public relations campaign was to educate the public about the new show and to encourage them to buy tickets to the event.
Utilizing community resources such as hosting special events at local malls, comic conventions, and the philharmonic, to placing advertisement on billboards and movie screens, the marketing campaign was able to reach various audiences. Combining these efforts with an impressive grass roots public relations campaign, a highlight of the following results were achieved:
15 stories featured in five different newspaper and on-line publications Generated 11 minutes and 29 seconds of television broadcast news coverage Secured five different in-studio radio interviews Achieved an average 36.18% "Open" rate for targeted emails with an average 7.00% "Click-thru" rate
“I am very proud of our marketing team for putting together such an amazing campaign for Star Wars: In Concert,” said Tim Linville, director of Sales and Marketing for SMG in Oklahoma City. “We are honored to be recognized by the Frontier Country Marketing Association and are proud to be a part of their efforts to promote local businesses and attractions.”
Thursday, July 1, 2010
“We have a great infrastructure in the BOK Center which will allow us to look at emerging technologies and how they are used in marketing and end-user customer experience,” said Rosenblum. “This infrastructure, I believe, is the basis for how new buildings should be built and will act as a blueprint for SMG in approaching the technological concerns of our day to day business.”
This year, BOK Center is one of the 151 Laureates honored among 21 countries. ComputerWorld Honors Program, governed by the Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation, announced BOK Center’s case study for the “Fifth-Best-Selling Arena in U.S. Builds Its Networking Foundation to Consolidate Voice, Data, and Video IP Infrastructure—Helping to Attract Customers and Boost Revenue.”
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Published: June 25, 2010
The NCAA wrestling and volleyball championships are headed to Oklahoma City.
The University of Oklahoma announced Friday that it will host the 2014 wrestling championships at the Ford Center and the 2012 NCAA men's gymnastics championships at Lloyd Noble Center. OU also will host two regional championships over the next few years.
Oklahoma City will host the 2014 NCAA Volleyball Championship at the Ford Center. The Big 12 Conference and the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association will combine to host that event.
Read more: http://www.newsok.com/ncaa-wrestling-volleyball-championships-headed-to-oklahoma-city/article/3471216?custom_click=pod_headline_ou-sports#ixzz0sLR7jkoy
Monday, June 14, 2010
Jay Kirschenmann • Argus Leader • June 12, 2010
Despite a few rain clouds, the music and food at the 13th annual Argus Leader RibFest held Thursday through Saturday last week drew more than 44,000 people, management company SMG reports.
Friday was the most attended day, with almost 15,000 people. Attendance was more than 8,000 on Thursday night and Sunday and about 13,000 on Saturday.
Taking home its eighth consecutive People's Choice Award was Desperado's BBQ of Ohio. The 2008 Critic's Choice Best Ribs winner, Porky 'N' Beans of Port St. Lucie, Fla., reclaimed its title this year.
Second place in the critic's choice voting went to Rasta Joe's of Plymouth, Ind., and third place went to the local crew from Famous Dave's of Sioux Falls.Next year, the 14th annual Argus Leader RibFest is set for June 2-5.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
From the exclusive, expansive track-side suites and tents to food services along the boardwalk surrounding the Long Beach Arena and Convention Center's promenade, Savor had dining options for every taste and budget. Savor trademark pit stops were complemented by locally sub-contracted vendors that offered a diverse menu of items. More than 200 points of sale at 80 operations along the 1.9 mile track ensured fans didn't miss any of the racing action.
“We created micro environments throughout the race area that added enhanced comfort and hospitality to the racing days for the visitors, something that VIPs had come to expect, but now something all attendees could enjoy,” said Shaun Beard, senior vice president, Savor. Themed areas included sports bars with pool tables, cantinas with DJs and track-side viewing, and a popular second-floor Club Patron each with their own specialty food and beverage items. Drawing in visitors, the environments provided entertainment and increased their length of stay.
