Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, announced that Adam Millar has been named as general manager of the venue.
“We are pleased to welcome Adam to Ontario and look forward to his expertise in managing and booking an entertainment venue,” said Michael Krouse, regional vice president of SMG Worldwide. “His experience in the industry and core strength of working in Southern California will ensure we will continue to meet our goals since taking over management of the venue on July 1, 2016.”
Millar began his career in the entertainment industry as an intern for SMG at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum & Sports Arena, working his way up to event manager. Following that, he served as the director of event management for the SMG-managed Network Associates Coliseum & Oakland Arena until taking on the position of managing director for The Forum.
Millar’s career then included positions as the director of booking and event Services at Staples Center, theatre operations manager of The Greek Theatre, and director of national events for USA Water Polo, all in the Los Angeles area. Most recently, Millar has served as general manager of City National Grove of Anaheim since 2005.
Knowledge and work experience in several positions within a venue will provide Millar the tools to educate and lead the team at Citizens Business Bank Arena. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from San Diego State University and is a graduate of the IAVM Venue Management School.
SMG highlighted the success of its Event Innovation Team at the company’s annual management meeting held recently in Philadelphia. Since its inception one year ago, 126 internally produced special events have taken place at SMG-managed facilities in the United States, exceeding expectations. These self-created and locally produced events occur under the SMG Promotions banner and include team members from SMG venues across the SMG footprint of Stadiums, Convention Centers, Arenas and Theaters.
“Not only does SMG book top concerts, but they have always focused on creating community events that enrich our city,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Over the years, these community events have become annual traditions for many of our local residents and I’m proud to have SMG as a partner who embraces the city’s goal of downtown revitalization and economic growth.”
Event Innovation concepts across the SMG facility map include events such as the Grand Rapids “Wine, Beer and Food Festival,” Tulsa’s “DodgeBrawl,” and “Winterfest,” Soldier Field’s (Chicago) “10 mile” run, El Paso’s “Ice Cream Festival,” Ontario’s (California)” Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion” car show and concert, and many more.
“Congratulations to all our venues and their remarkable achievement of producing 126 special events in one year,” John Bolton, SMG Vice President said. “And thanks to our Event Innovation Team leaders, Matt Blasey, Bryan Crowe, Tom Lorenz, Jeff Nickler, Zane Collings, Luca Sera, and Brian Smith for their contributions to this successful program.”
“The SMG team in Greater Ontario, California has made a true and measurable economic impact to our region and community by creating signature special events,” said Scott Ochoa, City Manager, City of Ontario. “The Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion Classic Car Show drew more than 250,000 attendees last year, with over a $16 Million gain to our local economy. In addition, Def Fest (held prior to the Def Leppard concert) and Party on the Pavement (prior to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert) at Citizens Business Bank Arena were successes, with 10,000 guests enjoying the added entertainment experience.”
The Event Innovation Team was created during the 2017 SMG management meeting when the company officials held a competition among all SMG facilities to identify the best self-produced special event concepts. A total of 37 entries were judged and the top 15)were then packaged for development and ‘curated’ to the field operators by the Event Innovation Team during monthly webinars.
“These curated yet customizable events are now available to all our facilities as part of our unique SMG resource library,” said Doug Thornton, SMG Executive Vice President. “The Event Innovation Team was born from our desire to generate more home-grown activity in our facilities and the group has done an outstanding job in just a short time. Congratulations to John Bolton and the entire Event Innovation team for their leadership in spearheading this effort.”
The SMG Event Innovation Team has plans to roll out 10 additional event concepts between now and year end.
By Kimberly Mahoney, Ph.D., CVP
Information allows businesses to make informed decisions. There are a number of sources available to venue managers to assist in decision-making, evaluation of day-to-day operations, long-term planning, and negotiations, amongst others. In an effort to support the sharing of information, the IAVM University Committee is working to help bridge the gap between industry and academics. A strong connection between those two groups helps to provide industry professionals with access to the latest research, provide faculty the opportunity to receive industry input on their research, and hopefully will lead to mutually beneficial collaborations.
As a first step, we created space in the VenueConnect program and reached out to current IAVM faculty members regarding their venue management research. As a result, we have three exciting research presentations scheduled for Toronto, addressing very timely issues including diversity, grit, and social media. All three presenters are IAVM members with completed research to share on projects where data was collected from the membership.
We have two sessions scheduled on the trade show floor and, as part of the UVMC, we have a session entitled “Connecting Research and Practice: Venue Data Source and Academic Venue Research” which will include results of a recent survey to university members and one of our featured research presentations. The schedule and descriptions are provided below. We hope you can join us to hear the results of the studies you participated in and start the conversation regarding current and future research. See you in Toronto!
Diversity in Arts & Entertainment Venue Management
– Date: Monday 7/23
– Time: 1:45 pm – 2:15 pm
– Location: Trade Show Floor – Booth 244
– Presenter: Jill Schinberg – University of Kentucky
IAVM has upward of 5,000 members. While there is a research arm of the organization, Venue Data Source, historically there has been no demographic information collected about its membership base. With the newfound emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion that has swept the U.S. market in recent years, a little bit of self-examination seems apropos, at the very least. Because diversity of workforce embodies so much more than racial difference it is imperative that organizations reflect and evaluate in order to instigate change and/or make meaningful progress toward achieving the now commonplace diversity and inclusion initiatives. For the purpose of this preliminary study, we examine the relationship of gender to various categories such as age, position, and education. Which associations, if any, are impacted by the self-identified gender of the respondent?
Grit in Venue Management. Got it? Get it.
