Author: James Zoltak

How Staples Center Became Kobe’s House

SHOW OF EMOTION: The makeshift memorial to Kobe Bryant grew next to Staples Center and L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. (Courtesy Staples Center) The scene surrounding Staples Center on the night of Jan. 26 felt almost like a surrealist film. Patrons dressed in gowns and tuxedos made their way through a maze of barricades down Figueroa Street, West Olympic Boulevard and Chick Hearn Court surrounding the entirety of the L.A. Live complex for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. There was a heavy police and media presence, heavier than usual as this Grammys had a taste of controversy tied to it. In the 10 days leading up to “Music’s Greatest Night,” the Recording Academy’s first female CEO was placed on administrative leave following accusations of misconduct, which resulted in countercomplaints of alleged misconduct. Earlier that day, though, something of far greater impact suddenly eclipsed all else, and throngs of despondent sports… Continue Reading How Staples Center Became Kobe’s House

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Tester Settles In at Orange County Complex

ORANGE JUICED: Mark Tester began work as executive director in Orlando on Feb. 17. (Courtesy Orange County Convention Center) Move brings him to second-largest U.S. convention center “Drinking from a fire hose” is how new Orange County Convention Center Executive Director Mark Tester described his first days on the job after starting Feb. 17 after departing his post as director of the Austin (Texas) Convention Center. Tester, a Purdue University alum, came to Orlando, Fla., from his job as director of the Austin (Texas) Convention Center. He had been in Austin since 2008 and before that was senior director of sales and marketing at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the country’s largest convention center, which he joined in 2005. Prior to that he had been with the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau for 10 years.  Tester is the OCCC’S first permanent director since 2018, when Kathie Canning retired after 32 years. He spoke… Continue Reading Tester Settles In at Orange County Complex

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Hi-Yo, Silverscout: Live Event Company Off and Running

Former Spokane Arena execs will bring shows to secondary markets in Northwest Matt Gibson and Becca Watters believe the relationships and expertise they’ve developed at Spokane Arena will serve them well in the launch of Silverscout Presents, their new live event company that aims to serve secondary markets and venues in the inland Pacific Northwest. Gibson had been at Spokane Arena since 1999, four years after it opened, and was the facility’s general manager. Watters, who started at the venue in 2008, served as assistant GM. The decision to launch Silverscout, a name that refers to the two horses in “The Lone Ranger” and was inspired by Gibson’s wife (he says she’s always right), followed years of discussions. “Becca and I had been talking for a few years about what would be the next chapter,” Gibson said. “Approaching my 20th year, we had done a lot of really great things,… Continue Reading Hi-Yo, Silverscout: Live Event Company Off and Running

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Rosing to the Occasion

TALENT MAGNET: The Pasadena Civic Auditorium hosted NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2019. (Getty Images) Pasadena Convention Center and Civic Auditorium keeps the bookings coming Science, the arts, history: All three figure prominently in the event mix at the Pasadena Convention Center and Civic Auditorium, which hosted 315 events and 375,000 attendees in fiscal 2019, according to Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jeanne Goldschmidt. In recent years, the bureau has steadily booked “larger and more dynamic groups” into the convention center, which opened in 1972 alongside the venerable Civic Auditorium (1932), Goldschmidt said. Having a fire-breathing dragon at the Tournament of Roses Parade or a stealth bomber swooping over the Rose Bowl to help advertise Pasadena each New Year’s Day doesn’t hurt, but when it comes to bookings that generate millions of dollars in direct spending at local hotels, restaurants and businesses, it’s a matter of selling event… Continue Reading Rosing to the Occasion

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Expert: Coronavirus Situation More Serious Than SARS

CAUTIOUS APPROACH: It was quiet for Chinese New Year Raceday 2020 on Jan. 27 at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong. Attendance was restricted because of public health fears over coronavirus. (Getty Images) Consultant Wallace expects many mainland China convention centers will suspend operations The outbreak of coronavirus is affecting exhibition and convention centers in China, where well over 100 of those facilities have had to cease operations, according to Cliff Wallace, an industry consultant who was managing director of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from 1995 to 2012 and was instrumental in helping the facility cope with SARS in late 2002 and early 2003. Wallace, who formulated venue-industry guidelines for dealing with SARS, is now president of Atlanta-based CW Venue Advisory Services LLC and has been advising convention and exhibition venues in China and elsewhere on how to deal with coronavirus, which he expects to cause a… Continue Reading Expert: Coronavirus Situation More Serious Than SARS

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