Venue News: McCormick Place, Sioux City Convention Center and More Announce New and Extended Partnerships, Upgraded Client Services
From Sioux City, Iowa to Chicago to Fort Worth, Texas, convention centers across the U.S. are upping the ante on their meeting and trade show offerings by forming new partnerships with management, food and beverage, and technology service providers, as well as rebooking long-term business.
McCormick Place and RSNA
Choose Chicago and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) recently announced the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has committed to hosting its Annual Meeting in Chicago through 2032.
One of the largest and most impactful events on Chicago’s annual convention calendar, the RSNA Annual Meeting takes place every fall at McCormick Place, attracting tens of thousands of attendees to the venue and city. The 2023 convention, which took place Nov. 26-30, welcomed more than 40,000 registrants, nearly 40% of which were international visitors, and boasted an economic impact of more than $115 million.
Headquartered in Oak Brook, IL, RSNA is a non-profit organization representing radiologists and other radiological professionals in more than 150 countries globally. Known as the largest radiology conference in the world, the RSNA Annual Meeting was first convened in Chicago in 1915 and has been held in the Windy City since 1985.
“We’re pleased to extend our long-standing decision to choose Chicago as the venue for our annual meeting, the world’s leading radiology forum,” said Mark G. Watson, RSNA executive director. “Besides the experience Chicago offers, a major contributor to our success has been the long-standing partnerships we’ve held with the city, McCormick Place, Choose Chicago and all our vendors.”
He added, “With a meeting of our scale, we appreciate the peace of mind we have knowing that we can count on our partners for the support we need for a successful event. For all those reasons and more, Chicago continues to be the best venue for our annual meeting.”
Under the terms of the extended contract, the RSNA Annual Meeting will alternate between the week before and after Thanksgiving. The 2024 Annual Meeting will take place Dec. 1-5 and will shift to the week before Thanksgiving in odd years beginning in 2027.
Fort Worth Convention Center and Cox Business
Hospitality Network (HN), a Cox Business company and exclusive telecommunications provider for the Fort Worth Convention Center (FWCC), is investing $895,000 in upgrades to the venue’s WiFi network infrastructure as construction moves forward on the FWCC’s multi-year, two-phase $95 million expansion and renovation project, which is currently in Phase 1.
Since 2022, HN and FWCC have partnered to elevate the center’s guest experience with reliable connectivity and flexible technology pricing through the City of Fort Worth’s investment of $317,000 in optical fiber and HN’s upgrades to 100 existing WiFi access points, according to HN officials.
“The upgrade at the FWCC demonstrates our commitment to provide our clients with the capital investments of infrastructure and cutting-edge equipment to remain ultra-competitive and profitable,” said Jady West, HN vice president. “With several other major Texas convention centers undergoing expansions, Hospitality Network is poised to showcase FWCC as the leading tech-driven venue.”
To create better permanent WiFi coverage, HN will add 120 new access points in under-covered areas of the FWCC’s 400,000-square-foot exhibit hall, meeting rooms and 10,000-seat arena. Increased bandwidth from 500 Mbps to 2Gbps will provide faster and more reliable internet access to support livestreams, remote presentations and event-specific apps.
“With our current $95 million expansion project, we must be prepared to meet the technology expectations of our clients and guests,” said Mike Crum, director of the Public Events Department of the City of Fort Worth, which owns and operates the FWCC. “Fast, convenient connectivity from anywhere is not a luxury now, it is viewed as a commodity. HN’s expertise has already helped us remain competitive in attracting a diverse range of events, and their generous new investment in our infrastructure will give us best-in-class customer experience.”
Sioux City Convention Center and OVG
The City of Sioux City extended its contract with global sports and entertainment company Oak View Group (OVG) to continue providing food and beverage services, as well as assume private management for the Sioux City Convention Center (SCCC), effective April 1. As part of the deal, OVG will play a key role in collaborating on event attraction, food and beverage enhancements and marketing and sponsorship growth, according to city officials.
Joining Tyson Events Center and Orpheum Theatre as properties managed by OVG divisions OVG360 and OVG Hospitality, the SCCC expands OVG’s footprint in the Sioux City market. OVG360 currently manages booking services at the Seaboard Triumph Foods Expo Center, and OVG Hospitality manages food and beverage service at select locations at Sioux Gateway Airport.
“We are honored that the City of Sioux City has entrusted Oak View Group to guide the next chapter of the Sioux City Convention Center,” said Greg O’Dell, OVG360 president, venue management. “We see this as an incredible opportunity to bring our depth of experience in the marketplace and around the globe to elevate the visitor experience, support the surrounding community and drive sustainability.”
Nick Palmiotti, a hospitality industry veteran and current general manager of OVG’s properties in Sioux City, will also oversee the convention center’s vision and operations.
OVG was also recently awarded management contracts for Chicago’s McCormick Place, Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Okla. and Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa.
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