By Mary Klida
Earlier this month the naming rights sponsor for TCF Center, TCF National Bank, announced an anticipated merger with Huntington Bank. Once the merger is completed, TCF Center will bear the Huntington name along with a few other Midwest venues. The naming rights contract for the center will stay the same, only the name will change.
“The merger of these two partners will strengthen every community they call home, including Detroit. Together, they have pledged to bring jobs and programs that drive economic inclusion to Detroit,” said Claude Molinari, general manager of TCF Center/ASM Global. “We will welcome the Huntington name on our center.”
TCF paid $33 million over 22 years for the naming rights of the Detroit convention center in February 2019, making it the largest naming rights deal for a convention center at the time. With the removal of the TCF branding, the TCF Center — recently renamed in late 2019 — will be rebranded with the Huntington name. The merger is expected to close in the mid-2021.
“We are delighted by the news of the merger agreement between Huntington and TCF Bank and congratulate them.” said Larry Alexander, Chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA). “They are remarkable community partners. We look forward to a stronger future together.”
Huntington Bancshares Incorporated — the parent company of Huntington Bank — and TCF Financial Corporation — the parent company of TCF National Bank — announced Dec. 13 that the companies would combine in an all-stock merger, with a total market value of about $22 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, TCF will merge into Huntington sometime in mid-2021, and the combined holding company and bank will operate under the Huntington name and brand following the closing of the transaction.
“This partnership will provide us the opportunity for deeper investments in our communities, more jobs in Detroit, an increased commitment in Minneapolis and a better experience for our customers,” said Gary Torgow, executive chairman of TCF Financial Corporation. “We will be a top regional bank, with the scale to compete and the passion to serve. Merging with the Huntington platform will be a great benefit to all of our stakeholders and will drive significant opportunities for our team members.”
As the launch of the venue rebrand approaches in 2021, the TCF Center sales and events team will be in close conversation with customers. Rebranded materials will be sent prior to their events, as was done in 2019 with anticipation of the name change to TCF Center.
Mary Klida is Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at TCF Center.
By R.V. Baugus
So, I kicked back on the couch Thursday night to watch the Dallas Mavericks play the Minnesota Timberwolves in a final NBA pre-season tune-up game at American Airlines Center when all of a sudden I thought, hey, I should be at this game!
Any other year my season ticket package would have indeed included this game, but as we all know this is not any other year. (As I write this we are literally 13 days from putting 2020 in the closet and never letting it out again … we usually count down to something exciting but in this case I am sure most of us are putting a big red “X” on every day we move past in this unprecedented and trying year and rid ourselves of this year.)
But back to the game at hand. Yeah, yeah, so it looked like the Mavs I have seen so often who lead big after three quarters only to see the opponent force overtime and go on to win in the extra period. Calm down, R.V., I tell myself. It is still just a pre-season game and the Mavs heavy lifters were on the bench at the end of the game in order to give the coaching staff an opportunity to see how other guys perform in crunch time.
I found myself more intrigued by what surrounded the court — tarps covering seats on the camera angle side, photographers set even further back from the baseline on the court, and reporters stationed in the mezzanine section. The real action begins on December 22 when the NBA begins its 2020 (barely)-2021 season. A number of IAVM members at NBA arenas took some time to visit with us about how their venue plans to deal with the onset of the season in a COVID-19 environment.
The first to hear back from was our very own Dave Brown, Chief Operating Officer and GM at American Airlines Center. “The Mavs have not made a decision on fans and we don’t expect that they will for another week or so,” he said. “Definitely no fans for our first preseason game.”
The Mavs sent season ticket holders an email giving those people options on how to use their 2020-21 tickets, ranging from desiring to use all games to using a percentage of games to simply not using any games through a schedule that the NBA has drafted to so far carry into March. Of course, this will all likely remain fluid depending on where the pandemic goes.
