Monday, January 26, 2015

Pensacola Bay Center Celebrates 30 Years with Brad Paisley

(Pensacola, Fla.) January 23, 2015—2015 marks the Pensacola Bay Center’s 30th anniversary of providing first class entertainment in the Pensacola Bay area through concerts, trade shows, meetings, family shows and sporting events. It all started when KISS performed on January 21, 1985 with a sold out show, and the Bay Center has been rockin' ever since.

The Pensacola Bay Center has been a staple in improving the quality of life for 30 years with such huge acts as Elton John, Janet Jackson, David Bowie, Jimmy Buffett, Kid Rock, George Strait, David
Bowie and hundreds more.

In honor of Brad Paisley playing at the arena tonight at 7:30pm, the Bay Center will kick off the 30th anniversary celebration an hour prior to the show.  As country fans enter the building, they will be greeted by mini-­cheesecakes courtesy of Szotski's Cheesecakes and mini cupcakes provided by Smallcakes, J's Pastry Shop and Publix Bakery. Fans will also be able to light the night up with fun sized glow sticks while singing and dancing the night away. 

To make this day even more memorable, the Board of County Commissioners of Escambia County have officially proclaimed January 23, 2015, Brad Paisley Day in Pensacola.  Pensacola Bay Center SMG general manager, Cyndee Pennington was also recognized by the Board of County Commissioners for her 30 years of service at the venue. 

Throughout 2015, more activities and events will be planned in honor of Pensacola Bay Center's 30th anniversary. To stay updated with all the happenings, sign up for the Bay Centers newsletter and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Wichita, KS (January 21, 2015) – This year, INTRUST Bank Arena celebrates five years of creating memories and providing world-class entertainment to fans in downtown Wichita. To celebrate the 5th Anniversary, INTRUST Bank Arena has announced plans to give fans 5-star fan experiences in 2015 at each of their 5th Anniversary Concert Series shows. 

As previously announced, INTRUST Bank Arena will put on a 5th Anniversary Concert Series throughout 2015 to commemorate the milestone. As part of the concert series, INTRUST Bank Arena will be giving fans the chance to win a 5-Star Fan Experience for each show in the series. The 5-Star Fan Experiences will include tickets to the concert, round-trip limousine transportation, dinner in the Arena’s Cox Lounge, a 1-night hotel stay and a commemorative concert poster. Contests will begin approximately three weeks prior to each concert series show and will be hosted on the Arena’s social media pages. Three concerts in the series have been announced to date, including Bob Seger (Feb. 17), Fleetwood Mac (Mar. 31) and Foo Fighters (Sept. 30). Fans can expect additional concert series announcements throughout the year. 

“We’re in the business of making memories, and when our marketing team got together to brainstorm ways to celebrate our 5th anniversary, we knew we had to come up with something big,” said SMG Director of Sales & Marketing, Christine Pileckas. “The ‘5-Star Fan Experiences’ we’ve put together will not only leave fans with incredible memories, but it will give them the chance to experience our events in a way they might never have been able to experience them otherwise.” 

Earlier this month, INTRUST Bank Arena launched a completely new, redesigned website to kick off the fifth anniversary. The newly redesigned website,, is sleek, easy to navigate, and offers a full multimedia experience. The site was developed by Howerton+White, an interactive marketing agency in Wichita, Kan. In addition, INTRUST Bank Arena has designed commemorative ticket stock and commemorative souvenir cups for the fifth anniversary. Th
e souvenir cups will be available for purchase at all arena concession stands during events. This week, the arena will also be installing fifth anniversary themed banners on street poles in the arena neighborhood.

To stay connected with INTRUST Bank Arena and be the first to know when a 5-Star Fan Experience promotion is kicking off, fans are encouraged to sign-up for the Arena’s e-news or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Cars, Cobo kick-start 2015 with big buzz for Detroit

Wes Westley, CEO of the company that runs Cobo Center and 240 venues worldwide, planned to visit Detroit in March to check out operations.

