(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
SMG has been awarded a contract to provide pre-opening and management services for the University of Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA, a 15,000-seat, state-of-the-art venue set to open in the spring of 2006.
"To be given the responsibility of managing what will be a world-class venue for the University of Virginia certainly makes us proud," SMG President Wes Westley said. "I believe our partnership will serve the interests of the University, its students and alumni, and make the arena a great success."
"This is going to be an exciting venture and we look forward to working closely with SMG as it lays out the entertainment opportunities for the coming years," said Leonard W. Sandridge, the university's executive vice president and COO. "It is our hope that we will be able to attract music groups of all kinds, large theater productions, cultural events and even the circus in an effort to appeal to many different audiences."
The first event that SMG is credited with bringing to the university is the Rolling Stones concert to be held October 6 in Scott Stadium, the university's recently renovated 61,000-seat football venue.
"Bringing the Rolling Stones to the University of Virginia is just the first step of what we are planning for the University and the new arena," said Mike Evans, SMG's senior vice president of Sports and Entertainment. "We will do all that we can by engaging our national contacts, to bring a diverse roster of talent and entertainment to the arena, making it all that it can be."
The John Paul Jones Arena was named to honor the father of university benefactor and alumnus Paul Tudor Jones II. Jones, a Greenwich, CT. businessman who was a driving force behind plans for the arena, contributed $35 million to the $129.8 million project.
The arena, built as a home for the University's women's and men's basketball teams and to host Atlantic Coast Conference play, is reminiscent of much of the university's historic architecture, and will include the use of brick and a white-columned colonnade. All 15,000 seats have been situated as close to the court as possible to create an intimate arena for fans, but an intimidating atmosphere for opponents.
The audio-visual components of the arena will set new standards in intercollegiate athletic venues. The main scoreboard will hang above center court and will consist of four wide-screen video displays along with additional screens to display the score and updated statistics. State-of-the-art lighting systems also will enhance the fan experience. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen