Oak View Group Scores Deal With University of Kansas

JAYHAWKS ROOST: David Booth Memorial Stadium is shown during the BYU-Kansas football game last September. The University of Kansas selected Oak View Group for venue management and food service across multiple venues, including the football stadium and Allen Fieldhouse. (AP Photo)

Oak View Group has expanded its footprint in the Big 12 Conference after the University of Kansas hired the company for venue management and food service across multiple venues on campus.

On the food side, OVG Hospitality replaces Sodexo Live!, KU’s previous concessionaire.

OVG, parent company of Pollstar and VenuesNow, won the business after responding to a proposal issued by the university.

Under the 10-year agreement, OVG360 will run David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, the school’s football facility, plus a new 55,000-square-foot conference center that’s part of the Gateway District, a mixed-use development connected to renovating the 103-year-old stadium. The overall project cost is $500 million and expected to be completed for the 2026 college football season.

The agreement takes effect July 1 at all facilities except for the football stadium, which is being rebuilt. For the 2024 season, Kansas football splits its home schedule with four games at Arrowhead Stadium and two games at Children’s Mercy Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Sporting KC. OVG will take over at the stadium in 2025, said Chris Granger, president of OVG360.

OVG Hospitality will run concessions and premium dining at all KU sports venues, including historic Allen Fieldhouse, home of Jayhawks men’s basketball, which is going through its own makeover. The second phase of renovations currently taking place, encompasses new hospitality spaces, a new videoboard and more premium seat options. The $50 million project will be completed for the 2024-25 basketball season.

The overall agreement extends to the Stadium Club, a members-only dining facility on Memorial Stadium’s club level. It’s one of many Stadium Clubs that OVG assumed after acquiring those assets in February. In the Big 12 alone, Baylor, Texas Tech, Utah and Arizona, which joins the Big 12 this fall, all have Stadium Clubs.

As part of the KU deal, OVG has committed to making a capital investment to pay for equipment and technology. Granger declined to provide any numbers.

“The deal is reflective of the holistic approach that we like to work with,” he said. “It’s a range of solutions for an iconic university. Anything that wraps together (all those services) — those are the deals that are more interesting and helpful to the partner.”

OVG officials will also make themselves available to KU as the school navigates the stadium reconstruction and upgrades Allen Fieldhouse, according to Granger.

“This is our business; we’re involved in construction,” he said. “We have a unique set of eyes when it comes to development and renovations. It could be helpful to have us at the table to help them think through the things that they want to do.”

OVG is not involved in selling premium seats and sponsorships. In May 2023, KU hired Legends to market new premium at Memorial Stadium as part of the transformation.

All told, OVG’s presence in the Big 12 extends to Houston, the University of Central Florida and Arizona State, where OVG360 runs Mullet Arena, home to ASU hockey and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

This story originally appeared at VenuesNow.com