After an extensive search to determine the best path forward for the Central Bank Center (CBC), the Lexington Center Corporation (LCC) today unanimously approved a multi-year agreement with Oak View Group Facilities to manage and operate their properties which include the 20,000-seat Rupp Arena, the new 200,000 square-foot Convention Center, and the 900-seat Opera House.

Oak View Group Facilities entered into a five-year partnership with the Lexington Center Corporation in February 2018, whereby OVG would focus on all areas of event programming (except for University of Kentucky athletic events) for Rupp Arena. The company developed a budget that immediately showed improved financial performance for the CBC venues.

Oak View Group will report directly to the LCC and begin managing the day-to-day operations for Rupp Arena, the Convention Center, and the Opera House on October 1, 2021. Oak View Group Facilities will generate new business opportunities and attract a variety of events that will bring visitors to Lexington and drive economic impact for Lexington and the region.

Additionally, Oak View Group Facilities will be responsible for the marketing and sales, box office, finance, operations, bookings, and premium seating/VIP experiences and opportunities for the three properties. The company will also focus on increasing convention center business and creating more opportunities with VisitLex.

“Central Bank Center has been fortunate to have tremendous leadership from Bill Owen and his team for the past two decades,” said Bob Elliston, Chairman, Lexington Center Board. “As we prepare for Bill’s retirement in the summer of 2022, the selection of OVG Facilities was the right choice to position the Center to achieve even greater heights as our nearly $300 million capital expansion comes online.

“Central Bank Center stands ready to appeal to a larger marketplace for conventions, meetings, and the top music and entertainment tours in the country,” added Elliston. “Through our existing booking agreement, OVG has demonstrated their market leadership taking Rupp Arena bookings to record levels in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted national touring.”

“Based on our success at Rupp Arena, we look forward to expanding our role and bringing our additional resources to all the Central Bank Center facilities,” said Peter Luukko, Chairman, Oak View Group Facilities. “We are focused on increasing revenue, partnerships, conventions business, and building a larger community and regional presence as Lexington has so much to offer.”

“Additionally, as we expand our presence across the Southeast, Lexington will be a key hub for Oak View Group Facilities and our other southeast properties,” added Luukko.

LCC will lean on Oak View Group’s Arena Alliance to gain insight on best practices and tools to maximize event revenue. Currently, 28 of North America’s top-performing arenas, 15 National Basketball Association teams, and18 National Hockey League teams comprise Oak View Group’s Arena Alliance.

OVG has a strong presence in the Southeast. The company is part of the team developing the new Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA. In addition, OVG manages the Charleston (West Virginia) Convention and Events Center, the Jackson (Mississippi) Convention Center Complex, and the Fort Smith (Arkansas) Convention Center, and has a booking arrangement at Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Oak View Group is currently involved in five new arena construction projects in the U.S., including the Climate Pledge Arena, home to the National Hockey League’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken, the UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY, the new home of the NHL’s New York Islanders, Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA, the Coachella Valley Arena in Coachella Valley, CA, the home of the newest AHL franchise, and the Moody Center on the campus of University of Texas, Austin.

Oak View Group Facilities, a division of the Oak View Group, which was founded by Irving Azoff, Tim Leiweke, and supported by Silverlake, specializes in event programming, venue assessments, and security and emergency preparedness. Oak View Group Facilities can also provide full management services for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers. Oak View Group is the largest developer of sports and entertainment facilities in the world with $4.5 billion of deployed capital across eight projects.