Savor operated all alcohol services on the track, staffing multiple beer locations and themed carts, Tecate Catinas and Tecate Sports Bar. The wine gardens, set under adorned pergolas, this year featured specialty cheeses, McManis wines and Korbell champagne. The improved garden theme and branding resulted in significant increases in revenue. This year, Savor rolled out expanded alcohol awareness training for their staff call “Savor Safe”. The program includes secret shoppers, additional training hours and heightened awareness.
Savor was full speed ahead with an expanded recycling program that composted 2.4 tons in addition to recycling glass, plastic, cardboard and aluminum. A founding partner of the Aquarium of the Pacific's “Seafood for the Future”, Savor also supplied Grand Prix fans sustainable seafood options. Long Beach Grand Prix has also announced their decision to renew their relationship with Savor for the next five years.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Williams has been in the venue industry for 32 years and started with SMG 6 years ago. He was last at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Florida and has worked in several venues in Atlanta and the south east United States.
Williams always treats others with respect and is known for his big smile & cheery greeting each day. The staff at SMG-Tulsa holds him in high esteem and values every contribution he has made in the work environment. He exemplifies a strong, conscientious and professional manager who is a role model for all those he leads and supports.
General Manager John Bolton praised Williams’ work, “The hard work Willie does every day is obvious to everyone around him. He sets an example for all others, and deserves credit for amount of work done behind the scenes to make sure everyone’s visit to the building is great. ”
The Employee of the Year was chosen from a pool of outstanding employees who had received individual recognition as Employee of the Month throughout 2009. A committee headed by the HR Manager and including representatives from both buildings and all departments chooses the staff member from anonymous nominations. Any full-time staff member can nominate or be chosen for these awards. Williams was the inaugural recipient of the monthly award when the program began in January 2009.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
SMG General Manager and former Wichita Thunder General Manager, Chris Presson commented, “I've been to most facilities around the league, and I feel the arena is very deserving of this honor. We are proud of what we have to offer and appreciate the recognition.”
In addition to the venue awards, the Wichita Thunder fans were voted ‘Most Annoying' for the seventh consecutive year.
“Thunder fans take great pride in getting under the visiting team's skin,” added Presson. “Seven straight years of tasteful fun is quite an accomplishment.”
The Wichita Thunder debuted at the Arena January 23 with a franchise-record attendance of 13,412. The Thunder currently ranks second in the CHL in attendance.
INTRUST Bank Arena opened January 9 with a sold out Brad Paisley concert. The venue also recently hosted Elton John and Billy Joel, George Strait and Reba and numerous family shows.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center, which is proudly managed by SMG, has been awarded a coveted Prime Site Award from Facilities & Destination Magazine.
The 2010 Prime Site Award program selects convention centers that are a cut above and have never lost sight of one of the country’s fundamental principles of conducting business of any kind: “always please the customer.”
Meeting planners chose the Mobile Convention Center for this prestigious award based on the following criteria:
· Most flexible, functional and unique space
· State of the art technology
· Innovative architectural design
· Great service
“The Mobile Convention Center’s management and staff are honored to receive this notable award,” said Bob Brazier, General Manager of the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center. “Customer service has always been a top priority for our staff and this award enhances our commitment to this goal.”
Voting was conducted in 2009, and the 2010 award was officially announced in the March 2010 Facilities & Destinations SuperBook issue. The Mobile Convention Center has won the Prime Site Award each year since 2001 for a total of ten awards.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Larry Wilson comes to Jacksonville from the John Paul Jones Arena, in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he served as the Regional General Manager overseeing day to day operations of the John Paul Jones Arena, the Paramount Theater and the Meadows Events Center (Virginia State Fair)... Wilson managed the pre-opening phase of the John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006. Under Wilson’s management, the arena was named Pollstar’s Best New Major Concert Venue 2006. Wilson, is a graduate of Oglebay Facility Management School and the University of Memphis, has been with SMG since 1994. Wilson has been involved in the opening of six buildings over his 15 year career. Prior to John Paul Jones Arena, Wilson was the General Manager of the Richmond Coliseum. He also served as the Assistant GM of the Century Tel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana. Wilson has held several positions for SMG including Director Event Services and Convention Sales at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville and as Event Services Manager at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
Wilson has served as the President of the ACOM, on the Board of the Charlottesville, Albermarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, and holds memberships in IAAM, ASAE, and PCMA. For information on Wilson, call Nan Coyle at 904-630-4056.
