Fourth edition of event timed with opening of Climate Pledge Arena

Following three successful runs in Los Angeles and New York, Oak View Group today announced VenuesNow Conference 2021, which will take place in Seattle Oct. 21-22 and timed with the opening of OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena.

The event, a symposium for professionals in the sports and live entertainment venue industry, will explore the industry through the lens of sustainability, according to the announcement. Climate Pledge Arena, home to the NHL’s newest expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, will be the most progressive, responsible and sustainable arena in the world, billed as the first carbon-neutral arena in the world. Attendees will be among the first to exclusively tour the $1 billion Climate Pledge Arena and view the venue’s industry-leading features. (Oak View Group is parent company to both Pollstar and VenuesNow.)

Speakers at VenuesNow Conference 2021 will include Jake Crumbine, head of global influence, Impossible Foods; Justin Toman, head of sports marketing, PepsiCo; Anneliese Mesilati, head of brand activation & sponsorships, UBS; Jason McLennan, partner and CEO, McLennan Design; Amanda Mann, SVP Rose Quarter operations and general manager, Portland Trail Blazers & Moda Center; Alex Rodrigo, SVP and general manager, Golden1 Center; Jennifer Kearney, founder and president, Gotham Energy 360; Amy Latimer, president, TD Garden and chief development officer, Delaware North; Ed Bosco, PE, LEED AP BD+C, managing principal, ME Engineers; Dr. K. Elizabeth Hawk, president, Ampersand Intelligence; and Akmal Ali, founder & CEO, Aluma.

While much of the discussion at VNC 2021 will cover sustainability, topics will continue to take on leading-edge innovation in the world of live event venues, with a deep focus on sanitization, security, and more.

Additional event programming will highlight relationships between touring content, teams and owners, brand partners, venue operators, and other key stakeholders serving the facilities industry, from the club to stadium level, while also examining advances in technology, finance, ticketing, sponsorships, concessions, design and development, gaming, inclusivity, and immersive experiences.

“Presenting VenuesNow Conference 2021 in Seattle to coincide with the opening of the new Climate Pledge Arena, the first carbon-neutral arena in the world, provides us a unique opportunity to discuss the role of the sports and live entertainment venue industry as it relates to sustainability and our shared responsibility in saving the planet,” said Leiweke, OVG CEO, calling VNC ’21, “the most important conference we’ll ever host.”

Beyond an opportunity for the industry to reconvene after 18 months, Leiweke stressed the urgency around “sustainability, sanitization, safety, and content.”

“I believe we, as an industry and society, are at a critical moment for our Earth and sustainability. We all know sanitization is the challenge of the moment. At the same time, with the emergence of ‘lone wolf’ threats, we’ve never been more challenged for safety and security,” Leiweke adds. “This is the moment in time where we must come together to address, discuss, debate, and learn on these issues. This is the most important conference in my career, and I believe we will create a conference where everyone who comes will feel the same way.”

In addition to keynote Q&As, roundtables, and case studies, panels at VNC4 will include of-the-moment sessions with topics ranging from “The Future is Bright for the Live Biz: But Where Are We Right Now?” and “Can Sports and Entertainment Marketing Create Meaningful Programs that are Good for Communities?,” to “International Venue Development: The Global Perspective on Sustainability and Navigating a Post-Covid Landscape” and “Sustainable Touring: How To Tour Green Without Sacrificing the Green.”

Regarded as unique in the venue industry for its focus on positive disruption and innovation in the public assembly facilities space, past speakers at VenuesNow Conference have included Adam Silver, Ari Emanuel, Coran Capshaw, Rick Fox, Cathy Engelbert, Jerry Bruckheimer, James Dolan, Doc McGhee, Jerry Jacobs, Jr., Pete Vlastelica, Carl Mittleman, Deepen Parikh, Carole Kinzel, Gerry Barad, Jeanie Buss, Don Garber, Angela Ruggiero, Peter Guber and many others.

The curated attendance of the VenuesNow Conference is made up of C-level stakeholders in sports and live entertainment, fostering the highest level of dialogue and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities.

CAA Icon, the world’s leading owners’ representative and strategic management consulting firm for public and private sports and entertainment facility owners/operators, professional franchises and leagues, is the presenting sponsor for VenuesNow Conference 2021. The conference is also presented in association with Delaware North, the global leader in hospitality management & food service management.

For the most current VNC4 information and to register, visit

The long-running Pollstar Live! conference, also organized by Oak View Group, took place June 15-17, was a bold statement as the greater touring industry was literally on the brink of reopening.

Attendees were required to prove vaccination or an on-site negative test in order to attend the event, which took place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Speakers included Casey Wasserman, fresh from announcing a deal to acquire Paradigm’s North American music division, along with other heavy hitters from the concert industry such as C3’s Amy Corbin, production legends like Jake Berry, and a keynote discussion with popular comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.