Jamie Galileo, SVP Facilities LHMSE/Vivint Smart Home Arena, noted that the Salt Lake City home to the Utah Jazz will take on an in initial 10% capacity with seating in pods of four. Changes at the arena, obviously, are drastically different from when the NBA shut down after games on March 11 of this year, including 100% mobile food app ordering and pickup, going cashless, masks, signage, GBAC, and so forth. Safety measures are also in place for staff as well as team personnel including air filters, fogging, and social distancing. Galileo said the biggest change with the start=up to the season is what the eyes see — very few fans.
Few arenas in the world are as busy as STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Lee Zeidman, President of the venue that is home to the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers, said the changes at the venue have been massive, although no fans will be present as the season tips off.
“We did a comprehensive top to bottom assessment of the venue and have replaced touch/contact points such as paper towel dispensers, toilet flush handles, faucets, soap dispensers as well as adding UV technology on escalators, NanoSeptic sleeves and buttons on door handles and elevator buttons,” Zeidman said. “In addition, we will be all cashless when fans come back and we have added additional grab and go concepts.”
When it comes to safety, Zeidman said that the venue as the first global arena to receive the GBAC STAR accreditation to ensure the ultimate in safety standards. The venue gladly showed its designation in the accompanying photo.
“We have also married up our venue A-Z protocols with the State/County and the leagues that play in our venue,” he added. “These include increased sanitization, testing, contact tracing, PPE, etc.”
The San Antonio Spurs expect to begin bringing fans back to AT&T Center around the beginning of the new year, according to Casey Heverling, VP/General Manager of Spurs Sports & Entertainment.
“While this decision will always be guided by the health data for our region, we are anticipating fans at our games right around the new year,” Heverling said. “The first couple home games will have family and friends in attendance. In order to adhere to strict socially distant seating clusters, we will be just under 20% capacity (just over 3,200 seats available) with seating clusters of two and four, mostly.”
Heverling said that numerous changes have been implemented, with three main areas getting the most attention
“We focused our efforts in air, surfaces, and people,” he said. “We have enhanced our air filtration and the amount of fresh air we bring into the arena. We have deployed devices that provide an added layer of air filtration through HEPA filters and Bi-Polar Ionization. We are disinfecting surfaces on a more frequent basis, using electrostatic sprayers and specialized UV disinfection robots. We have created a virtually touchless experience for our fans through technology upgrades including a new Wi-Fi 6 system, 5G cellular service, touchless concession ordering and mobile ordering capabilities through our Spurs app. Our staff will be specifically trained to help all fans stay socially distant and safe throughout their time with us. Masks will be mandatory the entire time, while not actively eating or drinking.
“Our staff and team personnel will be able to utilize many of the same enhancements and benefit from the building changes just like our fans. The big changes for our staff and team personnel comes from the planning and changes to layouts, providing the ability to remain socially distant wherever possible.”
One of the biggest change at AT&T Center, as with all NBA arenas, will be the look inside the arena.
“Physically changing the environment for social distancing through signage, furniture removal, plexiglass installations, etc., is probably the biggest physical change,” Heverling said. “The Wi-Fi 6 upgrade along with the 5G service improvements will be a long-term game changer for our fans.
From I-10 East from San Antonio the Toyota Center and Houston Rockets also prepare for a season by welcoming fans in a safe manner, said Hunter Segesta, Digital Marketing Manager. “Yes, Toyota Center will have fans to start the 2020-21 NBA Season. The first six home games are on sale now at Rockets.com. These are games from December 23rd through January 10th.
The Rockets welcome a maximum of 25% capacity with seats available in two- and four-person seating groups which must be maintained as a complete group with members of the same party. Maintaining the integrity of the seating group is applicable whether fans plan to attend the game personally or plan to transfer the tickets.
Segesta said that the Rockets and Toyota Center have developed these protocols and guidelines in partnership with the City of Houston, the Houston Venue and Event Task Force, Memorial Hermann, and the NBA:
* Reduced capacity will be enforced for Rockets games and all other arena events to allow for proper distancing between sets of guests.
