Billy Talent plays at Molson Canadian Studio, Sept. 4, 2013.
Global Spectrum Facility Management unveiled a new brand, Core Entertainment, to unite the three entertainment venues in downtown Hamilton, Ontario: FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton Place and Molson Canadian Studio. Global Spectrum has managed the three buildings since March 2013 but announced the creation of Core Entertainment in late May 2014 as a new brand identity with which to market the three venues.
“It’s an opportunity for us to take the three venues and collectively brand them under one umbrella,” said Scott Warren, general manager of FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton Place and Molson Canadian Studio. Warren explained that the venues’ transition to being managed by Global Spectrum has been met with positive feedback and Global Spectrum has brought more events into the buildings than when they were managed by the city’s Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc. (HECFI).
“No one really knew what the acronym HECFI stood for and there wasn’t a lot of positivity around that name,” Warren explained. Because the company did not want to rush to rebrand, the HECFI website and some signage remained for more than a year after Global Spectrum began managing the venues. “We wanted to really take some time to figure out who we were, what we meant to the community, our agenda, and try to come up with a brand that we thought spoke volumes over ‘the Hamilton Complex’ or ‘the Hamilton Entertainment Complex.’ ”
The name “Core Entertainment” was born out of the recent revitalization of the downtown Hamilton area, known as the downtown core, where the venues are located. “An influx of people [are] moving into Hamilton from Toronto, because it’s less expensive, the music scene is amazing here … and there’s a real arts influence as well,” Warren said. In addition to geography, the name refers to what Global Spectrum believes the venues mean to the community, being a focal point of the Hamilton economy.
“Then we took it to another level altogether, which is what venues mean in our lives,” Warren explained. “The idea was that the music we listen to, the concerts that we go to growing up … help shape who we are.
“There’s this energy that’s happening in downtown Hamilton which is cool, and it’s fun to be a part of that,” Warren added. “Historically, the core has had a bad reputation—whether it [has to do with] crime, boarded up buildings, poverty, these sorts of things. But because of this revitalization that’s happening in the downtown core, we wanted to put our flag in the ground and say, ‘We believe in so much that’s happening in the core that we want it to be part of our brand. We want it to be part of our name.’”
Hamilton Place and the Core Entertainment venues have seen increased bookings since Global Spectrum took over management.
According to Warren, community response has been very positive, although he admitted that it will take some time to familiarize patrons with the new brand. Global Spectrum has organized a grassroots street team to promote the venues as Core Entertainment, and the new website has a new design and is easier to navigate than the HECFI site. It also allows users to view events occurring at all three of the venues in one place. A new Rdio stream provides music from upcoming shows, and the buildings’ social media accounts have all been consolidated under the Core Entertainment name.
The three Hamilton venues, branded as Core Entertainment, remain managed by Global Spectrum and Live Nation.
“It just feels right—it feels like [the brand has] been here for 10 years,” Warren said. “I think it worked for us to take our time. It was important for us to see what we meant for the community so we could speak properly when we unveiled the brand.”
Interviewed for this story: Scott Warren, (905) 546-2601