LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) With the announcement of Steve Tadlock as the GM of the new Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, the staffing at the soccer stadium hits a little close to home for at least one CelebrityAccess staff member.
Tadlock spent 15 years in Fresno, Calif., home to this reporter, launching the Save Mart Center then, after handling general management duties for more than a decade, becoming a regional director for SMG, covering the Central Valley of California but still working from the Fresno facility. He was moved to Fresno after launching another SMG-managed building in Bossier City, La., making the Banc of California Stadium his third fledgling project.
The Banc of California Stadium, which kicked off its live music last summer with the Wango Tango festival starring Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes, has been loading up its staff with booking contact Ryan Northcott, marketing VP Cori Gadbury, and event director Brian Smith, and led by longtime industry exec Adam Friedman, president of Banc of California Stadium Entertainment. Now it has filled a key component with Tadlock, who built a solid career at SMG and leaves the company with plenty of well-wishers.
What brought you to this place?
It was an unexpected path. Not something I was necessarily seeking. I had a fantastic run with SMG and was treated very well, and had a really successful run there in Fresno for the past 15 years, and a lengthy career with LMI and SMG, so this “left turn” was not an easy decision by any means.
There were a lot of factors. One is this facility is the finest of its type and is going to set a new standard for this kind of facility. When you combine the market, the location in the market, the climate, the amenities and what we’re adding to it to make it event friendly and diverse and versatile, plus a progressive, dynamic ownership group that’s created a brand that is penetrating the market in a big way, it added up to a unique opportunity.
And I had to look at it from a family perspective. The other people in my life, my wife and my children, had to look at what their interests are, what they’re trying to do and to get their lives going. It was quite frankly becoming much more Southern California-centric. I saw this as checking a lot of boxes. It could give me a chance to be part of something that is big and dynamic and still in its honeymoon period, assembling team members every week, and provide other members of my family to pursue their interests in a location that is conducive to what they want to do, it just checked a lot of boxes.
It’s been a fantastic run with SMG but I have another run in me. I’m looking forward to building this brand and making it the destination of choice.
How did this come about? How did the conversation start?
I worked with Adam Friedman as a consultant for SMG when we were seeking the Greek Theatre, in that bid process about five years ago. I got to work very closely with him on that and we saw things the same way and just stayed in touch. He was always following what I was doing, I was following what he was doing. He became a consultant for this organization and kept me posted on that. That transitioned into him getting back into the game. He was actually seeking to fill other positions and looking for leads for booking, marketing and finance and, at that time, I learned more about the project and I started asking more questions. Those conversations just sort of happened; I wouldn’t say I was actively recruited. It was just more of me becoming aware of it through a relationship.
I just said, hey, I’d like to hear more and one thing led to another.
You and Jeff Nickler moving to LA from the SMG realm in the same week, kind of jostles my comfort zone.
I didn’t actually know about Jeff’s news until after I relayed my news to SMG. It was in that conversation where I learned he was making a move. And we’re going to the same market but, obviously, Los Angeles is quite the entertainment capitol. There’s a lot of opportunity in this market. That being said, I have nothing but good things to say about SMG and it took some soul-searching to come here.
You certainly have a background in starting new projects.
I was fortunate, and I said that in an initial staff meeting today. The last two stops I’ve been, I was literally there from the construction phase, in Bossier City, La., all the way through first shovel in the ground to assembling the team and setting up all the processes, going through pre-opening, grand opening. That was a fantastic experience for anyone. I got that opportunity back-to-back, doing the same thing in Fresno. That’s very exciting to get in on the ground level of building a brand and creating a new entertainment option for a market that is going to make a difference in the leisure/lifestyle there. And I see really great things for this facility because there are MLS soccer stadiums all over the country but this one is going to be different. We’re marketing it as an outdoor arena with capability and production. And we have the climate and the market to do things you couldn’t replicate elsewhere.
So is this a “bigger ship” to you or an entirely new vehicle?
It’s a new vehicle. The outdoor, open-air stadium concept is just different than an indoor venue in a lot of respects. It has the big capacity for the major-level touring acts and the intimacy of the proximity to the performance area because it is a stadium. But a stadium show takes multiple days to load in. You’ve got to build a bunch of scaffolding and ground support. We’re going to configure this so we have a hung, rigging grid. We’ve got a concrete pad, and we’re putting in a stage solution so that from a production standpoint you can really convert the building and operate it like an arena-touring environment where you can load in, play a show, and load out in much less time and much less cost.
That’s a very unique scenario that doesn’t exist in similar venues.
It’s interesting to talk to someone in a “different” company than the usual fare.
You’re right. The Los Angeles Football Club is the entity that I work for and it’s a one-scenario organization. We have the soccer team; we have the facility. We’re open to work with everybody in the industry so we’re agnostic. We’re not tied in to one event producer and, you’re right, I’m not in a competitive situation with SMG, OVG or Spectra. In a lot of ways, it’s nice to be focused on the success of one property and to be able to work with everybody. And I’m leaving a company that was good to me and controversy free so I think it was a good circumstance for me to make the move. I feel like I’m leaving the right way.
I’ll try and console the staff at the Save Mart Center.
(laughs) It’s humbling. They say you don’t know how people feel about you until you’re gone and that usually means dead but to hear some of the well-wishes and knowing you had a positive impact on people’s lives and careers, that’s certainly a humbling, gratifying thing to go through – and difficult. I think people were sad to see me go but happy to see I had this opportunity. It really fit both of those emotions simultaneously.
I appreciate the reach-out and I’ve been humbled and honored by the comments that have been coming in. That speaks to treating people the right way and you wouldn’t be getting those well-wishes if you burned bridges. I feel I’ve presented myself well in the business and change is exciting sometimes. I’m really grateful this organization has given me this opportunity to help them grow their vision. It’s a challenge I’m ready to take on.