Monday, October 28, 2013

NBA Pre-Season Takes to The Court in SMG Venues Around the Country


SMG venues across the country played host to several NBA pre-season games.  Fans in Baltimore, Canton, Jacksonville, Manchester, Providence, Tulsa and Wichita got a sneak peek at the 2013-2014 NBA teams. SMG’s Executive Vice President of Stadiums & Arenas, Doug Thornton said “we are excited to be a part of the NBA pre-season bringing professional basketball to our SMG venues around the country.”

The Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, NY Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards all had an opportunity show off their skills to fans in a variety of cities.  These pre-season games have been a boon for arenas and secondary markets that seldom have the opportunity to host NBA games.

Baylor University Selects SMG to Manage New Football Stadium

SMG, the worldwide leader in venue management, has been selected by Baylor University to provide pre-opening and management services for its new football facility, Baylor Stadium, scheduled to open in August of 2014. The selection strengthens SMG’s portfolio of collegiate clients, which includes the University of Virginia (John Paul Jones Arena), the University of Pittsburgh (Peterson Arena), Tulane University (Yulman Stadium), Fresno State University (Save Mart Center), Iowa State University (Iowa State Center), and others.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SMG in the News: Country Superfest at EverBank Field

Originally published at Jacksonville.com


One of country music’s biggest festivals will plug into EverBank Field next June, an event that tourism officials compared to the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl for filling hotel rooms.
The inaugural Florida Country Superfest will be June 14 and 15, officials announced Thursday.
The Duval County Tourism Development Council previously approved providing up to $200,000 from hotel bed taxes to support the festival. Organizers told the council the event would generate attendance of 70,000.
“It’s going to be a phenomenal show, and we’re counting on big, big things from Country Fest and its promoters,” City Councilman Richard Clark, who sits on the tourism development council, said Thursday.
Festival Productions Inc.-New Orleans teamed up with SMG, which manages EverBank Field, to come up with Florida Country SuperFest.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

SMG Holds 27 of Pollstar's Top 200 Arenas


SMG-managed facilities continued their strong presence in national rankings with 27 venues appearing on Pollstar Magazine’s third quarter list of the Top 200 Arena Venues. The rankings, which were released last week, are determined by tickets sold worldwide for concerts from January 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.

“As the recognized leader in the venue management industry, SMG has the privilege of managing a diverse portfolio of arenas worldwide. Through our booking network and relationships with agents and promoters, SMG venues maintain a competitive advantage when booking the top tours and events,” said SMG President and CEO Wes Westley.

Leading the way for SMG was Phones 4u Arena (Manchester, United Kingdom) with 240,949 tickets sold. Taking the top domestic spot was Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Uniondale, NY) selling 208,167 tickets during the first three quarters of the year. In all, SMG venues accounted for more than 3.6 million concert tickets sold thus far in 2013.

The complete list of SMG-managed venues includes:
Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM
Koing – Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, GERMANY
Coliseo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PUERTO RICO
Odyssey Arena, Belfast, UNITED KINGDOM
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita, KS
Van Andel Arena, Grand-Rapids, MI
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Area, Jacksonville, FL
New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
Times Union Center, Albany, NY
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA
Save Mart Center, Fresno, CA
Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
Mohegan Sun Arena At Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Peoria Civic Center Arena, Peoria, IL
John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
Selland Arena, Fresno, CA
The Huntington Center, Toledo, OH
Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA
CenturyLink Center, Bossier City, LA
Sovereign Center, Reading, PA
Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, MD
Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH
Pollstar is a weekly trade publication covering the worldwide concert industry. Rankings are published on a quarterly basis.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jason Aldean's Night Train Tour Rolls into Pinnacle Bank Arena


Pinnacle-Bank-Jason-Aldean-web
Jason Aldean's Night Train Tour played to a capacity crowd at the SMG managed Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, September 19, 2013.
Backstage before the show are left to right:
Jim McCue, SMG Senior VP Entertainment; Tom Lorenz, Pinnacle Bank Arena GM; Jason Aldean; Brian O'Connel, Live Nation; and Charles Schilling, Pinnacle Bank Arena Assistant GM

SMG in the News: BOK Center Exceeding Expectations 5 Years Later

Originally posted at Tulsa World.


Five years are in the books, and Tulsa's BOK Center continues to defy financial expectations.
The downtown arena had its most lucrative year yet between July 2012 and June 2013, netting $1.7 million in profit as large events boosted attendance at a time when its early successes would have been expected to wane along with public interest.
But that hasn't happened.
"We've had success from the beginning, which is great, but I couldn't have predicted that the fifth year would be the best so far," BOK Center Manager John Bolton said.
Since its first show Sept. 6, 2008, the facility has accumulated a profit of $7.6 million, recorded attendance of 3,387,689 over 848 events, remitted $11.7 million in sales taxes and is credited with contributing at least $226.3 million to Tulsa's economy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SMG Reorganizes Domestic Operations with Executive Promotions


SMG is pleased to announce that, effective today, President and CEO Wes Westley has reorganized its domestic lines of business in order to provide greater focus and oversight. Effective with this reorganization, Gregg Caren has been promoted to Executive Vice President for convention and exhibition centers, and Doug Thornton has been promoted to Executive Vice President for stadiums and arenas.