* Ticketed fans will be required to answer a series of health questions before entering the arena. Fans seated in close proximity to the court will require additional league mandated testing protocols.
* Proper face masks will be required for ages 2 and up and must be worn at all times inside the arena, unless actively eating or drinking.
* No bags are permitted; however lockers will be available for rent.
* All tickets will be digital. Guests will manage and scan their touchless tickets through the Houston Rockets mobile app.
* To promote social distancing and sanitization, floor markers and signs promoting social distancing and hand sanitization stations will be placed around the arena.
* Frequent sanitization of all high touch surface areas during games and events such as seats, handrails, door knob, restrooms, countertops, etc.
* All staff will receive additional health and safety training. In addition, staff will also have their temperature checked and will wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
* All point of sales at Toyota Center will be cashless. Plexiglas barriers will be installed at all concession and retail stands to reduce direct contact between guests and staff. A touchless food and beverage ordering system option will allow fans to receive their orders at their designated seat to maximize social distancing and the overall fan experience.
“In addition, Toyota Center has also joined the Houston Clean campaign which was formed by the Houston Venues & Events Task Force along with local hospitality, tourism, and transportation industries,” Segesta said. “Houston Clean is aimed at helping guests easily identify safety measures in place to protect guests and staff.
“As part of Houston Clean, Toyota Center pledges to maintain the highest standards of public safety and health. This includes becoming the latest facility to achieve GBAC STAR accreditation status. The GBAC STAR Accreditation program is the industry’s leading outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation for facilities.”
The look and feel of being at the venue and watching basketball will definitely be different at first.
“Having games at a reduced capacity with our fans returning to Toyota Center in proper face masks with no bags using digital tickets and only credit cards for all point of sales will be different for many,” Segesta said. “This ensures the highest level of safety, though, for our fans to return to Toyota Center this season. Rockets and Toyota Center staff have been hard at work to ensure a special, first-class live experience this year at Toyota Center. These new protocols are in place to create a safe, yet fun environment for fans. It has been nine months since we have seen our fans and we are so excited to welcome them back safely!”
Whether it is a venue such as Toyota Center welcoming back fans or one such as STAPLES Center and others that will do so at another time, there is hope on the horizon.
“It will be a long, dark winter but for the first time, with the approvals and distribution of vaccines, I now see light at the end of that long tunnel,” Zeidman said. “In California/LA County, we do not have approval to host events with fans, but I now see the path that could get us to hosting with some capacity end of spring, early summer.”
We can’t get there soon enough, Lee!
(AT&T Center photo courtesy of Spurs Sports & Entertainment)
(STAPLES Center photo courtesy of STAPLES Center)
Shelby Looker has been with Alerus Center for five years. In her time with the building, she has held positions in Food and Beverage, Event Management, and now Sales & Marketing. Being able to have worked in so many different departments within Alerus Center, just helps drive her passion for events that much more! #lovewhatyoudo
Join your Foundation in congratulating Shelby on being honored as one of the 30|UNDER|30 Class of 2020 and don’t forget to come back each Thursday as we spotlight another honoree!
As venue management professionals, we have a responsibility to create a safe and enjoyable venue experience. With the worldwide environment we currently find ourselves in, the scope of our industry has changed, and we must be prepared and diligent. Training is an integral way to be prepared and ensure our venues and staff possess the knowledge and expertise to handle challenging situations.
Designed with everyone from venue executives to frontline staff in mind, GuestX is a one-of-a-kind conference for everyone invested in crafting an exceptional, safe and extraordinary guest experience. GuestX provides attendees with invaluable content via skills based workshops and networking sessions that empowers them to put newly gained expertise into immediate action. Whether you work in sports, the arts, the conference and meeting industry, or anywhere people get together, GuestX offers insider perspectives on how every aspect of your operation impacts the overall experience at your venue.
Registration is now open, and we hope to “see” you at virtual GuestX 2021!
