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SMG to Manage Citizens Business Bank Arena; Will Ontario Reign Remain?

Ontario ReignWe have a management change to report: SMG is taking over management of Citizens Business Bank Arena from AEG Facilities, leaving the future of the arena as home of the Ontario Reign (AHL) up for negotiations.

SMG already manages the Ontario Convention Center. For the city, it’s a way to consolidate vendors on two venues.

“Since the opening of the Citizens Bank Arena in 2008, we have had a valuable and mutually beneficial partnership with the city,” AEG spokesman Michael Roth said. “AEG was instrumental in the westward movement of the American Hockey League and our focus going forward is on the Reign and their continued success. As the defending Calder Cup champions, their first season has been a tremendous success.” [Editor’s Note: This quote came before the 2015-2016 Calder Cup playoffs ended and the Reign — formerly the Manchester Monarchs — were indeed the defending 2014-2014 Calder Cup champions.)

At the top of the list for AEG: Keeping the team at Citizens Business Bank Arena, as the firm is laying the groundwork to find a new home for the team should a lease be denied. From the Press Enterprise:

AEG officials say they want the Reign to stay in Ontario, but it’s unclear whether the city or the new management would allow it.

A WARN notice from the state Economic Development Agency from May 19, lists the future termination of 280 jobs.

For the city, having one facilities manager means a streamlining of services.

“This action will provide a synergy to enhance both venues with one team to provide strategic marketing, staffing, sales and a joint calendar,” Councilman Alan D. Wapner said in a press statement.

“SMG has done a tremendous job for the city of Ontario operating the Ontario Convention Center, increasing the number of events and increasing room nights,” Councilman Jim W. Bowman said in a statement. “We have confidence in the leadership team and together we look forward to continuing to make Citizens Business Bank Arena the premier entertainment destination for the region.”

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