Muskogee (Okla.) Civic Center

Spectra Presents is bringing Lee Brice to the 3,700-seat Muskogee (Okla.) Civic Center Sept. 26, marking the first of what is hoped to be many more concerts coming home to the arena built in 1966.

It’s the first fruits of a Spectra Venue Management takeover of the arena, which has been operated by the city in the past, on July 1 under a five-year management-fee deal. Kellen Seitz, who had been director of marketing at the Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho, N.M., for Spectra Venue Management, came on board as the GM July 6.

Kellen Seitz, GM.

The city of Muskogee also contracted Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement to handle ticketing at the civic center. Seitz said he is also working with Spectra Food and Hospitality as consultant on the in-house food operation.

Spectra and the city are making a significant investment in the arena as a result of the five-year contract. Seitz said he has spent the last two months overseeing some of those improvements, which will debut to the public with the Lee Brice concert.

Besides concessions and kitchen improvements, the venue also has a new audiovisual platform, purchased through a local company, Omni Lighting, which will not only enhance concerts and events, but also conferences and trade shows. Staff will be able to control sound and lights through multiple points from ipads and tablets, Seitz said.

He is looking forward to testing it on the first event in since installation, the Shrine Circus this weekend.

The city was looking for increased utilization of the civic center in hiring Spectra. That’s where Spectra Presents will be a plus, noted Hank Abate, SVP Arenas & Stadiums for Spectra Venue Management.

Spectra Presents was formed as a separate entity to book and promote show acting as, but not competing with other promoters, Abate said. Brock Jones runs Spectra Presents and blocks books tours when possible, working directly with booking agents and managers. He booked Brice in several Spectra-managed venues, Abate said. Brock’s division performs as a regular, full-service promoter to bring events to markets that are not getting much attention from national promoters. Sometimes it will co-promote; sometimes take the entire risk. Spectra Presents will also work with buildings not managed by Spectra, he noted.

One or more Spectra divisions (Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Ticketing & Fan Engagement) support five additional Oklahoma venues, including: Comanche Red River Casino (Food Services & Hospitality); Comanche Nation Casino (Food Services); University of Oklahoma (Ticketing); University of Tulsa (Ticketing) and Enid Events Center (Venue Management and Ticketing).

Muskogee Civic Center features more than 8,500 square feet of meeting space in six rooms of various sizes. In addition, the arena floor consists of 8,568 square feet, for larger meetings, trade shows, or banquets for corporate gatherings. Amenities include two concession areas and six dressing rooms.

Seitz said the civic center has received a thorough deep cleaning over the past month and as soon as that is complete, kitchen equipment which has been delivered will be installed.

The ticketing platform is operating online, but the box office upgrades are still pending. In the past, the promoter has been responsible for ticketing.

Muskogee Civic Center operates with six full-time employees and up to 50 part time.

Seitz said his target goal is 200 events the first year, including meetings, weddings and banquets. He expects up to six concerts and comedy shows; one to two family shows, and two or three mixed martial arts or rodeo events.

“Our focus is on live events — family shows, rodeos and concerts,” Seitz said. “The arena has been underutilized.”

Interviewed for this story: Kellen Seitz, (918) 684-6363, ext. 2; Hank Abate, (215) 389-9468