Both of these executives bring substantial knowledge and experience to their divisions. Their significant expertise will contribute greatly to the growth and success of these business lines. In their new capacities, Gregg and Doug will be responsible for the operation of their specific divisions and will report directly to Mr. Westley.

Additionally, at this time, SMG announces the promotions of Bob McClintock to COO of convention centers reporting to Gregg Caren; Harry Cann and Joe Romano to Senior Vice President for stadiums and arenas reporting to Doug Thornton; and Gary McAneney to Senior Vice President Finance reporting to John Burns, CFO.

“All of these moves strengthen SMG’s position in our lines of business, recognize and reward deserving executives, and position SMG to move forward positively into our bright and exciting future,” said Westley.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, NE Ribbon Cutting


A new era has begun for the City of Lincoln, Nebraska, as the SMG-managed Pinnacle Bank Arena held its ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening weekend on Thursday, August 29 – Saturday, August 31.

A host of dignitaries were on hand for the opening of the $179 million, 15,000-seat facility in Lincoln’s Haymarket District, including speeches from Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, Pinnacle Bank Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz, SMG Senior Regional Vice President Joe Romano, University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Nebraska basketball coaches Tim Miles and Connie Yori. The event was kicked off by a performance from the University of Nebraska Pep Band and a routine by the Linh Quang Lion/Dragon Dance Troupe traditionally intended to bring good luck to new projects. A total of 11 speakers thanked voters, workers, crowd members, the city and the University of Nebraska.

Monday, August 19, 2013

SMG in the News: Fine-Tuning

Originally Published in the Lincoln Journal Star


The Pinnacle Bank Arena has an impressive lineup of concerts for its first five shows, including performances by in-demand artists The Eagles and Pink, with more to come.
But SMG management, which operates the arena, didn’t randomly pick artists or send out a “we want this artist” list.
Booking concerts doesn’t work that way.
“It’s really all about relationships with the major promoters -- AEG, Live Nation, Beaver and Brad Garrett and Jeff Fortier and all the other promoters,” said SMG general manager Tom Lorenz. “It’s those long-term relationships with promoters more than anything else that lead to bookings.”

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Maureen Ginty Honored as 2013 Woman of Influence by Venues Today


Maureen Ginty, Executive Vice President of SMG has been honored as a 2013 Woman of Influence by Venues Today. The prestigious award celebrates women who have proven themselves as mentors and leaders in the sports, entertainment, and meetings industries. The awards ceremony was held this past Sunday, July 28 at the annual International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) VenueConnect conference in New Orleans, LA.

Maureen was selected for the accolade for her role in helping guide SMG’s growth from 24 to 235 facilities under management, and also for her leadership in development of SMG’s unparalleled customer service and sales training program, k’nekt. Maureen’s emphasis on professional development for SMG employees has seen the k’nekt program expand to a continuing series of training class, teaching values and skills to make participants successful in both their professional and personal lives.

“This was a significant honor, and I am very appreciative,” stated Ginty. “But as the saying goes, success has many fathers (and mothers). SMG’s growth can be attributed to the vision and hard work of many, most especially Wes Westley, our company president and CEO. I’ve had the good fortune to operate in an environment that encourages initiative, and supports a culture where focus on our customers, our clients, and our employees truly matters.”

A profile of Maureen and how she has shaped SMG’s success is also included in the July issue of Venues Today.

SMG Tulsa General Manager, John Bolton, Named IAVM Board Chair


John Bolton, SMG General Manager of the BOK Center and Cox Business Center, begins his one-year-term as Board Chair of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) this week at the VenueConnect conference in New Orleans.

“I am honored to serve as IAVM Chairman because I understand the important role this organization plays in our industry and to venue managers,” Bolton said. “Through IAVM, I have been given so many incredible opportunities to grow in my career and have developed lifelong friendships with colleagues.

“The opportunity to lead the organization allows me to give back to an industry I love, while helping others achieve their goals,” Bolton added.

“I am thrilled to have John Bolton leading our Association in the coming year. His twenty years of venue industry expertise, collaborative nature, steady calm demeanor, and ability to focus people together on a common goal, give me no doubt that John will deliver results for our organization. I am confident he will take IAVM to new and exciting levels of support and inspiration for our members; and I am also happy to share this journey with a fellow Oklahoman,” added IAVM President and CEO Vicki Hawarden.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mercedes Benz Superdome Crowned Venue of the Year at 2013 Stadium Business Awards