“Larry Wilson is a great addition to the management team in Jacksonville,” commented Hank Abate, Senior Vice President for Stadiums and Arenas/SMG, adding, “SMG takes great pride in developing and obtaining the very best candidates for such an important role in the communities we serve. Wilson has been recognized for his operational and booking expertise and will bring these leadership skills to the Jacksonville Venues.”
Wilson, will be in Jacksonville beginning March 16, 2010, to assist with the 2010 NCAA Men’s First and Second Round Basketball Tournament.
"We are pleased that we had a perfect successor to Larry Wilson right here on our JPJ staff. In his three years here at John Paul Jones Arena, Jason has shown that he has all the knowledge and skills it takes to be a top manager for SMG, and I am certain he will do a fabulous job.” said Bob Cavalieri, Senior Vice President - Business Development for SMG.
Rich Kovatch, Associate Vice President for Business Operations for University of Virginia, said, “While the University is sorry to see Larry Wilson go, the opportunity for him to move up within SMG is a testament to the job he did here. We are delighted that the perfect successor to Larry was right here in our midst. We welcome Jason, with whom we have worked for the past three years, to the position of General Manager, certain that he will continue the tradition of excellence that has been established at JPJ.”
Pedone replaces Larry Wilson, who was been named General Manager for SMG in Jacksonville, FL. SMG, on behalf of the City of Jacksonville, manages the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, the Prime Osborn Convention Center and the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.
Monday, March 15, 2010
“We are incredibly honored to receive this national recognition. This award is a tribute to the hard work of our staff along with the incredibly supportive entertainment fans we have in Kingston and Southeastern Ontario. In the end, the biggest ‘thank you’ is due to the promoters that bring the events to the facility. Without their belief in the K-Rock Centre we couldn’t possibly be in this position again,” says SMG’s Ken Noakes, General Manager of the K-Rock Centre.
Noakes continues, “These achievements never come to fruition without a lot of hard work from so many different people throughout the community. The Kingston City Council, City of Kingston, our naming sponsor—K-ROCK Radio, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Tourism Kingston, Kingston Accommodation Partners, Downtown Kingston, and the Kingston Frontenacs all have been invaluable partners along the way.”
SMG Senior Regional Vice-President Harry Cann adds, “We believed in the Kingston market from the beginning and are confident of the venue’s continued success as a premier entertainment venue. Our local operating team has done a great job and this Facility of the Year Award is tangible proof that the K-Rock Centre is on the right track.”
“I am delighted that the K-Rock Centre has, once again, achieved national recognition through this award,” says Mayor Harvey Rosen. “On behalf of the City of Kingston, I wish to thank the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry for choosing the K-Rock Centre as their ‘Major Facility of the Year.’ The K-Rock Centre’s positive presence in this region is increasing, and consequently, so is the building’s success. The vision for this facility was that it would one day become the premier indoor location for sports and entertainment events in Southeastern Ontario. This award is another example of how we are realizing this goal.”
The nominees and winners of the Canadian Music Industry Awards are chosen by its combined votes of registered Canadian music industry professionals. These registered voters consist of peers within the industry. For more information on the CMIA visit www.cmw.net.
The lucky fan won an assortment of prizes valued at over $4000, including a suite during the Tulsa Talons season opener game and a suite for an Oilers home game next season. Also included were a variety of concert t-shirts and other memorabilia.
General Manager John Bolton and Assistant GM Jerry Goldman were present and met Steven Sides, who was attending the game with his son, in section 102 to congratulate him for being the winner.
“It's wonderful that we are able to reach this milestone after opening only 18 months ago,” said John Bolton. “We are rewarding this special fan as a tribute to all of the people who have attended events at the arena. I would like to thank the Tulsa for its support and anyone who has attended an event here. Without the fans we wouldn't be able to have such great success.”