But last week he abruptly changed his travel schedule after he saw social media traffic "blowing up" with news and chatter from the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

"I had to get out there to see the action," Westley, who heads Philadelphia-based SMG, said in a phone interview Friday, "so I came in for an overnight Wednesday and Thursday. I was blown away by the video boards, the cars, the excitement in the city and the industry. It's really gratifying to see."

That strong reaction and positive vibe overall from the Detroit show this past week positions 2015 as the most promising year for Detroit and its signature industry since at least the go-go 1990s.

The 2015 show's economic impact on the region will top $400 million for the first time since 2008, economist David Sowerby said. Friday's Charity Preview, with tickets at $400 apiece, raised more than $5 million, boosting the total donations for children's charities to more than $100 million since the Detroit Auto Dealers Association began the black-tie gala in 1976.

Cobo's $279-million makeover has opened up much more space for banquets and parties, both before and after the Charity Preview.

And despite the nonstop construction activities since the Cobo renovations began in 2010, convention bookings have nearly tripled, said Thom Connors, Cobo general manager and SMG regional vice president. The final stages of the renovation, including an east facade glass canopy, video screen above the main entrance and upgrades of meeting rooms and concourses, are slated for completion by June.

"In my 40-year career, I have never seen the amount of change that has happened in such a compressed period of time to improve the stature, marketability and appeal of a convention destination as has occurred in Detroit," Connors said.

Highlights of a rebirth
What better way to kick off the rebirth of the much-maligned Motor City on the heels of its exit from Chapter 9 bankruptcy than with:
  • Cobo Center looking better than it has in forever, welcoming 5,025 journalists from 60 nations. 
  • The auto industry rejuvenated and posting strong sales and profits as consumers enjoy plunging gasoline prices and low-interest loans.
  • The auto show floor full of glamor, power and some surprises, such as Ford's GT supercar and Chevrolet's Bolt concept combining 200-mile range and affordable price point in a next-generation electric car.

Positive attitude

By any measure, it has been a robust week for Detroit.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the transformation of Cobo and downtown Detroit in recent years extends beyond the physical construction.

"People are more inviting; the staff here is more engaging," Hackel said at Cobo last week. "And you can feel it especially around the downtown area."

A few years ago with the industry in the doldrums, some major foreign car companies skipped the Detroit show or scaled back their presence. Not so anymore.

Zetsche, the Daimler CEO who ran Chrysler in Auburn Hills from 2000 to 2005, said last week that "if you are in the auto world, you must be in Detroit to start the new year."

Urmson, Google's head of self-driving cars, said the brainpower and experience of metro Detroit are essential elements of future car development. Google's self-driving car team is based mainly in Silicon Valley, he said, but vehicle prototypes are being built in Livonia.

Detroit has been mass-producing vehicles for so long, many people take its know-how for granted.

"You forget just how complicated that is," he said in a Free Press interview last week, "and how much engineering effort, thought and design it takes, how smart the pe
ople are that are able to pull this off ... at scale, every day. I think anyone who looks at Silicon Valley as the only place that innovation happens is dead wrong."

Some challenges ahead

To be sure, Detroit and its auto industry still face many challenges.

Mexico and the American South want auto jobs and plants, too, while Silicon Valley and other spots want a share of action in future automotive technology and mobility innovations.

UAW workers want a raise and changes in the two-tier wage structure, with 2015 a key contract bargaining year now that the auto industry bailouts are history.

That said, though, it's all right to embrace the enthusiasm and excitement that put Detroit in the national spotlight for a frigid January week.

Last, with something for everyone at NAIAS as the public jams the show floor this week — powerful supercars from Ford and Acura, a Rebel Ram from FCA, an electric Bolt and a 640-horsepower CTS-V from Cadillac — one wonders what the ghost of Alfred Sloan might be thinking if he were floating around the 2015 show.

It was 90 years ago, in his 1924 annual report to GM shareholders, that the legendary CEO explained his famous market segment strategy of "a car for every purse and purpose."

You think Alfred had Tesla, Google and 3D printed cars in his mind's eye?

