Venues Today Magazine names 14 SMG Finalists for Annual Hall of Headline Awards

Conshohocken, PA (October 20, 2016) – This December, Venues Today magazine will be presenting its “most prestigious award”, the Hall of Headlines, with SMG receiving a record 14 nominations. The categories featured in the nominations include News, Bookings, Operations and Tech, Marketing, and Concessions with SMG nominated in all 5 categories.

Staff from 6 SMG venues was nominated in the Bookings category:

  • Leonard Bonacci, Regional Vice President was nominated for his work in turning Glendale, Arizona into “Paradise City” for a day in honor of a concert by Guns N’ Roses at the newly acquired SMG account, University of Phoenix Stadium.
  • Lynn Carlotto, GM for SMG in Kingston Ontario was nominated for booking and hosting the last tour date of The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem Tour. The event was especially poignant as the band’s lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed at the end of 2015 with terminal brain cancer. The 11.7 million fans who watched the event, earned the concert the title of the second highest-rated show in Canadian television history.
  • Jerry Goldman, AGM/SMG, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was nominated for organizing the Grand Opening Ceremonies (over 200,000 in attendance) and Sold-out Grand Opening events including an International Soccer Event: AC Milan v. Chelsea FC as part of the International Champions Cup as well as two sold-out concerts performed by Luke Bryan and Metallica.
  • Jeff Nickler, GM for SMG in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the BOK Center was nominated for creating the Mother Road Revival Festival weekend , a new five-day folk music festival that pays homage to Historic Route 66 including encompassing live music at five different venues, a folk film series, food trucks, engaging panels with folk musicians and songwriters.
  • Chris Semrau, AGM for SMG in Sioux Falls at the Denny Sanford Premier Center was nominated for delivering a sophomore year even bigger than the inaugural year at one of the newest Midwest hot spots. In its second year the arena hosted 24 different events, including sold out shows by Paul McCartney, Carrie Underwood, and Journey.
  • Rich MacKeigan, GM for SMG in Grand Rapids at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place was nominated 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.

In the Marketing category, SMG nearly had a clean sweep garnering 4 of the 5 total category nominations including:

  • Meghan Doyle, Director of Marketing at the BOK Center in Tulsa was nominated for creating the most memorable backstage experience ever for Ariana Grande. In October 2015, BOK Center stunned the pop star and her 85.7-million Instagram followers with a surprise that sparked national media coverage and generated awareness for a very worthy cause. Knowing of Grande’s love for animals, specifically rescue dogs, SMG staff surprised her in the green room with eight adorable puppies from the Animal Rescue Foundation of Tulsa. Grande’s Instagram posts that evening generated over 1.3 million likes and helped the Tulsa nonprofit grow their social media following by 600%.
  • Josh Kesler, Marketing & Sales Manager at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Kentucky was nominated for creating a TV show for the arena, Expo Now, a monthly show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the arena, employee spotlight, discusses Savor brand catering, upcoming shows and events, plus a cooking segment called Dine Hard. Kesler also has his own newspaper column in the regional newspaper called Expo Minute.
  • Steve Poremba, Director of Marketing, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, Pa was nominated for creating a welcoming campaign, entitled #WelcomeToWilkesBarry, for Barry Manilow that featured over $15,000 in outdoor digital media exposure and social media promotions. An oversized “Thank You” card gave fans the opportunity to write their own message to Mr. Manilow before he took the stage “One Last Time” in Northeast Pennsylvania on March 13. Manilow uploaded a video to his Facebook page with the greeting card, which received widespread engagement from all over the world.
  • Hilarie Szarowicz, Director of Marketing at Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan 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.

Included in the Concessions category were nominations of Mark Anderson, GM and VP, of Premier Food Services (SMG) in Del Mar California for enhancing and finding fun and profit in Del Mar Fair’s theme, “Mad about the Fair,” by creating pop-up Alice in Wonderland tea parties and Tipsy Tea parties throughout the grounds. In the Flower and Garden Show area, Premier created Tea Time in Wonderland hosted tea parties, complete with hat-making and an upsell to Tipsy Tea, The concept was “Garden to Bar” with cocktails named The Wrong Alice, Smile in the Sky, and Advice from Absolem.

In addition in the Concessions category, Jeff Dubin, Director of Food & Beverage for SAVOR at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids 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, at Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich. 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. Voting is currently underway for the nominees.

For the Operations and Tech category, SMG’s Eddie Tadlock, AGM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids 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.

SMG’s General Manager in Puerto Rico at the Coliseo of Puerto Rico, Eduardo Cajina, was nominated in the News category, for a record year of events culminating in 103 events with over 700,000 guests and more than $35 million in gross ticket sales – despite one of the worst economic downturns in the island’s history.