OVG starts Canadian odyssey



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OVG expands into Canada Image: Ticket News

The American entertainment and sports facilities company Oak View Group (OVG) is taking on its first project North of the border, having signed a deal with the Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG). The deal will involve OVG helping redevelop the Hamilton, Ontario Arts & Entertainment District, which includes the FirstOntario Centre Arena (Canada).

The ‘Ticket News’ stated that as per a press release from the June agreement between HUPEG and the City of Hamilton (Canada), the long-term agreement will include operations and maintenance (O&M) of the arena as well as the FirstOntario Concert Hall, and the Hamilton Convention Centre. A renovation plan for the arena includes a minimum of $50 million in improvements, covering expanded concourses, exterior façade, and a new videoboard.

The Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group L.P. (known as the ‘Precinct Group’) (Canada) is a regional consortium led by Carmen’s Group and the Mercanti Family and Associates, working in collaboration with venue operators, industry consultants and development partners.

The FirstOntario Centre is a sports and entertainment arena at the corner of Bay Street North and York Boulevard in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Opened in 1985, it has a capacity of up to 19,000.

The ‘Ticket News’ further stated that work is expected to begin on the project in Fall 2022. The current arena was opened in 1985 and can host approximately 19,000 spectators for concerts, slightly less for sporting events. It is the home of the ice hockey team Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL), basketball team Hamilton Honey Badgers (CEBL) and lacrosse team Toronto Rock (NLL) franchises.

Remarked Oak View Group (OVG) CEO Tim Leiweke, a former President of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in Toronto, which is approximately 70 kilometers Northeast of Hamilton along the shores of Lake Ontario, “I have been very fortunate in my career to be part of the Toronto community and call Canada home. I saw first-hand the continued growth in the Toronto Metro area, and we believe Hamilton in particular, needs a venue that reflects the growth, great fans and community thus requiring that new facilities are developed and new opportunities are created.”

Added Leiweke, “We believe Hamilton is the perfect market to plant our first OVG Canada flag and will be a venue that compliments Canada and the 19,800-capacity Scotiabank Arena. We think there is a need, an opportunity to transform the current arena and we are extremely excited to be partners with the City of Hamilton and HUPEG on their vision.”

The deal is the first announced since Oak View Group’s blockbuster merger with Spectra, adding the massive venue management and hospitality provider to its growing business in a deal expected to close later this year. OVG also has partnerships with a number of venues on the verge of opening, including the 17,459-capacity Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle (US), the 17,113-capacity UBS Arena in New York (US) and the Coachella Valley Arena in California (US).

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