Operations

OVG launches supplier diversity programme, major-league arenas on board

Oak View Group, the global venue development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, has launched a supplier diversity programme to strengthen and broaden business opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups.

A number of leading OVG venues, including the Seattle Kraken’s Climate Pledge Arena and the New York Islanders’ UBS Arena, have committed to participating in the pilot programme, which will fully launch in January. Austin’s Moody Center and the newly rebuilt Miami Beach Convention Center have also signed up.

The initiative forms part of OVG’s continued pledge to be a catalyst for lasting change and inclusion throughout the organisation. The programme will also encourage the growth of minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses.

OVG will work to identify and increase sourcing from suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by a non-white minority, a disabled person, or a woman. OVG currently recognises a wide range of diverse certifications that include minority businesses, women, veterans, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and other local city certifications.

It is hoped the programme will foster economic inclusivity by making OVG’s supply chain more diverse by encouraging the use of vendors that are historically overlooked, while ensuring a positive impact is made in the communities where OVG operates.

When vetting potential suppliers, OVG will also consider multiple factors which may change from market to market, including capacity based on the size of the potential partner’s company and where within OVG’s operations they would most likely succeed, as well as key differentiators such as cost savings, reduction in delivery or setup times, value-added services, product/services quality, and sustainability.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of OVG, said: “We understand that to provide exceptional guest experiences at our venues, we need to think beyond customer service and start to deepen our commitment to underrepresented communities. Minority-owned businesses are the social, economic, and cultural fabric of our economy and we want to be a part of empowering those communities.

“Investing in these businesses is being intentional about the ways we invest in the communities. If you don’t have a multi-cultural business strategy today, you won’t be competitive or around in the next 10 years.”

Dr. Debonair Oates-Primus, OVG’s vice-president of diversity, equity and inclusion, added: “OVG believes in the power of a diverse community and recognises the opportunity to be intentional in the ways they support and uplift the diverse business communities they serve.

“Our supplier diversity programme won’t just benefit underrepresented businesses, it will uplift the communities where these businesses are located through job creation, increased wages, and tax revenue. This isn’t just a business strategy, it’s our commitment to making a long-lasting economic impact in underrepresented communities. Minority-owned businesses encounter unique barriers that challenge their growth efforts such as access to capital and networking opportunities. The pilot programme aims to alleviate some of those pain points.”