Thursday, October 29, 2015

Summit League Basketball Championships to Remain in Sioux Falls Through 2022

League and Sioux Falls Sports Authority exercise five-year option

ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League and Sioux Falls Sports Authority have exercised the option years of their long-term agreement that will keep The Summit League Basketball Championships in Sioux Falls through 2022. The five-year option from 2018-2022 was part of the original contract announced in Oct. 2012.

“Sioux Falls not only has been a tremendous host of The Summit League Basketball Championships, it has become a home,” said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple. “It is truly remarkable to continually see the bar raised and have attendance records broken each year. This tournament is synonymous with Sioux Falls thanks to the support of our fans, many of whom plan their calendars around the event. The Summit League Basketball Tournament has been a tremendous success story and the league is excited about furthering the long-term growth of this premier event.”

Since 2009, The Summit League Basketball Championships have been played before record crowds in Sioux Falls, making the city the longest-running continuous host of the event. The Sioux Falls Arena was home to The Summit League Basketball Championships from 2009-14 and the event began a new era in 2015 by moving into the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

“In 2009, we were honored to have the privilege to host the first Summit League Basketball Championships in Sioux Falls,” said Sioux Falls Sports Authority Executive Director Wes Hall. “Now seven years later, as we enter into our new agreement to continue as the host through 2022, we are still honored to have the privilege of hosting one of the most successful tournaments in the country. This extension shows the faith The Summit League has in us to host a great tournament and we look forward to putting on a great show for many years to come.”

Including a total attendance of 60,007, which smashed the previous mark by an astounding 33 percent, the 2015 Summit League Basketball Championships set 11 all-time men’s and women’s attendance records. The men’s semifinal round drew 10,153 spectators, the highest total for any tournament session in league history. The women’s tournament posted the nation’s top single-session attendance figure (8,171 for the first quarterfinal) and the second-best championship game (6,926) and tournament average (6,099) marks in 2015.

The Summit League’s top five men’s/women’s combined total tournament, women’s tournament and women’s championship game attendance marks along with the top two men’s tournament figures have been recorded in Sioux Falls.

By the end of the current agreement, Sioux Falls will have hosted 14 consecutive Summit League Basketball Championships from 2009-2022. That stretch will extend league records for both consecutive and total tournaments hosted (14) by more than double the previous mark of five. By 2022, the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center (eight) and Sioux Falls Arena (six) venues will have each eclipsed the previous single-site hosting record.

This year’s “March to the Summit” reaches its pinnacle at The Summit League Basketball Championships, March 5-8 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The Summit League and Sioux Falls Sports Authority will host the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Sioux Falls Regional, March 25 & 27 at the same venue.


The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Called “March’s Best-Kept Secret” by USA Today, The Summit League Basketball Championships further established itself as one of the nation’s top tournaments by smashing league attendance figures in 11 categories, including total attendance by an astounding 33 percent, at the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit, follow Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops and watch the weekly “Inside The Summit League” show at

The Sioux Falls Sports Authority was formed in 2006 by community leaders to recruit major sporting events to the Sioux Falls area. The organization attracts international, national, regional and state sporting events. It is run by a board of directors made up of 15 community members, an executive director, and project director. The organization has hosted the Summit League Basketball Championships since 2009. In 2016, the Sioux Falls Sports Authority will host the Summit League Basketball Championships, the NCAA DII Wrestling National Championships, the NCAA DII Women’s Basketball Elite 8, the NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Regional, and the NCAA DII Women’s Volleyball National Championship. For more information, visit

SMG to serve as interim management contractor for Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center

SMG, the country’s leading entertainment and venue management company and manager of the Knoxville Convention Center, is pleased to provide the City of Knoxville with management services for the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center in an interim capacity.

The City of Knoxville today announced plans for a transition to private, third-party management of the city’s largest special event facilities, as has always been the case at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Because of its existing vendor status with the City of Knoxville as manager of the Knoxville Convention Center, SMG agreed to provide management services to the additional facilities at its current contractor rate as the city prepares a bid process to identify a permanent private management service. SMG has successfully managed the Knoxville Convention Center since its opening in 2002.

