NEW TO THE FAMILY: Familiar faces bring decades of combined market experience. (Courtesy OVG)

Company will also run Cox Business Convention Center

Booking power appears to have played a key role in Oak View Group landing the contract to manage the BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a key city official with the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority said.

A TPFA advisory panel voted 5-0 on Friday to recommend awarding OVG the contract to operate and manage the two venues, with OVG due to take over on Oct. 1 from incumbent operator ASM Global, the only other company to respond to the city’s RFP.

ASM Global, and before that SMG, had managed BOK Center since it opened in 2008.

“ASM and OVG both have great strengths in booking,” Tulsa Public Facilities Authority Chairwoman Kathy Taylor told the Tulsa World  after Friday’s meeting. “I think the committee felt OVG may have had an advantage in that regard, but, again, it was a very hard decision.”

Another factor in winning the Tulsa business is the fact that OVG has within its ranks former BOK Center executives Jeff Nickler and Casey Sparks, both now at Moody Center in Austin, Texas, as well as Joe Giordano, who now is vice president of the Arena & Stadium Alliance, and former BOK Center GM John Bolton.

Nickler told the committee that the four “have collectively spent almost four decades in the market.”

Jeff Nickler (Courtesy OVG)

“This is a very unique scenario where a new company is coming in, but essentially is bringing along with it the institutional knowledge and executives who drove a lot of that success for the first 12 years,” he said, according to the Tulsa World.

A decision deadline had been extended past the original date of June 30 to allow for an extended examination of the bids.

In announcing the win, OVG issued a statement saying the company would focus on “ensuring Tulsa is the top destination for major concerts in Oklahoma, continuing to grow the city’s national and regional convention business and assisting the city and its stakeholders in the development of a full-service convention center hotel.”

Bryan Crowe, the general manager for ASM Global at the BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center, told the committee ASM had a 15-year run that was “exemplary” as he expressed disappointment in the decision.

He said in an email to the mayor and TPFA trustees that ASM’s understanding OVG had not bested its financial terms of $61 million in guaranteed revenue over 10 years, including an initial capital investment of $13 million.

The terms of the deal with OVG were not disclosed.

Nickler said as many existing employees as possible will have the chance to join OVG.

He also said OVG intends “to ensure that Tulsa is the top concert destination in Oklahoma.”

BOK Center box-office totals since its 2008 opening, according to data reported to Pollstar:

Tickets sold: 4,818,936

Gross: $279,240,928

Shows: 757

Total box-office since beginning of 2023:

Tickets sold: 232,173

Gross: $14,391,557

Shows: 28

Most tickets sold for one event:

“Arvest Winterfest”

Nov. 26, 2010-Jan. 3, 2011

Tickets sold: 132,552

Gross: $662,760

Shows: 36

Best-attended concert engagement:

Garth Brooks

Jan. 9-17, 2015

Tickets sold: 121,832

Gross: 7,395,670

Shows: 7