New York Arena Partners has named Tom Pistore President of Commercial Operations and Hank Abate President of Arena Operations. The veteran sports industry executives will lead the Belmont Park Arena executive team, with this state-of-the-art facility on track to open for the 2021-22 National Hockey League season.
Also joining Belmont Park Arena's executive team are Charles Groneman as Chief Financial Officer, Zachary Klein as General Counsel and Lea del Rosario as Senior Vice President, Human Resources.
"During these unprecedented times, we're fortunate to be building Belmont Park Arena, which we are confident will play a key part in New York State's economic recovery," Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, said in a statement. "This is going to be a world class venue with a top executive team - Tom and Hank are highly respected throughout the industry and the perfect choices to lead us."
Pistore's past experience includes more than 20 years at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Partnership (MLSE) where he was responsible for working across four different leagues in one of the largest sports and entertainment revenue portfolios in North America. Tom led all premium, membership and retail game admission revenues across all product segments. His areas of expertise include customer acquisition, retention programming, premium VIP programming, partnership development and marketing promotion. Prior to Belmont Park Arena, he advised on all business aspects of the New York Islanders Hockey Club as a senior consultant.
"I'd like to thank ownership for the privilege of joining this once in a lifetime project," said Pistore. "Belmont Park Arena is going to be an iconic venue that will transform the way fans view sports and live entertainment."
In over 40 years of experience, Abate has covered all aspects of arena, theater and stadium management operations. He also will remain President of OVG Facilities. Prior to his role with OVG, Hank was Executive Vice President of Venue Management for The Madison Square Garden Company. He is also a former Senior Vice President of Global Spectrum and spent 20 years working for SMG Facility Management where his positions included Senior Vice President of Arenas and Stadiums, having management oversight of more than 120 facilities.
"I've operated venues across the country and Belmont Park Arena will be second to none," said Abate. "This Arena has been thoughtfully designed for the fans, artists and athletes that will call it home."
With Belmont Park Arena now approaching its opening date, it is actively growing its business operations team and is hiring across a variety of platforms. The hiring of this executive team is a monumental first step.
Charlie Groneman, Chief Financial Officer, is directly responsible for managing all finance and accounting functions for both Belmont Park Arena and the New York Islanders. Prior to joining these two organizations, Charlie was CFO of Tao Group Hospitality, a leading restaurant, nightlife and hospitality company, where he was responsible for all accounting and finance functions. Prior to that, he served in senior roles at The Madison Square Garden Company over the course of a 25-year tenure there, spending the majority of this time as SVP, Finance and Controller of Facilities and Entertainment.
Zach Klein was promoted to General Counsel for the New York Islanders earlier this year. He oversees all legal matters for both Belmont Park Arena and the New York Islanders. Zach joined the Islanders in September 2016 and has advised on all aspects of developing the arena. Prior to this, Zach was an attorney in private practice, representing public entities in the construction, financing and improvement of all types of public facilities.
Lea del Rosario
Lea del Rosario is Senior Vice President, Human Resources, for Belmont Park Arena and the New York Islanders, whom she joined in November 2019. She is responsible for talent and culture at both organizations as well as for establishing HR infrastructure for the arena. Before joining these organizations, Lea was most recently an Executive HR Consultant for Essence Ventures, a private venture capital firm specializing in content, community and commerce businesses, and Vice President, People & Culture at Sundial Brands, a personal care manufacturer.