“We have been very impressed with SMG’s work at the Convention Center, and they have the level of professional expertise we need to keep our venues operating while we pursue a longer-term solution to our management needs,” said Christi Branscom, deputy to the mayor and the City’s chief operating officer. “SMG will ensure a great experience for the audiences, performers, sports teams and event organizers who use our facilities.”

SMG’s Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert will serve as the general manager of the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park facilities. SMG Regional Vice President Craig Liston also will be located in Knoxville to provide additional support during the interim.

“The Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park are versatile facilities that provide popular entertainment and events to the community,” Liston said. “With our 13 years of managing the Knoxville Convention Center, we have the experience and talented staff in place to begin providing management services immediately. We are pleased to be in a position to offer this assistance to our partner, the City of Knoxville, as it transitions to private management of these facilities.”

SMG’s local leadership team will manage existing city employees, oversee all events and will be charged with bookings at both facilities.

Built in 1961, the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum is the largest city-owned facility in Knoxville and is conveniently located downtown near Interstate 40. The coliseum seats 6,500 guests and has 22,000 square feet of exhibit space. The building also houses a 2,500-seat auditorium; 10,000-square-foot exhibit hall; and 4,800-square-foot ballroom.

The facility is home to the Knoxville Ice Bears hockey team and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s News Sentinel Pops Series, as well as a host site for large touring shows throughout the year, including Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.

Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center is an 81-acre, multi-purpose venue, which includes a 57,100-square-foot exhibition hall, three-acre lake, bandstand, 4,500-seat amphitheater, barns, arenas, playground and picnic shelters.  Chilhowee Park is home to the annual Tennessee Valley Fair and events and festivals throughout the year.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

SMG Hosts Industry Leaders at IEBA

Conshohocken, PA (October 22, 2015) - SMG, the worldwide leader of public facility management, hosted industry leaders from CAA, WME, Live Nation, Nederlander concerts, Bill Rogers Presents, NS2, Frank Productions, Feld Entertainment, and others at an SMG luncheon at the International Association of Entertainment Buyers Conference held in Nashville, TN from October 10-12.  SMG announced they have been selected by Onondaga County to manage the new 17,000 capacity Lakeview Amphitheater in Syracuse, NY as well as introduced Becky Colwell as the new GM of the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
SMG also sponsored the Promoter’s Alley event during the conference, connecting SMG venues with event promoters throughout the USA and Canada.  “Our SMG-managed venues met with event promoters to discuss the biggest acts and attractions for our arenas, theaters, and stadiums and our sponsorship of this event allows SMG venues to further their relationships,” said Jim McCue, SMG Senior Vice President of Entertainment.

SMG also sponsored a private luncheon connecting over 50 agents and promoters with SMG’s venue General Managers and Booking Executives.  “There is an ease of doing business with SMG in our family of venues and continuing to make connections with our key partners is critical to our future success,” said John Bolton, SMG Vice President of Entertainment and a member of the IEBA Board of Directors.  

SMG Receives 12 Nominations for Venues Today’s Hall of Headlines Awards

Conshohocken, PA (October 22, 2015) - This December, Venues Today will be presenting its “most prestigious award”, the Hall of Headlines, with SMG receiving an outstanding 12 nominations. The categories featured in the nominations include News, Bookings, Operations and Tech, Marketing, and Concessions with SMG nominated in all 5 categories.

SMG’s Executive Vice President Doug Thornton was nominated in the News category, along with Regional Vice Presidents Steve Tadlock and Michael Krouse for leading the effort in acquiring the management contract for the iconic Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

Staff at three SMG venues were nominated for Bookings. Tim LeFevour, GM of Chicago’s Soldier Field was nominated for hosting the last of the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well farewell shows, bringing out more than 213,000 fans to the stadium for three sold out performances and generating $6.74 million in revenue. Booking nominations also included Jeff Nickler, GM, and Michael Owens, Director of Booking at the BOK Center, Tulsa, OK as well as Chris Semrau, AGM, of the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD. The BOK Center finished its busiest fiscal year since opening its doors 6 years ago. The venue hosted a two-week Garth Brooks residency that included 7 sold out shows, along with the only One Direction arena date on their North America tour, and many other successful events. Hosting their own series of outstanding shows, the Premier Center brought in 22 different national touring acts, including sold out performances by The Eagles, Ed Sheeran, Luke Bryan, and other notable acts.

