Thursday, January 27, 2011

SMG in the News: Superdome getting spruced up, upgraded

The AP gives an update on the Louisiana Superdome's extensive renovations:
A giant excavator on Wednesday demolished metal risers that had supported the second-tier seating inside the Louisiana Superdome since the huge stadium's opening in 1975, part of the last phase of an $85 million renovation to spruce up the arena and add more concession stands and thousands of new seats.

Workers with huge saws and crowbars busily reduced the risers into piles of debris to be hauled away.

The Superdome will present a totally new look to those attending the 2012 BCS Championship game, the men's NCAA Final Four in 2012, and the Super Bowl in 2013, said Doug Thornton, vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Superdome.

"There is definitely going to be a wow-factor," Thornton said. "When you come in the door you are going to see a completely different Dome. The entire configuration on the lower bowl will be changed from an oval to a rectangle."

Friday, January 21, 2011

BOK Center’s Winterfest Welcomes Over 120,000 Visitors

“Winterfest gave families another reason to visit Downtown Tulsa during the holiday season.
Downtown is the heartbeat of a city and we hope the BOK Center is a catalyst for growth, innovation, and commerce in our area. Winterfest, with its open-air ice rink and magical tree is just another way to help downtown glow."

- John Bolton, General Manager

Move over Rockefeller Center! Tulsa, Oklahoma’s BOK Center wrapped up the third annual installment of a holiday festival that welcomed an estimated 121,300 visitors to the city’s central business district for ice skating beneath the skyline and photo opportunities beside Oklahoma’s tallest Christmas Tree. Winterfest operated daily from November 26, 2010 through January 3, 2011 on Third Street and Frisco Avenue outside of the arena.

Arvest Winterfest presented with Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation took over an entire city block to fit the ever-growing special event. The focal point was a 60’ x 150’ ice rink built in the middle of 3rd Street beside the arena. The ice rink’s 9000sf surface was open daily to the public and drew 43,096 skaters. Weekly rink promotions on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays benefitted local charities including the Salvation Army Holiday Toy Drive, the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

New enhancements for this year’s celebration included four iconic amusement rides like a Ferris Wheel and Carousel, an indoor holiday market that attracted 3,300 shoppers, a 5K Turkey Trot and Fun Run, and a pet-themed day called “Pupsicles” at the outdoor ice rink.

A fan favorite, Winterfest’s towering 44’ Christmas Tree glowed nightly with over 50,000 lights. The massive structure had 109,534 tips and a diameter at the base of nearly 25 feet. The magically-lit tree provided Tulsans with the perfect backdrop for hundreds of holiday photographs and caroling, and even a winter wedding.

A variety of outdoor entertainment on the ONEOK Stage offered guests free live music every weekend for the duration of the festival. In all, over 400 performers from local nonprofit groups, school choirs, marching bands, and churches took the stage.

Winterfest’s continued success can be attributed to the fact that it fills a space for much needed family activities. Whether it was delicious holiday concessions like gingerbread lattes and warm funnel cake, or an old-fashioned carriage ride through the streets of the city, visitors of all ages were entertained.

Winterfest 2010 was presented by ARVEST Bank and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and owes a special thanks to all community partners who helped make it an even bigger and better event than before.

Charity Night sponsors were Magellan Midstream Partners and Kum & Go. Gold sponsors Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino and Groves Family Dental. Live entertainment on the plaza was compliments of ONEOK. Silver sponsors included the Downtown Doubletree Hotel, Orthopaedic Center of Oklahoma, Reasor’s, Fat Guy’s Burger Bar, Bank of Oklahoma and Frontier International Trucks. The official media partners were KTUL-TV NewsChannel 8, Tulsa Business Journal, Hispano de Tulsa, Urban Tulsa Weekly, La Semana del Sur, and Cox Radio, Inc.

For more information, contact Jeff Nickler, Booking & Special Events Manager at (918) 894-4254.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SMG in the News: American boss is thrilled his firm will be running Baths Hall

THE boss of the new £14.4 million Baths Hall in Scunthorpe has given a thumbs-up to the project.

Wes Westley, the president and chief executive officer of SMG, was at the Doncaster Road site during a whistle-stop tour of the north of England.

His company will take control of the 2,000-capacity venue from North Lincolnshire Council in September, ready for the opening in November.

Mr Westley, who is based in Philadelphia, USA, made it clear he was impressed by the work being carried out by the local firm of Clugston Construction.

He said: "The Baths is going to be a great venue and one the people of North Lincolnshire will take pride in.

"We are planning to bring some of the top names in showbiz to Scunthorpe.

"We have already appointed a general manager to be based in Scunthorpe from March and the rest of the staff will be recruited in the summer.

"For the opening week we are planning a top programme of music, dance and comedy to show the versatility of the Baths. "There will be shows for the whole community to enjoy."

More of the article here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BOK Center Finishes 2010 As #10 Arena In The Nation

Tulsa, OK (January 11, 2011) – The year-end rankings of the top arena venues worldwide based on ticket sales for 2010 have been released by Pollstar magazine, a leading industry publication. The BOK Center ranked #10 in the United States and #23 in the World. In both full years of operation for the arena, 2009 and 2010, BOK Center has finished in the top ten of the Pollstar rankings.

“We are very grateful for the continued success after two and a half years. The support and interest in the building from Tulsa and the surrounding communities is remarkable, and I'd like to thank the ticket purchasers who helped us accomplish this ranking,” remarked General Manager John Bolton. “2011 is shaping up to be another strong year with great tours and we look forward to sharing the excitement with our fans.” Top 10 nationwide arenas (with ticket sales):

1. Madison Square Garden Arena – New York, NY – 1,152,792
2. Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – 650,553
3. American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX – 518,646
4. Philips Arena – Atlanta, GA – 508,267
5. Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO – 482,842
6. Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN – 447,099
7. Well Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA – 412,594
8. The Palace of Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, MI – 398,694
9. Oracle Arena – Oakland, CA – 374,640
10. BOK Center – Tulsa, OK – 360,871

The BOK Center's success is fueled by the number and variety of the entertainment coming to Tulsa. More than 175 events ranging from C-USA Men's Basketball Tournament to Brooks & Dunn to Yo! Gabba Gabba Live! and the Second Anniversary Concert featuring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were part of the lineup in 2010. In addition, the BOK Center continues to garner national industry recognition not just for itself, but for staff members as well. The most recent nomination for Arena of the Year will be awarded in early February by Pollstar. Sharon Dunaway, Box Office Manager for BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center was voted in by the ticketing industry as VenuesToday magazine's 2011 Box Office Star. For a full list of events since the Grand Opening in Fall 2008, please visit

SMG Signed for Montego Bay Convention Centre

Montego Bay, Jamaica (January 11, 2011) - Montego Bay Conference Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jamaica’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has signed an agreement with the international company SMG to market and manage the Montego Bay Convention Centre, located in Rose Hall, St. James. The agreement which was signed on January 5, 2011, after months of negotiations will be in effect for a seven year period in the first instance, with the option to renew for an additional three years.

Miss Joy Douglas, general manager of the UDC has expressed confidence that SMG, based on its worldwide operations and its track record for marketing and managing convention facilities is the right fit for the state on the art convention centre. The Convention Centre is the first in the English speaking Caribbean facility to be added to the fold of SMG, joining Puerto Rico, the only other facility from the region. SMG, in addition to its US based operations, is also engaged in Europe, Turkey, Canada, Mexico and Chile.

SMG for its part noted that the company was particularly pleased to have extended its operations to Jamaica, where as they have stated, “The Elegant Corridor needs a first class curator.” The company is prepared to place its considerable expertise and experience as well as investing to ensure the success and viability of the Jamaican convention facility. According to Senior Vice President Gregg Caren, “we have been tracking the development of this stunning new complex for a number of years, and are excited to add it to our portfolio.”

SMG president and CEO Wes Westley announced that Dittie Guise, a long time member of SMG’s management team, has been named general manager of the MBCC. “Born in Jamaica, educated in England and with SMG training in the U.S., this is a wonderful homecoming for Dittie who will have a unique perspective to ensure the project’s success,” Westley noted.

The contract will see SMG involved in the reviewing of interior furniture and fixtures, developing operational plans, recruiting and training staff, developing sales, marketing, advertising and promotional programs in cooperation with the Jamaica Tourist Board. SMG will also be responsible for booking and event management and all related services for the Centre.

The Montego Bay Convention Centre was constructed by the UDC through the China National Complete Plant Import Export Corporation (COMPLANT), to enhance the country’s competitiveness in the meetings and conventions market. Prime Minister the Honorable Bruce Golding will on Friday, January 7, 2011, open the Centre, ahead of the first event, the Caribbean Market Place scheduled for January 16-18, 2010.

(Photo: SMG's Gregg Caren and Dittie Guise (second and third from right), in front of the Montego Bay Convention Centre construction site in November. From left, they are joined by local partner Wayne Sinclair of MSE, Jerry Braud of SMG's team at the Broward/Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, and Nicholette Wade of the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.)