Spectra is now managing Kansas ExpoCentre, Topeka.
The County of Shawnee, Kan. has picked Spectra by Comcast Spectacor to provide venue management to the Kansas ExpoCentre, Topeka, and its five-facility campus. The building had been managed by SMG for 25 years.
“We’re a few weeks in at this point,” said Kellen Seitz, GM. “We were already coming in, so no surprises, and it’s full steam ahead.” Seitz has been with Spectra seven years, most recently as GM of Muskogee (Okla.) Civic Center.
The contract is for five years with a five-year option. It’s an incentive-based deal with no base management fee. “We’ll be accountable for what we said we’d do and this arrangement gives us the responsibility to manage the operation closely,” said Seitz.
The Kansas ExpoCentre, is comprised of five facilities, including the 7,400-seat Landon Arena, home of the Topeka Roadrunners hockey team; Expo Hall, a 48,000-sq.-ft. venue for trade shows, conventions and expositions; the Domer Livestock Arena; Heritage Hall; and a standalone 17,800-sq.ft. Agriculture Hall. All this sits on 88 acres.
“The real focus for us is the sales and marketing approach,” said Seitz. “Spectra’s knowledge and experience in sales and marketing of venues is something the county found valuable when we went through the RFP process.”
To meet this goal, Spectra created three new positions: marketing director, corporate partnership director and convention sales manager. “The three positions will go a long way in bringing the community back into the picture,” he said.
Currently the complex hosts 600 events a year. “It’s always a goal to expand the number of events and increase the quality,” said Seitz.
“We look forward to becoming active members of the community and creating new opportunities for the ExpoCentre and the surrounding region,” said Rick Hontz, regional VP. “Spectra has a lot of corporate partnerships and resources that we are bringing with us; we are in a unique position to leverage some of our local venues to create routing opportunities and other partnerships.”
Spectra also operates the nearby Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Mo.; and the Overland Park (Kan.) Convention Center.
“The routing scenarios are something we’re keen on,” said Seitz. “We think we can bring content back to the Topeka market.”
Also in the works is a $45-million renovation project that’s in the planning stage. “We’re working with the county and hopefully breaking ground in the next 18-24 months,” said Seitz. “We need to bring some of the facilities back up to industry standards and install new technologies and customer focused experiential pieces to give a better experience to our guests.” The complex will remain functional during the renovation.
The concessionaire is Heartland of America; the firm just renewed their contract with the county earlier this year. “They run a great operation,” said Seitz. “The concessions do well. We’re also looking at expanding the operation when we make the changes.”
“We realized that we needed a company that could focus and improve our sales and marketing campaigns, as well as develop long-lasting partnerships with local businesses, and Spectra can do all of that for us,” said County Commissioner Bob Archer. “Spectra’s deep experience gained from managing similar properties will be a valuable asset to our $45-million-dollar renovation project that is forthcoming. We are excited for what they will bring to our community.”