OVG360 in the saddle of PPG Paints Arena


PPG Paints Arena to be operated by OVG360 Image: Oak View Group

The National Hockey League (NHL) team Pittsburgh Penguins (US), together with their ownership team at the Fenway Sports Group, have selected OVG360, the full-service venue management division of Oak View Group (OVG), to manage, book and operate their digs – the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (US). The previous management agreement with the world’s leading venue management company and producer of live event experiences, ASM Global, is due to expire on June 30th.

The ‘NHL’ stated that following a competitive, national search among several top-tier arena operators, the Penguins selected OVG360 based on the company’s proven expertise operating world-class facilities, including two newly constructed National Hockey League (NHL) arenas: The 17,255-capacity UBS Arena in Elmont, New York (home of the New York Islanders) and the 17,459-capacity Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington (home of the Seattle Kraken).

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference, and play their home games at the PPG Paints Arena, originally known as Consol Energy Center, since 2010.

The 19,758-capacity PPG Paints Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena in Pittsburgh (US) that serves as the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. It previously was the home of the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League from 2011 to 2014.

The OVG Oak View Group, LLC is an American Global Advisory, Development and Investment Company for Sports and Live Entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles, it was formed on November 16th, 2015 by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The ‘NHL’ further stated that the OVG360 also manages the soon-to-open multipurpose arena at the Arizona State University (where the NHL Arizona Coyotes will play), the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri (practice facility for the NHL St. Louis Blues) and in the Pittsburgh area, the 4,000-capacity UPMC Events Center in Carnot-Moon, Pennsylvania, at the Robert Morris University.

The OVG360 has long demonstrated its ability to drive world-class content, premium events and major concerts to its family of venues globally. Additionally, the new management team will make substantial private investments into the PPG Paints Arena to improve the fan experience and operational infrastructure, and contribute more aggressively to the quality and diversity of entertainment in the Pittsburgh region.

Another key part of the new agreement, that takes effect from July 1st, is OVG360 will retain the venue’s existing local management team and arena workers, including all union relationships.

The OVG has a history of strong labor relations in Seattle, New York, and across its portfolio of venues globally.

Said Kevin Acklin, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Pittsburgh Penguins, “OVG is a rising, innovative leader in arena management, and we are proud to welcome their partnership at the PPG Paints Arena. OVG recognizes the strength and resilience of Pittsburgh’s fan base and the quality of our venue, and we are thrilled to partner with them to focus on the future of sports and live entertainment in Pittsburgh.”

The operations of the PPG Paints Arena will be supported by a deep senior leadership team with extensive hockey backgrounds.

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, is the former President and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Governor of the NHL team Los Angeles Kings, where he helped bring the Stanley Cup to Los Angeles. Leiweke is also the former President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment properties (including the NHL team Toronto Maple Leafs and their residence – the 19,800-capacity Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada), as well as helped the 32nd franchise, Seattle Kraken, find a home at the Climate Pledge Arena.

Chris Granger, President of OVG360, previously oversaw business operations for Ilitch Sports and Entertainment, which included the NHL team Detroit Red Wings digs – the 19,515-capacity Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Detroit Tigers, the historic 4,665-capacity Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, and the iconic 15,040-capacity Pine Knob Music Theatre in Michigan.

Peter Luukko, Executive Chairman of OVG360, spent more than 25 years overseeing the NHL team Philadelphia Flyers, while also serving as a member of the National Hockey League Board of Governors. While in Philadelphia, Luukko also oversaw Comcast Spectacor’s Global Spectrum arena management portfolio of 125-plus venues. He was also Executive Chairman of the NHL team Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports and Entertainment.

Additionally, Hank Abate, Senior Vice-President at OVG overseeing facilities in the Northeast, was a part of the opening team of PPG Paints Arena and has 40-plus years of venue management experience, including stops at the 20,789-capacity Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, and most recently at the UBS Arena, where Abate served as President of Arena Operations.

Stated Leiweke, “Many of our senior leaders have hockey in their DNA, and we’re thrilled to be working with our new partners at the Penguins and Fenway Sports Group at their state-of-the-art PPG Paints Arena. We understand the deep fan connection and the critical importance of the fan experience while they passionately cheer for their home team. The Pittsburgh region can expect great things to come, including more world class events and concerts, enhanced technology and fan services as well as a priority to promote operational sustainability.”

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