For Operations and Tech, SMG SVP Jim McCue and VP John Bolton were nominated for developing a specialized tool with a dedicated web-based intranet marketing support services site, enabling SMG facilities to achieve higher and consistent standards and results. The BOK Center’s Casey Sparks, AGM, and John Dodd, Director of Operations, also received nominations for completing a $100,000 ecologically sustainable new exterior landscaping project that included a massive rock garden, inspiring the trending #rocktheBOK social media hashtag.

Marketing nominations included Intrust Bank Arena’s GM, AJ Boleski, and Director of Sales and Marketing, Christine Pileckas. Celebrating the venue’s 5th year, Boleski and Pileckas helped organize the 5th Anniversary Concert Series while promoting highlights and achievements of the venue’s last 5 years and presenting an outlook at what’s planned for the next five. Also nominated was Meghan Doyle, Director of Marketing for the BOK Center, for organizing an extensive marketing campaign for Garth Brooks’s two-week residency. Brandon Tattersall, Box Office Manager, Rogers K-Rock Centre, received a nomination for launching a newly-designed website in order to create a stronger connection with the venue’s social media platforms, improve the timeliness of the information posted, and personalize the venue’s image by including profiles, pictures, and videos.

Included in the Concessions category were nominations for the BOK Center, the Santander Arena in Reading, PA, and the Intrust Bank Arena. Kelly Ortiz, AGM/Food and Beverage, and Chaning Queen, Premium Services Food and Beverage Manager, helped the BOK Center launch its new bar concept, Copper Stills, a bar that prepares craft cocktails by 10 highly-trained, skilled bartenders. EJ Randolph, Food and Beverage Director, Santander Arena, introduced $1 refills for the hockey season, resulting in 4,500 units sold in only 4 months, generating a $40,000 incremental increase. Intrust Bank Arena’s Greg Read, Regional Director of Food and Beverage, received a nomination for introducing the Brewhaus Bros. craft beer bar that features 14 local craft beers on tap and has since increased revenues at the concession stand location by 30%.

Voting is currently underway for the nominees.

Monday, October 12, 2015

SMG Names Becky Colwell General Manager of The Greek Theatre

Conshohocken, PA (October 12, 2015) - SMG announced today the appointment of Becky Colwell as General Manager of the SMG-managed Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

An industry veteran, Ms. Colwell brings extensive experience in amphitheater management.  For the past thirteen years, Becky has served as General Manager of the SMG-managed Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, North Carolina, where she has overseen all aspects of the operations at the 7,000 seat facility that has played host to an impressive list of national touring acts and festivals.  Under Colwell’s leadership the Koka Booth Amphitheatre was voted Best Outdoor Amphitheater by readers of the Independent Weekly.

Colwell was selected after an extensive search that included both candidates from within SMG and the facility management industry.  According to SMG Executive Vice President Doug Thornton, it was Colwell’s experience in amphitheater management and positive working relationships with tenants and promoters that made her the right choice.  “Becky has demonstrated an ability to increase the programming at Koka Booth, while also balancing the interest of the constituents there,” said Thornton. “That experience, coupled with the experience she has working with top-line artists will serve her well as she represents us at the Greek.”

Colwell, a North Carolina native is eager and honored to start work at the Greek.  “In our world there are venues we consider iconic; the ones that other amphitheaters aspire to be. That’s how industry leaders, performers and patrons feel about The Greek. It plays host to an eclectic mix of top touring acts and is situated in an amazing city and community for entertainment. I consider it an honor to have been granted this opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting the 2016 season started,” stated Colwell.

“Becky understands the balance between serving the interests of a successful facility operation while mitigating quality of life impacts to the neighboring residential community. We are confident her direct experience in these areas will prove to be an excellent fit for all stakeholders of The Greek Theatre,” said Steve Tadlock, SMG Regional Vice President who will oversee operation of the account for the company. 

In addition to her years of experience at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Colwell also served as the Director of Sponsorship & Premium Sales at Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Amphitheatre and is a graduate of Auburn University.

