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The World According to Taylor Swift How a globe-trotting, genre-jumping superstar rewrote the rules and helped save us from ourselves

Social Media Power 100 Arena Spotlight Canadian Venues

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The World According to Taylor Swift How a globetrotting, genre-jumping superstar rewrote the rules and helped save us from ourselves

Social Media Power 100 Arena Spotlight Canadian Venues

ON THE COVER Taylor Swift performs one of four record-breaking concerts at Staples Center in LA, Aug. 20

50 Budweiser Gardens, London, Ont., offers an intimate arena atmosphere. (Photo by Craig Glover)



bookings, coming up with innovative

CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.,


Chris Hansen is on hold until the city

A look back at the world-class events at







NO BUILDING TOO SMALL Q&A with Jim Cressman of Invictus

renovation and expansion through the VT

Entertainment Group.

International Venue Resource Guide and


CALGARY DRIES OFF Facilities in Alberta are recovering from the June flood that left many underwater.

A PINNACLE OF THE MIDWEST Pinnacle Bank Arena reached completion a month early, and already has more than $5 million in ticket sales and sold out


favorite booking stories.

Venues Today provides an update on

United States for an arena tour.


season tickets for University of

A few Canadian executives relay their




Canadian Top Stops.

of projects underway than last year.

The Dutch-EDM event heads to the


place for concerts. Check out our

booming, with more than $1 billion worth


central regions, but also southern

venue will be repurposed as the premiere

Arena construction and renovation is


serve not only Maine’s northern and

C A N A DA hockey and, upon losing hockey, one


information about arena construction,

will open a new market. It’s expected to

Canada’s arena business centers on

heartbreaker, Taylor Swift.


Bangor’s new Cross Insurance Center

entertainment to the Midwest.

the five biggest things he’s learned from


FIVE AND COUNTING BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., celebrates its



the map for events and conventions.


fifth year of bringing world-class

Managing Editor Dave Brooks muses on


and is set to put Bangor, Maine, back on

secures an NBA (or NHL) team.

CenturyLink Center over the last decade.

contemporary country music’s resident

both an arena and convention center,

A new arena backed by Seattle investor


A MAINE DESTINATION Cross Insurance Center will consist of


center-hung display.



booking techniques.

celebrates its 10th birthday with $10



going to great lengths to compete for


million in upgrades, including a new

CREATIVE ATTRACTION Small- and medium-sized venues are

Nebraska’s men’s basketball.


CATERING TO THE COURT The new Pinnacle Bank Arena will serve as the new home for University of Nebraska basketball, which recently moved to the Big 10.




8 A rendering of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat. (Rendering by OCEC/OMRAN)




national tour with Pat Benatar and booking


IEBA’s “Hit Play” party.

CONVENTION CENTER CONSTRUCTION Several expansion projects fill this year’s


year’s conference.

in convention center construction worldwide.



Convention Center construction, renovation and expansion are tracked through our Venues Today

NEW THIS YEAR AT IEBA Learn about some “can’t miss” activities at this

blueprints, which represent more than $9 billion



Q&A WITH PAULA ABDUL Pop star and reality show judge talks about her

International Venue Resource Guide and database.

new cheerleader event, Ignite! Spark the Moment.








Venues deploy green technology to generate


electricity and save on utilities.




Retention Management systems. Simons is


managing partner at Venue Solutions Group.



level with the city’s largest rooftop garden.


massive networks of venues is a matter of seeing


LETTER FROM PAM CLASSY COUNTRY WITH A DASH OF SASS Brynn Marie is riding high after finishing a


SUBSCRIPTIONS Daniel Gray (714) 378-5400, Ext. 21 Annual Subscription Rate: $200 (U.S.)


For two of IEBA’s biggest buyers, managing their


A CUT ABOVE McCormick Place takes buying local to another

who’s about to land and who’s about to take off.

CONTRIBUTORS Mary Wade Burnside Matthew Coller Linda Domingo Gil Kaufman Lisa White


Russ Simons’ take on issues with Customer


COPY EDITOR Pauline Davis









HAPPENING THIS MONTH >> IAVM Arena Management Conference, Toronto, Canada, Sept. 8-10 >> The International Festivals & Events Association’s 58th Annual Conference and Expo, Pittsburgh, Sept. 16-18 >> Worship Facilities Conference & Expo, Dallas Convention Center, Oct. 2-4 >> IAVM International Convention Center Conference, Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 3-5

VENUES TODAY P.O. Box 2540 Huntington Beach, CA 92647-2540 4952 Warner Ave., Ste. 201 Huntington Beach, CA 92649 Phone (714) 378-5400 Fax (714) 378-0040 E-mail Printed in the United States ©All materials copyrighted Venues Today 2012 ISSN 1547-4135

November mber 20-22 200-22 0 22 JOIN N US Novem

2013 20 013

N ow P owered by by IAVM IA AVM VM M Region 5 Now Powered

Bringing together sport and entertainment industry leaders, students and those teaching future leaders of our industry.

Tim T im L Leiweke eiweke

Michael M ichael chael C Cohl ohl

Lane L ane eM Miller iller il

CEO CEO, O, M Maple aple LLeaf eaf Spor Sports ts & En Entertainment terrtainmen tainme t

President,, President, S2BN En Entertainment tertainmen t t

VP P Human Hum R Resources, eso ces, esour C Comcast-Spectacor/ omcast cast-Spec S ctacor// Global G l Sp Spectrum Spec trum rum

M Mark Camillo C amillo lo

Bob B ob Ne Newman wman an

SVP Str Strategic ategic Planning, P lanning nnin , C Contemporary ontempor porar ay Services C orp. Services Corp.

President, P residen entt, AEG G Facilities, Facilities a ties, LLos os Angeles gel , C A Angeles, CA

Bi P Bill Powell owell e VP VP, V P, FFeld eld Dir Direct, Di ect,, FFeld e eld Entertainment En tertainmen t ment and nd Motor M otor Sports S rts Spor

Presented P resented by: by:

Partners: Sustaining Partners:


Venues Today Today W omen of Influenc nce: Class of 2013 Venues Women Influence:


Generation Next: Next: TToday’s oday’s Young Youngg LLeaders eaders LLook ook aatt Tomorrow Tomorrow Generation


Academia and the Industr y: Opportunities Oppor p tunities ffor or Meaning ful Research Reseearch CCollaboration ollaboration Academia Industry: Meaningful


Emergency Preparedness: Preparedness: Solving Solving TToday’s oday’s PProblems roblems with Tomorrow’s Tomo omorr orrow’s Technology Technology Emergency


Moneyball M arketing: Big D ataa PPowered owered Ticket Ticket Sales Sales Moneyball Marketing: Data


Entertainment Districts Districts and thee Changing Urban Experience Experience Entertainment


Green to to Create Create Green: Green: U singg Sustainability Sustainability Measur es ttoo Incr ease YYour our B ottom Line Goingg Green Using Measures Increase Bottom


Internships That That Work Work Internships


Social Media Campaigns tha Brreak Through Through The The Noise Noise Social thatt Break

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, C olumbia M etropolittan C onvention C enter, Columbia Columbia SC Registration R egistration and information inffor o mation at or at www.SE



renas built for entertainment, not sports. Are they financially viable? Again? The old Veterans Memorial Civic Auditoriums were built with entertainment in mind, concentrating on community events that improved the lifestyle for inhabitants and drew corporations to town. But the advent of palaces for basketball and hockey changed the genre dramatically, decked out with huge video scoreboards and cushy corporate suites. However, they also created a new conundrum — what to do with the old arena? They tore down the Spectrum finally, and Boston Garden went fast. The coliseum that preceded the Rose Garden, which has a new name — Moda Center — still operates, as a stepsister to the new arena. In San Antonio, the Freeman Coliseum was relegated to a fairgrounds hall when the new AT&T Center opened. In Memphis, Tenn., the landmark-but-relatively-young Pyramid was mothballed when the FedEx Forum cut a first-rights-to-all-shows deal with the city and the once-Beth Wade-managed Mid-South Coliseum, host to a legacy of legends, is about to be torn down if preservationists can’t save it. There are not a lot of two-arena towns, which makes the two newest runs at the money, Forum presented by Chase in Inglewood, Calif., and Rexall Place, though it will probably be looking for a new title sponsor in three years, in Edmonton, Alta., interesting case studies. Both are situated in big music towns. Both have eschewed sports (in Edmonton’s case to happen after the NHL Oilers leave for their new arena) and both are historically successful but now forced to reinvent themselves as concert arenas in a competitive marketplace. Madison Square Garden Entertainment is rehabbing the Forum, spending $100 million to turn what had been the Lakers basketball fiefdom into a playground for the Eagles and their ilk. The money is on production value, acoustics, fan amenities, VIP spaces and upscale concessions. Northlands plans to rehab Rexall Place along the same lines, with outstanding acoustics, fewer suites and cushier seats, no scoreboard and great production value. Located on 160 acres of community gathering space, from the casino to the racetrack to the fairgrounds, Northlands has a built-in draw. People come. Will artists follow? I asked Northlands CEO Richard Andersen if this is a trend — concert vs. sports arenas and/or two-arena towns? “Our desire, always, was to be in partnership with the Oilers, but long before I got here, that decision was made. We didn’t do this; we had it done to us. Now we’re making the best of it. It’s hard to imagine we won’t come out significantly better financially and with our schedule.” But, is it a trend? “No,” Andersen said. “This is a unique market. Columbus and Kansas City tried it, neither felt it’s been perfect.” God grant you many years to deal with the hand you’re dealt.

We’re entering our second month at our

The Comcast-Spectacor team at the

Taylor Swift set the record for most career Fair season brought an unusual celebra-

new office and our staff is decorating.

Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia have

sellout concerts at Staples Center in L.A.

Managing Editor Dave Brooks put up a

bragging rights for the most people to

on Aug. 24. Honoring Swift are Louis Messina at the California State Fair, Sacramento.

large tapestry with a scene from the

simultaneously watch paint dry. About

from the Messina Group, AEG CEO Dan

Norb Bartosik, longtime manager of the

Serengeti. It’s designed for Instagram

195 people came through the building on

Beckerman, AEG Live CEO and President

event who retired this year, poses with

snapshots of guests who visit the office,

Aug. 19 to watch them paint ice for open-

Randy Philips, GM and VP for Staples

the most impressive marker.

like Chris Bigelow, Bigelow Industries,

ing day of hockey. They hope to double

Center Lee Zeidman and VP of Booking

pictured with staff writer Jessica Boudevin.

the number of paint watchers next year.

and Events Christy Castillo Butcher.


tion this year, dedication of Norb’s Grove












FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY: I was a surefooted


rink rat by the age of 16. I started working at

HOMETOWN: Kamloops, B.C.

Ottawa’s Potvin Arena, home to the Gloucester

UNIVERSITY: BC Institute of Technology, Vancouver,

Rangers of the Junior A Hockey League.

with a degree in Marketing


FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY: I wanted to work in

KID: I wanted to be a biology teacher and basket-


music and when I went to college, I landed an

ball coach. I was hoping to emulate the leaders in


internship at Perryscope Concert Productions.

my life who happened to be science teachers who


Mark Norman, who’s now with Live Nation, was

coached me in basketball. It wasn’t until life and

HOMETOWN: Atlantic City, N.J.

there at the time and, eventually, I was hired on as

expenses got in the way that I landed a full time job


a runner. Once I had to drive David Bowie’s band to

at Ogden Entertainment at the Palladium, former

KID: I grew up surrounded by casinos and always

the Four Seasons and I clipped a taxi on the way

home to the Ottawa Senators.

wanted to get into the industry.

into the parking lot.

MENTORS: Tom Conroy, GM and VP of Canadian



MENTORS: Bob Roux is amazing. Eventually I went

Tire Centre in Ottawa. He was the first person I

Trick show in college. Their tour bus had broken

to work for him and Louis Messina at Pace

worked with who really knew the business and

down, so they had to hang out in my dorm room.

Concerts and I found I still had so much more to

whenever we went to him, he had the experience

FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB: Building relation-

learn about the music business. Mark Norman was

coupled with the right answer.

ships, and it’s not just artists and entertainers, but

also a very important person to me and gave me a

BEST ADVICE: Tom had this saying, “you’re always

with our guests and our employees. I network every

job in Denver working for House of Blues. And our

striving for the unachievable gold medal.” It meant

day and love using Skype, especially with agents.

former General Manager Kim Bedier, who has now

that the pursuit of excellence was always the goal,

MENTORS: I really look up to former Yankees skip-

left us to manage Tacoma Dome just down the

but you had to enjoy the journey, too.

per Joe Torre, who wrote an article on his time with

road. Now I get to work closely with Global


team owner George Steinbrenner, saying it was

Spectrum’s VP of Marketing, Bob Schwartz.

the opening of the Air Canada Centre, and we did 72

important to be both accountable and brave.

HOBBIES: I have three kids, so my husband,

events in 70 days. No one would ever do that again;


Randall, and I spend a lot of time taking them to

it’s ridiculous. My assistant and I never left the

LEARN ABOUT YOU: I’ve been a licensed EMT for

soccer and volleyball.

building, not even to sleep.

15 years and am still active to this day. I knew that


HOBBIES: I race go-karts throughout Canada. I’ve

as a venue guy, nothing makes you feel as helpless

LEARN ABOUT YOU: I now have dual citizenship

won a few races including the Southern Interior

and powerless when you’re in an emergency situa-

and voted in my first election U.S. last year.

Karting Championship.

tion and you don’t know what to do.

(425) 322-2606

(250) 809-5976

(313) 309-4561



Clockwise from top right: Inside Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat. (Rendering by OCEC/OMRAN); Rendering of the new entry for Miami Beach Convention Center (Rendering by OMA/South Beach ACE); the renovated Spokane (Wash.) Convention Center will increase the facility’s interaction with the water (Rendering by LMN Architects).

CONVENTION CENTER CONSTRUCTION Several expansion projects fill blueprints by JESSICA BOUDEVIN


his year, Venues Today has identified more than $9 billion in convention center construction and renovation, and surrounding projects, worldwide. It’s a healthy number, though down


from last year’s $12-billion mark. Though several new constructions grace our convention center blueprints, the focus is on expanding existing facilities. Of the 23 projects in our blueprints, 13 are renovations or expansions, with 10 new constructions, half of

which are outside the United States. “A lot of communities are looking to increase their facility size to bring in more shows, better shows and more flexibility,” said Tom Burgess, principal at LMN Architects, who is currently working on the Spokane


Clockwise from top: A rendering of the new entrance for Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio (Rendering by Populous); Owensboro (Ky.) Convention Center is set to open in 2014. (Rendering by Trahan Architects); an exterior rendering of the Spokane Convention Center project (Rendering by LMN Architects).

(Wash.) Convention Center Completion Project. “Convention centers themselves don’t necessarily generate a big amount of money, but what they do is bring in a lot of business that supplements the town so it makes sense to reinvest in expansion.” LOCAL FLAIR Though all venues are generally designed to somehow reflect the city, it is a main focus for convention centers because the facilities serve as meeting spots for people from all across the globe. “I think you certainly want to look at every location that involves a convention center and find the unique features, then try to enhance what that location brings to the project,” said Burgess. The site for the Spokane Convention Center sits along the Spokane River, which is slow flowing and dam controlled, so the water

level doesn’t change. The design for the completion project will expand a ballroom space to address the edge of the river and adjacent Centennial Trail used for hiking and walking. The scale of the building will step down gradually until it reaches the water. “It’s not always possible in some urban settings to interact with nature that much,” added Burgess. “Sometimes you end up with a landlocked project.” Tom Mazzocco, executive VP at San Diego Convention Center, said the proposed $520-million expansion there would remove berms that block the view of the bay from the convention center. “It will really bring the bay in,” he said. “For us, I think that’s important because we have a great city, great weather and a beautiful bay.” The expansion of Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio is set to

play off of a ‘stars at night’ theme. “There are the typical things you might expect to see when you think of San Antonio: the River Walk, Mexican food, and the Alamo,” said Populous’ Michael Lockwood, who worked to design the project. “Those are the exact things they didn’t want to promote.” Instead, the design went contemporary and progressive. The design also honors the adjacent HemisFair Park, site of the 1968 World’s Fair. A mosaic sculpture wall that was part of the original HemisFair Park has been incorporated into the design of the west lobby. “If we’re doing our jobs right, when someone comes and experiences a convention in San Antonio they’ll really get a sense of what it’s like to be in the city,” added Lockwood. Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 >







COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $180 million STAKEHOLDERS: Management: Board of Directors CONTACTS: Pres/CEO: Klaus Lahr,; Exec. VP of Fin./Adm.: Douglas Achorn, (204) 957-4521,; Dir. Sales/Mktg.: David Chizda, FEATURES: Architects Terry Cristall, Number TEN Architectural Group and Terry Danelley, LM Architectural Group are working on the project that includes a 26,000 sq. ft. main floor ballroom; 36,400 sq. ft. main floor public lobby, concourse and registration area; and additional 69,100 sq. ft. third floor exhibit space that will connect to the existing building creating a new contiguous 147,100 sq. ft. of exhibition space that can accommodate over 700 exhibit booths.The third floor will be the 46,000-sq.-ft. City Room with full windows on the east and west sides. Below on street level, York Avenue will function as a new downtown, weather-protected gathering place. The original venue is 37 years old.

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE SYDNEY (ICC SYDNEY) CAPACITY: Convention Centre 430,556 sq. ft.; Event Deck 53,819 sq. ft.; Theatre - 8,000 seats; Ballroom - 2,000 seats COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $891 million OPENING DATE: 2016 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: AEG Ogden; Architect: Populous, and HASSELL CONTACTS: CEO: Geoff Donaghy FEATURES: Will replace the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. The new International Convention Centre will transform one of Sydney’s key precincts and best known landmark areas, reflecting and redefining Darling Harbour economically and culturally. SYDNEY EXHIBITION CENTRE @ GLEBE ISLAND (TEMPORARY) CAPACITY: Convention Centre 215,278 sq. ft. OPENING DATES: 2014-2016 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: AEG Ogden CONTACTS: GM: Malu Barrios FEATURES: AEG Ogden has been appointed by the New South Wales Government to operate the Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island. Z H U H A I GL Events, a leading international ZHUHAI EXHIBITION & CONVENTION CENTRE events company, will supply the CAPACITY: Convention Center 20,000 square metre structure, 306,774 sq. ft.; Plenary hall which was most recently used 53,820 sq. ft. during the London Olympics. Free OPENING DATE: 2015 special event transport will proSTAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Guangdong vide easy access to Sydney Province; Management: Northstar Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island Management Co.; Architect (Initial on exhibition event days. Scheme Only): RMJM of Hong Kong; Tech Design Consultant: AEG Ogden FEATURES: Part of Shizmen Central MANITOBA Business District of Hengqin New Area. WINNIPEG



RBC CONVENTION CENTRE WINNIPEG (EXPANSION) 375 York Ave., R3C 3J3 (204) 956-1720 Fax: (204) 943-0310 CAPACITY: Convention Center 4,131 seats; 160,000 sq. ft. COMPLETION DATE: 2015

KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN SAKHIR NEW EXPO CITY +973 1755 8800 Fax: +973 1755 5513


Event Svcs.: Gregory Rosicky, overlooks a wadi (valley) that is a CAPACITY: Convention Centre x5364,; VP haven for Oman’s exotic bird life 1,614,587 sq. ft. Sales/Mktg.: Pamela Hirneisen, and is only 10 minutes from the COMPLETION DATE: 2015 x5344,; new Muscat International Airport. COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $815 The Oman & Convention Exhibition Exec. Dir.: Bud Ovrom million Centre is being built in two phases FEATURES: Adding another 210,000 STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Bahrain sq. ft. main exhibit hall (Pico Hall), with the Exhibition Halls completExhibitions & Conventions secondary multipurpose hall, muled in 2015 and auditorium, banCo./BCCI; Management: Bahrain tiple meeting facilities and full quet halls and meeting rooms Exhibitions & Conventions food service facilities. Populous’ scheduled for completion in late Co./BCCI aim for the Los Angeles 2016. CONTACTS: Chmn.: H.E. Dr. Hassan Convention Center Expansion was A. Fakhro to reshape the building into a FEATURES: Expo@Bahrain will have vibrant destination. the capacity to hold approximately 5,000 delegates and up to 30,000 C A L I F O R N I A S AN DIEGO visitors each day. The design SAN DIEGO CONVENTION CENTER allows for future expansion should A N A H E I M the demand for more space grow. ANAHEIM CONVENTION CENTER (EXPANSION) 111 West Harbor Dr., 92101-7822 New Expo City is also close to the (EXPANSION) (619) 525-5005 Bahrain International Circuit 800 West Katella Ave., 92802 Fax: (619) 525-5025 Formula 1 track, offering a unique (714) 765-8950 entertainment and leisure option Fax: (714) 765-8965 for event organizers. There are 50 CAPACITY: Convention Center meeting and breakout areas and 2,618,190 sq. ft.; Exhibit Hall 5,000 parking spacing available. CAPACITY: Convention Center 525,701 sq. ft.; Meeting/Event Phase One will comprise a 1,600,000 sq. ft.; Arena - 7,500 284,820 sq. ft.; Two Ballrooms 100,000-square-metre purposeseats 80,706 sq. ft. built exhibition facility, of which COMPLETION DATE: TBD COMPLETION DATE: 2017 75,000 square metres will be alloCOST OF EXPANSION: $180 million COST OF EXPANSION: $520 million cated for sub-divisible exhibition STAKEHOLDERS: STAKEHOLDERS: Management: San space with an integrated 25,000Management/Owner: City Diego Convention Center Corp.; square-metre convention centre. A CONTACTS: Exec. Dir.: Tom Morton, Owner: San Diego Unified Port 50,000-square-metre sub-divisible (714) 765-8920, tmorton@anaDistrict; exhibition and convention centre; GM: David Meek, (714) CONTACTS: Exec. VP: Tom will be developed in Phase Two. 765-8951, Mazzocco, (619) 525-5150, Phase One is expected to comFEATURES: Having recently; plete in 2013, at which time the pleted outdoor plaza work, the city Comm./New Media Specialist: facility will be operational. is now looking to add multipurMarit Hill, (619) 525-5215, pose meeting space and increase; the exhibition space. Pres./CEO: Carol C. Wallace, (619) 525-5101, carol.wallace@visitLOS ANGELES M U S C AT LOS ANGELES CONVENTION OMAN CONVENTION CENTRE FEATURES: Phase three of the CENTER (EXPANSION) Oman Convention & Exhibition expansion plans will add 400,000 1201 South Figueroa St., 90015 Centre Pre-Opening Office sq. ft., to open by 2017. Campaign (213) 741-1151 c-/ AEG Ogden, GPO Box 1040 pegged to keeping Comic Con, Fax: (213) 765-4441 +61 7 3265 5888 which has signed on for five more Fax: +61 7 3265 5899 years. CAPACITY: Exhibit Hall - 346,890 sq. CAPACITY: Convention Center SAN FRANCISCO ft.; Exhibit Halls - 162,000 sq. ft.; 10,000 seats; 237,000 sq. ft.; MOSCONE CENTER (EXPANSION) 210,685 sq. ft.; 21,557 sq. ft.; and Auditorium - 3,200 seats; 747 Howard St., 5th Fl., 26,342 sq. ft. Exhibition Space - 236,806 sq. ft.; 94103-3118 OPENING DATE: TBD Ballroom 1; - 2,360 seats; (415) 974-4000 COST OF EXPANSION: $254 million Ballroom 2 - 2,360 seats Fax: (415) 974-4073 STAKEHOLDERS: OPENING DATE: 2016 Management/Owner: City of Los COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $600 Angeles; Architect: Populous; million CAPACITY: Convention Center Assoc. Architect: Gruen and STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Omran, 740,000 sq. ft. Associates acting for the Govt. of Oman; COST OF EXPANSION: $500 million CONTACTS: Asst. GM: Phillip Hill, Management: AEG Ogden CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 > x5305,; Dir. of FEATURES: The convention center




will stay open during construction. Initially, Populous brainstormed knocking down the old half of the facility and building on top of it but, due to the potential of money lost from events, the design shifted to building on the opposite side of the facility, then tearing down the older portion. “On all of our projects where we work on expansion and renovation, the basic design process is to make sure they stay open,” said Lockwood. “That drives the design process from the very beginning.” PLACE TO PARK Convention center renovations are offering more spaces for the community to spend time and relax. At the Miami Beach Convention Center, set to undergo a $500-million renovation that’s part of a $1-billion city plan, an existing botanical garden adjacent to the facility is going to be further incorporated into the design. However, the big addition for the community will come on the roof. “There are a number of green elements incorporated into our design including a green roof,” said Justin Long from OMA, an archi-

tecture firm working on the project. Though the section of green roof that sits on the existing convention center structure will only be used for retention of storm water, reduced heat, and a better visual from above, the green roof that expands over a parking area will serve as a public park. San Diego Convention Center will also make the most of its roof space with a five-acre park planned. There will be a ramp that goes up the building to the roof, as well as multiple elevators for ADA access. “It’s not just going to be grass,” said Mazzocco. “There will be seating areas, shaded areas with trees and benches, and a walking trail.” An amphitheater space will finish the rooftop design, and Mazzocco said he imagines future summer concerts on the roof. CREATING CONNECTION In addition to creating spaces for the community to spend time, the convention center renovations are also focusing on creating a visual connection between convention-goers and locals. The way that the scale of Spokane Convention Center steps down to Centennial Trail and the river “connects both the people in the facility to the water, but also the folks on


the trail to the convention center,” said Burgess. “The magic here is really the idea of how this facility steps down to the water’s edge, letting the folks outside the convention center connect up to the facility.” He added that LMN considers this a ‘completion project’ because it softens the expansion the facility went through in 2006. “That expansion left the building somewhat incomplete,” he said. “There wasn’t as comfortable an edge for the citizens and community to interact with the building, so this kind of completes the edge treatment.” At Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, part of the second level will extend out over the street and be very transparent, providing a view of the main drag in San Antonio. “People inside the building will be able to look down Market Street and engage with the community, and activity inside the building is going to be very apparent to those outside,” said Sandy Eeds, project manager for Populous. Interviewed for this story: Tom Burgess, (206) 682-3460; Sandy Eeds and Michael Lockwood, (816) 221-1500; Jason Long, (212) 337-0770; Tom Mazzocco, (619) 5255215