From the Detroit Free Press.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2014 – A Banner Year of Community Involvement for SMG Managed Arenas & Stadiums

West Conshohocken, PA (January 14, 2014) - SMG-managed arenas and stadiums recorded a banner year of community involvement projects and initiatives throughout the United States in 2014.  Over 1,000 SMG employees in venues across the country donated more than  12,500 community service hours, made non-profit cash donations of over $400,000, donated more than $2 million in tickets to charities and non-profits in the local communities they serve, donated more than $1 million in venue rentals, and created over 35 separate food and toy drives.
“In addition to managing venues on a world-class level, our employees are also involved in the communities where they live.  Improving the quality of life for those in the cities we serve is of utmost importance,” said Doug Thornton, Executive Vice President of SMG Arenas & Stadiums.   “I celebrate the community service of our employees,” added Thornton.
Some highlights of the projects SMG employees created and participated in their local communities:
  • Chef Devon with SMG Savor/BOK Center in Tulsa Oklahoma coordinated “Chef Aid” to raise money for tornado victims in Oklahoma
  • In Topeka Kansas, SMG employees participated in the Lifehouse Child Advocacy Book Drive
  • At the Dunkin Donuts Center, SMG employees feed over 2,000 economically challenged citizens for the Holidays 
  • In Lincoln Nebraska, SMG employees participated in 2014 Hunger Rally packing some 40,000 meals benefitting the hungry in SE Nebraska
  • SMG employees in Stockton California partnered with several community organizations to collect 6,000 coats, blankets, and socks that were donated  as part of “Stockton Cares”
  • In Peoria Illinois SMG employees at the Peoria Civic Center Cultural Diversity Committee hosted the 2014 Noche De Fiesta Festival which raised much needed funds for the Peoria Hispanic Organization
  • SMG employees at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita Kansas participated for the fourth consecutive year in Habitat for Humanity’s Community Challenge Build.  In addition employees volunteered at the Kansas Food Bank packing backpacks for the Food 4 Kids program
Throughout the year in cities that SMG serves employees donate their time, talent, and treasures to many non-profits including those such as:  Ronald McDonald House, Make A Wish Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Salvation Army, March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Red Cross, and many others.

“When our venues donate millions of dollars of tickets annually to events in their communities the experience is sometimes life changing for those that are economically challenged,” said Jim McCue, Senior VP of Entertainment for SMG.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


West Conshohocken, PA (January 13, 2014) - SMG-managed arenas completed another outstanding year with 32 arenas appearing on Pollstar Magazine’s annual list of the Top 200 Arena Venues.   Manchester Arena took the top SMG spot, finishing the year ranked third in the world with more than 1 million concert tickets sold. Leading the way in the United States was the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., which ranked 28th in the continental United States.  The rankings, which were released last week, are determined by tickets sold worldwide for concerts and shows during 2014.

“Last year was another outstanding year for SMG as we increased the number of SMG managed arenas on the TOP 200 List,” said SMG President and CEO Wes Westley.   “Congratulations to all of our buildings that made Pollstar’s annual list,” added Westley. 

In all, SMG arenas in the Top 200 accounted for more than 5.6 million concert tickets sold in 2014.  Several SMG Arenas had fantastic years culminating in their return to the Top 200 List in 2014 including Richmond Coliseum, Pensacola Bay Center, and North Charleston Coliseum.  
The complete list of SMG-managed venues on Pollstar’s rankings includes:


Manchester Arena

First Direct Arena

Konig-Pilsener Arena
Oberhausen, GERMANY

Metro Radio Arena
Newcastle upon Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM

Odyssey Arena

Coliseo de Puerto Rico

BOK Center
Tulsa, OK

Van Andel Arena
Grand-Rapids, MI

Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

Verizon Wireless Arena
Manchester, NH

Save Mart Center
Fresno, CA

Times Union Center
Albany, NY

Chesapeake Energy Arena
Oklahoma City, OK

CenturyLink Center
Bossier City, LA

Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Jacksonville, FL

Richmond Coliseum
Richmond, VA

Pinnacle Bank Arena
Lincoln, NE

INTRUST Bank Arena
Wichita, KS

Mohegan Sun Arena At Casey Plaza
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Royal Farms Arena 
Baltimore, MD

