Tinnen New Kansas City GM

Brenda Tinnen, senior VP of events for Los Angeles’ Staples Center, has packed her bags to become senior VP and GM of Kansas City’s newest arena, the 18,500-seat Sprint Center.

The $250 million downtown arena is partially owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which also runs the Staples Center. Excavation work on the site has begun and it is expected to open September 2007.

AEG, which has invested $50 million into the under-construction venue, has decided to not hire an outside facility management firm.

AEG President Tim Leiweke recommended Tinnen, who is a Kansas City native and recently won Pollstar‘s facility manager of the year award.

“Her experience and expertise in so many facets of arena management will not only bring instant credibility to Sprint Center, it will play an important role in establishing Sprint Center as one of our industry’s finest, even before we book our first event or welcome our first guest,” Leiweke said.

Tinnen worked with Leiweke when he ran the Kansas City Comets 20 years ago. She joined him for the debut of the Staples Center six years ago but never sold her Plattsburg, Mo., home.