CAPACITY: Convention Center S A N TA C R U Z OPENING DATE: 2017 1,600,000 sq. ft. VETERANS MEMORIAL BUILDING STAKEHOLDERS: Management: SMG; (RENOVATION) COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $1.2 billion Owner: City & County of SF; REOPENING DATE: 2018 846 Front St., 95060 Architect: Skidmore, Owings & STAKEHOLDERS: Management: (831) 454-0478 Merrill and Mark Cavagnero Global Spectrum; Owner: City; Fax: (831) 457-2742 Architects Security: In-house; Tickets CONTACTS: GM: Richard H. Shaff, Primary: Ticketmaster (415) 974-4011, CONTACTS: GM: Bob Balsam, bbalCAPACITY: CG Matthews Hall - 400; Comm. seats; 2,400 sq. ft.; Banquet Room; Dir. Mgr.: Naina Ayya, (415) 974-4017, of Sales/Mktg.: Ileana Garcia - 200 seats; The Redwood Room; Asst. GM: 20 seats; 320 sq. ft.; The Bill Motto FEATURES: Developer South Beach Bob Sauter, (415) 974-4013, Room - 89 seats; 1,400 sq. ft.; The ACE won the bid to renovate the Pogonip Room - 49 seats; 812 sq. ft. 56-year-old Miami Beach FEATURES: Phase one of a 25-year Convention Center. The plan will COST OF RENOVATION: $3.5 million expansion plan includes cleaning renovate the convention center OPENING DATE: Sept. 2013 out the exhibit hall level to make it STAKEHOLDERS: Management: and also add a ballroom, an 800contiguous space and adding room hotel, retail outlets and 300 Board of Trustees; Owner: County 80,000-100,000 sq. ft. An additionresidential units. The plan also of Santa Cruz; Security: In-house al 120,000 sq. ft. of meeting space includes a 70,000-sq.-ft. plaza. CONTACTS: Exec. Dir.: Tim Brattan, will be added on top. Funding is in x10, place through the Tourism KENTUCKY FEATURES: The Spanish Colonial Improvement District. building was closed in January 2010 OWENSBORO due to structural problems. The SAN JOSE renovation includes a seismic retro- OWENSBORO CONVENTION SAN JOSE MCENERY CENTER fit of the county-owned building. CONVENTION CENTER PO Box 456, 42302 (RENOVATION) (270) 687-8800 C O L O R A D O 408 Almaden Blvd., 95110 www.owensboro-conventioncen(408) 277-5277 AURORA Fax: (408) 271-0799 CAPACITY: Convention Center GAYLORD RESORT & 92,000 sq. ft. AURORA OPENING DATE: Jan. 27, 2014 CAPACITY: Convention Center COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $45 million CAPACITY: Convention Center 425,000 sq. ft.; Ballroom - 22,000 STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City; 400,000 sq. ft. sq. ft.; Pre-function space Management: Global Spectrum; OPENING DATE: TBD 100,000 sq. ft.; Exhibit Space COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $800 million Architect: Trahan Architects 143,000 sq. ft. CONTACTS: GM: Dean Dennis, (270) STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Marriott REOPENING DATE: Sept. 2013 687-8543, ddennis@owensboroFEATURES: To include a 1,500 room COST OF RENOVATION: $100 million; Dir. of hotel complex and conference STAKEHOLDERS: Management: Team space. The project died when Sales/Mktg.: Laura Alexander, San Jose; Owner: City of San Jose; Gaylord Entertainment Co., went (270) 687-8338, Architect: Populous; Assoc. bankrupt, but has apparently been lalexander@owensboro-convenArchitect: HMC Architects;; Admin. Asst.: revived by Marriott, which now Landscape: Verde Design Mary Higginbotham; mhigginbothowns Gaylord Hotels, this year. CONTACTS: Dir. of Bus. Dvlp.: am@owensboro-conventioncenThe project was taken over by Benjamin Roschke, (408) RIDA Development and is set to 4144,; Dir. FEATURES: Consists of 44,000 sq. ft. break ground in 2014. The whole of PR/Comm.: Meghan Horrigan, of exhibition space and 48,000 sq. complex will measure 1.9 million (408) 792-4175, mhorrigan@sanft. of meeting and pre-function sq. ft.; VP of Sales & Mktg.: space. Attached to a new 151Diana Ponton, (408) 792-4109, room Hampton Inn. F L O R I D A FEATURES: Increasing to 1.3 million M I A M I B E A C H MAINE sq.ft. The expansion will blend MIAMI BEACH CONVENTION indoor and outdoor space. The BANGOR CENTER (PROPOSED renovated entry plaza and addition RENOVATION) CROSS INSURANCE CENTER of terraced plazas along the build- 1901 Convention Center Dr., 33139 515 Main St. , 04401 ing’s north facade will create (207) 947-5555 (305) 673-7311 opportunities for uique meeting Fax: (207) 947-5105 Fax: (305) 673-7435 and exhibit environments.

CAPACITY: Arena - 8,078 seats; Convention Center - 46,270 sq. ft. OPENING DATE: Sept. 2013 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $52.3 million for total project STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City; Management: Global Spectrum; Concessions: Ovations Food Services CONTACTS: GM: Mike Dyer; Dir. Mktg.: Tiffany Sun, (207) 561-8310, FEATURES: Replaces existing Bangor Auditorium/Civic Center at Bass Park Fairgrounds. Financed with gaming income. Over 27,000 s.f. of meeting/conference space located adjacent to the event center is being planned for the facility. This is in addition to the 30,000 s.f. that will be available when the arena floor is used to host exhibition events.


BOSTON CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTER (EXPANSION) 415 Summer St., 02210 (617) 954-2100 Fax: (617) 954-2299 CAPACITY: Exhibit Space - 516,000 N E V A D A sq. ft.; Grand Ballroom - 40,020 LAS VEGAS sq. ft.; Meeting Space - 160,000 LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER sq. ft. (RENOVATION) COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $2 billion 3150 Paradise Rd., 89109 for total project including hotels (702) 892-0711 OPENING DATE: TBD Fax: (702) 892-2824 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: MCCA; Owner: MCCA; Security: Allied CAPACITY: Convention Center CONTACTS: Exec. Dir.: James E. 3,200,000 sq. ft.; Exhibit Area Rooney, (617) 954-2470; GM: C1-C5 - 623,058 sq. ft.; Exhibit Maureen Shea Baker, (617) 954Area - N1-N4 - 409,077 sq. ft.; 2073; Dir. of Comm./Mktg.: Mac Exhibit Area - S1-S4 - 908,496 sq. Daniel, (617) 954-2430, ft. FEATURES: Two approved hotels are COST OF EXPANSION: $150 million the beginning of an expansion that for Phase One COMPLETION DATE: 2015 would include another hotel of up STAKEHOLDERS: to 1,000 rooms, public parks, and Management/Owner: Las Vegas a doubling of the convention cenConvention and Visitors Authority; ter’s exhibit space. Architect: HNTB Architecture Inc. CONTACTS: Pres./CEO: Rossi MICHIGAN Ralenkotter; Public Affairs VP: DETROIT Vince Alberta, (702) 892-7663; Sr. COBO CENTER (EXPANSION) VP of Mktg.: Cathy Tull, 1 Washington Blvd., 48226


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(313) 877-8777 Fax: (313) 877-8577 CAPACITY: Convention Center 2,400,000 sq. ft.; Banquet/Meeting Rooms - 178,446 sq. ft.; Exhibit Space - 700,000 sq. ft. COMPLETION DATE: January 2015 COST OF RENOVATION: $299 million STAKEHOLDERS: Management: SMG; Owner: State of MI, City of Detroit, Wayne, Oakland Macomb Counties CONTACTS: GM: Thom Connors, (313) 877-8250; Asst. GM: Claude Molinari; Mktg./Comm. Mgr.: Mary Klilda, (313) 877-8701, FEATURES: Undergoing an expansion that will include infrastructure improvements, a new 38,000sq.-ft. ballroom, more meeting rooms, and an atrium connecting the main concourse to the river. The expansion is currently in Phase 3, the most expensive portion of construction at $229 million) and is expected to complete January 2015. Phase 3 includes redevelopment of the south side of the building along the Detroit River, as well as installing video walls on the east facade.


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::; SVP Ops.: Terry Jicinsky, FEATURES: A major redevelopment of Las Vegas Convention Center is planned as the first phase to transform the city’s meetings infrastructure. The first phase calls for the expansion of the convention center, adding lobby and exhibition space, as well as outdoor meeting areas. The renovation would update key infrastructure, utilities and aesthetics and add meeting room space and a transportation center. It’s expected to be a seven year process.

COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $75 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Albany Convention Center Authority; Architect: HNTB Architecture Inc., Shawn Hamlin Architecture CONTACTS: Exec. Dir.: Duncan Stewart, x1,; Project Mgr.: Al Sorrentino, x2,; Dir. Sales: Gina Mintzer, (518) 434-1217 x301, FEATURES: Scaled back from original $220-million, 300,000-sq.-ft. version. The state has committed $75 million.





ALBANY CONVENTION CENTER-A 386 Broadway, 12207 (518) 275-4920 Fax: (518) 275-4921 CAPACITY: Convention Center 80,000 sq. ft. OPENING DATE: TBD

NEW OKLAHOMA CITY CONVENTION CENTER CAPACITY: Convention Center 470,000 sq. ft. COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $252 million STAKEHOLDERS: Architect: Populous; Assoc. Architect: GSB CONTACTS: MAPS PR: Mark Beck, (405) 297-3461, FEATURES: Part of the Metropolitan Arenas Projects (MAPS 3) construction program in Oklahoma City, which is funded by a onecent sales tax initiative.The new, urban convention center in the heart of Oklahoma City will replace the aging Cox Center and feature 200,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, a 35,000 square foot ballroom and an integrated design with the renovated Myriad Gardens. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.

TEXAS SAN ANTONIO HENRY B. GONZALEZ CONVENTION CENTER (EXPANSION) P.O. Box 1809, 78296 (210) 207-8500 Fax: (210) 223-1495 CAPACITY: Convention Center 1,300,000 sq. ft.; Exhibit Space 440,000 sq. ft.; Grand Ballroom -

39,600 sq. ft. WASHINGTON COMPLETION DATE: 2016 COST OF RENOVATION: $304 million S P O K A N E STAKEHOLDERS: Concessions: RK SPOKANE CONVENTION CENTER Group; Management: City; Owner: COMPLETION PROJECT (EXPANSION) City; Architect: Populous; Assoc. CAPACITY: Convention Center Architect: Marmon Mok 100,000 sq. ft. CONTACTS: Mgr.: Jeff Cook, COST OF EXPANSION: $36 million (210) 207-5762, COMPLETION DATE: December 2014; STAKEHOLDERS: Design Architect: GM: Scott Munson, (210) 207-8503, LMN; Architect of Record: ALSC;; Owner: Spokane Public Facilities Dir. of Facilities: Mike Sawaya, CONTACTS: GM: Johanna Boxley, (509) 279-7003, FEATURES: Planning expansion,; adding multifunction room, Marketing Manager: Becca meeting space, exhibit space. Watters, (509) 279-7105, bwatThe Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center expansion FEATURES: The 90,000-sq.-ft. will feature 1.3 million total expansion includes 20,000 sq. ft. square feet and a 520,000 square of meeting and ballroom spaces foot exhibition space. Special and pre-function lobbies linking consideration is placed on the the conventoin center to the renovated center’s integration Centennial Trail and Spokane with San Antonio’s growing River shoreline. A network of outdowntown, expanding the cendoor spaces will create a wide ter’s presence and linking to new range of event opportunities, transit systems and the future increased social interaction and a re-development of HemisFair heightened appreciation for Park. Spokane’s riverfront environment.



A DECADE OF SUCCESS Fans are treated to $10 million in upgrades to help CenturyLink Center celebrate its 10th birthday in Omaha b y DAV E B R O O K S

Outside Omaha’s CenturyLink Center


ver since opening in 2003, CenturyLink Center has turned Omaha into a worldclass entertainment town, building a nice business of concerts, major conventions and collegiate championship sports. And starting this season, CenturyLink Center has another reason to be proud of its many major accomplishments — its tenant men’s college basketball team, the Creighton Bluejays, has joined the prestigious Big East.


“Creighton is no longer a midmajor program. They are officially a major now,” said Roger Dixon, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, which manages CenturyLink Center and Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park, home to the NCAA College World Series. “When you’re playing teams like Georgetown, Villanova and Marquette, it means you’re going to have a whole different atmosphere,” Dixon said. It can also mean higher expectations of the

VT SPOTLIGHT fan experience, and CenturyLink Center has invested over $10 million in major improvements to the facility, including a superhigh resolution scoreboard from Daktronics that will give the facility one of the best center-hung displays in college sports. “One of the reasons we did these renovations was because we were in negotiations with Creighton and this helped convince them that another 10-year agreement was the right thing to do,” Dixon said. And it has also caught the eye of major sport organizers including USA Swimming, which will be hosting its third Olympic trials at the building in 2016. The NCAA is also eyeing the building and agreed to host the second and third rounds of the 2015 Final Fours Men’s Championship at CenturyLink Center. “What Dixon and his team have done with the arena has been incredible,” said Mark Burgers, associate athletic director for Creighton.

board is 2,700 percent better than their last board. “They also installed new ribbon panels on the seating board, along with scoring table panels and the outdoor marquee network,” he said. In the past year, Dixon’s team also replaced the entire wired infrastructure for CenturyLink Center, boosting the network bandwidth from an average of 100 megabytes to 10 gigabytes, an increase of nearly 100 times. They’ve quadrupled the number of WiFi access points throughout the building, allowing hundreds more users to get online at once. And finally, construction crews have upgraded the building’s Lexus Club with a $1.3-million makeover, adding additional points of sale and a side bar for enhanced beverage service, along with a TV wall usually tuned to area sports and teams. The Lexus Club is for club-seat holders, suite holders and major donors.

MARQUEE EVENTS Since 2013, CenturyLink Center has hosted a number of world-class events including championship-caliber collegiate sports, major conventions and world-class musical artists. Below we asked Roger Dixon to describe some of the most memorable bookings his team has brought to Omaha.

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR “We did the second and third rounds in 2008 and 2012 (respectively), and both sold out. The 2012 run had the best

NOT JUST A COLLEGE SPORTS TOWN Omaha is home to the annual College World Series of Baseball and popular volleyball and basketball programs at Creighton and has been the location for major collegiate events like 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships and the 2006 and 2008 NCAA National Championships for Volleyball. But Dixon noted that college sports aren’t the only area where CenturyLink Center excels. “We are great at collegiate sports, but the overall support we get from the community for all our events is huge,” he said. “They buy into it, they support it and they like to be entertained.” Dixon added, “Omaha as a community is fairly affluent. When I came here 13 years ago, I heard over and over ‘I’m tired of driving to Ames, Iowa” or ‘I’m tired of driving to Kansas City. I want concerts here in town.’” They also want to be well fed and comfortable, and the latest round of renovations includes $4 million for improving concessions. “We’ve got concession stands being remodeled throughout the building,” he said. “Our club section is being totally remodeled and we’re finally 100 percent done replacing our video scoreboard.” Daktronics provided the $6-million center-hung scoreboard — the only non-NBA and non-NHL scoreboard in a U.S. arena with 4mm video displays and 4mm and 6mm pixel configuration. Dixon said the resolution on the

CHAMPIONSHIP QUALITY While the Creighton Men’s Basketball Team is expected to do a brisk business with their switch to the Big East, Omaha is still first and foremost a women’s volleyball town and CenturyLink Center has hosted major regional NCAA tournaments in 2005, 2009 and 2012 as well as national championships in 2006 and 2008. “Women’s volleyball is huge in this part of the country,” he said. “In 2005, our regional outdrew all other regional tournaments combined. We even outdrew the national championship in San Antonio,” he said. While it helps to have a powerhouse program like Nebraska nearby, Dixon said fans will buy tickets whether the Cornhuskers make it to the finals or not. Another big draw — collegiate wrestling, which Dixon said makes for the “the most intense spectators I have ever seen. As soon as the door is open, they don’t move the entire day. They do eat and drink a lot, but they never leave. They don’t want to miss a single bit of the action.” Dixon said one of his strongest assets while bidding to host collegiate sports championships is the adjacent convention center. “We’ve used it as a press and media center. In volleyball, we’ll set up practice courts and load-in areas. You never know what the weather is going to be like in March and the building creates a comfortable place to work,” he said.

upsets in the tournament and the arena was always packed. Our hotels did an amazing amount of business that weekend.”

CONVENTIONS “We have two major conventions at the building. John Deere holds its annual conference here every couple of years, and Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway hold their annual shareholders meeting here every year. Each show takes several weeks to build, and when the John Deere guys are here, they turn the city into a sea of green. And Berkshire Hathaway puts more people in the building each year than any other event. They use the arena for their main board meeting and the convention center floor for all of their companies, everyone from Dairy Queen and Justin Boots to See’s Candies and Fruit of the Loom. There’s even a homebuilding company that brings in a modular model home.”

CONCERTS “We’ve had everyone from Paul McCartney to The Rolling Stones and The Who. We’ve done some incredible business with Prince, and Taylor Swift likes to come here. We’ve done multiple dates with her on her tour, as well as Kenny Chesney and even Billy Joel. You name it, we’ve had them.”



✎ FROM THE DESK OF THE MANAGING EDITOR You’ll hear a lot of venue managers and promoters hem and haw about the lack of rock acts on the arena scene right now. Nobody has staying power, they’ll say, and there are few rock stars with large enough catalogs to take them through the Twenties (that’s 2020), let alone the Thirties or even the Forties. Of course, you’ll never hear anyone say that about country music.


o you have any doubt that a guy like Jason Aldean or Kenny Chesney is really going to have a hard time staying busy for the next 20 years? Heck, they could probably fill stadiums for decades on their current catalogs along. And with country radio stronger than it’s ever been, there’s little reason to think that either superstar won’t continue to record number one singles and new LPs. Yes, the Nashville Hits Industry is a welloiled machine with a team of engineers dedicated to building longevity and prosperity for those of us crazy enough to work in the music business. The music industry in Nashville consistently delivers new superstars each year, sticking to the trusted combination of steady fan development and continual artistic improvement. No one epitomizes that more than Taylor Swift, probably my favorite contemporary country music artist. As a music fan, I admire the timelessness of her music — she invokes the feelings I had when I was much younger — naïve, idealistic and curious about love. Yes, we all know Swift has her treasure trove of breakup songs, but she never seems jaded with the idea of love. She believes that it can be something pure and powerful, and tearjerkers like “White Horse” and “Dear John” are windows into the mind of someone who leads with her heart and occasionally has it shattered into pieces. Let me tell you Taylor — I’ve been there girl! And as a business journalist, I love her staggering numbers — consistent grosses of $800,000 to $1 million for arena shows, and more than double that for her stadium gigs. She could probably earn much more, but her team — The Messina Group and 13 Management — has a strategy that values long-term success over short-term profit. Taylor and her team are 18 VENUES TODAY SEPTEMBER 2013

showing us how to cultivate a new generation of arena acts that can keep all of us working for years to come. Below are five lessons we can learn from Taylor Swift. DON’T TRY TO REINVENT THE INDUSTRY I had the chance to sit down with Louis Messina for a live interview during the Event & Arena Marketing Conference, and I asked him if there was one thing he did differently with Taylor than the hundreds of other artists he had worked with in his long career. His answer was “not really.” Radio was the biggest vehicle for getting her in front of new audiences, followed by constant support-act touring and a slow and well-executed approach to crossing over into arenas. The next time I saw Messina, it was months later at Staples Center in L.A., where Taylor was being honored for breaking the record for most sold-out concerts with 11 shows. “I always want my artists to break records, that’s an important part of being a superstar,” Messina told me. Some things never change. BUT DO REINVENT YOURSELF — CONSTANTLY To cultivate and maintain a young audience that will stick with an artist, they’ve got to grow up with their fans and stay relatable. Each album Swift has released since “Fearless” marks an evolution of her artistry, from graceful singer-songwriter to crossover pop diva. Many in country music scoffed when her latest album “Red” included number one singles that strayed far from the Nashville sound. But perhaps that is where country music is evolving — allowing itself to be influenced by other artists. Not only does Taylor challenge her own fans, she draws new fans who never expected that

they would listen to a young girl from Nashville sing about Tim McGraw. AND DO EVERYTHING WITH A NEVER-ENDING SENSE OF GRACEFULNESS If there is one lesson I hope Taylor shares with the rest of the artist community, it’s this — take trade shots. I’m amazed how many artists won’t take five seconds before a show to stand in a dimly lit room holding a jersey with five guys in suits for a quick snapshot for our mag. A lot of artists think it looks lame, but it’s seen by thousands of people in the industry. Taylor Swift has never refused to take a trade shot, even in the darkest, most nonflattering green rooms in the business. KEEP YOUR TICKET PRICES LOW Tickets for Taylor’s current Red Tour start at $30 and top out at $80. Messina said he doesn’t think of it as leaving money on the table — it’s creating an affordable entertainment option that cost-conscious fans can easily say yes to. BUT BUY AS MUCH PRODUCTION AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY AFFORD Earlier this month I was able to take a behindthe-scenes tour with Taylor Swift’s enormous production team. For every show, a 300-person crew installs 10 separate stage segments around the arena, including one enormous section that lifts off the main stage. She also carries a drop floor, a moving staircase and a runway stage that not only lifts, but also turns and eventually becomes a rotating and rising stage for the fans in the back of the venue. There was even a floating stage that at one point in the show carries Swift through the air by crane. It’s the most incredible stage setup I have ever seen — and it’s only going to get bigger when it’s built for stadiums.


FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM TAYLOR SWIFT Crossover starlet is just the kind of global superstar we need b y DAV E B R O O K S



ARENA UPGRADES ON THE RISE Significantly more arenas are undergoing renovation or construction than last year by JESSICA BOUDEVIN

continue to attract world-class events,” said Dunstan. Technology is also a big focus for the NIA redevelopment plan, although because technology changes so quickly Dunstan said that he doesn’t have any specific details regarding technology plans beyond a focus on wayfinding, access control, audience interaction and payment solutions. “We have to be very much aware of where the future technological advancements are moving when we’re thinking of what we do now,” said Dunstan. “The building won’t open until 2014, so we need to make sure the technology we’re using will be relevant from December 2014 and beyond.” “We have to future-proof it to ensure that we keep the building up to date,” he added. Upgraded suites at Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., provide a high-end experience for guests. (Photo by Sean Hodgson/Palace Sports & Entertainment)


hether renovating, expanding or building from scratch, arenas around the world are focusing on a few main goals. Most spend their dollars on the latest technology, an iconic façade that fits in the city, and making sure artists and sponsors feel comfortable. Venues Today identified 12 international arenas and 24 national arena projects that are making noise right now, a jump from the 27 total projects on last year’s arena blueprints. The total cost of the arena construction and renovation on this year’s blueprints adds up to 20 VENUES TODAY SEPTEMBER 2013

more than $8.3 billion, up more than $1 billion from last year’s total. The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England, is undergoing a $40million renovation to increase the capacity and enhance the facility. The previous capacity was 12,802, but as of winter 2014, NIA will be able to hold 15,000. According to Guy Dunstan, GM of NIA for the NEC Group, the NIA’s history of sellouts indicated that it was time to expand the capacity. More than half of the shows at the NIA in 2012 sold out. “Also, the venue is 21 years old, so this redevelopment is all about ensuring that we

FANS FEEDING CONTENT One of the U.S. arena projects, renovation of Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., is taking a unique approach to technology offerings. Prerenovation, the arena had 180 suites spread across three levels. Now, 16 suites have been demolished and combined to create one large club. “It’s a social media-based club that’s a sort of an innovation lab,” said Dennis Mannion, president and CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment. The club style, open-air lounge is designed to be easily reprogrammed for any type of event or rental. “There are about 20 different monitors with a lot of different feeds running to the space and, of course, we can CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 >





CANADA A L B E R TA EDMONTON EDMONTON DOWNTOWN ARENA CAPACITY: Arena - 18,400 seats OPENING DATE: 2016 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $480 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City of Edmonton; Operator: Katz Group; Project Manager: ICON Venue Group FEATURES: The entire Downtown Arena & Entertainment District project will include the arena, a community ice rink, a pedestrian overpass and connectors to public transportation. The arena is being built in partnership with the Edmonton Arena Corporation, which is owned by the Katz Group. EAC will operate the arena and, in turn, will receive all operating revenues and naming rights. Groundbreaking is slated for spring 2014.

BRITISH COLUMBIA VA N C O U V E R ROGERS ARENA (EXPANSION) 800 Griffiths Wy., V6B 6G1 (604) 899-7400 Fax: (604) 899-7490 CAPACITY: Arena - 18,920 seats; Suites: 84 COST OF RENOVATION: $200 million STAKEHOLDERS: Concessions: Aramark; Management: Canucks Sports & Entertainment; Owner: Aquilini Investment Group CONTACTS: VP/Construction: Harvey Jones, (604) 899-7459,; VP/GM: Michael Doyle, (604) 8997413, FEATURES: Adding three towers: The West Tower that will widen concourses, add restrooms and create a sports bar; The South Tower will begin excavation Fall 2013 and include five levels of underground parking; The East Tower will begin construction in 2014 and will be a mixed-use highrise above the Canucks Team Store.



345 Graham Ave., 2nd Floor, R3C 5S5 the Nordiques. The new arena COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $110 million (204) 987-7825 would replace the 62-year-old STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: University Fax: (204) 926-5555 Colisee Pepsi. The provincial govof Alaska ernment has pledged $200 millCONTACTS: Asst. AD: Tony Ferrente; lion; Quebec City, $187 million. BIRMINGHAM Project Manager: Stan Vanover, CAPACITY: Arena - 15,004 seats for The rest would come from NATIONAL INDOOR ARENA (907) 786-4908, hockey, 16,345 seats for centerFoundation J’ai Ma Place, which (RENOVATION) stage concert; Suites: 55 sells seats and legacy items to King Edwards Rd., FEATURES: To replace the 31-yearCOST OF RENOVATION: $30 million raise funds for the new arena. B1 2AA old Wells Fargo Sports Complex. REOPENING DATE: Fall 2016 +44 12 1767 3981 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: TN Arena LP; Owner: True North TUCSON Sports & Ent. Ltd.; CAPACITY: Arena - 12,802 seats COPENHAGEN MCKALE MEMORIAL CENTER AT CONTACTS: Sr. VP/GM: Kevin COST OF RENOVATION: $40 COPENHAGEN ARENA UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA Donnelly, (204) 926-5503, million Hannemanns Allé 18 (RENOVATION); REOPENING DATE: Winter 2014 2300 København S PO Box 210096, 85721-0096 Dir. of Fac. Ops.: Ed Meichsner, STAKEHOLDERS: Concessions: CAPACITY: Arena - 15,000 seats; (520) 621-2200 (204) 926-5590, Amplify; Owner: NEC Group; 375,000 sq. ft. Fax: (520) 621-9690; Dir. OPENING DATE: 2015 Tickets - Primary: The Ticket of Comm.: Scott Brown, (204) 926- COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $171 million Factory; Management: NEC 5570,; Group STAKEHOLDERS: Management: Live CAPACITY: 14,000 President & CEO: Jim Ludlow, CONTACTS: MD: Phil Mead, Nation; Architect: 3XN Architects; (204) 926-5501 +44 12 1644 7029, phil.mead@nec- COST OF RENOVATION: $80 million Owner: Arena CPHX P/S; REOPENING DATE: 2016 FEATURES: Sink Combs Dethlefs; GM: Guy Dunstan Architect: HKS Inc. STAKEHOLDERS: Management: Univ. has been completing ongoing ren- FEATURES: Construction of FEATURES: Will increase the seatAthletic Dept.; Owner: Arizona ovations and upgrades to MTS Copenhagen Arena began June 26, ing capacity to 12,500 and the University Centre since 2010. The venue will standing capacity to around 2013. The top of the arena has a CONTACTS: Sr. Assc. AD: Suzy remain open during upgrades, 15,000. There will be a new glasssemi-transparent facade, while Mason, (520) 621-6484, which include improving team fronted facade and enhanced food terracotta waves cover the rest of; Dir. of stores, upgrading home team and and beverage options, as well as the building in a circular motion. Athletic Fac.: Mike Hairgrove, visitor facilities, expanding the retail outlets open on non-event Will host concerts and sports, (520) 621-4694, concourse including new bar and days. Construction will be in two including handball and hockey.; concession areas, and a new wing phases. Mktg. Dir.: Ben Chulick, (520) 621addition to the IcePlex that will GLASGOW 3547, include player lounges, locker THE SSE HYDRO FEATURES: McKale Memorial rooms for junior hockey, and HELSINKI SECC, Exhibition Way, Center, built in 1973, will undergo sports medicine. HELSINKI GARDEN G3 8WY an improvement project to conCAPACITY: Arena - 11,000 seats MARKHAM +44 14 1248 3000 struct new concourses, add restOPENING DATE: 2016 GTA CENTRE Fax: +44 14 1226 3423 rooms and concession spaces. COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $448 AECOM will be the architect for million CAPACITY: Arena - 20,000 seats the project, which will begin conSTAKEHOLDERS: Architect: PES COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $325 million CAPACITY: Arena - 12,500 seats struction June 2014. Architects STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: GTA Sports OPENING DATE: October 2013 FEATURES: Construction scheduled & Entertainment; Management: COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $180 to start in 2014. Replaces Jaahalli Global Spectrum million (cap. 8,200) as home to HIFK CONTACTS: Exec. VP & Mgmt. STAKEHOLDERS: Management: SEC I N G L E W O O D hockey. Includes a shopping cenStrategist: Ray Lalonde, Limited; Architect: Foster & THE FORUM (RENOVATION) ter, hotel, offices, apartments and (416) 566-4502 Partners; Owner: SECC, Glasgow 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., 90305 carparks. FEATURES: Site plan approved in City; Tickets - Primary: (310) 330-7300 January 2013. Seeking an NHL TicketSoup; Concessions: Levy Fax: (310) 673-6055 franchise. Restaurants CONTACTS: Dir.: John Lankford MOSCOW FEATURES: 2014 Commonwealth CAPACITY: Arena - 17,800 seats VTB STADIUM & ARENA Games venue. COST OF RENOVATION: $100 CAPACITY: Stadium - 33,000 seats; QUEBEC CITY million Suites: 98; Arena - 12,000 seats; NEW QUEBEC CITY ARENA REOPENING DATE: January 2014 Suites: 82 OPENING DATE: 2015 STAKEHOLDERS: OPENING DATE: 2016 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $400 Management/Owner: MSG Ent. COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $1.5 billion million CONTACTS: GM: Nick Spampanato, for total project, which includes a STAKEHOLDERS: Management: (310) 330-7316; Dir. of Events: ANCHORAGE stadium, arena and other real Quebecor; Owner: City of Quebec; Manuel Vergara, (310) 330-7326, SEAWOLF SPORTS ARENA estate projects Architect: Populous with ACBCP Facilities Planning & Construction, STAKEHOLDERS: Developer: AEG; Architecture and GLCRM & Assoc. FEATURES: Acquired by The 3890 University Lake Dr., Ste. 110, FEATURES: The Quebec government Owner: VTB Bank, state owned; Madison Square Garden Company 99508-4669 Architect: David Manica and Quebec City have said they in June of 2012. Will reopen with (907) 786-4908 CONTACTS: AEG Contact: Brian will fund an arena in hopes of lurOPENING DATE: August 2014 CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 > Kabatznick ing an NHL franchise to replace









VT SPOTLIGHT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 three concerts by the Eagles. Will be positioned exclusively as a music and family entertainment venue.

SACRAMENTO DOWNTOWN SACRAMENTO ARENA COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $448 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Sacramento Kings; Architect: AECOM; Project Manager: ICON Venue Group FEATURES: AECOM plans to have conceptual renderings ready this fall and final design completed in early to mid 2014. The Kings also selected ICON Venue Group as the project manager and Turner as the lead builder. Expected to break ground in 2014.

SAN FRANCISCO NEW GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS ARENA CAPACITY: Arena - 19,000 seats OPENING DATE: 2017 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $500 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Golden State Warriors; Architect: Snohetta and AECOM FEATURES: The Golden State Warriors announced plans to move the team to a new arena on Piers 30-32 in San Francisco. The waterfront arena would be privately financed. The city would provide the land and the team would spend $75-$100 million to repair the piers, with additional cost for retail and housing.

ILLINOIS C H A M PA I G N STATE FARM CENTER (RENOVTION) Univ. of Illinois, 1800 S. First St., 61820 (217) 333-2923 Fax: (217) 244-8888 CAPACITY: Arena - 16,400 seats COST OF RENOVATION: $160 million REOPENING DATE: 2016 STAKEHOLDERS: Management/ Owner: Univ. of Illinois CONTACTS: Dir.: Kevin Ullestad; Mktg./Prom.: Sue Lyman,; Asst. Dir./Mktg.: Jenny Larson, (217) 333-8221, FEATURES: Updates will include new scoreboards, ribbon boards and speakers, as well as additional concession stands, a new team store, an indoor Orange Krush Club just for students, and the introduction of 12 suites and 120 court side seats. AECOM is the architect for the renovation.

INDIANA INDIANAPOLIS FAIRGROUNDS COLISEUM (RENOVATION) Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., 46205 (317) 927-7500 Fax: (317) 927-7695

