Tag: September 2020

Scoring a WNBA Assist

FOR THE W: Feld Entertainment facilities are serving as the bubble setup for 2020 WNBA games. (Courtesy Feld Entertainment) IMG Academy’s winning bid puts courts in Feld Entertainment’s Florida rehearsal hall Feld Entertainment is playing a key role in the return of professional sports amid the coronavirus pandemic by hosting the WNBA’s return to the court, in conjunction with IMG Academy, at its Feld Entertainment Studios in Palmetto, Fla. A force in touring family entertainment with properties such as Disney on Ice, Marvel Universe Live!, Sesame Street Live!, Jurassic World Live Tour and Feld Motor Sports properties like Monster Jam and AMA Supercross, Feld has been hosting WNBA games since the league’s 12 teams resumed their regular season July 25, in a bubble setting without fans. The playoffs will follow. Players, along with team and league personnel, began arriving in nearby Bradenton, home to IMG Academy, a boarding school and sports […]

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Arenas: Inside Job

TOUCH AND GO: Amazon technology is part of the post-COVID upgrades planned for Staples Center. (Courtesy Staples Center) Big league arenas remake their systems, processes for post-COVID audiences Big league arena managers are taking the first steps toward adding layers of protection to their venues by going cashless, upgrading ventilation systems and eliminating “touch points” that can allow chances for contamination. As part of the process, multiple NBA and NHL venues are pursuing accreditation for health and safety standards. Some are forming health and hygiene divisions and appointing officers to supervise higher levels of sanitation. NBA arena managers participate in regular calls with league officials to discuss best practices and which virus technology services make the most sense for them, considering they’re getting pitched by a parade of vendors, said Erin Schnieders, the NBA’s senior vice president and head of arena development and standards. Sixty to 70 people participate in […]

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Little Trouble in the Bubble

READY FOR ACTION: The Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues stand for the Canadian anthem at Rogers Place on Aug. 12. (Getty Images) Edmonton’s Rogers Place conquering challenges as an NHL hub city It has been smooth skating at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, a hub city along with Toronto where the NHL resumed play after the novel coronavirus shut down sports in March. But Stuart Ballantyne, the venue’s general manager, said Mother Nature sent one last slap shot at the building amid final preparations for Western Conference games. Just two days after the NHL arrived July 14, and two weeks before a modified postseason schedule began Aug. 1, a summer storm blew into the area and caused substantial flood damage in the building, said Ballantyne, Oilers Entertainment Group senior vice president of operations. The company operates Rogers Place and owns its NHL tenant, the Edmonton Oilers. “We had a […]

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Technology: Queues and A’s

WALK AND ROLL: Evolv Technology’s Evolv Express helps cut lines at security gates. (Courtesy Evolv Technology) Companies selling solutions that can keep venue patrons out of lines New and existing technologies are being brought to bear in the effort to reopen venues amid the coronavirus pandemic, with some that have been around for years finding new salience or being modified to help address COVID-era health and safety imperatives. Examples include Waltham, Mass.-based Evolv Technology, which for the last seven years has employed touchless sensors and an algorithm to detect threats faster and with less guest friction than what’s afforded by magnetometers, pat-downs and bag searches. In July, in response to clients’ needs since the pandemic struck, the company announced that thermal imaging capability had been added to its Evolv Express artificial intelligence-based platform. The company’s roots date back to 9/11 and the death of a close friend of Anil Chitkara, […]

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Spotlight: Xtream Perseverance

Xtream Arena powered by Mediacom is gearing up for a Sept. 17 ribbon cutting ceremony, taking its place as the jewel of the Iowa River Landing mixed-use development. “This is a really amazing development that the city of Coralville has been working on for 20 years,” architect Lonnie Laffen said.

