OVG Buys Pinnacle, Launches Management Arm

New OVG Facilities division will be headed by Peter Luukko, co-chair of the Arena Alliance

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: October 11, 2017

OVG has bought Pinnacle Venue Services and rebrand it OVG Facilities. 

In a move that further expands Oak View Group’s footprint in the venue business, OVG has purchased three-year-old Pinnacle Venue Services from Tom Paquette and Doug Higgons and rebranded it OVG Facilities.

paquette200.jpgTom Paquette

Pinnacle Venue Services brings six management contracts and a thriving security and operation assessment business to OVG. Peter Luukko, who is co-chair of OVG’s Arena Alliance, will head OVG Facilities. Sims Hinds (see separate story), has been brought on board as SVP of Business Development for OVG Facilities. Paquette and Higgons become SVPs of OVG Facilities.

All four industry veterans have a long history of working together in private management of venues, including stints with SMG, Globe Facility Services and Spectra Venue Management.

Scott Anderson, who joined Pinnacle Venue Services after years as security chief for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association, where Paquette also worked, will now work with Prevent Advisors, the security and crowd management division of OVG.

Doug_Higgons1.jpgDoug Higgons

Pinnacle Venue Services full management clients include Seminole Theatre, Homestead, Fla., a 425-seat theater with 2,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; Kovalchick Complex at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, including a 5,000-seat arena; 632-seat theater, and 23,000 sq. ft. conference space; Watsco Center (formerly BankUnited Center) at the University of Miami, an 8,000-seat arena with 26,000 sq. ft. of trade show and banquet space; Two Rivers Convention Center, Grand Junction, Colo., 23,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space; Avalon Theater, also in Grand Junction, 1,100 seats; and Birch Run (Mich.) Expo Center, a 109,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose facility.

They also have event booking agreements with AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas; Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware, and Las Colonias Park Amphitheater, also in Grand Junction, Colo., and are consulting on new construction projects with several cities, including Norfolk, Va.

Security and operations assessments is a “real growth area for us,” Paquette told Venues Today, which is also owned by Oak View Group. “We coordinate security for all NBA (National Basketball Association) overseas games, and have done so almost since the beginning. Scott Anderson, director of security in San Antonio, is really good and he was our first hire.”

“Then they hired us to do venue assessment of all NBA venues, security and operations. Now we do security coordination and management for All Star Weekend, the NBA finals and the draft.”

That grew to include National Hockey League venues for security assessments this year, Paquette added. “We did half the league this year, and are doing the other half next year.”

Major League Baseball and National Football League venues have also sought venue assessment, booking, consulting and strategic planning services from Pinnacle.

Paquette and Doug Higgons launched Pinnacle in November 2014. Both have more than 25 years of experience in venue management and both worked for Luukko at other points in their careers. Paquette recalled the day Comcast Spectacor, where Luukko was president of venue operations, bought Mich Sauers’ Globe Facility Services, and launched Global Spectrum, which has become Spectra Venue Management. Paquette and Higgons were working for Sauers at the time. It is déjà vu for the entire group.

“It’s a small industry. We are really excited,” Paquette said. “We were not for sale nor did Doug and I ever discuss being for sale. When we were approached by Oak View, they had such unique and strong assets and vision, it was hard not to get excited about being part of something like that.”

Venue management is “a business we’re very familiar with and really enjoy,” Luukko said. “Any good organization is as good as its people. Tom and Doug are two seasoned veterans of the business, they have some accounts, and it’s a good way to accelerate the growth of OVG Facilities.”

OVG Facilities will be a different model from OVG’s Arena Alliance. “We support the facilities in our Alliance, clients who are obviously very sophisticated and run their facilities very well. In OVG Facilities, we’ll be directly managing and booking facilities, it’s full management,” Luukko said.

That said, the go-forth plan is to be “very flexible. We will create agreements based on the needs of a venue, whether it’s leases, guarantees, or just booking fees; we’re not closed-minded. We’re open to the needs of the client,” Luukko said.

That resonates with Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, who founded another facility management firm, AEG Facilities, with a similar mission in his previous career. “OVG has been committed to facility management since day 1 and our goal is to build the biggest facility management company in the world,” Leiweke said in a statement. “We take a 360-approach to facility management and when you combine our ground game, assets and relationships, and add to that Peter’s leadership, we feel we’re poised to do big things.”

OVG clearly has a robust pipeline of projects and deals, and the opportunity for growth in this space is huge, Luukko added.

OVG, founded by Leiweke and mega-manager Irving Azoff in 2015, currently boasts 30 major arenas in its Arena Alliance; Prevent Advisors security consulting division; OVG Global Partnerships (formerly called Narrative Partners) specializing in sponsorship; OVG Media and Conferences, which includes Pollstar and Pollstar Live and Venues Today and VenuesNow; and OVG Business Development.

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: October 11, 2017