The New Orleans venue beat off strong competition from across the globe to lift the coveted prize, including London’s Olympic and Wembley Stadiums plus New York’s latest venue, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The glittering event, held in Manchester UK this June, celebrated a spectrum of achievements from the global stadium industry. Nominees from around the world attended the gala dinner hosted at Emirates Old Trafford, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club.
Accepting the award for the Mercedes Benz Superdome from OnGoal CEO Robb Heineman, Tracey Short, SMG Europe’s New Business Development Director, said: “On behalf of Doug Thornton and his stellar team in New Orleans, and the entire SMG family, I’m honoured to accept the award for Venue Of The Year 2013. The SMG-operated Mercedes Benz Superdome has proudly served the community of New Orleans for many years and we’re delighted their hard work and investment has been applauded by the industry.”
Opened in 1975, the stadium has hosted the biggest names from the world of live music and sport including The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali and a record seven Super Bowls.
Sue McCarthy, F&B Director for SMG Europe’s Manchester Arena, was nominated in the Unsung Hero Award category by SMG Europe POS provider Agilysis. The leading hospitality software developer also picked up the Industry Supplier Award and SMG’s WiFi partner, Extricom, also won in the Product Innovation category.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ken Noakes Hired as GM of St. Catharines Spectator Facility


SMG Canada, the Canadian arm of SMG, the worldwide leader in public assembly facility management, is pleased to announce that Ken Noakes has been hired as General Manager of the new St. Catharines Spectator Facility in St. Catharines, Ontario. Noakes was recently the General Manager at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, ON and has been in regional position with SMG Canada, supporting business development and consulting efforts in the region and throughout Canada.
“Ken is a valuable member of our team and has done a great job leading our efforts in Kingston and with other assignments throughout Canada,” said Harry Cann, Senior Regional Vice President of Operations at SMG. “He is a seasoned industry veteran and we look forward to Ken contributing to the success of the new venue in St. Catharines which we are all very excited about. The City will benefit substantially from Ken’s expertise and leadership.”
Noakes brings over 20 years of facility management experience to the job, with his most recent position being General Manager of the 5,000-seat K-Rock Centre in Kingston. He has served as General Manager of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C. and the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, and also held positions at the Corel Centre in Ottawa, and the SkyDome in Toronto.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Paula Abdul's IGNITE! Spark the Moment



Paula Abdul and SMG are excited to announce Paula Abdul's IGNITE Cheer & Dance Championship coming SMG-managed convention centers in 2014!

"Cheerleading as a sport keeps evolving into higher levels of technique, skill, and true athleticism. When you combine the cutting-edge stunts and gymnastics of cheerleading with the technique and elegant fluidity of dance, these athletes become the total package. I attribute my career success to the fusion of cheerleading and dance." -- Paula Abdul

On the Red Carpet at the Launch Party

For more information or to register visit www.paulaabdulignite.com. Don't miss the Cheer and Dance Championship at these SMG-managed facilities: Rhode Island Convention Center, North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center, and Shreveport Convention Center.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blue Cross Arena General Manager Honored

Jeff Calkins, SMG General Manager of the Blue Cross Arena will be honored as the 2013 Recipient of the Charles Wagner Award at the Rochester Press Radio Club’s 64th Annual Day of Champions Children’s Charity Dinner on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The award recognizes an individual in the Rochester community who has made major contributions to local sports. The Blue Cross Arena is the home to the Rochester Amerks (AHL), Knighthawks (NLL), Razorsharks (PBL), and Lancers (MISL). Calkins has been instrumental in bringing many annual sporting events to the arena, including St. Bonaventure Basketball, RIT Hockey, Section 5 High School tournament, the Atlantic Hockey Association Championship, and several NCAA events.

He is active in the community, serving on Rochester Downtown Services board, and countless charity fundraising efforts, including Camp Good Days & Special Times, the Rochester Rotary, and the Badge of Honor Foundation for Fallen Officers.

He and his wife, Liz Vega, reside in Pittsford, NY with their daughters, Claire and Margaret. His son, Ben, resides in Seattle and works for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.

Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers will be the featured speaker at the Rochester Press-Radio Club’s Day of Champions Dinner and receive the Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tulsa Approves New Arena, Convention Center Management Agreement with SMG


The Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) late yesterday unanimously approved a new 5-year contract with SMG to continue management of both the BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center. SMG has managed both venues since 2006 including pre-opening and grand opening of the BOK Center.
“SMG could not be more excited to continue our partnership with the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority. The BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center are benchmarks in our organization and exemplify the standard of excellence SMG strives for in venue management,” said SMG President and CEO Wes Westley.
The BOK Center has been an industry standout since opening in 2008 receiving numerous industry awards including a nomination as Pollstar Magazine’s Best New Major Concert Venue (2008), multiple nominations for Pollstar’s Arena of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012), nominations for Academy of Country Music’s Venue of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) and Pollstar’s Facility Executive of the Year awarded to General Manager John Bolton (2012).  In 2011, the International Association of Venue Managers named the BOK Center as the top arena in the world receiving the coveted Venue Excellence Award.
“SMG’s management of the BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center has been truly remarkable.  Their leadership has provided the perfect example of a successful public-private partnership for Tulsa.  Did I mention Paul McCartney TWICE (in May, 2013)? I wholeheartedly support the work they have done and look forward to working with them for many years to come,” said Dewey Bartlett, Mayor of the City of Tulsa.
Since opening in 2008, the BOK Center has hosted the country’s top tours including the Eagles, George Strait, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi, Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The venue has also hosted the nation’s top level sporting events including the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Championship 2nd & 3rd Rounds, Bassmaster Classic, Conference USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship and multiple Oklahoma City Thunder pre-season games.
“The venues in Tulsa have exceeded expectations on so many levels.  For Tulsa to consistently outperform larger markets in ticket sales is a credit to the tremendous enthusiasm and support Tulsans have for the BOK Center,” commented John Bolton, General Manager for SMG in Tulsa.
In the five years under SMG management, the Tulsa Convention Center has seen tremendous success and with year to year successive operating subsidy reductions.  With Vision 2025 funding, the state’s largest ballroom was added to the Convention Center space in 2010. SMG’s experience and input regarding the Convention Center’s original arena led to its major refurbishing and an up-to-date remodel of the arena suites; both being vital factors in booking such major events as Bassmaster and NCAA and also in the acquisition of two new tenant teams (the Oklahoma Defenders and the Tulsa Revolution).  SMG has also negotiated a naming rights deal for the Convention Center which will become effective in the very near future.
Joe Romano, SMG’s Senior Regional Vice President, added that Tulsa is one of the hottest markets in the United States.
“It has been a real honor for SMG to be a part of one of the most successful arena and convention center projects in the last decade.  Tulsa’s tremendous political leadership and SMG’s dominance in the industry has produced a stellar record of success that is the envy of many venues throughout the country,” Romano said.
The BOK Center is the home of the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA and the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League.  The Tulsa Convention Center plays host to the Tulsa Project Theatre, Oklahoma Defenders (Arena Football), and the Tulsa Revolution (Indoor Soccer).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reliant Stadium to Host Super Bowl LI


National Football League team owners have awarded Super Bowl LI to Houston following a highly competitive bidding process that brought together a multitude of local public agencies and private entities.
The biggest single game in American sports will be played at Reliant Stadium in February 2017 bringing a multitude of visitors, unprecedented global media attention and tremendous economic impact to Houston. NFL owners awarded both the 2016 and 2017 games at their Spring Meeting today in Boston. San Francisco will host Super Bowl L in 2016.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am for Houston in being selected as the site for the 2017 Super Bowl,” says Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. “This is a worldwide stage that will be constructed in Houston and the world will be watching. It’s an opportunity to showcase our wonderful city, the NFL and the Super Bowl all at the same time.”
The Houston Super Bowl Bid Committee, led by Chairman Ric Campo, submitted the final bid to each of the NFL team owners on May 8. The formal presentation was made earlier today by Campo and NRG Energy CEO, David Crane. Secretary James Baker, serving as Honorary Chair for the committee, delivered a compelling video message.
“Our bid is first class,” stated Baker. “Super Bowl LI in Houston will make the NFL very, very proud.”
“We’ve accomplished what we set out to do,” said Campo. “Thanks to the support and efforts of Mayor Parker, Judge Emmett and the entire Houston Bid Committee, we’re bringing another Super Bowl back to Houston. Our plans for the international celebration leading up to the game will create an unprecedented fan experience for Super Bowl LI.”
Details of the 10-day festival, to be called “Super Bowl El Centro”, and other plans will be revealed tomorrow in Houston during a press conference and Committee celebration.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 29th Declared Paul McCartney Day in the State of Oklahoma


Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has declared May 29, 2013, as Paul McCartney Day in the State of Oklahoma as part of the kickoff to McCartney’s back-to-back performances at the SMG-managed BOK Center May 29 and 30. The concerts are part of the BOK Center’s 5th Anniversary Celebration. McCartney also headlined the BOK Center’s first anniversary concert in 2009.
The Proclamation highlights McCartney’s career as the most successful composer and recording artist of all time for having sold over 100 million albums and 100 million singles. McCartney was also recognized as a true philanthropist promoting international charities related to causes such as animal rights, poverty and music education.
“We worked in conjunction with Governor Fallin to roll out a warm welcome for Sir Paul,” said SMG General Manager John Bolton.  “We are incredibly honored to have him back at the BOK Center to help us celebrate our 5th anniversary. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to mark this milestone.”

Monday, May 20, 2013

SMG Atlantic City Employees Receive Customer Service Honors


The 16th annual Atlantic City Host Awards were held on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in the Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall. Presented by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority division of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, 27 individuals in the tourism and hospitality industry were recognized for providing exemplary customer service to visitors of Atlantic City.
Employees from SMG/Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center received the Host Award in three of the four categories the company was nominated for, including Jennie Thomas from the Boardwalk Hall Box Office for Best Concierge/Guest Services, Juan Guzman from the Atlantic City Convention Center for Best Heart/Back of the House, and Walter Dyitt for Best Security Personnel. Natalie Bruce from the Atlantic City Convention Center was also a finalist in the category of Best Public Area Personnel.
“We are very pleased that four of our employees were recognized as finalists for the 2013 Atlantic City Host Awards, and even prouder that three of these individuals won,” said Greg Tesone, General Manager/SMG of Historic Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center. “It is clear that the success of our company is due to the abundant talented and dedicated team members that we have on board. One of SMG’s greatest assets has always been its people, and this important recognition illustrates our commitment to customer service. We are grateful to the Host Awards Advisory Committee for recognizing the hard work of Jennie, Juan, Walter and Natalie; they are in good company with the other nominees and winners.”


