Thursday, October 26, 2017

MSU Basketball Charity Exhibition Receives Overwhelming Response

Sunday’s men’s college basketball exhibition between Michigan State University and University of Georgia at Van Andel Arena in support of disaster relief efforts has proven to be an extremely high demand event. Tickets went on sale Wednesday afternoon, and the response was immediately overwhelming. There are no tickets currently available for the game, but there will be a very limited number of holds released this week.

“West Michigan has always claimed to be a big sports town and a big Michigan State town,” said Steve Heacock, Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority Chairman and Michigan State alumnus. “It’s wonderful to have real data to back that up.”

“Although not surprising, it’s great to see the amazing response from the Spartan fans in West Michigan,” added Tom Izzo, Michigan State men’s basketball head coach. “They are excited to see their Spartans play, but, more importantly, they are passionate about supporting a worthy cause and helping other people.”

The second-ranked Spartans will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs on Sunday, October 29 at 2 PM at Van Andel Arena. The game was just added to the schedule on Monday with the intent of raising funds for disaster relief. Ticket sales will benefit American Red Cross – International Services and American Red Cross – Georgia Region.

“Accolades to SMG and MSU staff who scrambled to put together the event in such a short time frame without any glitches,” said SMG Regional General Manager Richard MacKeigan. “What typically takes months to build has come together in just a matter of days. I credit the teamwork and enthusiasm from both sides for pulling this off.”

SMG has hosted a number of MSU events through the years, including School of Medicine White Coat ceremonies at DeVos Performance Hall and various sporting events in Van Andel Arena, among others. The Michigan State men’s basketball team has played at Van Andel Arena twice before, against Arkansas-Little Rock on December 3, 2005, and again on November 1, 2006 in an exhibition game against Grand Valley State University.

Tickets can be purchased at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices, online at, and charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 while supplies last.

Michigan State is ranked No. 2 in the country in the USA Today Coaches Preseason poll. Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges was named the B1G Preseason Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-B1G Team. He was joined on the all-conference squad by sophomore forward Nick Ward. Bridges, who is one of 20 players selected on the watch list for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award has also been named the preseason National Player of the Year by and NBC Sports and is the No. 1 candidate for Sports Illustrated. The Spartans return four of their top five scorers and eight of their top 10 from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad.

Georgia is led by senior forward Yante Maten, who was selected as the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year. Maten, a native of Bloomfield, Michigan, averaged 18.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last year. The Bulldogs received votes in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll after posting a 19-15 record last season and playing in the National Invitation Tournament.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Smoking area moves for all events effective immediately

The smoking area during events at Van Andel Arena will be relocated from the plaza in front of the building to outside the southeast corner of the venue for all events, effective immediately. The relocation will allow more efficient access for patrons coming and going from the arena as well as better flow on the front plaza.

The new smoking area will be accessible from the concourse by the stairs located at the southeast end of the arena. Fans with accessibility needs can use the elevator at the southeast corner of the concourse to access the smoking area outside of the employee entrance and will be wrist banded for re-entry.

The smoking area will be available for fans beginning with the opening of doors until 30 minutes prior to the end of a show or midway through the final period of sporting events.

Continuing SMG’s commitment to maintaining a safe and secure facility, security staff will continue to be present in the smoking area at all times.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

“Round Up at the Rink – to fight cancer” this October at Van Andel Arena

Fans attending events at the SMG-managed Van Andel Arena throughout the month of October will have the opportunity to “Round Up at the Rink – to fight cancer.” Donation jars will be available at concession stands during each event to benefit local non-profit, Cancer Families United, an organization that provides support to families affected by childhood cancer.

Cancer Families United was selected as the beneficiary of October’s Round Up at the Rink by Van Andel Arena staff member, Bessie Price, a breast cancer survivor being recognized by Van Andel Arena as part of the Round Up. In addition to selecting the charity, Bessie is also receiving a night on the town with two tickets to the November 1st Janet Jackson concert at Van Andel Arena, dinner at The B.O.B., concessions vouchers from SAVOR…Grand Rapids and car service provided by Executive Coach Service.

