Monday, August 30, 2010

Linda McCarthy Named One of Mississipp's Leading Business Women

Linda McCarthy, General Manager of the Jackson Convention Complex, has recently been chosen by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the 2010, 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi! This is quite an honor, well deserved and great recognition for the Jackson Convention Complex and SMG. Congrats, Linda!

SMG in the News: SMG Reduces Expenses at Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center

In less than a year since beginning management operations of the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda, FL, SMG has significantly reduced expenses.

"Now we know it can be done better in the private sector," Charlotte County Commissioner Tricia Duffy said.

Read more:

Friday, August 27, 2010

SMG in the News: Superdome Super Once more

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

SMG in the News: Interview with Jackson Convention Complex GM Linda McCarthy

Linda McCarthy is manager of SMG, the firm that manages the Jackson Convention Complex for the Convention Center Commission. The University of Southern Mississippi graduate has worked all over the Southeast in the venue management field and took over managing the convention complex when it opened in January 2009.

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

SMG in the news: PR Convention Center awarded “Inner Circle 2010”

Puerto Rico Daily Sun
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:

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

Authority Approves Gordon Kaye as Executive Director
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

SMG in the News: SMG Gets Rave Reviews

Monday, August 9, 2010

SMG in the News: BOK provides for its deaf, hearing impaired patrons

Complete article at

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

SMG in the News: Another Good Year... BOK Center Posts Profit

By World's Editorial Writers
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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

SMG Facilities Step Up During Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

SMG is always proud of the positive role that its facilities play in their communities, and that they are ready to serve when needed. Two articles in the Aug/Sept 2010 issue of IAAM Facility Manager Magazine highlight how the Pensacola Civic Center and Mobile Convention Center have stepped up to help in the face of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill:

"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."