Thursday, May 16, 2013

SMG in the News: Cobo Surplus Sets Worthy Example

Originally published in Crain’s Detroit


As Detroit reorganizes the way it conducts business, it has one textbook success as a model.
With regional leadership and professional management, Cobo Center reported last week that it has a surplus for the first half of its fiscal year of $744,000.
It may still post a loss for the full year because of contingencies set aside for its massive, $279 million expansion/renovation project. The renovations are expected to be completed in time for the North American International Auto Show in January 2015.
Cobo was transferred to a regional authority in 2009. Regional hotel and liquor taxes are funding the renovation and expansion of exhibit space. The regional authority hired SMG, an international conference venue management firm, to run the center.
Since Cobo was the tip of Detroit’s political corruption iceberg, leading to the unraveling of the criminal enterprise under convicted ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the center’s improved fortunes make a convincing case that professional management pays off in the short — and long — term.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Peoria Area CVB Honors Civic Center General Manager


Jim Wetherington, General Manager of the SMG managed Peoria Civic Center, was honored at the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Annual Meeting on May 9, 2013 with the Steve Kouri MVP Award. Wetherington has been with the Peoria Civic Center for 23 years, and has been the General Manager for 2 of those years.
The award Wetherington received is named after Steve Kouri who was instrumental in acquiring the IHSA State Boys Basketball Tournaments in 1996. The PACVB recognized an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the betterment of the economy and quality of life in the Peoria area through conventions or sporting events.
“He [Wetherington] would come in to our office almost every day to check on the sales team and staff to see if we needed anything and to help us stay focused with the business of generating leads and gaining new business. He not only helped in the replacement of our leadership but went above and beyond in so many areas. He also assisted with the resurrection of a PACVB-Peoria Civic Center booking agreement,” said Lelonie Luft, Marketing Manager for the PACVB, who presented the award to Wetherington.
“Receiving this award is truly an honor for me. I look forward to continuing this relationship with the PACVB,” said Wetherington.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

NHL Launches 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series


The Chicago Blackhawks will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a regular-season outdoor NHL® game at Soldier Field on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, the National Hockey League announced today.
The event is part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ – a group of NHL regular-season games planned for outdoor locations during the 2013-14 season. It also marks the return of hockey at Soldier Field, most recently with this winter’s Hockey City Classic collegiate double-header with Notre Dame playing Miami (OH) University and Wisconsin taking on Minnesota.
“We are very excited to serve as a marquee venue of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, said Chicago Park District General Superintendent, Mike Kelly. This is another example of the blockbuster events hosted at Soldier Field attracting thousands while generating revenues which ultimately benefit local parks.”

SMG in the News: 1st Mariner Arena: Staging Some History

Originally appeared in US Business Executive, April 2013


Baltimore, Md., is nicknamed “Charm City,” but there was a time when event promoters weren’t as enamored with the historic seaport. Part of a congested corridor, overshadowed by Philadelphia to the north and Washington, D.C., to the south, Baltimore was seen as a tertiary market beginning in the late 1970s and extending throughout much of the ’80s and ’90s.
However, the management staff at the Baltimore Arena, currently known as the 1st Mariner Arena (an SMG-managed facility), knew the quality of both venue and audience that they had, and they have been wooing back the big acts successfully for well over a decade. They have been so success that in 2009 1st Mariner Area was named the No. 1 arena (10,001 – 15,000 capacity) in the United States by Billboard Magazine and Venues Today, and it has continued to rank in one of the top two spots every year since.
“Our building wasn’t designed perfectly – it’s square, it has got its quirks, and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles – but you’re not going to beat the experience,” says Frank Remesch, general manager of 1st Mariner Arena. “It’s more intimate than the giants [Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center], it’s clean, and we never forget the importance of customer service.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SMG Oklahoma City Marketing Staff Awarded for Local Promotions


The SMG staff in Oklahoma City has again been awarded for their promotion of the Batman Live! shows at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
SMG received the 2013 Award of Excellence in the Integrated Marketing/Public Relations Campaign category from the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Marketing Association at their annual Marketini ceremony. The award recognized the staff’s efforts in promoting Batman Live!, a live-action stage show that came to the arena in October 2012.
“We are pleased to see the creativity of our marketing team again recognized,” said Gary Desjardins, SMG regional general manager. “SMG always strives to provide top-notch marketing expertise to all of the great events that come to Oklahoma City.”
SMG’s winning entry included a live chalk art display from local artist Bobby Marsee, a Batmobile display at Science Museum Oklahoma and a series of promotional items. The award marked the second time SMG Oklahoma City has been recognized for promoting Batman Live!. The staff also received a Silver ADDY award from the Oklahoma City Ad Club.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

BOK Center Ranked 14th in the US by Pollstar Magazine

The SMG-managed BOK Center finished the first quarter of 2013 ranked 14th in the United States and 32nd in the world by Pollstar Magazine in its quarterly Top 50 Arena Venues rankings. The rankings are determined by tickets sold worldwide for concerts from January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013.

“This year has already been a tremendous success for the BOK Center and we have an exciting line up of concerts still to announce as part of our 5th Anniversary Series,” said SMG General Manager John Bolton. “These rankings recognize the support of the Tulsa community ensuring future tours will play at the BOK Center.”

The BOK Center hosted 6 of the top 100 tours in the first quarter of 2013 including: Winter Jam, Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Muse, The Who and Kid Rock.

The venue recently announced a Paul McCartney concert on May 29, the first of the 5th Anniversary Concert Series. Other concerts on the BOK Center's upcoming schedule include: Miranda Lambert (April 13), Fleetwood Mac (May 1), REO Speedwagon, Styx & Ted Nugent (May 8) and Jason Aldean (May 10). For a complete listing of BOK Center events, visit the venue's website at www.bokcenter.com.

OKC Renews Arena, Convention Center Management Agreement with SMG

The Oklahoma City Council today unanimously approved the renewal of the city's agreement with SMG to continue managing Cox Convention Center and Chesapeake Energy Arena. SMG, the worldwide leader in entertainment and convention venue management, has been operating the facilities since 1999.

“The confidence shown in SMG by the Oklahoma City Council is a testament to the partnership we have built over the past 14 years,” said Gary Desjardins, Regional General Manager of Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center. “It's a reflection on the quality of the performance the SMG staff provides. SMG will continue to build upon our relationship with the City of Oklahoma City and remain dedicated to providing first-class management to Oklahoma City residents and the patrons of these facilities.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nassau Coliseum Ranks 5th in the US in Top Arenas

The SMG-managed Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum finished the first quarter of 2013 ranked 5th in the United States and 14th in the world in Pollstar Magazine's Top 50 Arena Venues ranking. The rankings are based on worldwide tickets sales through the end of the first quarter 2013.

“We are very proud of this accomplishment and the continued success of the Nassau Coliseum. The community continues to support the great events we bring to Long Island,” said Jerry Goldman, SMG General Manager of Nassau Coliseum. “It's an honor to rank so high in such a competitive marketplace such as New York.”

With 132,049 tickets sold, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum finished higher than other area venues including the Barclay's Center (Brooklyn, NY) and Madison Square Garden (New York, NY).

First quarter events at the venue included sold out performances by Luke Bryan, The Who, Ricardo Arjona, P!NK and other family events!

Upcoming events through the end of the year include: Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, WWE Smack Down, New Kids on The Block, The X Factor Auditions, 40 Years of Bollywood, 2013 Vans Warped Tour and more!

To see a full event listing or to purchase tickets to any Nassau Coliseum event, visit the website at www.nassaucoliseum.com.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kelly Ortiz Honored by Tulsa Business and Legal News

SMG SAVOR… Director of Food and Beverage Kelly Ortiz was recently honored by Tulsa Business and Legal News in the 2013 class of The Tulsa 40. The local award recognizes company executives, entrepreneurs, educations, representatives, energy leaders and innovators who have achieved significant accomplishments before the age of 40.

Ortiz was nominated for her efforts overseeing food and beverage operations for SAVOR… Tulsa, including concessions sales, suite catering and backstage catering for both the BOK Center and the Tulsa Convention Center. She was also recognized for her involvement with SMG Rocks, an employee-driven charitable giving initiative that donates time and resources to local non-profit groups.

“I am flattered to be recognized along with 39 other remarkable individuals in the Tulsa business community,” Ortiz said. “At the BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center, I am able to surround myself with some of the best in the business. Awards such as this really recognize a team effort to strive for excellence in everything we do.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Big Sandy Superstore Arena manager named Venues Today Generation Next Winner


And the award goes to…! Venues Today Magazine announced their selection of the 2013 Generation Next Award Winners and Brian Sipe, the General Manager of the SMG Managed Big Sandy Superstore Arena, has been named Venues Today Generation Next Reader's Choice Award Winner.    The annual award honors young professionals world-wide under the age of 35who make a difference in sports, music, conventions, family shows, fairs and festivals.

