Wednesday, August 27, 2014


(Wichita, Kan.) – The SMG-managed INTRUST Bank Arena ranked #1 in the US and #3 in the world among mid-size venues in the most recent edition of the Venues Today Social Media Power 100 Chart, released in their August issue. The chart ranks venues' social media reach using a number of publicly available data points among Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram. 

“To be recognized as #1 in the US in social media among mid-size venues is a huge accomplishment for our team,” said SMG Director of Sales & Marketing, Christine Pileckas. “We take pride in the fun and engaging content we create for our fans and it’s exciting to see hard work rewarded through this recognition.” 

Venues Today prequalifies more than 400 venues for consideration and weights scores for venue size and market size. This chart uses a weighted ranking curve so readers can quickly compare engagement within their own size category. INTRUST Bank Arena falls in the 10,001 to 15,000 capacity category and ranked 3rd within the category. Leading the rankings in this category are Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario and MTS Centre in Winnipeg Manitoba. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

MSFA Board Approves Additional Funds for Stadium Budget and Selects SMG as Marketing and Management Firm

Minneapolis, MN (August 22, 2014) - Today, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Board approved an increase to the stadium budget funded by the Minnesota Vikings to help solve budget challenges, and it approved a contract with SMG to market and manage the new stadium.
The Vikings have increased its contribution to the new stadium by $49 million dollars, which brings its total contribution to $526 million dollars. The public contribution remains at $498 million dollars. The total budget for the new stadium is now $1.023 billion dollars.
“The Vikings have made a significant contribution to the stadium budget which allows us to maintain the original design to ensure the building is the most iconic, world-class stadium in the country and perhaps the world,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, MSFA chair.
Some of the original designs that were desired added cost above the approved project budget. The additional funding from the Team will help keep important items in the building, such as the operable doors, escalators, acoustical treatments, and freight elevators. “We appreciate the team stepping up to make this significant contribution was instrumental in helping to solve our budget gap,” said Kelm-Helgen.
The MSFA also approved a 10 year contract with SMG to provide stadium marketing and management services for the new stadium. SMG manages over 200 facilities worldwide, including 4 NFL stadiums- Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois; Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana; NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas; and Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.
“SMG facilities have hosted 9 Super Bowls over the years. Their experience will be a fantastic asset as we prepare for Super Bowl Lll in 2018, and other large-scale events that we are competing to host,” added KelmHelgen. ”SMG represents a number of public agencies like ours and has a proven track record of fiscal success which will help take advantage of this new venue.”
SMG has committed to work with the Minnesota State High School League, colleges, and community groups to secure events that were previously held in the Metrodome.
About the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA)
In May 2012, the Minnesota Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council approved funding for the new $975 million multi-purpose stadium to replace the Metrodome. The new stadium is under construction and will open for the 2016 NFL season. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will own and operate the new stadium.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BOK Center, INTRUST Bank Arena, John Bolton, and Michael Owens Nominated for IEBA Annual Honors and Awards

West Conshohocken, PA (August 20, 2014) - SMG venues and employees received several nominations from the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) for its annual honors and awards. BOK Center (Tulsa, Okla.) and INTRUST Bank Arena (Wichita, Kan.) were nominated for Venue of the Year. John Bolton, who served as BOK Center General Manager until his recent promotion to the SMG Corporate office, was nominated for Venue Executive of the Year and Michael Owens, director of booking for SMG Tulsa, received a nomination for Rookie of the Year.
Winners will be announced at IEBA’s 44th Annual Conference, which will be held September 27-30, 2014 in Nashville and are voted on by IEBA members.

“Congratulations to the staff of both BOK Center and INTRUST Bank Arena. SMG has a long reputation of not only providing exceptional services to our clients, but also outstanding executive leadership. I appreciate IEBA for recognizing both our venues and employees with these nominations,” said SMG President and CEO, Wes Westley.
“SMG also congratulates John and Michael for their individual honors,” said Doug Thornton, SMG Executive Vice President – Stadiums and Arena. “John was an integral part of BOK Center from the beginning, establishing one of the most successful venues in the nation and maintaining that level of success long past the honeymoon period.
“Michael has proven himself as a rising star in the industry and has contributed greatly to BOK Center’s success in booking the most sought-after concerts and events,” Thornton said.

Bolton, who previously won Venue Executive of the Year in 2011, served as the General Manager of BOK Center and Cox Business Center from 2007 until this past February when he was named Vice President of SMG Entertainment relocating to the SMG Corporate offices in West Conshohocken, PA. This past June, Bolton was elected to the IEBA Board of Directors in the “Buyer/Promoter” category.

Venue Executive of the Year nominees are selected by IEBA membership. The venue they manage must have bought or promoted at least ten (10) concerts/engagements during the prior calendar year, be in good standing with all agents and help promote live music.

Owens joined the SMG Tulsa team in August 2012 as Booking and Special Events Manager. He was promoted to Director of Booking this past July. As Director of Booking, Owens works with both regional and national promoters and agents to develop content for BOK Center and Cox Business Center.
The Rookie of the Year award is presented to an outstanding IEBA Young Professional member. Nominees are recognized as a young professional who have shown outstanding performance and a significant breakthrough in his/her career. The Young Professional can belong to any IEBA Membership Category and must be younger than 30.

IEBA is a non-profit trade organization for live entertainment industry professionals. Founded in 1970, IEBA provides networking, showcasing and educational opportunities to strengthen relationships, foster growth and increase revenue for the live entertainment industry.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


(Wichita, Kan.) – The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) has recognized INTRUST Bank Arena as a Top 3 finalist for the 2014 Venue Excellence Award. The awards were presented in Portland, Ore., July 28 at VenueConnect, IAVM's 89th annual conference and trade show.
In 2013, INTRUST Bank Arena was named the IAVM Venue Excellence Award Winner. Receiving a Top 3 finalist nod the very next year is an achievement unprecedented by other arenas. This prestigious award is given annually to only one arena in the world and recognizes the best arena based on four criteria used to demonstrate the ways in which the venue has excelled in the management and operation of a public assembly venue.

The criteria for the award includes: service to the community, teambuilding/professional development, safety and security, and operational excellence. The criteria used to evaluate the venues are at the core of IAVM’s mission, and are key components to the success and vitality of the venue industry. A committee of industry leaders chose the finalists for each venue type, and winners were approved by the IAVM Board of Directors.

“Congratulations to INTRUST Bank Arena and the SMG Wichita team for this unprecedented recognition, again being recognized as one of the best arenas in the world by IAVM,” commented SMG Senior Vice President, Entertainment, Jim McCue. “With a diverse event lineup, ranging from George Strait to James Taylor to Cher, they are having another amazing year in 2014.” 
Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Dave Unruh added, “Congratulations to SMG and everyone at INTRUST Bank Arena who worked for this honor. We at Sedgwick County are proud to be your partners, working together to bring elite entertainment opportunities to our community. Keep up the good work!”

“This recognition is a testament to the passion, energy and dedication that our staff puts into making INTRUST Bank Arena a top notch facility each and every day,” said SMG General Manager, A.J. Boleski. “This award is unique and prestigious in that it recognizes venues not based on ticket sales, rather solely on our ability to demonstrate excellence in the management and operation of public assembly venues. We are honored to be recognized as a finalist in the arena category.”