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Revival at the Ryman

Livestreaming at Nashville shrine could evolve to include live audiences Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium launched “Live at the Ryman,” a six-week live performance subscription series it hopes will grow to include in-person concerts as soon as local health regulations permit, with For King & Country on Aug. 14. Tickets are being sold at the Ryman’s website. With input from the Ryman’s wellness adviser, Vanderbilt Health, Opry Entertainment hopes to turn “Live at the Ryman” into a first-of-its-kind “hybrid,” with pay-per-view livestreaming paving the way for the return of limited live audiences at the historic venue. Other artists taking part in the series are Cam, Chris Janson, Scotty McCreery, Brett Young and Old Crow Medicine Show. McCreery comes full circle with his series performance, having been the last artist to perform at Ryman Auditorium before it shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first “Live at the Ryman” show was […]

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Preparing for Her Next Adventure

THREE TIMES A LADY: Laurie Jacoby is a three-time winner of Pollstar’s Venue Executive of the Year award. Laurie Jacoby looks forward after cuts at MSG Entertainment With 22 years at Madison Square Garden Entertainment under her belt, Laurie Jacoby is a perennial nominee and three-time winner of the Pollstar Award for Venue Executive of the Year, including the last two years in a row, and one of the best-known and admired professionals on the planet. Yet, Jacoby’s position as senior vice president of concerts and entertainment recently became just one of thousands of professional casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, now in its fifth month, when news broke that MSG Entertainment planned to lay off 350 employees, about a third of its workforce. Her story puts a human face on the fragility of an industry at a standstill. But Jacoby is confident about the future and sees a far different […]

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Management: September 2020

The Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau named Debbie Glenn national sales director working remotely from Maryland. Glenn was sales director for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. SquadLocker, a provider of online tools and services for teams and organizations to manage custom apparel and equipment purchasing, named Jim Day vice president of operations. Day was vice president of global supply chain at sports lifestyle brand ’47. The United States Association of Blind Athletes named Molly Quinn CEO. Quinn was vice president of fitness and endurance partnerships with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Shawn Tilger was named president of the newly-renamed GF Sports & Entertainment, as equity firm GF Capital expands its scope of business in live entertainment. Tilger was executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Philadelphia Flyers. Gena Buhler was named head of new business development, North America, for Theatre Projects. Buhler […]

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Titletown Ready to Be Back in the Win Column

WARM-UPS: Morning exercise groups fill to capacity as part of Titletown’s programming. (Courtesy Green Bay Packers) Mixed-use area next to Lambeau Field is back, hopes Pack fans are too Are the Green Bay Packers pandemic-proof? For a charter NFL team in the league’s smallest market, reopening the Titletown district provides a glimpse into post-COVID economics for one of sports’ strongest brands. Titletown, a 45-acre mixed-use development spearheaded by the Packers, debuted in 2017 across the street from Lambeau Field. The first phase encompassed bars and restaurants, a sports medicine clinic, the Nike Grind artificial turf football field accessible to the public, an Associated Bank branch and Lodge Kohler, a 154-room hotel. A few outdoor attractions such as the three-story snow tubing hill and a skating rink operate during the winter months. In the summer, the hill is used for outdoor movie nights and the skating rink becomes a plaza with […]

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Clean Break: How Janitorial Service Is Changing at Venues

GLOBAL CONCERN: Jani-King disinfects the seating bowl at Globe Life Field, new home of MLB’s Texas Rangers. (Courtesy Jani-King International) Jani-King’s Borland: Increase in vigilance will be permanent Jani-King International’s vice president of corporate operations, Scott Borland, is responsible for directing a team of operations advisers who support the company’s regional offices while providing assistance to the firm’s dozens of master regions. His specialty is designing and implementing cleaning programs for large sports venues. Borland spoke with VenuesNow after a visit to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where Jani-King was helping the Gators ready athletic facilities for the start of the 2020-21 school year amid the uncertainty and upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been about six months now since the pandemic struck. With some time to assess the situation, what’s the best approach in sanitizing venues? Are traditional methods still the way to go? I think the janitorial […]

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Farm Aid Puts American Farmers Front and Center

FROM A SEED: John Mellencamp performs at the first Farm Aid in 1985 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (Getty Images) LIVE! LANDMARKS Among fall’s many live entertainment traditions, Farm Aid has been one of the most prominent for the past 35 years. The multi-artist concert was organized in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp as a benefit for America’s farmers and, in most years, has occurred in either September or October in U.S. markets stretching from Washington state to Washington, D.C. The first concert, on Sept. 22, 1985, in Champaign, Ill., was staged to raise awareness of the importance of family farms in the American culture as well as raise money — about $7 million that year — to help farmers remain in business during tough economic times. Along with the organizers, the first show featured more than 50 entertainers, generally musicians from country, folk and […]

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