“I'm honored to be voted by my peers as a recipient of this award.  I thank my co-workers, family, friends, mentors, teachers and my Lord above for my life – I would not be in this position nor be as blessed as I am without their encouragement and support”, says Sipe.  Brian Sipe has been the General Manager since September of 2010 and in that time has been responsible for bringing a number of iconic acts to the venue including Reba McEntire, the Gaither Homecoming, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Barry Manilow, Staind/Godsmack, Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert and many others.  Not only does he oversee 150 full- and part-time employees, but he has led his facility to an 11th place international ranking for ticket sales in March/April, 2012 and expects 2013 and 2014 to be historic years for the venue as well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Taste of Glynn: “Bring it on!” says the Jekyll Island Convention Center

Shawn Prescott is not a man who is easily intimidated. Since he is the Executive Chef at the dazzling new Jekyll Island Convention Center, that outlook would go with the territory. On any given night, Shawn and his staff might be feeding a thousand guests at a dinner function. Or they may be serving a small group of 10-12 people in one of the smaller meeting rooms. Regardless of the numbers, the goal is the same: fantastic food, attentive service, top quality.

In fact, the food is the focus with Shawn. “We don't serve your typical convention food here,” he noted. “We are in competition with top resorts for the business, so we have to be great. Every time.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kingston’s K-Rock Centre to be Renamed Rogers K-Rock Centre

Rogers Communications and SMG Canada announced that K-Rock Centre, Kingston's premier venue for sports and entertainment, will be renamed Rogers K-Rock Centre. Following a positive vote from Kingston City Council, this new agreement marks an amendment to the 10-year partnership between Rogers Radio station K-Rock 105.7 and SMG Canada, management company of the K-Rock Centre, signed in 2008 and grants K-Rock 105.7 the naming rights for the arena through 2018.

As part of the rebranding, Rogers will work closely with K-Rock Centre to change all external and internal signage at the arena to reflect the new name. Detailed plans for the official unveiling of the new name will be announced in the coming months.

“Kingston is an important market to Rogers and K-Rock 105.7, and we're looking forward to working even more closely alongside the City of Kingston and SMG Canada through this venue,” said Danny Kingsbury, General Manager, Kingston and Atlantic Canada, Rogers Radio. “Enhancing our long-standing partnership with SMG Canada and the City of Kingston reaffirms our commitment to investing in this facility so it can continue to host world-class sports and entertainment events for the community.”

K-Rock Centre Celebrates Busiest Month in Venue History

In what will undoubtedly be deemed ‘a month to remember', the K-Rock Centre has concluded its busiest stretch of events in the venues five year history. All the while celebrating its five year anniversary and officially renaming the street it resides on!

“It's been a truly non-stop month and a real testament to the passion and dedication of our staff that all of our events were executed flawlessly,” said SMG Canada's newly appointed General Manager of the K-Rock Centre Lynn Carlotto. “I'm proud of my team and everything that we've been able to accomplish, and look forward to building on it in the months and years ahead.”

The month of February has seen no less than 24 events occur at the venue over a 28 day stretch including six hockey games, three concerts, one cheerleading event, and fourteen days of curling load-in and competition.

The total attendance for the month of February alone sat at 95,445 which is well over double the venues previous high. By comparison January 2012, which featured an eight show run of Cirque du Soleil Dralion, had a total attendance of 40,035.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Attendance Grew 4.5% at 54th Colorado Garden & Home Show

The 54th Colorado Garden & Home Show, presented by Bellco, wrapped up its nine-day show with a total attendance of 53,406, resulting in nearly a 4.5 percent increase from 2012. More than 2,400 additional attendees admired the 14 gardens and spoke with exhibitors this year.

Additional Show Highlights:
  • Food Donation - Show attendees contributed 8,504 pounds of nonperishable food to local area food banks.
  • Annual Flower Sale - The Arvada Rotary sold 1,099 potted flowers during the annual flower sale on Feb. 13 for $2 per pot and ultimately raised $2,198,to support their scholarship fund.
  • Westminster Legacy Foundation Booth - In addition to the Colorado Garden Show's $50,000 grant, Colorado Garden & Home Show donated a booth to the Westminster Legacy Foundation for attendees to learn more about the Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park. Community donations were accepted and the Foundation raised $6,622 to support the development of this park.
  • Playhouse for Charity - Attendees voted to award the Denver Rescue Mission a 6'x8' custom-built playhouse. The runners-up, Denver CASA and Star Center, each received a $250 donation from the Colorado Garden Show.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SMG Latin America Closes Deal for New Multipurpose Arena and Performing Arts Center in Puerto Rico

SMG Latin America has closed a management deal with the City of Humacao in Puerto Rico to operate its new Multipurpose Arena and Performing Arts Center. The deal was finalized by Humacao Mayor Marcelo Trujillo Panisse and SMG Latin America on Thursday, January 24, 2013.

“Puerto Rico is a growing destination for the entertainment industry with the perfect combination of excellent facilities, beautiful beaches, and Caribbean flavors,” said Wes Westley, President and CEO of SMG. “These facilities will give a new boost to the east region of the Island. We are honored to continue our facility management relationship with Puerto Rico.”

“The opportunity to continue managing new entertainment facilities in Puerto Rico demonstrates that our reputation precedes us,” said Jochi D├ívila, Regional Vice President for SMG Latin America. “SMG's operational plan will contribute to the City of Humacao and the economic activity of the region with the creation of more than 30 permanent full time and part time jobs and approximately 150 indirect part time positions per event on a yearly basis,” he added.

