By SUSAN JONES
Pitt Athletics has partnered with ASM Global to manage the Petersen Events Center for athletic and other University events, as well as increase the number of outside events that come to the arena.
In December 2019, oversight of the Petersen Events Center moved from the Auxiliary Services office under the senior vice chancellor for Business & Operations to Pitt Athletics, said Christian Spears, deputy athletic director and chief operating officer.
“When we got here it just didn't make sense for (the Pete) not to have more of an athletic management,” since Pitt Athletics is the primary tenant, said Spears, who followed Athletic Director Heather Lyke to Pitt in 2017 from Eastern Michigan University.
The change in oversight allowed Pitt Athletics to “holistically review the overall agreement and determine areas for improvement,” Lyke said in a news release. “You will see a number of new initiatives and capital projects over the next 12 to 18 months that our partners at ASM Global will help us implement.”
Spears said the Pete previously has averaged about seven outside events per year, “and that’s just not very many. ASM has made a commitment of $3 million for capital projects to upgrade and enhance the venue, including a curtaining system that will make the arena more attractive to smaller events.
“Not every event wants 12,500 seats,” Spears said. “(The curtaining system) allows you to attract a better act, because you can right size to their specifications on seating.”
ASM Global is a merger of SMG, which previously managed the Pete, and AEG Facilities, which managed PPG Paints Arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now that ASM Global manages both facilities, “they’re taking advantage of the synergy of Pittsburgh,” Spears said. “Some events want PPG Paints Arena; some concerts, shows and events want to be held downtown. Others would prefer a younger demographic, which we might be able to provide at the Pete, given our proximity to a couple of unique colleges.
“(ASM was) excited to get us as a part of their portfolio. And I think we'll get more shows, because PPG Paints tends to grab them all up, and now they have another option in the space for a different type of audience.”
ASM Global manages more than 325 venues throughout the world and has more than 61,000 employees. Pitt will pay a management fee to ASM and then will split revenue on tickets for non-University related events.
As part of the agreement, ASM Global has hired Taylor Traversari as general manager of Petersen Events Center. Traversari comes back to Pittsburgh after spending 17 years in North Carolina working in various capacities at Live Nation Walnut Creek Amphitheater, Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Convention Center and Koka Booth Amphitheatre. He began his professional career with Pittsburgh’s Live Nation–DiCesare Engler Concerts (1996-2003) and at Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State (2000-03).
In addition, Pitt Athletics and ASM Global have launched a redesigned Petersen Events Center website. The website, designed by carbonhouse, is now a one-stop source for information on every event at the Petersen Events Center.
The next non-University event currently scheduled at the arena is the Millennium Tour, with Omarion, Bow Wow, Pretty Ricky, Ying Yang Twins, Soulja Boy & Ashanti, on March 25. For King and Country is scheduled at the Pete on May 22.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-244-4042.
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