By R.V. Baugus
There are so many organizations that should be recognized in 2020 for their work and efforts during the ongoing pandemic. We are of course biased, but believe that our amazing industry stands front and center when it has come to answering the call for, really, whatever has been needed in this tumultuous year. The most recent example comes courtesy of a long laundry list of member venues that served in one capacity or another in the recent Presidential Election. We are honored to run the list below and understand that this may not be complete. We would like to hear from you if your venue was a polling or training site so you may be recognized.
“The Fox Theatre (in Atlanta) was pleased to be asked to do its ‘civic duty’ and serve as a polling location for the general election and two run-offs,” said Allan Vella, President & CEO of Fox Theatre, Inc. “Under non-COVID conditions, this probably would have been an impossibility given scheduling conflicts. Because of the industry shutdown and consequently our availability, we were able to do our part.
“We worked directly with Fulton County, which had difficulty serving its citizens in the previous election, so the addition of numerous new polling sites stretched the County’s equipment and personnel thin. We in fact had less than 100 voters and we accommodated their requirements in our main lobby. Given that Georgia is in the spotlight because of the two run-off elections and the heightened concern over the control in the Senate, we expect a strong turn out for the January election.”
The FedEx Forum in Memphis, home to the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, was another polling site. In fact, NBA/NHL arenas stepped up across the country to become locations where individuals could cast ballots.
“FedExForum served as the location for the counting of absentee ballots for Memphis/Shelby County, Tennessee, in the 2020 Presidential Election,” said Jeff Olson, Director of Event Booking at the venue. “FedExForum volunteered to serve as a public polling location but the local Election Board decided that they were in a pretty good shape for public polling locations throughout the county. They did decide that the location they had previously used for counting absentee ballots would not be sufficient with the new COVID-19 protocols and they needed a location with more space.
“We worked with the Election Board for them to use the FedExForum loading dock, event level and arena floor to set up as a socially distanced location where the absentee ballots could be safely counted. We had a receiving area near the loading dock that had security cameras and police guards where we were able to store the ballots as they came in from the Election Board. The ballots were prepped for counting on the event level and then taken out to the main floor to be reviewed and counted by the election workers. We had 80 tables in a socially distanced set up on the arena floor where the election workers were able to count the ballots safely. We used our Grand Lobby/main entrance area as the break location for the volunteer workers. This allowed us to have a socially distanced space for them to take a break and relax during their election shifts.
“The overall experience was a great one for me personally as I think that voting is the most important part of our democracy and something that I was very concerned about with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting our country during a Presidential Election year. I was considering volunteering as a poll worker before this and then was very excited when this opportunity came up for FedExForum to host the absentee ballot counting. It was a very educational experience to see how the whole absentee ballot process works since I had never seen that before. It showed me how the process works and that the process is very safe and secure. It was also great to see all the poll workers that volunteered for all day shifts to help ensure a safe, free and fair election occurred and I think our country should be proud that we have such people willing to dedicate their time.”
From the Southeast to the Northwest, IAVM member venues played a major role in the process that Olson described so well.
“Like many of our colleagues, ExtraMile Arena (Boise, ID) served as a polling site in 2020, a first in the building’s 38-year history,” noted Sam Dores, CVP, Director of Business Operations, Strategy, and Development, and Micki Courtney, Assistant General Manager. “In the midst of this pandemic, it was a great opportunity for the Arena, on the campus of Boise State University, to serve as a valuable community asset and provide an outlet for our student’s voices to be heard. A sense of pride and excitement could be felt as voters turned out to cast their votes. When one of our first voters let out a shout of excitement after his vote was tallied, his enthusiasm was met with clapping and cheering from the poll workers. That same positive energy could be felt throughout the day as people continued to pass through our venue.
“Having returned to limited activity in August by serving as two large campus classrooms, acting as a polling site allowed us to continue to implement, test and fine tune our COVID-19 protocols, including sanitization, queuing, and physical distancing. At the end of the night, the local elections office was extremely complimentary and appreciative of our venue’s efforts and our event staff’s commitment to customer service.