Below: Jerry Goldman, Steven Sides, John Bolton, and Tulsa Oilers General Manager Taylor Hall.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Ora Arena – managed by SMG Europe, will be the first purpose built, multi-functional venue of its kind in Istanbul with a capacity of 6,500 and easily accessible to a population of 13 million. Flexible seating arrangements will enable the programming of a wide range of events with an all inclusive appeal such as: family entertainment; musical and theatrical; local, national and international pop and rock concerts, and last but not least sports. The backstage, load-in and production facilities will be incomparable to any other venues in the area surpassing international touring operational requirements. The Arena will feature another first for entertainment venues in Turkey with a dedicated VIP function room and 10 executive hospitality suites. Businesses will now have a credible alternative to sporting venues in which to entertain clients.
John Sutherland – Managing Director / Senior Vice President SMG Europe said, “we are delighted to be part of this exciting project and look forward to developing Ora Arena into a world class venue for the community of Istanbul to enjoy.”
Ora Convention Centre – managed and marketed by SMG’ s convention centre division, will be a multi-purpose, 10,500 square meter centre capable of hosting a wide range of events including: national and international congresses and conferences, medium sized consumer exhibitions; and trade and business to business exhibitions. The venue will be able to offer attendees hospitality services in the 3-star Holiday Inn Express and 4-star Crowne Plaza hotels on site plus the opportunity to enjoy the unique experiences before and after events at the theme park, outlet mall and arena. The 6,500 seat arena will also serve to host general sessions for congresses in a setting ready-made for large meetings.
Gregg Caren – Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development for SMG said, “Istanbul provides a unique setting that blends one of the richest cultures in history with a thriving contemporary city that must be experienced to be appreciated. We look forward to working with our local partners and event planners in the region and international community.”
Manchester, New Hampshire, March 5, 2010 – SMG President and CEO Wes Westley announced today that SMG’s contract to provide management services at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH has been extended through 2031. The Arena is an 11,000 seat facility that hosts some of the biggest names in entertainment, as well as community events. It is also home to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.
Westley commented, “You don’t get this kind of extension from a client who has very high standards without doing something right. This extension is a tribute to the fine job being done by our local management team in conjunction with our corporate team. SMG has been operating the arena since its opening in 2001. Industry accolades, community support, and strong financials have been the pattern at this facility since it opened. We are honored by this clear vote of confidence from the Mayor and by the unanimous vote of the Board of Aldermen.”
Tim Bechert, General Manager for the Verizon Wireless Arena stated, “From SMG’s perspective we view our relationship with the City of Manchester as a partnership, and we are pleased to build on the foundation we’ve set. The Verizon Wireless Arena was opened under SMG management in November 2001 and has hosted over 1000 events, sold out more than 200 events and welcomes more than 5.1 million people.”
Harry Cann, Senior Regional Vice President for the Arena, added, “The Verizon Wireless Arena is clearly established as a premier venue in the industry. We are proud of our efforts and look forward to working closely with the City, the Monarchs, and local business partners for many more years. Our objective is to maximize the potential of the venue for the City and the surrounding community.”
Goodman is the Assistant General Manager/Director of Marketing at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has been with SMG for more than 10 years. Prior to his Pittsburgh appointment in May, 2006, Rob was General Manager of the Pontchartrain Center (Kenner, LA) and Sr. Marketing Manager of the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena (New Orleans, LA). Goodman has more than 24 years of sports and entertainment marketing experience, and in August will move over to the new 18,500-seat Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Sparks currently is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma with over eight years in the industry. Her career began at the University of South Carolina where she holds a degree in Sports and Entertainment Management. She joined SMG at the AT&T Center in San Antonio as the Marketing Manager before coming to the BOK Center. She has been a part of the grand opening team for two major arenas and currently serves as a Board Member of the Event and Arena Marketing Conference.
Evans is the Director of Marketing and Sales for the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California and has been part of the SMG team for five years. Her background includes television news reporting and producing, media buying and radio advertising sales. She is also a former Promotion Director for Ice Capades and traveled worldwide with the show for seven years.