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Uniondale, NY

Huntington Center
Toledo, OH

Pensacola Bay Center
Pensacola, FL

Stockton Arena
Stockton, CA

Laredo Energy Arena
Laredo, TX

Peoria Civic Center Arena
Peoria, IL

Long Beach Arena
Long Beach, CA

North Charleston Coliseum
North Charleston, SC

Selland Arena
Fresno, CA

Rogers K-Rock Centre
Kingston, CANADA

John Paul Jones Arena
Charlottesville, VA

DCU Center
Worcester, MA


(Wichita, Kan.) – INTRUST Bank Arena has remodeled and rebranded an upper level concourse concession stand into a brand-new destination space for fans. Brewhaus Bros., a unique craft beer bar, is now open at section 207. 

Construction on Brewhaus Bros., the brand-new destination space on the west end of the upper level concourse, began in December. Brewhaus Bros. is a unique craft beer bar and takes the place of the former Dog Pound concession stand at section 207. Brewhaus Bros. will proudly serve craft beers locally brewed in Wichita and across the Kansas region. The bar features 14 taps which will rotate through craft beers. The beer menu initially includes Thunder Blonde and What Winter? Ale from Wichita Brewing Co. in Wichita, Kan., Tornado Alley IPA and Old Town Brown from River City Brewery in Wichita, Kan., Teter Rock Kolsch and Warbeard Irish Red form Walnut River Brewing Company in El Dorado, Kan., Gutch English Ale and Thrasher IPA from Defiance in Hays, Kan., 8-Bit Pale Ale and Pub Ale from Tallgrass in Manhattan, Kan., Ad Astra Ale and Oatmeal Stout from Freestate Brewing Company in Lawrence, Kan. and Unfiltered Wheat and Pale Ale from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Mo.

In addition, the stand will feature a food menu of tasty snacks that pair well with craft beer. Brewhaus Bros. signature items include an Italian Hot Beef Sandwich, Pub Cheese and Chips, a Charcuterie Plate, a Cheddar Ale Bread Bowl Soup, and SAVOR… Seasoned Pretzels. Seating for more than 90 guests, through a mixture of cocktail tables and traditional tables, was also added to the concourse area outside the concession stand. 

“This brand-new destination space offers a new, unique experience for our guests while also providing an additional concourse seating area for fans to relax at,” commented Greg Read, SAVOR Regional Director of Food & Beverage at INTRUST Bank Arena. “We’re pleased to bring this selection of 14 locally brewed craft beers to our guests and to have the opportunity to cater to the craft beer crowd. This is an excellent addition to our already wide variety of food & beverage offerings, and we’re excited for fans to experience this new location.” 

Brewhaus Bros. will also serve as the setting for a Wichita Thunder Season Ticket Holder lounge. Season ticket holders must present their season ticket holder card to receive entry into the lounge area and season ticket holders who utilize the lounge will have access to seating areas in Section 209. Brewhaus Bros. will exclusively serve season ticket holders during Wichita Thunder hockey games, with the exception of games that utilize the upper bowl of the arena. For all events where the upper bowl of the arena is being used, Brewhaus Bros. will be open to the public. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Mayor Chris Beutler today helped cut the ribbon on the Bryan Health Nursing Nook for breastfeeding mothers and their babies at Pinnacle Bank Arena.  The free-standing kiosk produced by Mamava of Vermont is the first in the nation to be placed in a public arena. It is sponsored by Bryan Health and the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency (JPA).

“We are very proud that Lincoln and Pinnacle Bank Arena are leading the way in supporting breast-feeding,” said Mayor Beutler, Chair of the JPA.  “We have set a goal to become the healthiest city in the nation, and one of the ways we can accomplish that is to support nursing mothers.  The health benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable.   In 2010, the Journal of Pediatrics reported that if 90 percent of U.S. mothers nursed exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life, the nation would save 13 billion dollars in medical costs and 900 infant lives every year.”

