History In Erie Insurance Arena

by Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations

posters

An example of some posters we have.

You’ve probably been at the Erie Insurance Arena for concerts and games, but the one spot you’ve likely never been in within the Arena is our administrative office.

It’s pretty cool, actually. Engelbert Humperdinck stares longingly into my office. Ozzy Osbourne joins us for meetings. Miranda Cosgrove of iCarly fame greets me every time I microwave my lunch.

It’s not exactly as it sounds, though. They’re just autographed posters from shows that these artists have completed. Which is probably for the best, as I’d be weirded out if I had someone actually staring into my office.

The walls of our administrative offices are lined with these posters from events. I was born in 1991, and while I hate to date some of the people here in this building, there are posters older than I am. It’s neat to see.

They bring about memories and fond times here in Erie. I have one poster in my office — it’s not signed, but it’s still neat to me. It’s from a then-WWF event at Erie Insurance Arena. It reminds of fond memories as a kid waiting in line at the Arena and at Giant Eagle to get tickets for wrestling events. The tinge of nostalgia I get each time looking at the poster always gives me a warm feeling.

We still collect posters, signed and unsigned, from those performing here. Obtaining autographs falls typically falls on Dawn Betza, our marketing coordinator, who does a great job of working with each promoter and performer.

The result of it all is cool — you get to see a great show, we get to enjoy it, too, and then we get a memento to remember it by.

Here’s our question: If you could get an autograph or poster from any performer in Erie Insurance Arena history, who would it be?

 

Erie Events and Erie Otters Announce 10-Year Lease Agreement

Otters 10 Year AgreementThe Erie County Convention Center Authority and Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters jointly announced today that both parties have agreed to and signed a ten-year lease extension that will keep the Erie Otters in Northwestern Pennsylvania. The agreement sees that the Erie Otters continue to play its seasons in the Authority’s Erie Insurance Arena for an additional ten years, commencing with the 2019-2020 OHL Season.

“All of us in the Otters organization are pleased and excited to have our new ten-year lease signed with the ECCCA,” Erie Otters Owner and Governor Jim Waters said. “The Otters are very fortunate to call this fantastic facility home. I’m ecstatic to join our many fans and community partners in Erie in continuing Otters success for years to come.”

“We’re thrilled to retain this important business in Western Pennsylvania,” said John “Casey” Wells, Erie Events Executive Director. “Not only does our hockey team provide great entertainment, it generates a positive economic impact, creates jobs, and improves the quality of life in our community.”

Coinciding with the lease agreement is the addition of a dedicated Erie Otters retail location and new team office space inside the Erie Insurance Arena in the near future. The Erie Otters have been the primary tenant of the ECCCA-managed Erie Insurance Arena since 1996, when it was formerly known as the Tullio Arena.

The Erie County Convention Center Authority (ECCCA) operates four unique venues in the heart of downtown Erie – Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, UPMC Park and the Bayfront Convention Center. The Erie Insurance Arena is home to the OHL Erie Otters and the NBA G-League Erie BayHawks. UPMC Park is home to the Erie SeaWolves, Double A Detroit Tigers.

Schanz Celebrates 25 Years at UPMC Park

The grass at UPMC Park has hosted thousands of baseball players and seen countless cuts and designs in the last 25 years.

But it’s seen one man rise the ranks to make sure it’s at its best for each game: Head Groundskeeper Brandon Schanz.

The Erie SeaWolves recently honored Schanz and several other staff members for 25 years of service with the Erie SeaWolves.

“It’s not always easy to be in his dirt-covered shoes, but he knows the importance of his role in developing the Detroit Tigers of tomorrow.  SeaWolves fans are fortunate to have someone with his work ethic caring for the playing surface at UPMC Park.,” said Greg Coleman, team president of the Erie SeaWolves.

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Happy 25, Brandon! We appreciate you.

Schanz’s path to the playing field wasn’t a traditional one. He actually started in the kitchen coming out of high school, and then became assistant director of concessions at 18. After switching to groundskeeping, he became the head groundskeeper in 2004.

He’s never looked back since then, and the field has never looked better. Schanz’s effort over 25 years has been clear.

“His passion for the SeaWolves and the pride he has in his work is unmatched in minor league baseball,” said Ed Snyder, assistant director of sports facilities. “The Erie baseball community is lucky to have Brandon and his crew looking after beautiful UPMC Park.”

Erie Events Impact Downtown Business

by Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations

GRAPHICFORARTICLEIn 2018, Erie Events drove nearly $88 million in direct spending to the Erie region. Erie Events, which operates the Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, UPMC Park and Bayfront Convention Center, is located in the heart of Erie’s downtown cultural, entertainment and sports district.

