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Goal for SMG: Bring More Shows to Ontario

Ontario Reign

With SMG now leading the management of Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena, the firm is looking to bring additional events to the venue. 

Previously managed by AEG Facilities, Citizens Business Bank Arena was put in the hands of SMG last month. This came despite the fact that AEG had two years left on its contract with the City of Ontario, and that the firm owns the Ontario Reign, which is coming off a strong inaugural season in the AHL. The Reign–who were part of the AHL’s successful shift to the west, having moved from Manchester, NH before the 2015-2016 campaign–appear to be staying put, despite the management switch.

The move by the City of Ontario to remove AEG from the management and switch to SMG had to do with two factors. SMG already manages the city’s convention center, and officials claim that having one firm oversee both properties is more efficient. Another issue, however, was concerts and other non-gameday events at Citizens Business Bank Arena, which had been in decline over the last few years. More from the San Bernardino Sun:

At the groundbreaking in 2007, AEG officials dreamed big. They envisioned 30 concerts a year.

At first, the arena seemed to attract some big names. Carrie Underwood was among the first to perform there, in 2008. Neil Diamond followed the next year. Elton John came in 2010. So did Justin Bieber. Cher is arguably the last big name to appear, and that was in 2014.

But the pace had slowed considerably. AEG’s last year as operator saw only six concerts, most of them Christian performers, with the bulk of ticketed events coming from the sports world, records show.

Even if increasing the number of concerts is a top priority for SMG, the Reign are still a valuable commodity for the arena. The team averaged 8,570 fans per game last season, good for fourth in the 30-team AHL.

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

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