SMG Hired as Interim Manager of City Public Assembly Facilities

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

SMG Hired as Interim Manager of City Public Assembly Facilities

Posted: 10/26/2015
On an interim basis, the City of Knoxville has hired the international venue management company SMG to oversee operations at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park. The emergency contract will provide management services while the City issues a Request for Proposals for a comprehensive management contract for the City’s public assembly facilities.

During the interim contract, SMG will oversee about 30 City employees and manage event booking and daily operations for the facilities. SMG has operated the Knoxville Convention Center since it opened in 2002. The Convention Center averages 240 events per year and has welcomed more than 3 million visitors from more than 80 countries in 13 years of operation. 

SMG manages arenas and civic centers across the United States, in Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe.

“We have been very impressed with SMG’s work at the Convention Center, and they have the level of professional expertise we need to keep our venues operating while we pursue a longer-term solution to our management needs,” said Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor and the City’s Chief Operating Officer. “SMG will ensure a great experience for the audiences, performers, sports teams and event organizers who use our facilities.”

SMG has agreed to charge no management fee under the emergency contract, but the City will pay the company’s reimbursable operating expenses. The City plans to issue an RFP and have a selection made for a management contractor by end of 2015.

The general manager of the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum retired and three other employees were fired earlier this month after a Knoxville Police Department Internal Affairs investigation discovered payroll irregularities.