With a 2018 event attendance of 729,966, Erie Events is a major driving force that attracts people to downtown Erie.  In addition to attending events, those people also visited restaurants, bars, and other businesses. Downtown establishments prosper on event days.

Bertrand Artigues, owner of Cloud 9 Wine Bar, said he sees a direct correlation between events held in downtown Erie and how busy his business is.

“If [Erie Events] is busy, I’m busy. When we prepare, one of the first things we do is look at the Erie Events website to see what is bringing people into town,” he said. “A big piece of the pie for business here is having events downtown. When events occur, everything flourishes.”

Rochelle Carlotti, bar manager at Jekyll and Hyde’s, agreed.

“We absolutely see an influx in business when events are happening. Weekdays especially are greatly improved by downtown events. Events at the Warner and the Arena, especially Otters games, more than double our business. People often come in for dinner before the event and often stop by after for a drink.”

The Erie Insurance Arena drew 291,862 patrons in 2018, with an average of 3,423 people per game coming to see the Otters during the 2018-2019 season. UPMC Park brought in a total event attendance of 217,868 and the Bayfront Convention Center had a total event attendance of 133,686. The Warner Theatre brought in an additional 86,550 attendees.

For J.B. Innes, manager and owner of 1201 Kitchen, a Warner Theatre crowd brings in a tremendous amount of business.

“When reservations start coming in for a certain date, especially a weekday, I know something’s happening,” he said. “For us, the Warner especially does a great job in bringing in a lot of our customers.”

Downtown businesses unanimously agree that Erie Events plays a significant role in the amount of traffic they get during an event.

“When there’s events and things are going well, there’s a momentum downtown. We get bombarded. It’s fun to watch and be a part of,” Artigues said.

“These events are the cultural center of our city. They bring people in business to all of the bars, restaurants and shops downtown,” Carlotti said. “[Downtown events] bring us a large amount of business from people who may not think to stop into our establishment otherwise.”

Behind the Scenes: A Post-Event Survey

Local Connection – behind the scenes with Jaime Pukylo @ Country Fair Trade Show

  • Overall, how would you rate the event?
    • Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor
  • Please rate the following aspects of the event:

 

  • Date and time
    • Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor
  • Location
    • Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor
  • Audio Visual
    • Excellent – Not applicable this year as we outsourced AV
    • Very Good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor
  • Room Set Up
    • Excellent – The set-up is fantastic and timely!
    • Very Good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor
  • Food and beverages
    • Excellent – Food is always fantastic! Service for over 400 done smoothly!
    • Very Good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor
  • Vendors:
    • Did Event structure allow ample time to interact with attendees? Timing is always tough as some people are rushed while others have free time. We are pleased with the overall structure.
    • Were the location of booths suitable for traffic? Set up was perfect!
  • What did you like most about the event? The ease of working with the staff of the EBFCC! They take away a lot of the stress.

 

  • What did you like least about the event? Paying for it! LOL!

 

  • How do you think your event could have been improved? Better weather!

 

  • How likely are you to recommend the Bayfront Convention Center to a friend/colleague? We have and would again!

 

  • Do you have any other suggestions or comments to help us improve future events?

Keep the staff as is! Working with the same people makes things so much easier!

Suite Life at Upcoming Sweet Shows

by Brighid O’Brien, Premium Services Coordinator

Suite View-2 TablesWe have been very lucky to book recently a lot of amazing shows. Make sure you are subscribed to our email blast so you can be the first to know about these new and exciting events. https://www.erieevents.com/

As the Premium Services Coordinator I would love to tell you about some opportunities that are available to enhance  your Arena experience.  Do you have 22 close friends, colleagues, clients, family?  Have you ever thought of attending a sporting event or concert in one of our suites? The suite offers a private area for you to enjoy the game or concert, a great view, a suite attendant that is there to help you with food and beverage orders and anything else to make your experience a wonderful memory.  If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to call or email me. I would love to show you the space and talk about planning your next visit to the Arena.

Arena in the Summer

by Ray Williams, Director of Sports Facilities

People may wonder what exactly we do at the arena during the summer when we don’t have events.  At this time of year we allow ourselves some freedom for much needed rest and recuperation, both for the staff and for the building.

Internally we talk about the off-season, just as sports teams do, and we take stock of our strengths, weaknesses and where we can show improvement.

