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.