Cohen is the Marketing Director of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. She has been with SMG for more than eight years. Cheryl’s career spans over 25 years in the entertainment industry including theatres, arenas and concert promotions. Prior to joining the arena in Providence, she was a Senior Marketing Representative for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Bob McClintock, SMG Senior Vice President for Convention Centers said, “This is continued validation that SMG Convention Centers provide their users with the greatest value and highest level of service in the industry. We are proud of the men and women of SMG for their hard work and dedication to the communities they serve.”
Beard stated, “This is no coincidence. SAVOR works closely with its facility clients, striving to make their goals a reality. At the end of the day, a customer is evaluating the total experience. Every component needs to be first rate if a facility hopes to succeed. SAVOR delivers the food and beverage component that meets its partners needs to be award winning.”
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Tulsa’s BOK Center, managed by SMG, has been nominated by the Academy of Country Music for Venue of the Year. In order to be considered for this award, the venue must have bought or promoted at least 5 (five) country concerts during the prior calendar year of January 1 to December 31, 2009 and be in good standing with all agents. Since opening in September of 2008, the BOK Center has hosted the following country artists:
- Kenny Chesney
- Rascal Flatts
- Carrie Underwood
- Brad Paisley
- Trace Adkins
- Keith Urban with Sugarland
- Taylor Swift
- Alan Jackson
- George Strait with Reba
The BOK Center will be competing for the award against the following venues:
- Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion – Gilford, NH
- Sommet Center – Nashville, TN
- Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO
- Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion – Raleigh, NC
March 3, 2010
Shreveport City Council unanimously approves SMG to continue to provide top-quality operational services at Convention Center.
Shreveport, Louisiana, March 3, 2010 -- SMG, the Worldwide Leader in Convention and Entertainment Management, is proud to announce that the Shreveport City Council has unanimously approved SMG for an extension of the contract for continued management of the Shreveport Convention Center. The vote occurred during their meeting on the evening of February 23rd. SMG will continue to provide top quality, industry-standard-setting day-to-day operational services for the region’s most prestigious Convention Center.
SMG President and CEO Wes Westley said of the renewal: “The faith shown by the Shreveport City Council in SMG's ability to continue to meet or exceed expectations in facility management and performance of this premiere venue is very gratifying. SMG's continued service to the people of Shreveport is a source of great pride for us.”
SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton added: "We are very pleased to be a part of the overall success of Shreveport's hospitality industry. The Convention Center has proven to be a real winner for the Community, which is a real tribute to our strong management team there and great partnership with the City."
The City Council and Mayor were both very complimentary of SMG’s achievements on behalf of Shreveport, and took time to single out SMG General Manager, Sam Voisin, for his ceaseless efforts in improving fiscal performance at the Center; in particular beating the annual budget by close to $300,000 this past year. Voisin shared credit with the facility’s staff: "We have a very committed team at the convention center whose hard work has been validated by a unanimous vote of confidence from the City Council."
Said Cedric B. Glover, Mayor City of Shreveport, LA: “It is without question that SMG has exceeded our expectations in effectively and efficiently managing our city’s largest capital project and major asset, the Shreveport Convention Center. Our relationship with SMG and their ongoing successes have produced untold economic impact for the City of Shreveport. As indicated with a unanimous city council vote, we look forward to a continued and productive relationship with the SMG team.”
SMG has provided full management services, as well as preopening services, for the Shreveport Convention Center since it opened in 2006.
Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide, including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, convention, congress and exhibition cen¬ters, science centers and a variety of other venues. Across the globe, SMG manages more than 12 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) of exhibition space and over 1.5 million arena and theatre seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering company SAVOR, currently serving more than 100 accounts worldwide.
For more information visit www.smgworld.com.
