WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – The Oklahoma City Council has unanimously approved a 5 year management agreement with SMG to continue to operate the Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center. The agreement also includes an option for the city to extend the contract at the end of the term. SMG has successfully operated these facilities for almost 2 decades beginning in 1999. Since that time, like the city itself, the facilities have developed and improved and will encompass a new convention center opening in 2020.
Doug Thornton, Executive Vice President of SMG said, “We are honored to continue to provide management for these terrific facilities. Our local management team, along with all of us at SMG, will continue to work diligently for the benefit of our clients and our facilities here in Oklahoma City. We look forward to a bright and successful future.”
Leonard Bonacci, Regional Vice President of SMG stated, “We appreciate the confidence that the City has shown us in extending our management agreement at the Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Cox Convention Center. The success of the Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center is a direct result of the hardworking and dedicated staff along with the support of terrific partners in the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The recent growth and development in the downtown area predicts a bright future in Oklahoma City. We look forward to continuing our work alongside our partners to provide the highest quality sports and entertainment experience that the people of Oklahoma City have come to expect.”
SMG has also announced the selection of Chris Semrau as the new General Manager for the Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK.
Semrau was most recently the Assistant General Manager of the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, SD. He relocated to Sioux Falls in 2014 to open the new facility and oversaw all PREMIER Center arena business operations relating to booking, marketing, sales, event services, media relations and premium seating. During his tenure, the PREMIER Center was a finalist for an Academy of Country Music Awards for Venue of the Year (medium capacity) three times (2016, 2017, 2018), Pollstar’s Best New Concert Venue Finalist (2015) and Semrau was a finalist for Venue Executive of the Year (2016) by the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA). Venue’s Today Magazine also selected Semrau four-times as a finalist for Booking Achievement (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) Before opening the PREMIER Center, Semrau was part of the senior management team which opened and managed the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND. Semrau attended the University of North Dakota and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing.