It’s a fantastic city asset that’s been underutilized. The city-owned Webster Bank Arena, home to anchoring tenant the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, has brought on a leading venue operator to buoy events.
The New York Islanders announced today that they have selected Oak View Group to manage the Webster Bank Arena, a 10,000-seat multi-purpose arena which is home to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
Commencing February 28th, Oak View Group Facilities, a division of Oak View Group, will operate the arena on behalf of Harbor Yard Sports & Entertainment LLC, a subsidiary of the New York Islanders that operates the arena pursuant to an agreement with the City of Bridgeport. Oak View Group Facilities specializes in providing premium content and operating venues for its clients.
“It became clear to us that we needed a partner focused on attracting high-quality events and entertainment for our clients, customers and the region,” said Travis Williams, President of Business Operations for the New York Islanders. “Oak View Group has an experienced team with extensive resources, contacts and knowledge of our industry that will help us to deliver these events.”
“We look forward to having Oak View Group Facilities join us in Bridgeport and becoming part of our Connecticut community,” added Williams.
“We are excited to extend our partnership with the Islanders to now provide content at the Webster Bank Arena,” said Peter Luukko, Chairman of Oak View Group Facilities. “The arena is a great facility with tremendous potential, and we are excited to bring our Oak View Group resources and partnerships to Bridgeport to create new experiences for the region.”
Oak View Group Facilities has named Matt Herpich, a 12-year industry veteran, as General Manager of Webster Bank Arena. Prior to relocating to Bridgeport CT, Herpich was General Manager of SeatGeek Stadium in Chicago IL. He also served as General Manager at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland ME; the Wolstein Center on the campus of Cleveland State University in Cleveland OH; and the USC Aiken Convocation Center in Aiken SC.
Herpich will lead Oak View Group Facilities’ on-site team and oversee the day-to-day operations of Webster Bank Arena, including booking events. He will work closely with Michael Picker who remains President of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“Matt is a well-respected leader in our industry,” Luukko added. “During his career, he nurtured many important relationships that helped drive successes at his arenas. We are proud to bring Matt to Bridgeport to lead our local efforts.”
Webster Bank Arena has been a staple of the Bridgeport community since it opened in 2001, hosting nearly 150 events each year, including sporting events, family shows, concerts by world-famous musicians and much more. In addition to 10,000 seats, Webster Bank Arena features 68 suites of varying sizes, three large hospitality areas and a state of the art, 30×16 ft., high-definition video board.
Webster Bank Arena has been home to the New York Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, since the team’s inception in 2001 and also hosts home games for Sacred Heart University’s men’s hockey program and Fairfield University’s men’s basketball team. More information is available by visiting websterbankarena.com.
Oak View Group Facilities, which was founded by Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke and is supported by Silverlake, specializes in event programming, venue assessments and security and emergency preparedness. Oak View Group Facilities provides full management services for arenas, stadiums, convention centers and performing arts centers.
Oak View Group will activate its other divisions in support of Webster Bank Arena. Oak View Group’s Global Partners will be instrumental in realizing new sponsorship and sales opportunities, and the Arena Alliance’s resources will maximize opportunities for concerts, family shows and sporting events. Currently, 28 of North America’s top performing arenas, including arenas for 15 National Basketball Association teams and 18 National Hockey League teams, comprise Oak View Group’s Arena Alliance.
Ok.. Thank you for the info. I looked at the website. Will require more research. One red flag is that their headquarters are in Los Angeles,CA. What will happen with the contract between the Gaming Indians and Webster Bank Arena. Will any one disagree with me that the perception is that Webster Bank arena is underused(for whatever reasons)?
You’re missing the point.
Why is Lennie so happy?
Answer: because Irving Azoff, legendary manager of Eagles, is on the board of Oak View Group, Webster Bank Arena’s new manager. It takes a little imagination but the chance of Don Henley and Joe Walsh (Eagles) coming to Bridgeport just increased 1%.
Guilty, as charged.
*** Sounds like a great change for the Sound Tiger’s the farm team to the N.Y Islanders! ***
This was an absolute necessity to go in a new direction for leadership with Charlie stepping down and taking the SHU job. As for the contract between Mohegan and the arena, that should stay in play cause the deal was with Harbor yard sports.
The Truth is the arena in underutilized for a variety of reasons, but concerts come to mind because the arena was sabotaged. Jim Koplick ,the same guy who tells us he will book the upcoming amphitheater is the same guy with exclusive rights to book the arena with “Live Nation” events. Those events are not being booked to justify the amphitheater. Crazy conflict of interest but they got away with it. So HY Sports had to bring in some legit nationwide muscle to book live music and other entertainment. I’m sure they also felt the past leadership and performance was lacking.
Good move for now, I hope the do some community outreach and work with us on figuring out ways to keep visitors to stay in town longer and frequent shops and dining options downtown.
Thanks for your info and your perspective as a BPTCenter merchant. Everytime I go in your place i will ask for you and hope to chat. THANK YOU!!!!!
Here’s what I learned today: even though Webster Bank Arena is city-owned, its fortunes are can be determined by an out of town Hockey team. Everyone has their agenda, right?
Here’s what I mean: By getting cozy with the Amphitheater’s backers (awful deal, btw), The New York Islanders-winners of several Stanley Cups-have hired Hollywood muscle to amp up “revs at the Arena”. It’s their duty!
Some observers think Ganim forced their hand and put himself in the middle of an entertainment crossfire that puts him at odds with powerful forces, including Webster Bank itself. There’s more than Bridgeport at stake and nobody understands that more than Oak View Group, who’s gonna gallop through the gap that Ganim made, starting next week!
For timely insights into events that shape Bridgeport’s story line, I nominate Kelvin Ayala as OIB blogger of the day.
Nobody serves bloggers and burgers better!
Can they just lower the price for a bottle of water?!?!?
Mr. Gyure you are correct the arena is under used, especially in the summer months. There could be amateur boxing, trade shows MMA once approved.
One can only wonder why that place sits empty most of year. They have booked some big stars so there is no reason why it can’t continue to do so.
Proper management is the key.