“Public venues, as centers of competition, celebration and creativity, play an important role in the communities we serve. Even when traditional events return, we are optimistic that both our venue and our industry continue to make ourselves available to serve as polling sites in future years. While polling site activities may not invoke the same sense of excitement as a University commencement, a Metallica concert or a high-stakes basketball game, the collective sense of pride and purpose we experienced by participating in such an important community effort was palpable. With the client, staff and guests satisfied by the way in which we managed this event, we are hopeful that positive word-of-mouth messaging results in enhanced consumer confidence as we prepare for the day we are able to re-open for traditional events.”
Thank you all for all you do in your communities!
Allen Event Center, Allen, TX
Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Amarillo Civic Center Complex, Amarillo, TX
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
B&O Warehouse, Baltimore, MD
Ball Arena, Denver, CO
BancorpSouth Arena & Conference Center, Tupelo, MS
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Berry Center, Houston, TX
Bert Ogden Arena, Edinburg, TX
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
Boch Centers Wang & Shubert Theatre, Boston, MA
Bojangles Entertainment Complex, Charlotte, NC
Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, Bozeman, MT
Bridge View Center, The, Ottumwa, IA
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Broadmoor World Arena and Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA
Burton Coliseum Complex, Lake Charles, LA
Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, Charleston, WV
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Coppell Arts Center, Coppell, TX
Curtis Culwell Center, Garland, TX
Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, MI
Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX
Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, FL
Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, IL
Ent Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO
ExtraMile Arena, Boise, ID
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
First National Bank Arena, State University, AR
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX
Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA
Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
Gene Polisseni Center, Rochester, NY
Gila River Arena, Glendale, AZ
Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Golden Spike Event Center, Ogden, UT
Hammer Theatre Center – SJSU, San Jose, CA
Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix, AZ
Hertz Arena, Estero, FL
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Houston, TX
Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Hult Center, Eugene, OR
Infinite Energy Forum, Duluth, GA
INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita, KS
Irving Arts Center, Irving, TX
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, MO
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
LA Forum, The, Inglewood, CA
Lake Charles Civic Center, Lake Charles, LA
Landers Center, Southaven, MS
Las Vegas Ballpark, Las Vegas, NV
Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln, NE
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Longview Convention Complex, Longview, TX
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA
Mabee Center, Tulsa, OK
Mechanics Bank Arena, Theater & Convention Center, Bakersfield, CA
Mesa Community College Performing Arts Venues, Mesa, AZ
Midland Center for the Arts, Midland, MI
Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN
Mitchell Center, Mobile, AL
Moda Center, Portland, OR
Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, Madison, WI
Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Boise, ID
Music Center, The / Performing Arts Center of LA County, Los Angeles, CA
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Newnan Centre, Newnan, GA
NJPAC, Newark, NJ
North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, SC
Old National Events Plaza, Evansville, IN
Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, FL
Owensboro Sportscenter, Owensboro, KY
Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ
Prime Osborn Convention Center, Jacksonville, FL
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN
Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, NC
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
Salem Civic Center, Salem, VA
San Diego Civic Theatre, San Diego, CA
San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA
San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, San Francisco, CA
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, CA
Saratoga Springs City Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
SFJAZZ, San Francisco, CA
Simmons Bank Arena, North Little Rock, AR
Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, TX
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA
Sports & Expo Center, Warren, MI
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
State Farm Arena, Hidalgo, TX
State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL
Stephens Auditorium, Ames, IA
Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA
TaxSlayer Center, Moline, IL
TD Garden, Boston, MA
TDECU Stadium/OVG Facilities, Houston, TX
The Forum, Waukesha, WI
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN
Thrasher-Horne Center, Orange Park, FL
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
UD Arena, Dayton, OH
United Center, Chicago, IL
University of Southern California, Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI
Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Madison, WI
Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA
Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach, VA
Weber County Fairgrounds, Ogden, UT
West Cal Arena & Events Center, Sulphur, LA
Wisconsin Union at UW – Madison, Madison, WI
Wright State University Nutter Center, Dayton, OH
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts / Thrasher-Horne Center, San Francisco, CA