Fax: (508) 929-0111 the start of the 2014-2015 season. CAPACITY: Arena - 8,200 seats; 49,500 sq. ft.; Youth Arena - 750 seats; 30,000 sq. ft. MAINE CAPACITY: Convention REOPENING DATE: July 2014 B A N G O R Center/Arena - 136,090 sq. ft.; COST OF RENOVATION: $35 million CROSS INSURANCE CENTER Arena - 13,840 seats; Suites: 4 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: Main St. , 04401 515 COST OF RENOVATION: $23 million Indiana State Fairgrounds; Owner: (207) 947-5555 REOPENING DATE: October 2013 Indiana State Fair Commission; Fax: (207) 947-5105 STAKEHOLDERS: Concessions: Savor; Architect: Populous Management: SMG; Owner: City CONTACTS: Exec. Dir.: Cynthia CONTACTS: GM: Sandy Dunn, x2106, Hoye,; CAPACITY: Arena - 8,050 seats; Convention Center - 27,000 sq. ft.; Dir. of COO: Dave Shaw, (317) 927-1406, OPENING DATE: Fall 2013 Mktg.: Amy Peterson, x2126, COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $60; Ops. FEATURES: The 70-year-old facility million for total project Dir.: Rob Hornbaker, x2152 will have a fully restored exterior STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City; FEATURES: Plans include a and will include new locker Management: Global Spectrum; redesigned box office, four new rooms, concessions, restrooms, Architect: Sink Combs Dethlefs event suites, expanded concourses and a new seating bowl. CONTACTS: GM: Mike Dyer; Dir. and upgraded restrooms. There will Mktg.: Tiffany Sun, (207) 561-8310, also be upgrades to mechanical, KENTUCKY electrical and plumbing systems. FEATURES: The new arena is being LEXINGTON Construction will shut down the designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs in arena from May to September 2013. RUPP ARENA (RENOVATION) conjunction with local firm WBRC c/o Lexington Center Corp., Architects-Engineers, to replace the M I C H I G A N 430West Vine St., 40507 50+ year old auditorium that has (859) 233-4567 served the surrounding community. A U B U R N H I L L S Fax: (859) 253-2718 The concourse will be directly con- THE PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS 6 Championship Dr., 48326 nected to a ballroom, meeting (248) 377-0100 rooms, and will be adjacent to the CAPACITY: Arena - 23,300 seats Fax: (248) 370-5215 casino across Main Street. REOPENING DATE: 2016 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: Lexington Center Corp.; Owner: City P O R T L A N D CAPACITY: Arena - 21,000 seats CONTACTS: Dir. Arena Mgmt.: Carl CUMBERLAND CO. CIVIC CENTER (RENOVATION) REOPENING DATE: October 2013 Hall, x3252; Mktg. Dir.: Sheila One Civic Center Square, STAKEHOLDERS: Kenny, x3285, skenny@lexingtonOwner/Management: Palace; Pres./CEO: William B. 04101 Sports & Entertainment Owen, x3230, (207) 775-3481 Fax: (207) 828-8344 CONTACTS: Exec. Dir. /Comm.: FEATURES: Plans were unveiled in Charles Metzger, December 2011 from architecture; Sr. VP firms SpaceGroup and NBBJ for a CAPACITY: Arena - 8,976 seats of Events/Booking: Adam $110-$130 million facelift of Rupp REOPENING DATE: October 2013 Schneider, (248) 377-8215, Arena, which would add chairCOST OF RENOVATION: $28.2 million back seats to the upper deck, CONTACTS: GM: Steve Crane, x304; FEATURES: Currently undergoing an expanded concourses and a new $11 million improvement plan that video board. It is part of the Arena, Ops. Mgr.: Jim Leo, (207) 7751188,; will include modifying and reArts & Entertainment Task Force Events Dir.: Mike Bogosian, x307, branding the main concourse, a project to transform the university renovation of Club West, and campus with a $300 million rehab installation of fan-friendly WiFi of Lexington Center. Funding pending. FEATURES: Architect Sink Combs Dethlefs designed renovations, capabilities and digital menu which include an updated loading boards. Also, 24 upper-level suites LOUISIANA dock and elevator in the southwill be removed and turned into a west corner, as well as updated NEW ORLEANS full-service, open-air lounge. locker rooms, a new ticket lobby, NEW ORLEANS ARENA and new seats from Hussey (RENOVATION) MISSISSIPPI Seating. Phase III included addiPO Box 52439, 70152 tion of suites to each level, as well U N I V E R S I T Y (504) 587-3663 as ADA upgrades and a new con- NEW ARENA AT UNIVERSITY OF Fax: (504) 587-3848 course level food court. MISSISSIPPI Renovations will increase the Dept. of Athletics, 908 All CAPACITY: Arena - 18,000 seats; building size by 20,000 square feet. American Dr., 38677-1848 Suites: 56 THE FOREFRONT AT (662) 915-5424 COMPLETION DATE: 2014 Fax: (662) 915-7804 STAKEHOLDERS: Management: SMG; THOMPSON’S POINT OPENING DATE: 2014 Owner: State of Louisiana COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $105 million CAPACITY: Arena - 10,000 seats CONTACTS: GM: Alan Freeman, STAKEHOLDERS: Architect: OPENING DATE: 2016 (504) 587-3892; Asst. GM: Mike Archetype Architects COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $150 milSchilling, (504) 587-3875, FEATURES: The proposed developlion for total project ment from Forefront Partners STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Univ. of FEATURES: The 14-year-old New would include a hotel, a music Mississippi; Management: Orleans Arena is undergoing a theater, offices and a sports arena Athletics Dept. renovation that will upgrade the that would double as a convention CONTACTS: Asst. AD for Media/PR: suites and interior clubs, as well center. The developers officially Kyle Campbell, (662) 915-7544; as create exterior club space. acquired a 28-acre property July 1. AD: Ross Bjork, (662) 915-7546, There will be a limited-access It would be privately financed. The; Sr. AD for Chairman’s Club, a new lobby and Circus Conservatory of America Mktg./Comm.: Michael Thompson, expanded locker rooms. The $50has been announced as a tenant. (662) 915-8803,; million project is being designed FEATURES: University of Mississippi by New Orleans architectural firm M A S S A C H U S E T T S has a two-phase expansion plan Eskew, Dumez and Ripple, with that will replace the C.M. Tad input from AECOM. The renovation Smith Coliseum and expand the will occur in two phases with inte- W O R C E S T E R stadium. There will be more than rior renovations completed in time DCU CENTER (RENOVATION) 50 Foster St., 1,000 premium seats and a new for the 2013-2014 basketball sea01608 Rebel Athletics Hall of Fame. son and exterior work finished by (508) 755-6800


NEBRASKA LINCOLN PINNACLE BANK ARENA 226 Centennial Mall South, 68508 CAPACITY: Arena - 16,000 seats; 470,400 sq. ft.; Suites: 36 REOPENING DATE: Fall 2013 COST OF RENOVATION: $20.5 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City; Architect: DLR; Consultant: SMG; SMG proj. consultant/GM: Tom Lorenz, (402) 441-8744,; Asst. GM: Charles Schilling, (402) 320-3384 FEATURES: Replaces Devaney Center as home court for University of Nebraska basketball. Will open with a Michael Buble concert Sept. 13.

N E VA DA LAS VEGAS LAS VEGAS ARENA CAPACITY: Arena - 20,000 seats OPENING DATE: 2016 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $350 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: MGM Resorts International; AEG; Architect: Populous FEATURES: The new arena is being developed by AEG and MGM Resorts International and is expected to be used for sporting, major entertainment and other special events.

NEW YORK NEW YORK MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (RENOVATION) 2 Pennsylvania Plaza 16th Fl., 10001 (212) 465-6000 Fax: (212) 631-4314 CAPACITY: Arena - 19,205 seats; Suites: 125; The Theater at Madison Square Garden - 5,605 seats OPENING DATE: October 2013 COST OF RENOVATION: $977 million STAKEHOLDERS: Management: MSG; Owner: MSG, Co. CONTACTS: Sr. VP Publicity: Mikyl Cordova, (212) 631-4337,; Sr. VP & GM: Alex Diaz, (212) 465-6577, FEATURES: The architect for the renovation is Brisbin Brook Beynon and the project manager is JLL. Some of the major upgrades will include the new Chase Square entrance, wider concourses, more comfortable seating and a new scoreboard. Madison Square Garden history will be remembered in two exhibits: Garden 366 and 20 Defining Moments.

STONY BROOK STONY BROOK ARENA AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY (RENOVATION) Stony Brook University 100 Nicolls Road, 11790 (631) 632-6000 CAPACITY: Arena - 4,000 seats; 40,000 sq. ft.; Suites: 4


VT SPOTLIGHT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 OPENING DATE: 2014 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $21 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: Stony Brook University; Architect: NK Architects; Design Consultant: Populous CONTACTS: PR: Christina Rondeau, (631) 632-7933, FEATURES: The renovation of the existing Stony Brook fieldhouse into a basketball arena will include luxury boxes, a VIP lounge and premium court-side seating.

P E N N S Y LV A N I A ALLENTOWN PPL CENTER CAPACITY: Arena - 10,000 seats OPENING DATE: September 2014 COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $200 million total project cost STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City; Management: Global Spectrum; Architect: Sink Combs Dethlefs CONTACTS: Media contact: Jeff Vaughan, (610) 533-4264,

Project Mgr.: Kendra Siemonsma, ketball and volleyball teams. FEATURES: A new basketball and (605) 367-8825, McDonough Bolyard Peck will provolleyball arena, basketball trainGM:; vide project management and ing facility, and academic faciliDir. Mktg.: Terry Torkildson; Rick quality assurance inspections. ties. The facility will also house a Huffman, (605) 367-7288, new weight room and locker V IRGINIA BEACH rooms. VIRGINIA BEACH ARENA FEATURES: In November of 2011, CAPACITY: Arena - 18,500 seats the citizens of Sioux Falls voted OPENING DATE: TBD yes to move forward with the COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $350 milPETERSBURG design and construction of the lion MULTIPURPOSE ARENA AT facility. Sustainable design pracSTAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City; VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY tices were used to lower operaArchitect: HKS Inc. tional cost and to achieve USGBC’s P.O. Box 9058, 23806 FEATURES: Plans to build an arena (804) 524-5000 rating of LEED silver. are contingent upon attracting an Fax: (804) 524-5763 VERMILLION NHL or NBA team. ComcastS I O U X FA L L S NEW ARENA AT UNIVERSITY OF Spectacor, Live Nation and HKS DENNY SANFORD PREMIER CAPACITY: Multipurpose Center SOUTH DAKOTA originally joined as a team to proCENTER 6,500 seats; 167,874 sq. ft. The University of South Dakota vide a revenue stream by leasing 1201 N. West Ave., 57104 OPENING DATE: 2015 Department of Athletics, 206 the venue for 25 years. Financing COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $60 million DakotaDome is to be determined and the Kings CAPACITY: Event Center - 12,000 STAKEHOLDERS: Security: In-house; 414 E. Clark Street , 57069 are not moving to Virginia Beach seats; 302,000 sq. ft. Owner: Virginia State University CAPACITY: Arena - 6,000 seats from Sacramento. OPENING DATE: Fall 2014 CONTACTS: Assoc. Athletic Dir.: COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $117 million OPENING DATE: 2015 Deborah Mallory, (804) 524-5571, COST OF CONSTRUCTION: $40 million STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: City of; Asst. AD: John STAKEHOLDERS: Owner: University Sioux Falls; Management: SMG; Wilson, (804) 524-5020, of South Dakota; Architect: Architect: Sink Combs Dethlefs; Populous; Architect: Architecture CONTACTS: Dir. Community Dvlp.: FEATURES: AECOM designed the Incorporated Darrin Smith, (605) 367-8178; center to host the university’s FEATURES: The Allentown Block project site is on 5.3 acres located in downtown being developed as a mixed use development anchored by a multipurpose arena. The 10,000-seat arena’s primary tenant will be the AHL Phantoms hockey team. The project will also include a hotel tower, an office tower, and both an underground and above grade parking structure.




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play with the lighting and food offerings,” said Mannion. In addition to the monitors in the new club space, Mannion said they’re developing a Palace app and adding boards with Twitter feeds throughout the facility. “The next evolution will be to get usergenerated content,” he added. A STATE OF TECHNOLOGICAL HARMONY One of the main technology upgrades at DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., will improve how the façade of the building interacts with the surrounding construction. The more than 30year-old building has been closed since May 1 and will reopen in October with $23-million worth of upgrades. The most visible change will be at the entrance of the building, where the current fascia board is being replaced with a new Daktronics marquee. “There’s a lot of development happening in downtown Worcester right now with the new City Square development, which the arena faces,” said Amy Peterson, director of Marketing for SMG at DCU Center. “The city has been very thoughtful with all of the projects making sure they work in harmony and work with their vision of what downtown will look like in five years.” Part of the architecture working in harmony with the rest of the development

includes changing one of the walls of the arena from brick to glass and concrete, which will mimic the architecture of the attached convention center. NIA is asserting its place in the Birmingham skyline by adding three sky needles to its design. The tallest sky needle will end 85-feet higher than the building’s current highest point. The arena will also be more architecturally accessible to the public by means of a glass-fronted façade that opens out to the canal. “Currently with all the concrete the NIA is very inward-facing,” said Dunstan, who said the glass will make for a more airy feeling. One of the new constructions on our blueprints, the new arena for the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento (Calif.) Kings, is also focused on community accessibility. “We want the building not just to be an arena or the showcase for the Kings, but a building of civic importance,” said Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger, who added that along with the 41 home games each year, the building will host more than 200 events, including high school graduations and community events. When the new ownership group purchased the Kings from the Maloofs in May, part of the agreement on behalf of the NBA board of governors involved building a new arena. Granger said that AECOM was chosen as the building’s architect because the company hit the major design principals that are impor-

tant for the facility: make the building uniquely Sacramento, environmentally sustainable, technologically advanced, and of civic importance, all with a great home court advantage. “AECOM will work out of a studio in Sacramento and engage the community in the design process,” said Granger, who added that more than 75,000 people from the region have been surveyed and there have been 10 focus groups in anticipation of the new building. “Those will continue,” he added. “We want the input of anyone who is interested in providing it.” In addition to appeasing the community, it’s also important for improvements to address the needs of performers and productions. NIA is including backstage and dressing room areas in its renovation budget. “We feel that it’s so important for us to get the artist, promotion and production teams’ experience right because quite often an artist will come to town and their only view of Birmingham and the NIA will be backstage,” said Dunstan. The backstage improvements are centered on flexibility and accessibility, including creating partitions and flexible walls to expand and contract rooms as needed. The first round of improvements at DCU Center focused on the comfort of the building’s main tenant, the AHL’s Worcester Sharks. “The first phase of our improvement plan in 2009 was $8.5 million and included a lot of improvements that the hockey team would feel,” said Peterson, including work to the arena surface, a new ice slab and chiller plant, and the installation of seamless glass. AECOM is also working on several university arenas in blueprints, including arenas at University of Arizona, University of Mississippi, Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, and Virginia State University. Populous is spearheading an arena project at University of South Dakota. Eight of the arena projects are scheduled for completion within 2013. Interviewed for this story: Guy Dunstan, 01 21 767 3279; Chris Granger, (916) 444-1380; Dennis Mannion, (248) 475-8567; Amy Peterson, (508) 929-0126