“This project is meaningful to Bryan as it furthers our devotion to families in our community and extends our commitment to Pinnacle Bank Arena by making it even more welcoming and accommodating,” said Bob Ravenscroft, Bryan Health Vice President for Advancement. “This is a win-win for everyone involved, and Bryan is pleased to take a leading role.”

The suite features seating for two people, a fold-down table and power outlet for a breast pump, space for a stroller, soft lighting and a mirror.   Mamava launched its first unit in August 2013 at the Burlington, Vermont airport and has since installed units at a mall, grocer, private offices and colleges.  The Bryan Health Nursing Nook is just the eleventh to be installed, and it is the first in Nebraska.

“We are thrilled that Pinnacle Bank Arena will be the very first sports and entertainment center to install a Mamava lactation suite,” said Sascha Mayer, Mamava Co-Founder.  “Our goal is to transform the culture of breastfeeding so it is a more widely accepted and inviting experience for all mamas.  We applaud Lincoln and Pinnacle Bank Arena for recognizing this need for both Arena visitors and employees.”

Since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide their employees who are nursing mothers with reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom location to express breast milk for one year after the child’s birth.  Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz said the Nursing Nook is an enhancement to the location already provided for Arena employees.

“We are always looking to be more accommodating and sensitive to the needs of our guests,” said Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz.  “The lactation suite will offer comfort and privacy to nursing mothers.”

Arena patrons can access the suite by visiting the Arena Guest Services Station on the main concourse behind Section 112 and asking for the key.  The Nursing Nook is in the northwest corner of the main concourse.

Pinnacle Bank Arena is managed by SMG, and more information is available at  For more information on Mamava, visit

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


For Immediate Release
Conshohocken, PA – SMG, the worldwide leader in venue management, is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to join its team. Leonard Bonacci has been named a Regional Vice President of the Stadiums and Arenas Division and Patrick Talty has been named General Manager of the new Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium in Minneapolis.

Leonard Bonacci
Bonacci brings impressive stadium management credentials to SMG, having worked for nearly 17 years as a Senior Executive for the Philadelphia Eagles organization. There, Bonacci was responsible for directing all game day and special event management duties of Lincoln Financial Field as the Vice President of Operations.  Bonacci was also responsible for the booking and event creation for ancillary events at Lincoln Financial Field, including the bidding and solicitation of events including the Army v. Navy game, NCAA Lacrosse, international soccer, and other large events.

Bonacci has worked for SMG in a consulting capacity over the last 6 months with a focus on the new Minnesota Stadium project where SMG serves as a facility manager. As a Regional Vice President for the SMG Stadium and Arena Division, Bonacci will continue to oversee SMG’s operation of the new Minnesota facility in addition to other responsibilities. He will be based in SMG’s corporate headquarters located in Conshohocken, PA and will report to Stadium and Arena Division Executive Vice President, Doug Thornton.

“Leonard is a seasoned industry professional with extensive NFL stadium management experience. His understanding of stadium operations will be a great asset to us, as we continue to grow our stadium business,” said Thornton. “We are delighted to have him join us full-time.” 

Patrick Talty
Talty joins SMG from the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), where he most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Live Events. There, he was part of the senior leadership team and was responsible for the global touring and event marketing of more than 420 live events annually while maintaining business operations.

“Patrick is a talented, experienced industry professional,” stated Thornton. “His NFL facility management experience coupled with his event booking and marketing skills provide a perfect combination for us in Minneapolis. We are very excited to have him join SMG and he will be a great addition to our Minnesota team.”

In addition to his promoter background, Talty also has extensive experience in stadium and arena management.  From 2009 – 2012, he served as General Manager of Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, a multi-venue complex that included a 45,000 seat soccer stadium, as well as other sports and recreational facilities.  While there, he was responsible for the oversight and management of a multi-facility sporting complex, and oversaw several major events including the 2009 & ‘10 FIFA Club World Cup, the 40th UAE National Day Celebration, and the first WWE Raw World Tour in Abu Dhabi.