This off-season is already growing shorter however with Cirque Crystal, Frankie Valli, Chris Stapleton, Ted Nugent, and a few yet to be announced shows expected to perform over the next few months.  We certainly look forward to hosting these events and trying out new things with our patrons.  It allows us the opportunity to see where we still need to improve and where things are going well.

Before we know it it will be the end of summer and we will be preparing for the Otters training camp between Chris Stapleton and Ted Nugent.

Enjoy your summer! The staff at the Arena is working hard to get the building back in shape to allow all of our patrons to enjoy everything we have to offer!

Spring on the Bayfront!

by Ariana Malizia, Event Coordinator

As the warmer weather is upon us, we’re taking more and more time to walk from our cars in the parking lot to our respective offices and cubicles. We notice more pastel colors, birds chirping, soft breezes, and the sun glittering off the bay. Other natural sights that may catch your attention are the plants that are lining the Bayfront Convention Center and Bayfront Complex.

Some of the plants lining the Bayfront Landing Campus are Pin Oaks, Evergreens, Saw Grasses and Day Lilies. While Evergreens are well known, information regarding other flora may not be as common.

pin-oak-tree-ovv-600x600

An example of a Pin Oak tree.

Pin Oaks are favored in landscaping along roadways and sidewalks, as they are relatively easy to transplant. The trees grow well in wet conditions and can withstand moderate flooding, which makes it an optimal choice to have around the Bay Area.

Saw Grasses originate in the Southern, swampier regions of the Country (most commonly in the Everglades). While this grass does have ridges that have the ability to cause (minimal) harm to humans, it is a preferred nesting area for ducks and geese due to the nutrients within the grass seeds and roots along with the camouflage it provides.

Day Lilies are perennials, they thrive in areas that produce the most sunlight. These plants are toxic to felines, so be sure to avoid using them as your kitchen centerpiece! An interesting fact about Daylilies: the leaves can be ingested by humans! This is most typical in Chinese cultures, where the petals are either eaten as they are or dried and sold for consumption (used in foods like hot and sour soup, and moo shu pork).

Warner Theatre Updates

by Barry Copple, Operations Manager of the Warner Theatre

Hello, Erie! Spring has sprung and great weather is on the way — I promise!

It’s been a busy time here at the Warner Theatre in more ways than one. Of course, we have plenty of exciting events coming up. Gordon Lightfoot performs May 11th at 8 p.m., the Erie Philharmonic plays their final performance of the season on May 18th at 8 p.m., and Life on Mars, The David Bowie Tribute, plays at 7:30 p.m.

We also have Little’s Annual Dance Studio performance on June 1 at 6 p.m., Long’s School of Dance performances June 7th and 8th at 6 p.m, Marguerite’s Academy of Dance performances June 14th and 15th at 7 p.m., and Spotlight Studios’ dance performance on June 22nd at 7 p.m.

And, as if that isn’t enough, we’re working on some great things for our next Broadway Series season, bringing in some nationally-touring musical acts, and the 2019-2020 Erie Philharmonic season will be starting up before you know it.

With all of that said, we are also close to embarking on the long awaited $20 million final phase of the restoration and expansion project. We are in final design work and we hope to begin construction this summer. The Warner would remain open and operate during the first part of the project until the end of March 2020. The Warner would then close and reopen in late November 2020. I believe it will be something we can all be proud of as a community.

That’s it for now, Erie! I hope you find this info helpful and exciting. I’m sure much more is to come your way. Downtown is a great place to be; I hope you find something we have to offer that will interest you enough to check us out!

So, “Get Up and Go,” Erie! Until next time.

Peace, Love and Camaraderie

By Lisa DiLuzio, Director of Marketing and Sales

I’m all about positivity. And connections. My home is your home, kumbaya, etc. My office on the second floor of the Bayfront Convention Center is all about spreading the love.

We recently added three staff members from the Sheraton to our offices. It’s not a whole heck of a lot different, but the move went well. We’ve had joint meetings together, we include them in our potlucks, and we make sure they feel included.

Within our office, it has helped to build synergy, camaraderie, and it’s maximized our space.

But perhaps even more importantly, it means more benefits to our customers.

We can be even faster and more efficient with our turnaround. Being able to pitch together, and not just separately, means an easier time for our customers. Socially, in the summertime, we’ll all be able to help out brides. With wedding blocks alone, now the Bayfront Convention Center and room blocks go hand-in-hand, and before you even hang up the phone or walk away from your meeting with the bride, your next connection is already right there.

It’s a more natural situation for all. It’s an easier flow for the consumer. And we’re enjoying it, too. That’s what we call a win-win.