Friday, September 26, 2014

SMG Announces New Executive Vice President, European Operations

West Conshohocken, PA (September 26, 2014) - SMG President & CEO, Wes Westley, today announced that John Sharkey will become Executive Vice President, European Operations, effective 6th October 2014. He will assume responsibility for SMG’s existing business operations in Europe as well as spearheading the business development ambitions for the Group in Europe and Asia.

John was Group CEO at Scottish Exhibition Centre Ltd, Scotland’s largest conference, concerts, exhibition and events centre until April 2014 and led the team responsible for the development, funding, construction and opening of the SSE Hydro Arena, the world’s 3rd most successful entertainment venue.

Since then John has operated as a consultant and advisor to the conference, exhibition and entertainment industry and related infrastructure projects across the UK, continental Europe and the US. He has also advised some of the world’s largest private equity businesses to find value in this sector.

Commenting on his appointment Westley said: “I am delighted to welcome John to the team. He brings with him valuable experience and success across our core strengths as a business and an excellent understanding of the European marketplace. We look forward to realising the opportunities which lie ahead for the European business as part of a strong and successful worldwide brand”.

Sharkey said: “I have been privileged during my career with great opportunities and EVP European Operations carries on that succession. I am joining a business which has been on a growth curve through strong and weak economic cycles as a result of great strength and depth. I am especially delighted to be joining the European business at what can only be described as a very exciting time with the growth ambitions for the business”.

Reporting to John will be Arena General Managers, James Allen – Manchester UK, Ben Williams – Leeds UK, and Paul Tappenden – Newcastle UK, Adrian Doyle – Belfast UK, as well as Colin Revel, Vice President Special Projects UK, Michael Brill, Senior Vice President New Business Development – Europe Continent, and Tracey Short, Vice President, International Business Development Asia.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cobo Center Bookings Reach a Twenty Year High

DETROIT September 15, 2014 -- Thom Connors, SMG regional vice president and general manager of Cobo Center, announced today several new multi-year event contracts have contributed to the most successful year at Cobo Center in memorable history. The multi-year contract trend began in 2011 with the North American International Auto Show signing a 5-year contract. NACE/CARS and SME’s BigM agreed to return to Cobo next year, and the Society of Automotive Engineers just signed a new five-year agreement for their World Congress. The Shell-Eco Marathon energy efficient vehicle competition begins a three-year run in Detroit and Cobo Center starting in 2015.

Larry Alexander, chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), governing body of Cobo, and president of the Detroit Metro Convention Visitors Bureau commented, “Each new season at Cobo Center has realized a significant rise in bookings. Couple that with sound fiscal management and strict energy conservation measures, and you have the formula for our current success.”

The last three trade shows this year in Cobo Center all exceeded anticipated attendance. SME’s new manufacturing show, The Big M, attained stronger attendance by 25%. NACE/CARS, held last year in Las Vegas, saw a 70% jump in sh
ow attendance. And the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress previously held in Tokyo jumped 50% in projected number of attendees.

Gerry Conover, managing director from ITS America said, “We exceeded our attendance goal by 50% -- 9,100 rather than 6,000 . . . We could not have done it without the Cobo Center and Centerplate staffs. You all went above and beyond to help us deliver what is being called “the best ITS World Congress” in the 21-year history of the event. And that’s up against Paris, London, Tokyo, Beijing, Vienna and a boatload of “name” international cities. We told ‘em all along that Detroit was the best place to have a World Congress and you helped prove us right.”

“The key for our success in Detroit was the support of the automakers, universities, civic leaders and regional members,” said Tom Kern, executive vice president, ITS.

Cobo realized a 65% increase in the number of summer events, this with 26 shows in 2013 from June through August, and 65 shows in 2014 during the same period. Operations also realized year over year revenue gains in Internet sales: 55%; food and beverage commission: 56%; rent: 14% and parking: 38%. The overall total revenue increase was 34% this year over last.

“The transformation of Cobo Center is palpable, and the new high tech event spaces are bringing excitement to the shows,” said Connors. “Add to that the fact that Detroit has once again become a strong destination due to regional member populations for engineering, manufacturing, automotive and medical shows, and you create an environment for shows in these sectors to flourish.”

Mandated by the state of Michigan to eliminate its state convention center subsidy by 2023, Cobo Center has already reduced the subsidy from 2009 of $20 million to less than $7 million in 2014.

About Cobo Center: With 723,000 square feet of exhibit space, Cobo Center boasts one of the largest contiguous exhibit floor spaces in North America and is the 19th largest convention center in the country. Visit online at

Monday, September 8, 2014


September 5th 2014 (Peoria, IL.) - VENUES TODAY Magazine has released the top ticket sellers and concert venues for June and July. The SMG managed Peoria Civic Center was recognized three times in the August edition of the magazine: once for an individual show, once for the Arena and once for the Theater. 

The Jackson Browne Concert on July 8th was ranked 8th in the world and 6th in the nation based on total gross income compared to similar sized venues June 16 to July 15th 2014. This concert was brought to the Peoria Civic Center Theater by Madison House Presents and Jay Goldberg.

The Arena was ranked 14th in the world and 8th in the nation based on total gross income compared to similar sized venues from June 16th to July 15th 2014. The Peoria Civic Center arena had Earth, Wind and Fire in the arena during that time period.

Theater was ranked 5th in nation based on total gross income compared to similar sized venues from June 16th to July 15th 2014. The Peoria Civic Center Theater had two concerts from June 16th – July 15th, Ray Lamontagne and Jackson Browne. 

“It is great for Peoria to frequently be highlighted on these top lists,” said Jim Wetherington, SMG general manger of the Peoria Civic Center. “We continue to use these rankings to help bring acts to Peoria. Being on these charts shows promoters that Peoria is a big contender in the concert industry. We really appreciate all of the hard work our staff puts in to make these shows successful, and thank the community for supporting them by buying tickets!” 

The Peoria Civic Center is featured on the list along with other SMG managed buildings such as the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI., the Intrust Bank Center in Wichita, KS., the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL., the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, FL., and the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH.