PITTSBURGH, PA (June 6, 2022) - The Pittsburgh Penguins, together with their ownership team at Fenway Sports Group, have selected OVG360, the full-service venue management division of Oak View Group, to manage, book, and operate PPG Paints Arena. The previous management agreement with ASM Global is due to expire on June 30.
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 arenas: UBS Arena (home of the New York Islanders) and Climate Pledge Arena (home of the Seattle Kraken and the 2022 Sports Business Journal "Sports Facility of the Year"). OVG360 also manages the soon-to-open multi-purpose arena at Arizona State University (where the NHL Arizona Coyotes will play), the Centene Community Ice Center (practice facility for the NHL St. Louis Blues), and in the Pittsburgh area, the UMPC Events Center at Robert Morris University.
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 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 July 1, is OVG360 will retain the venue's existing local management team and arena workers, including all union relationships. OVG has a history of strong labor relations in Seattle, New York, and across its portfolio of venues globally.
"OVG is a rising, innovative leader in arena management, and we are proud to welcome their partnership at PPG Paints Arena,"Kevin Acklin, Chief Operating Officer, Pittsburgh Penguins, said. "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 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 LA 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 Toronto Maple Leafs and Scotiabank Arena), as well as helped the 32nd franchise, Seattle Kraken, find a home at Climate Pledge Arena. Chris Granger, President of OVG360, previously oversaw business operations for Ilitch Sports & Entertainment, which included the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit Tigers, the historic FOX Theater, and the iconic Pine Knob amphitheater. Peter Luukko, Executive Chairman of OVG360, spent more than 25 years overseeing the 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 Florida Panthers Hockey Club and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment. Additionally, Hank Abate, Senior Vice President at OVG overseeing facilities in the Northeast, was on the opening team of PPG Paints Arena and has 40-plus years of venue management experience, including stops at Madison Square Garden and most recently at UBS Arena, where Abate served as President of Arena Operations.
"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," Leiweke said. "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 service as well as a priority to promote operational sustainability."