OVG plans $280m revamp of FirstOntario Centre
Oak View Group (OVG) has unveiled plans to invest $280 million in the renovation of the FirstOntario Centre in Ontario, Canada.
Led by OVG and Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group, the revamp will see the 18,000-capacity arena that opened in 1985 transformed into a modern entertainment venue.
Upgrades to the city-owned facility include a reimagined facade, premium seating, enhanced acoustics, improved sightlines, upgraded concourses, and optimised clubs and suites and artist lounges.
The newly modernised venue will accommodate shows unable to land an available date at the Scotiabank Arena (cap. 19,800) in Toronto, which is owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, where Tim Leiweke, OVG Chairman & CEO, was chief executive from 2013 to 2015.
“It’s a great market as Toronto has run out space for new construction. We’re making a big bet but we feel great about it”
Live Nation will serve as the FirstOntario Centre’s booking partner and bring concerts and other live events to the city of Hamilton. Work on the facility will begin in spring 2024, and the building is expected to open in fall 2025.
“Our timing is perfect,” says Leiweke, noting that billions of dollars in construction for ten projects in Hamilton is planned for the fast-growing region. “It’s a great market as Toronto has run out space for new construction. We’re making a big bet but we feel great about it. We have a great team here in place, a lot of great companies that believe in us and we are feeling very optimistic.”
OVG recently worked with Louis Messina, promoter of the Taylor Swift tour, to sell sponsorships for the singer’s six-night run in November 2024 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
“We already have a great infrastructure in place with a strong team up here,” says Leiweke. Besides Hamilton, Oak View Group recently completed renovations at the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore and plans to complete work at the Co-op Live arena in the UK later this year.
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