(859) 233-4567 ext.3252 or


SENSATION CROSSES THE POND Euro-EDM event returns to U.S. for arena run by GIL KAUFMAN

Scene from Sensation at Barclays Center, Brooklyn


ensation, the Dutch dance music festival that dazzles audiences with a sea of stunning white sets, pyro and internationally renowned DJs has big plans for its first U.S. tour. After playing two sold-out shows at Brooklyn’s Barclays Arena in October, Netherlands-based ID&T is touring Sensation in the U.S. starting Sept. 14 with a show at Oracle Arena in


Oakland, Calif. Working with California promoter Goldenvoice, the “Ocean of White” tour will touch down at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 5, before moving on to AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Oct. 12 and back to Barclays Center Oct. 26. “Bringing Sensation to the U.S. has always been a dream of our founder, Duncan Stutterheim,” said Gerard Zwijnenburg,

“Ocean of White” show director. “House music originated in the United States and [then] became popular in Europe and The Netherlands. Over the last two years, dance culture has been developing very rapidly in the U.S. [Stutterheim] moved to the U.S. with his family in 2012 in order to pursue his dream and hold a show for the first time in New York, bringing our experience to America.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 32 >



After the successful debut in New York in 2012, Zwijnenburg said ID&T opened an office in Brooklyn with the vision of expanding its operation across North America. Now, that vision will come to fruition with the U.S. version of the tour, which will include the international hosts, Mr. White and MC Gee, as well as Fedde Le Grand, Michael Woods, Nic Fanciulli, house duo Prok & Fitch, Sébastien Léger and duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano.

tive video to literally change the environment.” Zwijnenburg said the growth of electronic dance culture in the U.S. — and the Barclays sell-outs — helped pave the way for Sensation to make the leap. The link with AEG’s Goldenvoice came because of the veteran promoter’s vast experience with EDM shows and popular festivals such as Coachella and Stagecoach, as well as their knowledge of the U.S. market. “Combined with our experience with shows and dance events, it creates a

the crowd to feel closer to the action. “One could compare this to the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, but indoors,” Zwijnenburg said. The build takes four days and night, with more than 300 staffers working around the clock to prep the arena. In an ideal scenario, the crew would have a week to build the whole show, but combined with the distance between cities and the limited load-in time, the U.S. tour will present some unique challenges in its

“It’s not your typical dance music event or concert — it’s a fully immersive, cultural experience with a global appeal and completely interactive fan experience.” — BRETT YORMARK

“It was something we had never done before, but we knew we had a unique opportunity to be the first arena in the country and with the demand for EDM in the New York market, we decided it would be a great chance to partner with Duncan (Stutterheim),” explained Brett Yormark, CEO for the Barclays Center. It’s the type of event that can play twice in the New York market, and Yormark said he’s eyeing the event for a Long Island play — his team takes over management of the Nassau Coliseum in 2015. It’s also a big moneymaker. The Oct. 26 and 27 events grossed $3.6 million, with a total 24,541 tickets sold. Part of the reason for the high gross was the high ticket price — $150 to get into the door and $250 for an enhanced VIP experience. “It’s not your typical dance music event or concert — it’s a fully immersive, cultural experience with a global appeal and completely interactive fan experience,” Yormark said. “When I first met Duncan, he told me it wasn’t just a one-off show but a spiritual journey. I didn’t know what that meant until I saw the show and saw how he created seven different experiences, using lighting, sound and interac32 VENUES TODAY SEPTEMBER 2013

supreme team,” he said. Unlike other smaller-scale EDM tours, the massive Sensation gigs — which insist on an all-white dress code for artists and attendees — will fill each arena with a visual extravaganza featuring 200 different type of pyro effects and 22 water fountains that are synched to the music in what has been described as a mix between a festival and a Cirque du Soleil show. “The arena is transformed into a water world full of mysteries of the unexplored,” said Zwijnenburg, who added that attendees should expect water running through a raised canal and a number of fountains shooting up toward the roof. In addition to the effects coming from the elaborate stage, the 21-and-over audience will be surrounded by 12 giant inflatable LED-lit jellyfish (19-30 feet long and 13-19 feet in diameter) suspended over them and oceaninspired acrobatic performances and light shows emanating from the 236-foot center stage. Each jellyfish has state-of-the-art light features and is operated individually. That center stage, flanked by a 524-foot catwalk with 48 water fountains that pulse in time to the music, is one of the key elements, allowing

first run. Zwijnenburg said producers are still in the process of clearing the pyro set-up with local fire departments. “We’ve produced this show more than 30 times and have not yet experienced any problems or difficulties with pyro [safety],” he said. The routing of the U.S. tour was conceived to take advantage of each city’s place in the emergence of EDM as an arena-sized draw. Fans traveling to the Las Vegas show also have an opportunity to buy a package that includes one or more overnight stays at the MGM Grand Hotel and Resort, a regular or deluxe ticket and VIP check in, as well as guest list privileges at other MGM nightlife properties such as Wet Republic and Hakkasan. The American tour is the biggest expansion yet for the global touring Sensation brand since owner ID&T was acquired earlier this year by SFX Entertainment. Tickets start at $170.20 each for general admission seats, with the deluxe platform tickets going for $291.25 for the Barclays Center show and $279.20 for the Miami date. Interviewed for this story: Gerard Zwijnenburg, (310) 691-8575; Brett Yormark, (917) 618-6700


CREATIVE ATTRACTION Today’s small- and medium-sized venues pull out all the stops to compete for bookings by LISA WHITE

have two major annual events. Our Rock and Rib Festival is a four-day free outdoor music and barbecue festival in September that attracts 50,000 attendees annually. We bring in barbecue pit masters from across the country and feature live music.” The BOK Center’s signature special event is Winter Fest, which runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. The team at the building constructs a winter wonderland on the city streets that includes an ice rink, giant Christmas tree, concessions areas and an outdoor stage. “This event attracts over 100,000 visitors each year,” explained Nickler.

For the Fourth of July, the Spokane (Wash.) Arena sent out pies to agents and promoters as part of an outreach program for agents and promoters.


ith a more limited number of top acts on tour at any given time and an increasing number of venues to host them, the competition for bookings is stiff. This is especially true for small- and medium-sized venues in out-of-the-way markets that are vying against nearby big cities. These facilities have realized it is time to get creative. Some have found success in hosting events within events to bring added visibility to their facility. Others are gifting promoters in unusual ways, such as with food or incentives that keep them top of mind. An increasing number of venues are finding that creating their own events helps keep dark days to a minimum. Venues Today spoke with representatives 34 VENUES TODAY SEPTEMBER 2013

from a number of small- and medium-sized venues across the country to find out what innovative booking techniques and events have helped increase their visibility in their respective communities and, as a result, kept them visible to promoters. BUILDING SIGNATURE EVENTS — BOK CENTER, TULSA, OKLA. The arena has a newly-created special events department with two full-time staff members whose job it is to create and manage events. From scratch, they have added 50 extra event days that attract 200,000 extra visitors at the BOK Center. This has not only generated revenue through food, beverage and ticket sales, but also with numerous sponsorships,” explained Jeff Nickler, assistant general manager. “We

MAKING LOCAL COLLABORATIONS PAY OFF — BIG SANDY SUPERSTORE ARENA, HUNTINGTON, W. VA. “This September, we are hosting an event in conjunction with Huntington’s Path to the Cure breast cancer walk, which attracts more than 2,500 participants each year,” explained Brian Sipe, general manager. “We are partnering with the city of Huntington, St. Mary’s Hospital, a local healthcare facility, and Clear Channel radio to bring country singer Kellie Pickler to our venue.” Anyone who registers for the walk gets into the concert free and all those walking can purchase a ticket to the concert for just $25. The most difficult part of coordinating this effort was “bringing everyone to the table and making sure we were all on the same page,” explained Sipe. “It took about eight to 10 weeks to coordinate. It was a joint effort in making sure the same marketing message was getting out from all of the entities.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 36 >


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The promotion was designed to be an add-on to the cancer walk event in which all of the sponsors will benefit. Without the walk and tie in, Sipe said he wouldn’t have been able to have this hard ticket event. TAPPING INTO THE BEER CROWD — DOW EVENT CENTER, SAGINAW, MICH. Matt Blasy, general manager with the Dow Event Center, said his team is always trying to come up with homegrown events to put on with a focus on uniqueness, value and quality entertainment. “Our Michigan Brew Ha-ha is a combination of 25 craft breweries from Michigan, venue tables and 30 minutes of a comedy show featuring four local comediennes,” he explained. The price is $20 and includes a souvenir glass. Attendees can sample different breweries for $1 or $2 or buy a full glass for $5 or $6. The inaugural event in 2012 attracted 1,200 people. Last year, Blasy added a second night and close to 3,000 people attended. “We market this event through existing radio partnerships and television. Last year, we advertised the event in the Michigan Beer Guide, a magazine for craft breweries,” he said. “The first year, we didn’t have much local support from individual breweries, since they didn’t know what we were about.” After last year’s success, these breweries were promoting the event on Facebook. Blasy also partnered with local retail stores that sell these beers to promote the Brew Ha-ha event in their stores. “It has been a win-win for us and for the local breweries in terms of gaining more visibility,” he said. TURNING EMPTY SUITES INTO AD BUYS — INTRUST BANK ARENA, WICHITA, KAN. “One of the biggest things on the marketing side is we’ve tried to build up trade banks with media partners,” explained Christine Pileckas, marketing manager. “This idea came up at a 36 VENUES TODAY SEPTEMBER 2013

marketing conference in the summer of 2012, and we’ve been doing this for about the past six months.” Promoters can walk into the arena, book a show “and we will advertise with them. That’s been huge. Budgets are not getting bigger, so when other venues in our market are going for the same shows, this gives us a competitive advantage,” she explained. The Intrust Bank Arena team uses premium seating to build up trade banks. If they have any unused premium seating for a show, they will trade that out with a media outlet. “This is something promoters like and doesn’t cost them anything,” Pileckas said. “It’s worth it to us to sacrifice premium seating revenue if it’s a show we’re trying to get, or for when we are working with that promoter in the future. This is also something we can do last minute, flipping a suite that’s not being used, then bank up premium seating for another show.” SHARING IDEAS WITH OTHER VENUES — NUTTER CENTER AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY, DAYTON, OHIO “We belong to Venue Coalition, an organization for smaller venues that helps route and book tours, which helps keep our name out there,” explained Jim Brown, executive director. “The organization is growing by leaps and bounds, which is a very positive thing. Pooling resources like this is very beneficial.” Brown has worked on several shows with this organization, like comedian Jeff Dunham. “We continue to base our bookings on relationships. It boils down to if I’m trying to get a show, I ask. Sometimes we lose and sometimes we win.” It’s also about treating promoters the way the building staff wants to be treated. Last year, Nutter Center hosted an Elton John concert and six weeks later Bob Seger came to town for a show. “These are two iconic entertainers. We’ve had four sellouts in our fiscal year, because we are diverse in our programming,” he said.

