Interior of the 6,000-capacity UMBC Events Center, which opens in February.

The University of Maryland Baltimore County has awarded management of their new multi-purpose facility to OVG Facilities, the first contract under the new moniker. The deal was negotiated by Tom Paquette and Doug Higgons, who sold their Pinnacle Venue Services to Oak View Group last month. (Full disclosure: Oak View Group also owns Venues Today).

It is a three-year agreement, with the possibility of extending to five, to manage the $85-million, 6,000-seat UMBC Events Center in Baltimore, which is scheduled to open in February, said Higgons. OVG Facilities will provide management, booking, marketing and operations. Chartwells handles food and beverage on the UMBC campus, including the new arena.

General Manager Tiffany Sun starts Monday (Oct. 31), Higgons said. Sun has been in the business just under 10 years and was most recently assistant general manager of Cross Insurance Center, Bangor, Maine, for Spectra Venue Management. Higgons and Paquette also worked for Spectra at one point.

Sun started in the business at Northwest Georgia Trade & Convention Center, Dalton, after graduating from Kennesaw State. She has also worked at Ted Constant Convocation Center, Norfolk, Va., also a university venue, where she was marketing manager.

The 172,000-square-foot multipurpose facility, which includes meeting space, 5,000 seats in the bowl, and 1,000 seats on the floor, will host all UMBC National Collegiate Athletic Association games for Retriever men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, as well as provide a venue for other events, such as concerts, commencements, featured speakers, banquets and much more.

“It’s a new arena in a major market,” said Higgons, noting the significance of the contract. OVG Facilities will receive a monthly management fee plus incentive, based on revenues over budget. Higgons said the estimated annual operating budget, which is still being finalized, is in the $2-million range.

The new UMBC Events Center was designed to blend into the campus.

Design for the new arena was provided by Cannon Design in collaboration with the university and Barton Malow handled construction.

University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Terry Cook, assistant VP-finance and administration, adds, in a press release: “Doug and his team have decades of industry experience successfully managing university facilities. That, along with their vision for the new arena, are among a few reasons we selected their company.”

OVG Facilities now has a portfolio of six venue management contracts. It also specializes in event programming, venue assessments, and security and emergency preparedness.