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).