Nominated by co-workers Lyndsey Horvath and Kathy Yasick to be recognized, Bessie Price has worked as a custodian at Van Andel Arena since 1998, and is excited to be a part of the October Round Up at the Rink. As a cancer survivor, mother of 8, grandmother of 20 (with 2 more on the way) and great-grandmother of 10, she values the support that families can provide each other during hard times and understands the need for assistance for families dealing with childhood cancer.

“I’m excited to be able to give back and happy to do my part in this small way,” said Price. “I hope that I, along with everyone coming out to Van Andel Arena in October, can make a difference to kids and their families who are dealing with cancer.”

The SMG staff at Van Andel Arena set out to raise money for a cancer-related non-profit in October, expanding on Breast Cancer Awareness Month to open up fundraising opportunities for all types of cancer. Bessie’s selection of Cancer Families United is fitting in that it is extending September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by continuing to offer support into the month of October.

At the end of October, SMG will add to patrons’ donations by matching the total donation amount, up to $1000, with a gift to Cancer Families United in the name of Dean Gust, Van Andel Arena’s Head Ticket Taker who lost his battle with cancer in 2015.

Events taking place in October at Van Andel Arena include:
Oct. 6: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Manitoba Moose
Oct. 7: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Manitoba Moose
Oct. 10: WWE Smackdown
Oct. 16: Steely Dan
Oct. 21: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Hershey Bears
Oct. 25: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Tucson Roadrunners
Oct. 27: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Chicago Wolves
Oct. 28: Bob Dylan & His Band, Plus Mavis Staples

About Cancer Families United
Cancer Families United is a grass roots non-profit established in 2012 to provide essential support and services to families of Southwest Michigan affected by childhood cancer through family networking, community awareness, financial assistance and advocacy for a cure. For more information, visit

Monday, August 28, 2017

Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall enjoy record year in Grand Rapids

The recently closed fiscal year proved to be a record-breaking year for the SMG-managed venues in Grand Rapids, Michigan – Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place, and DeVos Performance Hall. With the record-breaking combined fiscal performance from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, the three venues are continuing the momentum generated by the celebration of Van Andel Arena’s 20th anniversary in 2016.

Van Andel Arena hosted 37 events for a total of 60 performances throughout the fiscal year, not including Grand Rapids Griffins AHL Hockey games and non-ticketed events. Some highlights included the legendary Paul McCartney setting a record for gross ticket sales for a single event and Kanye West bringing the heaviest production the arena has ever seen. The arena also hosted Journey & The Doobie Brothers, Blink-182, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Snoop Dogg, Professional Bull Riders, Eric Church, a live broadcast of WWE RAW, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Red Hot Chili Peppers and several others.

“We had a big year planned for the 20th anniversary of Van Andel Arena, and that carried over down the street at DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall as well,” said SMG Regional General Manager Richard MacKeigan. “The enthusiasm we operate with and the success we have been able to enjoy is a manifestation of the support we have from the community and SMG, and the confidence we gain from the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority.”

Adding yet another arena highlight to a year that already had plenty, the Griffins clinched their second Calder Cup Championship in franchise history on home ice in June.

"Grand Rapids has three wonderful venues and the corporate staff in the SMG Live Entertainment Division did a magnificent job working with them to achieve some outstanding results that we are very proud of,” said SMG Executive Vice President Doug Thornton. "We work hard to make sure our corporate resources are of great value to our buildings around the world, and the performance in Grand Rapids last year is a perfect example of the partnerships we strive to create."

Chris Cornell at DeVos Performance Hall
DeVos Performance Hall hosted a number of significant events as well, including Aretha Franklin, Dan TDM, Bill Engvall, Boston, Chris Cornell, and others. In addition to its usual run of public shows such as the 9th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, an event created by SMG Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA), DeVos Place hosted a number of private events, conventions, conferences, and meetings to keep a fully loaded schedule that rarely left the building idle.
Comedian Bill Engvall at DeVos Performance Hall

In addition to ticketed events, the buildings hosted several events open to the community as well. Both DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena hosted art installations during ArtPrize, an annual international art competition held in Grand Rapids. Two of the installations in DeVos Place were chosen as winners in their categories.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary, Van Andel Arena opened its doors to the public with a free Halloween Open House in October and capped off the year-long commemoration with a charity dinner in January featuring a moderated discussion with General Managers of the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Tigers with all proceeds benefitting local non-profit organizations.

Both DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena hosted graduation ceremonies this fiscal year. Other events such as the Turkey Trot 5K to benefit Grand Rapids Public Schools on Thanksgiving morning, Barley, BBQ & Beats to benefit Hospice of Michigan, and Heart of West Michigan United Way’s Food from the Heart took place as well.

The year wasn’t without its accolades along the way as Regional General Manager Richard MacKeigan was named among the industry’s elite on Billboard’s Top Arena Managers list in September and followed that up by being named winner of Venues Today’s “most prestigious award,” the Hall of Headlines in December.

In order to improve the guest experience, Van Andel Arena installed new LED lighting both inside and outside of the arena, and repaired sections of sidewalk around the building. The arena also wrapped itself in a bow again to celebrate the holidays and gave the marquee a facelift to improve its graphical capabilities.

DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena both continued their commitment to the 2030 District, a downtown district facilitated by the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan with help from the Institute for Energy Innovation, aimed at dramatically reducing environmental impacts in the community. DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena also participated in the Annual Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit to highlight its ongoing sustainability efforts.

“We can’t wait to show West Michigan what is in store for the new fiscal year,” added MacKeigan. “We are thrilled to be able to match the energy that we feel from the community and our partners that make this all possible.”

Fans in costume at the 20th Anniversary Halloween Open House

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pollstar magazine shows Van Andel Arena & DeVos Performance Hall among world's best in 2016

Concert industry magazine Pollstar’s 2016 lists were recently released in their January 16th Year-End issue, and Van Andel Arena and DeVos Performance Hall have found a place among the top venues in the world.

Van Andel Arena celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, and it shaped up to be a year-long celebration with some of the biggest acts in the industry. With performances from the likes of Elton John, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney, among several others, the arena sold enough tickets to come in at #35 among arena venues of all sizes in the United States and #69 worldwide on Pollstar’s list of Top 200 Arena Venues in 2016.

On Pollstar’s list of Top 200 Theatre Venues, DeVos Performance Hall ranked at #20 in the United States and #29 worldwide for theatre venues of all sizes. Both lists tracked reported ticket sales between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.

The Avett Brothers perform at Van Andel Arena on November 12, 2016
“It is incredibly gratifying to see that the support we have from the community here and the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) isn’t going unnoticed,” said SMG Regional General Manager Richard MacKeigan. “Without their loyalty and patronage, it would be very difficult to be successful, and we felt like we received plenty of both for DeVos Performance Hall and the 20th anniversary of Van Andel Arena. We are very excited that these rankings reflect that as well.”

Prior to Pollstar’s year-end lists, Van Andel Arena and DeVos Performance had already been recognized by other trade magazines as well. Venues Today showed the arena as #4 in North America and #11 worldwide on their Top Stops list for venues with a capacity between 10,001 and 15,000, and the arena also appeared at #5 among venues of the same capacity range on the magazine’s Social Media Power Poll which ranks venues by their social media presence. DeVos Performance Hall came in at #16 worldwide on Venues Today’s list of Top Stops for venues with a capacity between 2,001 and 5,000.

Van Andel Arena also came in at #3 on Billboard’s Boxscore rankings for venues in North America with a capacity between 10,001 and 15,000. The arena was #8 worldwide in the Boxscore rankings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Van Andel Arena celebrates 20 years with benefit dinner and major Detroit sports executives

Van Andel Arena will be capping off its year-long commemoration of 20 years with a moderated discussion with some of Detroit’s top brass in sports.

The arena is inviting the community to join them on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 for a charity benefit dinner followed by a conversation with Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila, Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland, and Detroit Pistons General Manager Jeff Bower. The conversation will be moderated by WOOD-TV8’s Jack Doles, and a brief question and answer session is expected to take place afterward.

As the Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons each have minor league affiliates in West Michigan, Avila, Holland, and Bower will explore the importance of their connections to Grand Rapids and the major league advantages each organization is able to enjoy as a result.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame, West Michigan Sports Commission, Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation, and Whitecaps Community Foundation.

Tickets for the public to enjoy the after-dinner program starting at 8:00 PM are just $5, and are on sale now at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices, or 1-800-745-3000.

This unique event is possible thanks to generous sponsors: Ticketmaster, Metro Health Hospital Foundation, Grand Rapids Griffins and Staffing Inc.