Columbia, S.C. - Peter Luukko, co-chairman of the Arena Alliance, Oak View Group, and executive chairman, Sunrise (Fla.) Sports & Entertainment, was honored with the SEVT 2017 Lifetime Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award during the March 22-24 Sport, Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow conference.
The award recognizes an industry veteran for achievements of lasting impact over a number of years in the fields of sport, entertainment or venue management. He or she embodies the professionalism, commitment to excellence, and business savvy that has propelled sport, entertainment or venue management to become a key industry in the 21st century.
Former SEVT Lifetime Achievement Award winner have included Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO, Feld Entertainment, Inc.; Tim Leiweke, CEO, Oak View Group; Brad Mayne, CEO, IAVM; Alex Hodges, CEO, Nederlander Concerts; and Mike McGee, Barmac Consulting.
SEVT is produced by Venues Today and the University of South Carolina to bring professionals, professors and pupils of sports and entertainment together to discuss best practices and the future of the industry. 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the gathering and drew nearly 400 attendees.
Luukko was keynote speaker on Wednesday and spoke about his storied career, beginning with the professional advice to a hockey enthusiast that "real growth is in arenas."
His career spanned several years in private management of venues with SMG and then Global Spectrum; construction of Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia; working with the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League and BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla., and more.
"Be flexible, get your foot in the door; you may just like what you're doing," he advised students in sports an entertainment. Luukko admitted to being a "rink rat," who loved arenas and suggested that is one of many career paths in sport and entertainment. "Find out what other people are doing. Everyone is an entrepreneur," he said.
Students today have an edge. "You navigate social media and communications every day," Luukko said. "People your age are actively bringing society to the table. The future for facilities is not in bricks and mortar, but in technology. How do you deliver content to the people in the seats? How do you communicate with them?"
"Barcoding was revolutionary 10 years ago. It will be obsolete within 3-5 years."
Luukko was high on change and opportunity and a strong future for live entertainment and sports.