Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place executives nominated for industry awards

Garth Brooks at Van Andel Arena on May 12, 2016
This December, Venues Today magazine will be presenting its “most prestigious award,” the Hall of Headlines, with SMG receiving a record 14 nominations, including four executives from Grand Rapids. The categories featured in the nominations include News, Bookings, Operations and Tech, Marketing, and Concessions with SMG nominated in all 5 categories.

Rich MacKeigan, General Manager for SMG at Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place was nominated for bookings for breaking multiple venue records including Garth Brooks’ record for most tickets sold for a single engagement and Paul McCartney’s record for gross ticket sales for a single event.
Hilarie Szarowicz, Director of Marketing at Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place was nominated for hosting a Facebook promotion encouraging people to share their favorite event memory and/or photo using hashtag #MyVAA20 in honor of the 20th Anniversary of Van Andel Arena. The promotion was intended to build awareness of the arena’s 20th anniversary while capturing user content for use in future marketing materials. The campaign resulted in 41,599 people reached, 1,300+ memories (comments) posted, 844 reactions and 118 shares.

In the Concessions category, Jeff Dubin, Director of Food & Beverage for SAVOR at Van Andel Arena, was nominated for introducing a new take on the everyday salad bar called a “Living Salad Bar” for the bands, staff and crew of the “San Francisco Fest Tour,” featuring rock bands Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason Aug. 2, 2016.

"Living Salad Bar"
The Living Salad Bar featured several types of lettuces and kales with all of the typical salad ingredients, with the exception that the lettuce is still alive. In order to provide the freshest salad possible, staff and crew snip their lettuce fresh off the plant before placing it on their plate.

For the Operations and Tech category, SMG’s Eddie Tadlock, Assistant General Manager at DeVos Place, was nominated for efforts to decrease energy usage by 6.03 percent by installing new equipment and reducing wasted resources resulting in the venue finishing second in the 2nd annual Michigan Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit.

In total, 14 SMG executives were nominated across all five categories of the awards. Other SMG executives nominated are listed below.

Bookings category:
  • Leonard Bonacci, Regional Vice President at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, AZ 
  • Lynn Carlotto, General Manager at Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario, Canada 
  • Jerry Goldman, Assistant General Manager at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN 
  • Jeff Nickler, General Manager at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK 
  • Chris Semrau, Assistant General Manager at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, in Sioux Falls, SD 
Marketing category:
  • Josh Kesler, Marketing & Sales Manager at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, KY 
  • Steve Poremba, Director of Marketing at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA 
  • Meghan Doyle, Director of Marketing at the BOK Centre in Tulsa, OK 
Concessions category:
  • Mark Anderson, General Manager and Vice President of Premier Food Services in Del Mar, CA 
News category:
  • Eduardo Cajina, General Manager at the Coliseo of Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Monday, October 3, 2016

Van Andel Arena’s Richard MacKeigan named among concert industry's elite on Billboard’s Top Arena Managers list

SMG Regional General Manager Richard MacKeigan has been a vital part of putting Grand Rapids on the map in the concert industry for the past 18 years and his work is not going unnoticed. The September 24, 2016 issue of Billboard magazine includes the list of Top Arena Managers chosen for “their leadership of the venues that dominate Boxscore rankings,” and MacKeigan is mentioned among the 10 listed for arenas with capacities between 10,001 and 15,000.

The magazine mentions Van Andel Arena’s 20th anniversary and some of the larger shows that have come to Grand Rapids recently, including Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Elton John, and Kanye West.

“We have consistently fought above our weight class when it comes to concerts and their success,” says MacKeigan in the piece.

MacKeigan, a native of Canada and father of three, came to Grand Rapids in September of 1998 as SMG General Manager. He has been at the forefront of shaping the entertainment industry in Grand Rapids with financial, marketing, booking and operational responsibility for Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall.

“This is a reflection of everyone in Grand Rapids. The community has supported us for 20 years and allowed us to continue to grow and bring in some of the biggest shows touring today,” MacKeigan said of the ranking. “The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) placed their trust in SMG and our local staff, and we have worked hard in partnership with our SMG Corporate staff to be sure promoters, agents, managers and artists continue to have Grand Rapids at front of mind when they are planning their shows.”

Van Andel Arena Tops List of North American Venues
The Boxscore rankings, which are the determining factor in the Top Arena Managers list, show Van Andel Arena as the top ranking venue in North America with a capacity between 10,001 and 15,000. The Grand Rapids arena ranks as #5 worldwide and joins Intrust Bank Arena (#6, Wichita, Kansas) as the only other SMG-managed venue on the list. SMG also manages Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, which appeared at #4 worldwide for venues with a capacity above 15,000.

The Boxscore ranking lists venues by size and total gross ticket sales between November 10, 2015 and July 18, 2016. Van Andel Arena’s #1 North American ranking comes behind a reported $13.4 million in gross ticket sales from a wide-ranging set of shows. During this period, the arena saw huge sales from sold out and near-sold out shows such as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Zac Brown Band, Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, Elton John, Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire, twenty one pilots and Def Leppard, as well as a six-show run from Garth Brooks that broke venue attendance records. The sellouts and huge crowds continue a trend that the arena has enjoyed since first opening its doors, proving to promoters again and again that Grand Rapids is a must-play destination when routing their artists’ tour schedules.

The momentum has continued since then with programming growing in both diversity and size. Van Andel Arena recently hosted one of the largest productions to date with Kanye West’s “Saint Pablo Tour” on September 27, and Paul McCartney set an arena record for gross ticket sales from a single event when his “One on One” Tour made a stop in Grand Rapids on August 15.