SMG, the world’s largest venue management company was selected by the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department on September 22, 2015 to manage the iconic Greek Theatre and will assume management responsibilities effective November 1, 2015.

PBR Built Ford Tough Series at the SMG-Managed Tucson Convention Center becomes most watched PBR event on CBS in more than four years

PUEBLO, Colo. – On Sunday, Oct. 4, 2.3 million people tuned in to watch the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) Cooper Tires Take the Money and Ride, presented by Jack Daniel’s, event from the Tucson Convention Center broadcast on CBS Television Network.
The 1.61HH rating, marks the most-watched PBR event on CBS in more than four years. The second most-watched event was the 2010 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals with 1.7 million viewers.
“We are wrapping up the first year of our long-term broadcast agreement with CBS and we’ve seen significant ratings growth throughout the year,” said PBR CEO Sean Gleason. “We are looking forward to an exciting World Finals that will certainly keep the momentum rolling.”
CBS Sports Network will next broadcast the PBR’s Built Ford Tough World Finals live from Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 21, through Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9 p.m. ET; and on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. ET. The world’s Top 40 bull riders will be competing for a total purse of $2.3 million, including the $1 million PBR World Championship title for the season’s best bull rider.
CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network are the exclusive television home of the PBR on broadcast and cable. BFTS telecasts are produced for the PBR under a multi-year agreement with David Neal Productions, a Los Angeles-based production company led by 34-time Emmy® Award winner and Peabody Award winner David Neal, who serves as executive producer.
 About the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR)
The world’s premier bull riding organization began as a dream of 20 bull riders 23 years ago and is now a global sports phenomenon. PBR broadcasts reach more than half a billion households in 40 nations and territories around the world, and more than 3 million fans attend live events each year. On its elite Built Ford Tough Series, the PBR features the Top 35 bull riders in the world and the top bulls in the business. The televised Built Ford Tough Series, the BlueDEF Velocity Tour, the Touring Pro Division and the PBR’s international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico have paid more than $140 million in earnings to its athletes. Twenty-seven men have earned more than $1 million, including three-time World Champion Silvano Alves who, in just 54 months, won more than $5.2 million to become the richest bull rider in history. In May 2015, PBR was acquired by WME | IMG, the global leader in sports, entertainment, media and fashion. For more information on the PBR, go to, or follow on Facebook at, Twitter, and YouTube at

Friday, October 2, 2015


Wichita, KS (October 1, 2015) – The SMG-managed INTRUST Bank Arena hosted its two millionth ticketed fan at last Thursday’s Florida Georgia Line concert. Delania Taylor was surprised at the concert with the news that she was the lucky two millionth guest.

INTRUST Bank Arena staff presented Taylor and her guest with a prize package including upgraded concert tickets from the upper level to the lower level, a meet and greet with Florida Georgia Line, a commemorative ticket which was then autographed by Florida Georgia Line, a commemorative concert poster, and more.

“We’re excited to have reached such an incredible milestone in just our sixth year of operation,” said SMG General Manager, AJ Boleski. “Having sold two million tickets is an outstanding accomplishment and a huge testament to the support this community shows our facility. We’re in the business of creating memories, one guest at a time, and are looking forward to creating those memories for the next two million fans.” 

INTRUST Bank Arena reached its one millionth ticket sold in 2012 at the sold out Jason Aldean concert. Since opening in January 2010 with a sold out Brad Paisley concert, INTRUST Bank Arena has hosted many of the nation’s top tours including the Foo Fighters, Fleetwood Mac, George Strait,  Bob Seger, Elton John and Billy Joel, Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Bon Jovi and more. In addition to concerts, the Arena has proven to be a great venue for college athletics hosting the Wichita State University men’s basketball, Kansas State University men’s basketball, NCAA 2011 Women’s Basketball Championship first and second rounds and being named a future site for the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship first/second rounds.

Upcoming events at INTRUST Bank Arena include Ariana Grande (Oct. 6), Def Leppard (Oct. 10), Shinedown & Breaking Benjamin (Oct. 16), Wichita State University men’s basketball vs. Utah (Dec. 12), Kansas State University men’s basketball vs. Colorado State (Dec. 19), Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 22) and more. For a full list of upcoming events and information on how to purchase tickets, please visit