SMG announced that its managed facilities in New Orleans have achieved a record-setting concert year. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Smoothie King Center and Champions Square collectively sold over $40 million in concert tickets during the 12 months ending June 30, 2017.
Among the many highlights were performances by Beyoncé and Guns N’ Roses at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Smoothie King Center hosted a record number of concerts (25) including sold-out shows by Drake, Maroon 5, Dixie Chicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Joel, Radiohead, Charlie Wilson, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, the Weeknd, and Journey.
This year also included the first ever Bayou Country Superfest at the Superdome as well as the annual Essence Festival.
“This past year is further validation of how far New Orleans has come back from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and the vitality of our market,” said General Manager Alan Freeman. “Our show numbers and grosses have shown sustained growth for several years. I want to thank all our promoters, with special thanks to Live Nation, Beaver Productions, and AEG.”
“Alan and our corporate staff in the SMG Live Entertainment Division did a fantastic job last year directing touring business to New Orleans,” said SMG Executive Vice President Doug Thornton while noting that the New Orleans facilities art part of a larger company network that includes five other SMG-operated NFL stadiums and 68 domestic arenas. “The unprecedented results represent yet another milestone for these three great facilities and we are pleased that our corporate resources were able to help deliver significant results.”
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, and Champions Square are the home venues for the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, in addition to such annual attractions as the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Bayou Classic, the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, and the LHSAA High School Football Championships. This past February all three venues were utilized during the very successful 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, marking the third time hosting in the past 10 years.
U.S. Bank Stadium celebrated its first year of operation with the anniversary of the facility’s ribbon cutting ceremony on July 22, 2017. In the first year, the stadium welcomed 1.6 million visitors for over 600 public and private events.
“We are impressed by the job that the SMG staff has done bringing in the community to U.S. Bank Stadium,” said Kathleen Blatz, interim chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. “The building is living up to the spirit of the stadium legislation, that it be a resource for all Minnesotans. From youth football, to high school championships, to concerts and Vikings’ games, the stadium has events for almost every interest level.”
U.S. Bank Stadium opened in July 2016 with a ribbon cutting, followed by two days of public open houses that were attended by 190,000 people. The first three major events at the stadium were the International Champions Cup soccer match between A.C. Milan vs. Chelsea F.C., Luke Bryan’s “Kill the Lights” Tour and Metallica, performing one of its three 2016 United States concerts. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the San Diego Chargers at home on August 28 in their first pre-season game, followed by a victorious home opener against the Green Bay Packers on September 18.
“U.S. Bank Stadium immediately became one of the most recognizable stadiums in the world,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “We are thrilled with the game experience the stadium offers to Vikings fans, the home field atmosphere it gives to our team and the positive impact the venue has already had on Minnesota. We look forward to replicating and building on that success moving forward.”
The stadium’s first consumer show, the Minneapolis Holiday Boutique, was held in November. December brought the return of Feld Entertainment’s Monster Jam for back-to-back family shows. Following the end of the Vikings’ inaugural season, U.S. Bank Stadium hosted the Minneapolis Home and Remodeling Show, Monster Jam’s third date for the year, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, the Spring RV Show and World of Wheels.
U.S. Bank Stadium hosted its first Minnesota State High School League soccer and football championships in October and November. The facility also hosted 13 youth football events August through December and welcomed the return of in-line skating and running for 17 events in the winter months. Over 140 college and high school baseball games were played at the facility in its first season, with nearly 30,000 fans in attendance across all games. The first game was played on February 24 between Minnesota’s own Century College and Iowa Central Community College. The Dairy Queen Classic, hosted by the University of Minnesota, returned the weekend of March 3-5. In May and June, U.S. Bank Stadium hosted the inaugural season of Party on the Plaza, a free outdoor concert series for the public.
As the operator of five (5) other NFL facilities, SMG was contracted by the MSFA to manage the opening and operation of U.S. Bank Stadium in 2014. Since then, the company has used its considerable resources and scale to help produce significant results for non-NFL events.
“U.S. Bank Stadium is unique because of its versatility as an NFL facility. Our operation provides opportunities to host a broad range of events, putting Minnesota on the world’s stage. The diversity and quantity of events hosted in our first year is unparalleled in the sports and entertainment industry,” said Patrick Talty, SMG General Manager at U.S. Bank Stadium. “I’m proud to be a part of this monumental project in the Twin Cities community. I take pride in all of the hard work that my team has accomplished, and I look forward to our successes for this facility in future years.”
Throughout the first year, U.S. Bank Stadium hosted 425 private events in the facility for clients ranging from weddings and mitzvahs to corporate meetings, parties and conventions. These bookings utilized the vast stadium premium areas, concourses, exterior spaces and the stadium floor. Guided U.S. Bank Stadium tours began on August 24 and through the inaugural year over 88,000 guests toured the facility on 3,850 tours.
U.S. Bank Stadium’s first year of operation concluded with the stadium’s most dynamic event to-date, the 2017 Summer X Games, held July 13-16. This four-day extreme sports competition and festival loaded into U.S. Bank Stadium over the course of two weeks, pouring temporary concrete skate parks, hauling in 8,000 yards of dirt, and constructing an 82 foot mega ramp. The multi-faceted, stadium-wide event welcomed 110,000 visitors from Thursday through Sunday, with globally broadcasted competitions and nightly concerts on The Commons.