RECRUITING THE STUDENT BODY’S POTENTIAL — UCF CONVOCATION CENTER, ORLANDO The University of Central Florida has the second largest student body of any university with 60,000 students. Each year, student groups put on three concerts and three comedy shows in the arena. “As a result, we’ve capitalized on their events,” said Brian Hixenbaugh, general manager. “For example, our students won a social media contest with Pick Nation, which brought performing artist Flo Rida here in September. We will do another event in conjunction with the Tobacco Truth Live campaign, which will feature a student-only programming show in October.” Overall, the university has had to weigh how much risk to take with these types of events to keep dark days to a minimum, Hixenbaugh explained. This past year, they did a one-off event featuring the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, which was added to the fall schedule in 2012. They also have created events around events. Light Up UCF combined an ice rink, train, Ferris wheel and tornado ride, along with lights on the face of the arena and surrounding plaza. This includes a light show that runs from midNovember to the middle of January. The event brings in 35,000 people who are separate from regular traffic. This year, they’re also creating a 5K. “This is low-risk, yet drives people to campus and exposes them to our venue,” he said. “Last year, we partnered with UCF’s men’s basketball for a Touch a Truck event. We brought vehicles onto our plaza and attendees who showed up received a discounted ticket to the UCF’s men’s basketball game.” The team is currently looking for another big event to feature for spring, explained Hixenbaugh, who added, “we have our core fans here and want to find ways to capture them by building events around events on campus. We also are trying to bring new promoters to our facility by building events around holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We’ve done one-offs, but want to find something recurring.”


MAKING THE DEAL WORK — U.S. CELLULAR ARENA, MILWAUKEE, WIS. “Today’s venues have to be willing to work with promoters in almost any capacity,” explained Richard Geyer, president/CEO. “We do the norm like everyone else. We will negotiate on rentals, but not on food and beverage or parking. We will try to find facility fees to work with promoters. We also will co- promote and promote our own shows. This splits the marketing cost.” Unfortunately, there are not as many shows out there as in the past, and most play outdoor venues in the summer. Winter is reserved mainly for sporting events. “We host the University of WisconsinMilwaukee’s college basketball team, The Wave pro soccer team and the Milwaukee Roller Derby Girls. We will make offers on

shows, but the competition here is stiff,” he said. The arena can seat close to 10,000 for a concert in the round, but the 18,000-seat Bradley Center is nearby. “It is becoming more difficult to book in this industry, unless there is no competition in your market and that’s rare,” he said. “It’s important to be creative when competing by working with promoters and co-promoting.” GIVING GIFTS THAT STICK OUT — SPOKANE (WASH.) ARENA “A couple years ago, we decided to be active in terms of outreach with folks we currently do business with and those we want to do business with. We concentrated our efforts by providing gifts, such as show posters we had printed up that highlight the building as well as food centered around different holidays,” explained Matt Gibson, general manager.

For example, on the Fourth of July, they sent out a set of three frozen pies—apple, blueberry and cherry—in a chic box. They’ve also gifted cookies on Valentine’s Day and caramel apples for fall. “Due to the positive feedback we’ve received, it’s working in terms of opening up communication. In the past, we’d call and email promoters to stay in touch, but we wanted to have fun with it,” he said. “These gifts are not a gold record or tchotchke that takes up space, but something they can enjoy. And because we can send these gifts intermittently, it keeps us top of mind.” Interviewed for this story: Matt Blasy, (989) 759-1325; Jim Brown, (937) 775-4670; Richard Geyer, (414) 9086000; Matt Gibson, (509) 279-7101; Brian Hixenbaugh, (407) 823-3070; Jeff Nickler, (918) 894-4254; Christine Pileckas, (316) 440-9026; Brian Sipe, (304) 696-5566



SEATTLE ARENA HOPES HINGE ON EXPANSION Investment group pushing forward to bring NBA back b y M AT T H E W C O L L E R

Seattle skyline; (right) rendering for a proposed Seattle Arena, which now faces an uncertain future.


n February it appeared the return of the National Basketball Association to Seattle was imminent. The Sacramento Kings ownership was primed to sell the team to Seattle investor Chris Hansen, who planned to move them to the Emerald City and bring back the SuperSonic name. The chances of the NBA coming back just six years after its exit looked so good that the city’s current basketball venue KeyArena began work to open up dates for the 2013-14 season. Then the plan hit a snag. The NBA Board of Governors voted against relocation on May 15. Thirteen days later, the Kings were sold to a local ownership group headed by businessman Vivek


Ranadive, who had previously owned a minority stake in the Golden State Warriors. “We will continue to press forward with our arena plans with the same commitment and effort we have over the last two years, and look forward to working with the City and County to see the project through the hurdles that remain,” Hansen said on the arena project’s website. Hansen formed an investment group in 2011 to build a new $490-million multipurpose arena in the SoDo area of Seattle, south of the city’s baseball stadium Safeco Field and football stadium CenturyLink Field. In September 2012, the city approved Hansen’s plan and agreed to invest $200 million in the arena. While the investment group is pushing forward with the project, the timetable has

changed significantly since the Board of Governors shot down Hansen’s attempts to buy and move the Kings. Construction on an arena won’t begin until Hansen secures a team. PRAYING FOR EXPANSION Now the city of Seattle and Hansen’s hopes for the return of the NBA hinge on expansion. The NBA already has 30 teams, on par with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League and two short of the National Football League. There is concern among owners and the NBA Players’ Association about watering down the product if two more teams enter the league. Current commissioner David Stern, CONTINUED ON PAGE 40 >


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who will step down next year, has said the NBA has not discussed expansion. However, the door was left open a crack by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, who will take Stern’s place. “We’ve never wavered in our desire to return to the Seattle market at some point,” Silver said in a statement following the sale of the Kings. “Expansion was discussed at least as a possibility down the road. We want to wait and see what happens with our next national television negotiation.” The NBA’s current TV contract ends June 30, 2016, and Seattle is the 12th-largest TV market in the U.S. If the league decides to expand, Seattle will be part of a handful of cities lining up to bring in basketball. Hansen and the city will compete with other cities such as Vancouver, Kansas City, St. Louis and Las Vegas. Seattle will attempt to use its edge in market size and fan interest. The city spent 41 years hosting the SuperSonics and still has a large basketball following. A major issue for most expansion wannabes is the league’s expansion fee, but that is unlikely to be an issue for Hansen’s group,


“The prospects for expansion are unclear; the path for returning an NBA franchise to Seattle is likely to prove even more difficult and require even more patience.” — CHRIS HANSEN which was willing to pay around $400 million for the Kings. The last time the NBA expanded was in 2002, when Charlotte paid $300 million to get a new team. “The prospects for expansion are unclear; the path for returning an NBA franchise to Seattle is likely to prove even more difficult and require even more patience,” Hansen said in a statement. He can only be so patient, though. The city’s agreement with Hansen expires in 2017. HOCKEY AN OPTION? Without an NBA tenant on the horizon, the arena’s future may depend on the National Hockey League. Reports have surfaced that NHL commis-

sioner Gary Bettman has interest in expanding in Seattle and the possibility of expansion in hockey is likely to come sooner than the NBA. The NHL recently realigned to unbalanced divisions with 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the Western Conference. The league will soon want to balance things out and even up each team’s playoff odds. The question, however, isn’t whether the NHL would want Seattle, but whether Seattle would want the NHL. Seattle University Professor Dr. Galen Trail said that even if the NHL were to expand or have a team relocate, it wouldn’t be enough to justify the city’s dollars. “People are much more basketball fans than hockey fans here,” Trail said. “This arena CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 >


would barely be financially viable if there was a basketball team here. It would probably still lose money even with great support. Really, you need both if it’s going to be financially viable, but it would be better to have hockey as your add-on.” Competition for the NHL might be much more stiff than the NBA, since several hockeycrazy Canadian cities such as Quebec City and Toronto would have their name in the ring. And unlike the NBA, hockey couldn’t come to Seattle right away. “Hockey couldn’t come here until the new

arena was built,” Trail said. “KeyArena could only hold about 12,000 fans for hockey, so that couldn’t even work short term. Plus, if you look around the NHL, the teams who are making money are in the traditional hockey markets and Seattle just isn’t a hockey market.” Hansen has said he’s not interested in owning a hockey team, but would be willing to work with other owners to bring one into his proposed arena as a second tenant. MORE HURDLES Beyond the league’s willingness to expand and

doubts about whether hockey would succeed, there are also questions about Hansen’s character. The 44-year-old hedge fund manager was revealed to have donated $100,000 to an antiarena effort in Sacramento. The Kings’ new ownership must build a new venue in Sacramento by 2017 or risk losing the team. The donation, which was largely used to pay for signature gatherers, may have been illegal and was seen as unscrupulous in both Seattle and Sacramento. “While I’m sure everyone can appreciate how easy it is to get caught up in the heat of battle, with the benefit of hindsight, this is clearly a decision I regret,” Hansen said on the Seattle arena’s website. Despite his apology, Trail said the incident may have some effect on how Hansen is viewed when expansion or another opportunity comes around. “It added fuel to the fire for those saying Hansen isn’t someone who can be trusted and is just like other NBA owners who are out to take advantage of the city,” Trail said. “I’m not sure that’s actually the case, but it does do damage to his reputation and hurts his reputation with the NBA.” None of Hansen’s fellow investors, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, have commented publicly on his donation. The hurdles don’t end with damage to his reputation. The project is battling a lawsuit by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union over traffic and transportation issues that would be caused by an arena in the SoDo area. A judge threw out the suit in February, but the union appealed in May. “It may turn out that the lawsuit gets thrown out again and nothing comes of it or it just gets settled,” Trail said. “But it’s just another thing that’s standing in Hansen’s way, and those things are adding up.” In August, the arena project cleared one potential hold up. The city wrapped up a mandatory environmental study, which will have to be reviewed by the city council. While Hansen waits for the NBA to expand or another team to emerge for relocation, he will tweak the design and try to refresh his public image. But Trail said that without a team, the project appears on the ropes. “I’m less optimistic than I have been in awhile,” he said. “But if a team somehow comes available, all the other problems like the lawsuit and his donation will probably become water under the bridge pretty quickly.” Interviewed for this story: Galen Trail, (206) 398-4605



FIVE AND COUNTING BOK Center celebrates its fifth year in business by JESSICA BOUDEVIN

3. RENEWING THE RELATIONSHIP In June, Tulsa Public Facilities Authority unanimously approved a contract extension with SMG for both BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center. Bolton said the renewal was a huge vote of confidence. “We had the initial agreement, then they gave us a renewal for 10 additional years,” he said. “It’s good to know you’ve done a really nice job and the client agrees and wants you to stay around.” 4. NOT ALL ABOUT CONCERTS BOK Center has hosted some major sporting events in the last five years. In 2012, the venue had the second and third rounds for the NCAA. “To have 50,000 people here from across the country for March Madness and feeling all of their energy was a real highlight,” said Nickler.

BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla., opened in 2008.


t’s the five-year anniversary for BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., and the 19,000seat facility has become a marquee venue for SMG in the Midwest. BOK Center GM John Bolton and Asst. GM Jeff Nickler spoke to Venues Today about the five stand-out events in the last five years. 1. OPENING NIGHT AND BIRTHDAYS “Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is the opening night and that being the Eagles concert,” said Bolton, who called it a “shining moment.” BOK Center officially opened with The Eagles Sept. 8, 2008. “After months and months of planning the grand opening, it was exhilarating hearing that very first song,” said Nickler. The band will visit the building again Oct. 9. Paul McCartney has now played at the 44 VENUES TODAY SEPTEMBER 2013

building three times, and each time is an extravaganza. The facility even renames surrounding roads after Beatles songs when McCartney comes to town. 2. THE FIRST SELL-OUT Though the Eagles played the first concert at BOK Center — a show that did sell out — the first artist to actually get booked, go on sale and sell out at the venue was Celine Dion. “We went on sale almost a year before opening, which is unusual for a new building that doesn’t even have a seat manifest yet,” said Bolton. He said the Celine Dion ticket sales really made people take notice of the building initially. “Even though it wasn’t the first performance to happen, it allowed us to have an immediate track record of success with a show that had high ticket prices,” he added.

5. KEEPING COMMUNITY CLOSE The arena was funded by taxpayer money, and as such there is a concentrated effort to host events for the community. “In a way, the taxpayers own the building, so we try to do things that everyone can participate in, whether they buy a ticket or not,” said Bolton. There are six SMG-produced events each year that occur outside the actual arena but on BOK Center property, including Rock and Rib Festival in September, and the 38-day Winter Fest. “Maybe everyone can’t afford a concert ticket, but they can certainly bring the family out for a cup of hot chocolate and to skate on the ice rink we set up outside,” added Nickler. Interviewed for this story: John Bolton and Jeff Nickler, (918) 894-4200

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