VenuesNow Unveils All-Stars List

Courtesy of VenuesNow
– VenuesNow
MLS Commissioner Don Garber appears on the cover of VenuesNow’s inaugural All-Stars issue, which recognizes the most accomplished, innovative, and influential leaders in the entertainment and sports facilities industry.

VenuesNow has announced its inaugural All-Stars list, honoring the most accomplished, innovative and influential leaders in the entertainment and sports facilities industry. The 50 honorees will be celebrated tonight (Sept. 9) at a private reception in New York City that will kick off the third annual VenuesNow Conference (Sept. 10-11), the venue industry’s flagship event.

The All-Stars announcement coincides with a special issue of VenuesNow featuring write-ups about all 50 honorees, as well as a Q&A with cover subject MLS Commissioner Don Garber, whose league has had a massive impact on the venue business as it continues its nationwide expansion.

The 50 All-Stars were selected by the VenuesNow editorial team, which researched candidates, vigorously debated their merits, and consulted key members of the industry for feedback.  Factors included documented excellence, innovation, financial success, commitment to diversity, leadership in their field, and more.

“These are exciting times for the venues industry, which is experiencing profound innovation, creativity, and positive disruption,” said Ray Waddell, president, Media & Conferences, for Oak View Group, parent company for VenuesNow. “Attempting to narrow down the many high achievers and innovators in an industry populated by bold, visionary leaders and paradigm-changing facilities was a very challenging endeavor. We believe that the editorial team at VenuesNow did indeed build a list that accurately reflects the evolution and leadership of this dynamic sector. We salute the executives, venues and other stakeholders making up the first group of VenuesNow All-Stars, along with the facilities industry at large, for charting the course for the venue industry.”

A third of the 2019 All-Stars honorees are women, reflecting an increasingly inclusive venues industry. In addition to 40 individual All-Stars, the list also recognizes excellence in categories including facilities, mixed-use development, festival, trend and renovation. 

2019 VenuesNow All-Stars:


  • Don Garber, Major League Soccer 
  • Chris Allphin, Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment
  • Kurt Amundsen, Populous
  • Dori Armor, The Anthem
  • Tom Cantone, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment
  • Derek Cunz, Mortenson Sports + Entertainment Group
  • Kim Damron, Paciolan
  • Chris Del Conte, University of Texas
  • Kevin Demoff, L.A. Rams
  • Nicole Feld, Feld Ent. 
  • Brad Gessner, LA Convention Center; AEG Convention Centers
  • Peter Guber, Mandalay Ent.; Golden State Warriors; LAFC; Team Liquid
  • Mary Haskett, Blink Identity
  • Bob Jordan, Venue Road
  • Donna Julian, Hornets Sports & Entertainment
  • David Kells, Bridgestone Arena/Nashville Predators
  • Tammy Koolbeck, Iowa State Center; Iowa State University
  • Reece Kurtenbach, Daktronics
  • Kate Lieberman, Live Nation
  • Cathy Lanier, National Football League
  • Stephanie McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment
  • David Manica, Manica Architecture
  • Carl Mittleman, Aramark
  • Bob Newman, AEG Facilities
  • Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless
  • Darren Pfeffer, MSG Live
  • Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs
  • Tim Romani, CAA Icon
  • Tom See, Live Nation
  • Peter Shapiro, Dayglo Ventures
  • Adam Silver, National Basketball Association
  • Russ Simons, Venue Solutions Group
  • Jared Smith, Ticketmaster
  • Brenda Tinnen, Sprint Center
  • Paul Tollett, Goldenvoice; Coachella
  • Paul Turner, AT&T Stadium
  • Allan Vella, Fox Theatre
  • Pete Vlastelica, Activision Blizzard Esports; Overwatch League
  • Alison Weber, Levy
  • Robyn Williams, Portland’5 Centers for the Arts 

Venues & More

  • Arena: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
  • Club: The Rooftop at Pier 17, New York City
  • Convention Center: Music City Center, Nashville
  • Festival: Bonnaroo
  • Mixed-Use Development: The Battery, Atlanta
  • New Venue: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
  • PAC/Theater: Walter Kerr Theatre, New York City
  • Renovation: The Met Philadelphia
  • Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
  • Trend: All-Cashless Concessions

Many of the All-Star honorees will be among the array of attendees at the 2019 VenuesNow Conference (VNC3), which is making its New York City debut at the Conrad New York Downtown Sept. 10-11. Among this year’s programming highlights are a keynote discussion with major sports league commissioners including the MLS’ Don Garber, NBA’s Adam Silver, and WNBA’s Cathy Engelbert and a one-on-one with the Azoff Company’s Irving Azoff (and co-founder of VenuesNow parent company OVG) and MSG’s Jim Dolan will be among this year’s highlights.

Other VNC3 power panelists set for this year include: Pegula Sports & Entertainment President/CEO Kim Pegula, Nicole Feld (Executive Vice President & Producer, Feld Entertainment Inc.), Darren Pfeffer (Executive Vice President, MSG Live, The Madison Square Garden Company), Al Guido (President/CEO & Co-managing Partner, San Francisco 49ers/Elevate Sports Ventures), Hannah Gordon (Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, San Francisco 49ers), Charlie Jacobs (CEO, Delaware North’s Boston Holdings/ Alternate Governor, Delaware North/Boston Bruins), Jerry Jacobs Jr. (Co-CEO, Delaware North), Jerry Parisi (Managing Director, Sports Finance, MUFG), Bill Bratton (Executive Chairman, Teneo Risk), Jason Miller (Executive Vice President, US Concerts,  Live Nation), Mike Luba (Madison House/Forest Hills Stadium), Peter Shapiro (Founder, Dayglo Ventures), Craig Levine (Global Chief Strategy Officer, ESL), Sports Innovation Lab CEO Angela Ruggiero, Rockwell Group principal/studio director Melissa Hoffman, Ticketmaster EVP/Head of Music David Marcus, UFC’s VP of Event Marketing Mike Newquist, and St. John’s University Athletic Director Mike Cragg, among many others.

The VenuesNow Conference is produced by Oak View Group’s Media & Conferences division, which also includes the live entertainment trade Pollstar and Pollstar Live! The latter is the world’s largest gathering of concert industry professionals and is set for Feb. 4-6, 2020 in Los Angeles. 

For more information, visit VenuesNow‘s website.