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Tulsa selects management firm for new downtown arena

Updated:
Tulsa's new downtown arena will be under new management. Tulsa’s mayor announced Friday morning, who will run the BOK Center and it's not the current management of the Tulsa Convention Center.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says we heard lots of promises Friday about the success of the BOK Center.

The mayor picked a company to run it, and they say it's going to make money and make Tulsa a stop for big concerts and sports events. While the site of the BOK Center is still just a hole in the ground, in two and a half years, it should open and arena management is already promising - the Rolling Stones.

Sims Hinds, SMG vice president: "If they're touring again in two years we'll have them here." The mayor picked "SMG" to run both the new arena and convention center, something the company does all over the country.

Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: "SMG shows, after the first full year of operation, over at least one million a year in combined operating profit."

That's what won SMG the contract - the promise of making money and drawing big names. Sims Hinds: "We have every confidence that we can bring the biggest names in entertainment and the highest caliber sports events to the BOK Center."

The selection of a private company to manage the Tulsa Convention Center and the new arena puts the current employees of the convention center in limbo. The new company and the mayor promise that no one will be out of a job. Convention Center director John Scott: "My concern is for their future and what happens to all of them.” John Scott runs the Convention Center now, with a staff of 65, and he was disappointed to not be selected to run the arena.

The committee that recommended SMG was won over by their projections and promises. Sim Hinds: “We’re going to go to bat to give Tulsa an advocate for major events and concerts like you've never had before."

The company books the Fresno arena, which is smaller than ours will be, and they got the Rolling Stones for them, so they think they can do it here too.
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