Venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group has been awarded a management and food service contract for the multi-purpose BOK Center arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The contract, awarded to OVG by the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA), also includes the nearby Cox Business Convention Center. OVG will replace ASM Global as manager of the two venues.
TPFA will now begin exclusive negotiations with OVG360 and OVG Hospitality to manage operations, booking, partnerships and sponsorships, and food and beverage operations at the two venues.
OVG will focus on securing major concerts for BOK Center, growing Tulsa’s national and regional convention business, and developing a full-service convention centre hotel in partnership with the city and its stakeholders.
BOK Center has a capacity of 19,000. As well as music concerts, the arena hosts ice hockey, arena football and basketball games.
John Bolton, senior vice-president at OVG, opened BOK Center in 2008 and served as general manager of the arena and convention centre for six years. Fellow OVG senior vice-president Jeff Nickler also spent a decade in Tulsa booking concerts for BOK Center.
Bolton and Nickler will serve on a special senior advisory council to support the transition at both venues. The council will also include Casey Sparks, vice-president of OVG Austin and former general manager at BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center, and Joe Giordiano, formerly assistant general manager at BOK Center who now leads OVG’s Arena, Stadium and Theatre Alliances.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said: “The BOK Center and Convention Center are key economic drivers in our community, and their success is critical to Tulsa’s future vitality. As a thriving world-class city with world-class entertainment venues, we must always be focused on continuous improvement – not self-satisfied with the success of today but focused on being even better tomorrow.
“I have complete confidence in OVG and their ability to build upon the success we’ve enjoyed at the BOK Center and Convention Center over the last 15 years.”
OVG chief executive Tim Leiweke added: “We know the potential of the Tulsa market, and we know BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center are centrepieces of that forward movement.
“Oak View Group has a number of leaders – John, Jeff, Casey and Joe – who have deep roots and a profound respect for the market, coupled with long-time relationships with the city’s key stakeholders and among the community. OVG working in Tulsa will feel like coming home, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
OVG will work with local partners to introduce more bespoke flavours at the two venues, while implementing new technology to optimise the fan and guest experience. OVG will also leverage relationships with national brands to develop new partnerships and sponsorship opportunities with companies that “recognise the vitality” of the Tulsa market.
OVG’s recent venue openings in the US include Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, UBS Arena in New York, Moody Center in Austin, and Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs.