Tag: April 2020

Midwest: Impressive Debuts

FEEDING THE PHISH FANS: Phish kicked off its summer tour at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis in June. (Courtesy Chaifetz Arena) Two new Midwest arenas post big years The Midwest is home to two of the more prominent venues to open in the United States in recent years — Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, which opened in September 2017, and Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, which opened a year later — and those glittering new facilities were among the headlining locations in the region to enjoy productive schedules for the year that ended Jan. 31.   Little Caesars Arena and Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., outside of Chicago, earned the most revenue in the region, each grossing more than $51 million, with the latter outpacing all venues with more than 708,000 tickets sold. Meanwhile, Fiserv Forum enjoyed a robust concert schedule as it found its footing, selling more than 423,000 tickets […]

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Third Year Brings Another Big Project at Ilani

AUTO RENEWAL: Ilani’s new parking garage will have 2,700 parking spaces with room for expansion. (Courtesy Ilani Cowlitz Indian Casino) Since it opened in April 2017, Indian casino Ilani, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan LLC, has had impressive accomplishments each year. In year one, the 156-acre La Center, Wash., development, 25 miles north of Portland, Ore., opened its meeting and entertainment center that includes the 2,800-seat Cowlitz Ballroom and a convention center. Two years ago, Cowlitz was able to build on its brand experience with 57 shows, including free shows with Eddie Money, Richard Marx, Vince Neil and Everclear, among others. Now, on its third anniversary, the venue is working on its next project — a parking garage with more than 2,700 spots and room for expansion — scheduled to be completed in November. “We can build up to 4,000 parking spots in this covered garage, which is on […]

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Casino Venues: Doing It the Hard Way

HIGH LIFE: An overhead view of Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., set up for a GA floor (Courtesy Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood) How Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla., became a must-see showplace When it opened as part of Hollywood, Fla.’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Oct. 25, Hard Rock Live was positioned as a multipurpose facility with unique attributes. The 225,000-square-foot space’s big-room ambiance can be transformed into that of a more intimate venue: Its 6,556 seats can be cordoned off on both sides for an audience of 2,000 to 2,500. To put the sightlines in perspective, from the last row of the upper balcony to the stage is just 168 feet. “There is not a bad seat in the house,” said Dave Gold, the hotel and casino’s vice president of entertainment. “Where else can […]

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Aramark’s Birdwell Makes Seamlessness a Priority

Tech points toward removing payment barriers, says new Sports & Entertainment chief Alison Birdwell was recently promoted to president of Aramark Sports & Entertainment. Birdwell replaces Carl Mittleman, who takes over as chief operating officer of international after Brent Franks left the company. Birdwell has been with  Aramark since 2002, when she was named general manager of Reliant Park in Houston, now NRG Park, which includes NRG Stadium, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans. The Hertford, England, native has been a district manager and most recently a regional vice president for Aramark, covering multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Final Fours. Her hospitality background is in the hotel industry. (This interview was conducted before the event cancellations associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.) What’s your take on the state of food service at arenas and stadiums? The first thing is how rapidly it’s changing, and having been in this industry for […]

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Talking Points: Steve Hill

Steve Hill, CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority From the concrete industry to conventions chief? Only in Vegas. (Photo courtesy LVCVA) I thought I’d grow up to be A professional baseball player. First job in the industry This one! (I was in the concrete industry …before being appointed by former Gov. Brian Sandoval to serve as the first director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in 2011. I joined the LVCVA in January 2018 as COO and was promoted to the CEO role later that same year.) Favorite part of the job Ability to be involved with so many great things and great people in this city. Mentors Both of my former bosses, Cy Spurlino and Gov. Brian Sandoval, as well as my wife, Molly. Surprising fact about me I used to be a pretty good piano player. Best advice received Move to Las Vegas. Office fire rescue list The Cincinnati Bengals helmet my […]

