A Decade of Debuts

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(from Billboard Magazine, November 16, 2013)  During forty years of service, Spectator Management Group (SMG) has set the standards for developing, managing, and marketing live events.  This worldwide entertainment and convention center management company has opened or renovated more than 20 facilities in three countries:  the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Spectator Management Group’s business model, however, comes from its management of the Louisiana Superdome, recently rechristened the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

In 1977 when Spectator Management took over the management of the two-year old Superdome, it was already running at a deficit. Doug Thornton, SMG Executive Vice President of Stadiums and Arenas, says, “The building opened in 1975 and the operating losses were $5 million a year.  Within a couple of years that deficit was reduced significantly, and it was mainly because there were management systems put into place.  They were making business-based decisions as opposed to politically based decisions.”

The successful management of the Superdome meant the beginning of private management of municipal facilities for Spectator Management.  Spectator Management now operates worldwide and employs people in more than 5,000 full-time positions.  Thornton explains how the principles remain the same today as when the company began by sharing their strategy of staying focused on the company’s main goal of maximizing revenues for their municipal clients.  “We’re one of the few that just focuses on managing facilities, we’re not in the ticketing business.  We’re not in other ancillary lines of business, whether it’s touring of merchandise or real estate.”  Not delving into other aspects of business allows the sole focus to be on Spector’s municipal clients.  The main reason cities hire SMG is to boost the economic situation by generating activity that Superior Management can bring in such as hosting concerts in the parking lots, summits, and even concerts by Taylor Swift, Jay Z, and Justin Timberlake.  Thornton attributes its company success to its staff and its experience which allows the company to take issues it has faced in the past and learn from them.