FEELING BLUE: Blue Arena, formerly known as Budweiser Events Center, in Loveland, Colorado. (Courtesy Venue)
It’s a new era for the 6,800-capacity arena in Loveland, Colorado, formerly known as Budweiser Events Center. A 10-year, multi-million dollar naming rights deal takes effect Oct. 1, for the rebranded Blue Arena. The 20-year-old building just completed $5.2 million in upgrades.
“It’s a market that fights above its weight class a little bit,” said Keller Taylor, general manager of Blue Arena, which is managed by OVG360 and owned by Larimer County.
“We’ve got the benefit of taking advantage of the northern Colorado market just outside of Denver, and we’re separate (markets). Shows can play both cities, and we’ve got great partners doing bigger shows, like Tool in a week and a half, for example, and Pentatonix later this year.”
The deal with Wyoming-based Blue Federal Credit Union was brokered by OVG Global Partnerships, which calls the partnership a great fit as the financial institution continues to spread into northern Colorado.
“We already had a well established relationship with Blue Credit Union and they were the natural fit to expand that when we were looking for a new naming rights partner,” Taylor said. “They’re philanthropic-minded and we partner with them on many things outside of the four walls of the venue.”
The agreement comes on top of Larimer County’s master plan that provided $5 million in renovations over the summer with all new seats, newly painted interior walls, suite upgrades add new food service equipment, plus the Blue Arena signage.
A deal with the local Miller Coors distributor has resulted in marketplace concessions branded for Coors Light and Modelo. In addition, the Voodoo Ranger Lounge, a general admission space, overlooks the ice floor for hockey games. Blue Arena is home to the Colorado Eagles, an American Hockey League team.
Along with the upgrades comes a new ticketing provider in Axs, the platform owned and operated by AEG Presents, which has a strong presence in the Colorado region. The venue previously used Paciolan.
Taylor says the Tool concert, which takes place Oct. 3, will be the largest production to take place at the venue.
“They’re going to be rehearsing for a week before their show, so we’ll have them in the building for about eight days,” Taylor said.
While serving as general manager for Blue Arena, Taylor is transitioning to the role of general manager at BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which OVG360 recently won the contract to manage. Taylor has been part of the transition team and officially takes over in Tulsa on Friday (Sept. 29).
BOK Center also has minor league hockey and is a busy concert venue in a secondary market.
“It’s going to be an exciting start for Oak View Group in Tulsa,” said Taylor, who had been at the Loveland arena for more than seven years as part of Spectra. “We’re focused on the arena, but we’re also focused on the convention center. There’s a ton of opportunity there to have a wide ranging impact on the community as well.”
A general manager to replace Taylor at Blue Arena has not been determined.