SAVOR, the food and beverage division of special event venue management leader SMG, (www.savorsmg.com) currently provides food and beverage services, as well as VIP and catering/special event services, to more than 100 facilities around the world. The company is also an industry leader in introducing green standards and programs to public facilities. SAVOR’s commitment to farm to table freshness and food quality typically features locally grown products for their venue clients whenever possible. SAVOR staff prides themselves on being on the cutting edge of the latest food and beverage trends in addition to searching out the most innovative food technologies available on the market.
Public Relations Office
300 Conshohocken State Rd Ste 770
West Conshohocken, PA 19428
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
SMG is Awarded Dual Management Renewals in Puerto Rico for the Coliseó de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot and Puerto Rico Convention Center
February 25, 2010
SMG, the Worldwide Leader in Convention and Entertainment Management, and the Board of the Convention Center District Authority for Puerto Rico have reached agreements for continued management of both the Coliseó de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot and the Puerto Rico Convention Center. SMG will continue to provided day-to-day operational services for the largest and most technologically advanced meeting facility in the Caribbean as well as the consecutive Prime Site Award-winning Arena. The Coliseo and the Convention Center are widely regarded as two of the most popular and successful infrastructure projects of the government of Puerto Rico.
SMG President and CEO Wes Westley said of the renewal, “the faith shown by the Convention Center District Authority in SMG's ability to continue to meet or exceed expectations in facility management and performance of these premiere venues is very gratifying. SMG's continued partnership with the Convention Center District Authority of Puerto Rico is a source of great pride for us.”
The Coliseo agreement will now include responsibility for food and beverage management encompassing concessions, catering in 26 private suites, party suites and sky boxes, and special events. Major attractions at the Coliseo over the past year have included Celine Dion, WWE Smackdown, Backstreet Boys, Andrea Bocelli, AC/DC, Harlem Globetrotters, Gloria Estefan, Santana, Il Divo, Ringling Brothers Circus, Kenny G, and ESPN's NCAA college Basketball Puerto Rico Tip Off, as well as multiple performances by the Jonas Brothers, Ruben Blades and reggaeton superstars Wisin and Yandel.
SMG has provided full management services for the Puerto Rico Convention Center since its opening in 2005. The staff of the Puerto Rico Convention Center is now also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the entire Convention Center District as well as operation of the award winning Ficus Café.
The Puerto Rico Convention Center has recently hosted a strong schedule of international conventions including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Le Cumbre Travel Expo, the Association of Latin American Pediatricians (ALAPE).
SMG's development efforts in Puerto Rico and neighboring areas are led by VP of Development Jochi Davila. Our facilities are managed by two dedicated General Managers Wesley Cullen (Coliseo) and Blarys Segarra (PRCC). Jochi, Blarys and Wesley previously served in increasingly important management roles for SMG before being promoted to their current senior positions. Jochi, as the Coliseo's first Director of Marketing and later Assistant General Manager. Blarys was Director of Finance and Assistant General Manager at the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Both were part of SMG's opening teams at the Coliseo. Wesley had previously served as Director of Events and Assistant General Manager at the Coliseo.
Of the Current staff, Thom Connors, Senior Regional General Manager for SMG, has said, “The success of our management team in Puerto Rico is a testimony to SMG's confidence in and commitment to the next generation of managers who will lead the company into the future and new regions around the world. Jochi, Wesley and Blarys have proven to be able leaders not only at their facilities but in the community and local industry as well.”
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Three projects for the BOK Center were honored by this year’s judges. All three pieces were commissioned, edited and approved by staff of the SMG-managed arena. Citations of Excellence were awarded in two separate categories, Advertising for the Arts and Elements of Advertising. All work was submitted by local Tulsa agency Cubic, who designed and produced the creative work.
The commemorative Book(ed) 365, a 150-page visual recap of the grand opening and every event in the building’s first year won an ADDY award and special Judge’s Choice award. The judges selected the book for the “Best Big Book Project, A Year In The Making!” award. Book(ed) 365 will be entered and judged in the American Advertising Federation District 10 competition, with awards ceremony in April.
Other notable awards include the Citation in Elements of Advertising for the “Skate Date” logo. Skate Date is an annual Valentine’s Day event at the BOK Center.