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Management: April 2020

Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., named Tyler Bates vice president of booking. Bates was director of programming at Ambassador Theatre Group, as well as general manager of Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, N.Y. Stacey Levine Ostro was named general manager of The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. Ostro had been general manager of the Hollywood Palladium since 2013. Sacha Tani has been appointed to the newly created position of private event sales manager at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The position arose from the historic stadium’s $315 million renovation, which included luxury suites and new event spaces in the venue’s Scholarship Tower. Tani was most recently with Universal Studios Hollywood. Centerplate named Gregory Pittman executive chef at the Baltimore Convention Center. ASM Global-operated Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., promoted three employees: Ben Feekes to senior accounting manager, Lyndsey Cook to marketing and booking manager, and Samantha Faley to […]

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Letter From Maureen: Our Links Remain Unbroken

FINEST HOUR: It’s a good time to look to the wisdom of leaders like Winston Churchill. (Getty Images) Maureen Andersen, President and CEO, INTIX We are faced with an ever-changing landscape because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is directly affecting our beloved industry in unprecedented ways.  It is a time, for us all, that is filled with uncertainty, anxiety, fear as well as realizations and acceptance that our life and businesses may never operate quite the same ever again or at least for the foreseeable future. I am writing this message from my virtual and isolated INTIX office in Palm Springs, Calif., where I have had to, personally, grapple with my own fears, anxiety and plans for my family even as dear family and colleagues inform me that they are exhibiting symptoms. That said, I go back to my own advice — to myself and others — to stay present in […]

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INTIX Quarterly: More Than Marketing

WHO’S THERE? Knowing who is filling the seats in a venue can become a necessity in an emergency. (Getty Images) Data available from companies like True Tickets can benefit patrons in a crisis Generally seen as an important marketing tool, the ability to understand just who is attending live events has taken on added relevance amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a ticketing blockchain technology company president says. News that a part-time usher who worked at two Broadway theaters had tested positive for the virus made clear that information gathered about guests can serve a crucial public safety purpose by facilitating the notification of others potentially exposed, according to Matt Zarracina, co-founder and CEO of Boston-based True Tickets. The company has launched a pilot program to provide its ticketing solutions to the ticketing division of the Shubert Organization, which owns and operates 17 Broadway theaters.  Most attendees of shows worked by the […]

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Letter From the President

ON ICE FOR NOW: A lone skater takes to the ice at Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals. The NHL suspended its season March 12. (Getty Images) In what would once have been an unthinkable turn of events, the plug has officially been pulled by the NBA, NHL, March Madness, MLB spring training and virtually all of March for sports and live entertainment events. And travel, so essential to our business, is being heavily curtailed from Europe and elsewhere and discouraged domestically. The ripple effect is stunning. On the music front, not only are artists and their extended teams impacted, but cancellations, postponements, or simply waiting for more news before making a decision impacts vendors like staging, sound, light, transportation and video companies, bus and truck drivers, tour personnel like tour managers and production managers, travel agencies and all the people they do business with. Many venues are […]

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In Memoriam: Brad Weissberg 1963-2020

Brad Weissberg with VenuesNow marketing director Samantha Le at the All-Stars reception Sept. 9 in New York City. VenuesNow senior writer found stories, friends across the industry When you picked up the phone and Brad Weissberg was on the other end of the line, you didn’t have to ask who it was. His gravelly voice was a distinctive calling card. Brad’s voice as a writer was just as distinct, and he used it to tell stories from across the venues industry for VenuesNow from the June 2016 issue until last month, when he died of a fast-moving cancer that left his family and friends shocked and devastated. He was 56. Brad amassed bylines while on staff at The National Enquirer, Star Magazine, Famous, Women’s Day, Australia and NW before he arrived at VenuesNow’s predecessor, Venues Today, hired as a reporter by magazine founder Linda Deckard.  “He embraced the role wholeheartedly, […]

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Small clubs band together to find a path to survival

The organizers of the U.S. version of Independent Venue Week have shifted their direction to helping dozens of small clubs and music venues across the country with figuring out how to ride out widespread closures caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. New York-based Marauder Group held the first of a planned series of teleconference panels and discussions to give owners and operators around the country the opportunity to discuss the challenges they face from either outright closures of bars and restaurants or strict limits on the size of gatherings. Among the discussion topics: finding alternative business models with most performances canceled or indefinitely postponed, how to plan for a return to normal business at a still-unknown time, possible state and federal assistance programs to help with cash flow issues, and options for providing pay to employees and performers while no revenue is coming in. “If that achieved nothing […]

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