Business News

Oak View Group Comes on Strong in the Events Industry

Skift Take

McCormick Place in Chicago, a new $3 billion hotel, gaming and entertainment district in Las Vegas, the Oak View Group is living up to its mission to disrupt the sports, live entertainment, and hospitality industries.

Oak View Group’s OVG360, a full-service venue management company specializing in sports, live entertainment and hospitality, and food service contractor OVG Hospitality have been awarded management of the McCormick Place Campus that includes the 10,000-seat Wintrust Arena and Arie Crown Theater, in addition to the McCormick Place Convention Center, a huge business generator for the city of Chicago injecting billions of dollars with its more than 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space and 170 meeting rooms, and food services on the campus.

The venue management contract belonged to ASM Global and expired on June 30, 2022, but was extended through January 31, 2023, as the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), the Illinois municipal corporation that oversees the center navigated the bid process. The contracts, scheduled to run from October 1, 2023 through September 2028, were unanimously awarded following an extensive public procurement process.

“This new partnership gives us the opportunity to continue to enhance the McCormick Place experience, from the planning phase to the event execution phase, through the completion of each event,” said Larita Clark, CEO of MPEA.

Recovery at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, continues as convention and trade show business was 77% higher in the first quarter of this year than last year. Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for the city, and MPEA have been aggressively marketing the city and recently announced that Rotary International has selected McCormick Place West Building to host its international convention from May 25-29, 2030. The convention attracts tens of thousands of global attendees and will return to Chicago for the first time since 2005 to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2030.

“While McCormick Place has set the industry standard for decades, we are honored to help shape its future,” said Chris Granger, president of OVG360. “We see an incredible opportunity to elevate the guest experience, support the surrounding community, drive sustainability, and grow and inspire a diverse workforce.  We look forward to bringing our depth of experience from around the globe to Chicago and to building upon McCormick Place’s incredible track record.”

Choose Chicago had a successful 2022 as over 1,500 events, including 39 citywide events, were booked. Sixty-four percent of these events represent new business in the city. 

Focused on Disruption 

Oak View Group is taking the industry by storm. Its mission? “To be a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports, live entertainment, and hospitality industries.”

 Not only is it making headlines in Chicago, but the company is budgeting $10 billion for a 66-acre hotel, gaming, and entertainment district in Las Vegas that will include a $1 billion NBA-ready arena. Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke is optimistic about Las Vegas getting its own NBA team, as he says the city is the “number one live entertainment market in the world.”

Oak View Group has also been tapped to lead the construction of a new arena in Vienna, Austria. This is OVG’s ninth arena project in the last two years. 

The company currently manages a combination of services in more than 400 venues worldwide, including arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers. OVG also manages more than 60 convention centers across North America, including Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, Miami Beach Convention Center, Atlantic City Convention Center, Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, and I-X Center in Cleveland. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome McCormick Place as our newest convention center partner,” said Greg O’Dell, president of OVG360 venue management. “With our best-in-class service offerings and relentless pursuit of operational excellence, we look forward to helping McCormick Place maintain its stature as one of the preeminent meeting and conventions venues in the world.”