The Citation for Advertising for the Arts went to the BOK Center “Concert Posters” series. The posters, which had a unified look, were updated and personalized for each event held at the arena, and gifted to the performers.
“The BOK Center prides itself on creating outstanding marketing materials to promote our facility. We’re very excited the industry has recognized our work and look forward to continuing the tradition of marketing excellence with all future efforts,” said BOK Center General Manger, John Bolton.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
By Staff Reports
Published: 12/27/2009 2:27 AM
Those who had a hand in the entertainment scene that moved and/or shook our city.
You, the voters: Thanks to a "yes" on Vision 2025, we got ourselves a pretty nice arena, the BOK Center. You've also filled that arena, shopped your city and attended your events. You've supported the arts, demanded more, and you're getting it.
Tom Green and Angie Devore-Green: They started DFest in 2002, and now it's a top destination for festival lovers, attracting big-name bands and tons of folks.
J. Elliot Nelson: His refusal to give up on downtown nightlife has given us something to do on the weekends and something delicious to eat with our pints.
Marcello Angelini: As artistic director, Angelini guided the Tulsa Ballet to international acclaim and developed it into one of the best dance companies in the nation.
G. Barry Epperley: During times of plenty and times of crisis, he has kept orchestral music alive in Tulsa through the Signature Symphony. Last year the orchestra which he founded and leads celebrated its 30th anniversary, making it (after the Bartlesville Symphony) the longest-lived orchestra in the state.
Dr. Frank Letcher: A longtime supporter of classical music in Tulsa, he developed the idea for
the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and he tirelessly worked to make this musician-run orchestra a reality.
Steve Liggett: Under his guidance, Living Arts of Tulsa has developed into a national leader in presenting and fostering interdisciplinary art, most notably through its annual New Genre Festival.
Carrie Underwood: Not only has she earned the "America's Sweetheart" crown, but she's never forgotten where she came from. She comes back to Oklahoma often, either for charitable reasons or to play a show at the BOK Center.
SMG Management: The company that runs venue management, marketing and development for the BOK Center has an international outreach and down-home approach to business. They run the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La., Soldier Field in Chicago, the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the Odysseum in Cologne, Germany, to name a few. Yet they still have the sense to bring Oklahomans the music they love for shows in Tulsa.
Louis and Cluck: Zuri Louis and Steve Cluck are the designers/artists behind the "I (heart) Tulsa" and "Don't Hate the 918" T-shirts. The hometown pride is evident, and even people who come to town as guests notice it. For instance, the band Cake's lead singer, John McRae, praised Tulsa's self-love while he was in town during DFest.
P.C. Cast: Tulsa has been home to its share of best-selling authors, but no local writer has cast quite as powerful a spell on the reading public as Cast's "House of Night" vampire fiction series.
The Snyder Family: They succeeded where others failed in re-establishing the Mayo Hotel. After sitting empty and being close to wreckage, the historic building was restored to its original luster when the family swooped in.
Rodgers family: James and Alice Rodgers purchased the Cain's Ballroom in 2002, and sons Hunter and Chad run the venue. They keep bringing in top-tier acts and are keeping Bob Wills' home in good, sound condition. They took out the church pews and added air conditioning (thank heavens) and also improved the interior immensely, restoring the lower section of the bar and opening a second venue inside, Bob's Place. They also opened Ida Red in Brookside, a spot where Tulsa's creativity and community collide. It's called a rock n' roll boutique.
Jerry Gordon: The builder and developer is responsible for the RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks, which attracts many for its nightlife, food and entertainment. Gordon's vision sees a more well-rounded Tulsa, with the fun being spread throughout the county.
Local natives build careers with SMG
By CHIP MINEMYER
Jon Petrunak’s father has a dentist’s office on Franklin Street in Johnstown, not far from the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
Jason Varnish remembers learning to skate at the arena when he was a youngster in Westmont.
Both local natives have been climbing the corporate ladder at SMG Sports and Entertainment, the national company now managing the War Memorial.