U.S. Bank Stadium has been awarded Super Bowl LII in February 2018, the Summer X Games in July 2018, the 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four and the 2020 NCAA Wrestling Championships. In addition to these mega-events, U.S. Bank Stadium was recently recognized internationally as the Best New Venue for the Stadium Business Awards.
By Ashley Keen, CVP
IAVM’s Arizona Chapter Meeting was held July 12 at the Arizona State University Kerr Cultural Center in Tempe. The all-day meeting included three outstanding education sessions as well as a Town Hall. Thanks to ASU Gammage (Kerr Cultural Center), Special Moments Catering and Events, and TicketForce for their meeting sponsorship.
Our New Technologies talk was given by William Irwin from Clearwing and Jim Burgin with Barco, where we learned how to spec a projector and screen that is appropriate for our venue.
We had a Mindfulness in the Workplace session presented by Jaime Valderrama and Maria Napoli from the ASU School of Social Work. Stress is increasingly gaining attention in the U.S. as well as around the world for the detrimental health effects it produces while mindfulness is gaining attention worldwide with the emergence of promising data showing how the simple act of being aware can deregulate the body’s stress response, leading to a happier and healthier life. This presentation highlighted the stress response physically and psychologically as well as applicable mindful practices to deregulate stressful triggers in our personal and professional lives.
We followed this session with an all-sector panel discussion with Sarah Schock, director of event booking and production at Talking Stick Resort Arena, JD Davenport, operations coordinator from Goodyear Ballpark, Kevin Mattingly, deputy director at the Phoenix Convention Center, and Mark Mettes, president and CEO of the Herberger Theater Center and the IAVM 2016-2017 board chair. We discussed successes and challenges throughout the last season, security concerns, the new overtime pay ruling, and new technologies.
We had some wonderful discussions and networking throughout the day as well as a catered lunch from Special Moments, a local catering company, and a 50/50 raffle to help fund future meetings and the two scholarships that Region 7 awards to Venue Management School every year. We followed the day with a networking session and a venue tour before sending an engaged group back to their respective venues and homes.
Ashley Keen, CVP, is production supervisor for the Mesa Arts Center
When the expanded and renovated Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) reopens its doors in August of 2018, it will do so with a new food and beverage partner. Kentucky Venues has named Levy Convention Centers the exclusive concessions and catering provider for KICC and its guests.
“We’ve worked with Levy at the Kentucky Exposition Center since 2015,” said Jason Rittenberry, President and CEO of Kentucky Venues. “We share a commitment to providing exceptional service and concessions to our clients and guests, and delivering the best experience possible. With this agreement, we can bring that same level of excellence to the Convention Center.”
With a focus on local sustainability and flavors, KICC will offer an in-house garden with education sessions on the importance of Kentucky farms, carbon footprint and growing your own garden. Guests will also find an in-house bakery in addition to a flexible coffee and bourbon bar featuring a local roaster, Farmers Market style menu items, and bourbon tastings in the afternoon and evenings.
The contract, awarded through competitive bidding by the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, takes effect July 1, 2018. The five-year contract includes a renewal option for two additional five-year periods.
“Curating localized food experiences and partnering with Kentucky farmers ensures every visitor enjoys the flavors of Kentucky,” said Andy Lansing, President and CEO of Levy. “Our dedicated culinary team will match the excitement behind the world-class renovations being made at KICC and bring the spirit of the region in a fun atmosphere.”
“Kentucky Venues is building the Kentucky International Convention Center into a true world-class building with these renovations, and we’re excited to match this dedication with an equally world-class hospitality experience,” Lansing said. “Along with the Kentucky Exposition Center, we look forward to continuing to work with Kentucky Venues to bring the unbridled spirit of the region to our guests.”
The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) issued a design and feasibility Request for Proposal (RFP) for master planning services for the 70-acre campus of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) in South Boston. Proposals from bidders are due back to the Authority on September 20, 2017.
Since opening in 2004, the BCEC has earned a global reputation as one of the top venues in the industry as both planners and convention guests continue to view Boston as a prime destination to bring meetings and events which have generated billions of dollars in economic activity for the City of Boston, the Commonwealth and the region.
“It has been a dynamic and disruptive decade in our industry which has mirrored the dramatic changes that have occurred in South Boston,” said David Gibbons, executive director of the MCCA. “This is an exciting and appropriate time for the Authority to evaluate where we stand in the convention marketplace. We are asking our customers what they need and determining what we can afford in order to position the BCEC for long term success.”
The RFP will task designers to meet the needs of the BCEC’s current and future customers, better integrate the BCEC into the South Boston’s proximate neighborhoods, outline a building program that is financially self-sufficient, innovative and minimizes the impact on the environment in order to enhance the MCCA’s competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving convention marketplace.
“Boston is a premier global destination for business and tourism and the BCEC is a key catalyst to create economic activity in the city and across the region,” said John McDonnell, MCCA chairman. “The time is right to evaluate convention related growth opportunities on the BCEC campus to ensure its future success.”