Beginning in February 2013, SMG will start managing both facilities, providing services such as sponsorship and VIP sales, food and beverage, box office and facility maintenance operations, among others. SMG will also manage the booking event calendar for the facilities.

“These facilities will add new horizons and opportunities for the people in the Humacao area,” said Eduardo Cajina, General Manager of both facilities for SMG. “We are proud to be given the opportunity to convert these venues into world-class facilities,” he added.

SMG is expecting approximately 90 events per year between both facilities. Those events will include concerts, graduations, family events, meetings, sports events, plays, and corporate events. The variety of events that will be held at these facilities will bring a new style of entertainment to the east region of Puerto Rico.

“We will be creating unforgettable experiences for all patrons who visit us,” concluded Cajina.

The Performing Arts Center can accommodate up to 1,000 persons and the Multipurpose Arena up to 8,000.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Times Union Center Going Red For The Month of February, American Heart Month!

Friday, Feb. 1 is National Wear Red Day, the day the American Heart Association has designated as a day for everyone to wear red to remind people that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America.

On Thursday, January 31st, Times Union Center Announced that they would be lighting the building red for the entire month of February to show their support of the American Heart Association and the fight against heart disease.

“We lose too many people to heart disease each year, and many people don't realize that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America,” McCoy said. “In addition to lighting the building red, we will have heart-healthy messages in the arena during events. I hope everyone uses February as an opportunity to see their doctor about their heart health.”

“The Go Red movement is about educating women about their risk factors for heart disease,” said Maria Decker, member of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association and chair of the 2013 Captial Region Go Red for Women Luncheon. “Women put off everything to take care of everyone else, but all these buildings that are red are a good reminder to put their heart health first. We are grateful to have so much support for our mission here in the Capital Region.”

"Heart Disease is the # 1 killer of women in America, and I couldn't be more proud to participate in this movement," Said SMG Regional General Manager Bob Belber. "Times Union Center will be shining red for the entire month of February and we hope that other companies turn their buildings red in support of the cause."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SMG-Managed Times Union Center Profits Up 64%

Albany County officials have announced that the Times Union Center, which is managed by SMG, ended 2012 with a Net Operating Profit of $826,341. The Net Operating Profit generated in 2011 was $531,147. The 2012 year-end results showed an increase of 64% over 2011.

The Times Union Center hosted great concerts in 2012 including Rascal Flatts, Bruce Springsteen, Sugarland, Roger Waters, Aerosmith, Kevin Hart, Carrie Underwood, the WGNA Country Festival featuring Eric Church, Trans Siberian Orchestra and an electric dance music event known as Pretty Lights. In addition, Joel Osteen brought his touring ministry to Albany. Outstanding family shows included the Ringing Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Cirque Du Soleil, How to Train Your Dragons, Disney on Ice and the Harlem Globetrotters. High flying motorcycles raced at the Kicker Arenacross and the Monster Truck Jam thrilled young and old. The NY State High School Wrestling Championships, Section II Boy's Basketball and the NY State Federation Basketball State Championship brought in great high school sports. The Albany Auto Show and The Great Northeast Home Show drew big crowds. Professional wrestling with WWE and TNA Wrestling thrilled their fans And, the Albany Devils hockey team and Siena College Men's Basketball packed in fans.

“The Times Union Center continues to attract top notch shows under the direction of SMG and, in particular, General Manager Bob Belber. While the economy moves in a positive direction, a 64% increase speaks to the hard work the SMG staff has put in to drawing and retaining events like the NYS Federation Basketball State Championships which will now run at the TU through 2016 and the return of Andrea Bocelli. Great job! Thank you,” stated Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SMG Reaches New Agreement with City of Jacksonville to Manage Facilities

SMG will continue to provide management services for EverBank Field, other facilities for three years, with the option to renew

On December 22, 2012, Mayor Alvin Brown announced that the City of Jacksonville (COJ) has reached a new three-year agreement with SMG to manage the city's facilities. SMG, which has managed the COJ facilities for the past 20 years, will continue to operate EverBank Field (home of the Jacksonville Jaguars) the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, and five other venues owned by the city.

The agreement was the result of a competitive bidding process where SMG—with its breadth of experience managing facilities worldwide, and tested strategies to generate additional revenue for the city—was chosen to retain its contract with the COJ. A final agreement is expected to be signed no later than March 31.

This agreement was made possible because of the leadership and vision of Mayor Brown. His commitment to a thorough selection process means that the COJ now has a deal that will preserve the high standard of management at its facilities, generate new growth and revenue opportunities, and save taxpayers money.

"SMG looks forward to continuing its long standing and successful partnership with the City of Jacksonville, and executing on Mayor Brown's vision to establish the city as a premier tourism, entertainment, and professional sports destination," said SMG President and Chief Executive Officer Wes Westley. "Jacksonville's venues and entertainment facilities are among its most valuable assets, and SMG is committed to achieving their maximum economic potential through world-class operation and management services."