– Date: Tuesday 7/24
– Time: 2:45 pm – 3:15 pm
– Location: Trade Show Floor – Booth 200
– Presenter: Susan Jordan, MBA – Spectra
What character trait does it take to succeed in venue management? Grit is defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. This study seeks to determine if possessing a higher level of grit is a measure of success in the venue management industry as well as its impact on job performance and the connection to happiness, engagement, culture, and generations. The data collected from IAVM members showed that industry leaders had a higher grit level than sixty-five percent of the adult population. The result was a parallel finding of lower levels of grit in younger and less experienced managers than those senior. Since grit is a marker for success of venue managers, the industry can work to develop a culture of grit within its organizations, and foster the growth and practice or programs promoting this character trait.
Social Media Use in Sports & Entertainment Venues 8 Years Later
– Date: Wednesday 7/25
– Time: 10:45 am – 11:30 pm
– Location: Room 715
– Presenter: Dr. Philip Rothschild – Missouri State University
– VC Session: Part 2 of the session titled, “Connecting Research & Practice”
Venue managers are called upon to rent their facility and promote events within an exceptionally competitive market, and today, social media is an essential marketing tool for public assembly venues. This study examined how social media is administered and perceived among managers of various types of facilities, including arenas, stadiums, performing art centers, and convention centers. We will discuss the main findings and implications for venue managers, and compare the results to the same study conducted in 2010.
Kimberly Mahoney, Ph.D., CVP, is assistant professor in the College of Business Sport Management Department at the University of New Haven.
Laurie Barnett serves as managing director communications and outreach for Southwest Airlines. As such, she is expert in the subject area of empowerment and taking good care of customers.
Those will be among her points of emphasis at VenueConnect when she presents a session on Empowering Employees to Do What’s Right for Customers.
Attendees should expect an interactive session where Barnett highlights and shares Southwest Airlines’ best practices for building a strong corporate culture, training your people to deliver the best possible customer service, and empowering employees to turn a negative customer interaction into a positive one. She will share examples from both in-person and social media customer interactions at Southwest Airlines, a company known for its people and exemplary customer service.
When it comes to the public assembly venue world, it is a given that no facility will be completely perfect to the thousands that attend events. Nonetheless, there are some definite actions that can be taken to get that number as close to perfect as possible.
“Your reputation precedes you,” Barnett said. “Delivering a consistent, high-quality product that creates positive buzz (on social media). That experience begins with the idea of visiting your venue, until they have completed that interaction, and in every step of that journey, you have an opportunity to provide excellent hospitality.”
Culture can be a tricky and sometimes elusive term. That also need not be as evidenced by the success that Southwest Airlines has enjoyed over the years in that department.
“At Southwest Airlines, it’s the way we do things around here, how we behave,” Barnett said. “We have always had our core values and have formalized them throughout the years to help guide how we ‘Live and Work the Southwest Way.’ This helps guide how we hire, train, promote, and encourage our employees and is the core of who we are.”
By the end of the session, Barnett said that attendees will have a plate full of tools to work with upon returning to their respective facilities.
“Put people first, promote purpose-driven values, and nurture the culture to create a competitive edge with your customers,” she said.
Global live entertainment leader Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group announced the acquisition of Minnesota-based VStar Entertainment Group and its Florida-based circus arts subsidiary Cirque Dreams. The addition of VStar Entertainment Group to its portfolio allows the Montreal creative powerhouse to expand its audiences with plug-and-play creative content specifically designed for children and families. With its integrated live entertainment platform and broad global distribution network in small theaters, the acquisition of VStar and Cirque Dreams will contribute to further establishing Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group as the world leader in live entertainment for audiences of all ages.
“Building on the successful integration of Blue Man Group over the last year, today we are taking another decisive step towards realizing our ambition. While circus arts will always be at the core of our creative offering, we continue to look for ways to expand and diversify our portfolio with new forms of entertainment and new brands, reaching new audiences and expanding our own creative and production capabilities”, said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. “VStar Entertainment Group has a proven track record and recognized expertise in small theatrical production, which complements Cirque du Soleil’s expertise in large-scale production and global touring. We firmly believe the knowledge transfer will help us develop our own capabilities in this type of entertainment and therefore, contribute to growing our footprint in the live entertainment production industry.”
VStar Entertainment Group is a live entertainment provider producing theatrical shows, exhibits, cruise ship shows and outdoor events. VStar is best known for its children and family shows showcasing popular brands from Nickelodeon and Spin Master, such as PAW Patrol. Over nearly four decades, it has built an impressive footprint in the global entertainment industry, presenting over 39,000 performances in more than 40 countries, reaching over two million guests annually. On its own, PAW Patrol Live “Race to the Rescue” toured in 250 cities in 18 countries on 4 different continents in 2017.
“VStar has a history of growing through partnerships with great entertainment brands and we are always on the lookout for the next transformative opportunity. We now find ourselves on the brink of our next chapter and only a global producer like Cirque du Soleil could help us achieve our vision. Their expertise in the live entertainment industry is unparalleled and it is an honor to join forces with their organization”, said Eric Grilly, CEO of VStar Entertainment Group.
Cirque Dreams, founded by Broadway Director Neil Goldberg and established in Florida, is the entertainment group’s circus arts division which successfully produces and operates tours and shows in theatres and various popular touristic venues through partnerships with Norwegian Cruise Line and Gaylord Hotels, among other business to business opportunities. “I have always admired the creative forces behind Cirque du Soleil and could not wish for a better partner to continue developing Cirque Dreams. I look forward to contributing my creative mindset to the company’s evolution”, added Cirque Dreams President Neil Goldberg.