And they take special pride in seeing their company help elevate the venue in their hometown with enhanced technology and better access to a variety of entertainment options.
“It’s very exciting with SMG being in the Johnstown market,” Petrunak said. “I have a personal tie to the community, so I take a lot of pride in being able to help as the War Memorial moves forward.”
‘I love the variety’
Varnish attended Westmont Hilltop School District through ninth grade before moving to the Pittsburgh area, where he graduated from Plum High School.
He earned a communications degree from IUP and followed up with a master’s degree in sports management from Slippery Rock.
Varnish said a marketing internship with the Pittsburgh Steelers helped launch his career. SMG had handled ticketing at Three Rivers Stadium, and the company followed the football team to Heinz Field.
He eventually joined the staff at Heinz Field and became events manager after a stint in ticket sales and marketing at Robert Morris University.
“The first thing is that you’ve got to learn how to turn off being a fan,” Varnish said. “I learned that first when I started with the Steelers. I grew up a Steelers fan. Working with the team is different.”
The next team he worked with was the Pittsburgh Penguins. Varnish moved to Mellon Arena six years ago, working with SMG, and has been the box office manager at Mellon for four years.
The job has gotten busier, he said, as the Penguins were improving on the way to the 2009 Stanley Cup championship. Now, every home game at Mellon is sold out.
“The first couple of years I worked here, the Penguins were struggling,” Varnish said. “You used to be able to work the first and second periods and then go out and find an empty seat to watch the rest of a game. It’s not like that anymore. I haven’t watched a game in four years – not since they drafted Sidney Crosby.”
Like the War Memorial, Mellon Arena is home to many nonhockey events.
“I love the variety and diversity of the people you see,” he said. “You could have George Strait in for a country show on Friday, Rod Stewart doing rock and roll on Saturday and then a Stars On Ice family show on Sunday. And for that reason you are constantly adjusting what you do for your customers.”
Varnish also manages ticket sales for non-Pitt athletic events at nearby Petersen Events Center.
He is now involved in preparing for the move to the new Consol Energy Center across the street this fall. The facility will become the new home of the Penguins and downtown Pittsburgh’s top entertainment venue.
“SMG is working on a seating chart for the new arena, getting ready for a September opening,” he said. “We’re going to have to go up for sale with seats that aren’t even bolted down yet. But years of experience, especially working with Ticketmaster, should make it an easy transition.”
Varnish said his father and grandparents still live in Johnstown.
“The bulk of my family is still there,” he said.
He recently spent time in his hometown helping with SMG’s transition at the War Memorial.
Varnish is married with two children.
‘Every day is different’
Petrunak is national director of booking for SMG.
He is a 1997 graduate of Forest Hills High School in Sidman, where he wrestled and played on a Rangers football team that reached the state championship game.
Petrunak earned a sports and entertainment degree at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.
He also has an MBA from Kutztown University.
His career began with an internship with the Reading Phillies minor league baseball team. He met his future wife while working in Reading.
In 2001, he joined SMG as box office manager for the Sovereign Center and Sovereign Performing Arts Center in Reading.
Then in 2007, Petrunak moved to Philadelphia to help oversee booking for all of SMG’s venues across the country.
“It’s exciting. Every day is different,” Petrunak said. “You deal with so many personalities. It’s an interesting business, for sure.”
Petrunak said he was back in the Johnstown region over the holidays.
And each month he leads a conference call with all SMG venue managers to discuss opportunities to book entertainment tours.
Timothy Landis, general manager of the War Memorial Arena since the summer, is among those taking part in those monthly strategy sessions.
“Whenever tours are being set up and routed, we have the relationships to bring those shows to our venues,” Petrunak said. “I present the ability to represent numerous venues with one phone call. That’s a big advantage.”
And he enjoys seeing tours with which he works take shows to his hometown venue.
“Our bread and butter at SMG is venues that are midsized – like Johnstown, like Reading, like Youngstown (Ohio),” Petrunak said. “You’re dealing with the same promoters, the same agents – having those relationships that have been in place for years. And we have a nice core of GMs that we can work with.”