The city of Lake Charles is considering using ASM Global, a Los Angeles-based venue management company, to manage events at the Civic Center.
John Cardone, city administrator, said on Tuesday that the firm’s extended network could bring in larger acts — such as Broadway shows and other concerts — to the Rosa Hart Theatre and Civic Center coliseum. Additional revenue from these events could save the city up to $200,000 per year. ASM Global manages more than 300 facilities worldwide.
“They deal with promoters more than we do,” he said. “They have the contacts. We believe they can grow those events, which would be a plus for the Civic Center and citizens because they can attend.”
City officials met on Monday to reassure those who host regular events at the Civic Center, along with the local vendors that serve them, that they would be protected if the city uses ASM Global. That action requires approval by the City Council.
“These people have been loyal to us,” he said. “We have no intent of changing operations at the Civic Center. The city is still in charge.”
Cardone said the 19 full-time Civic Center employees and additional temporary workers would not be impacted.
“They do an excellent job,” he said. “No one will lose their job if we move forward with this.”
The city began discussing the idea with the company, formerly known as SMG, several months ago, Cardone said. SMG and AEG Facilities merged in October to form ASM Global. Doug Thornton, executive vice president of ASM Global, said SMG began working with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans more than 40 years ago and grew to work with venues in other Louisiana cities and throughout the Gulf coast.
ASM Global would give Lake Charles “a voice they don’t possess today” when securing larger acts, Thornton said.
“That’s one thing the city sees in the opportunity,” he said. “If Lake Charles were out on their own trying to appeal to an artist agency or promoter to do a concert at the Civic Center, it would be a single voice.”
Cardone said ASM Global has a 92 percent satisfaction rate among venues that use the company. He said Mayor Nic Hunter has spoken with officials in other cities statewide that use ASM Global, such as New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Monroe and Alexandria.
“They have a pretty good track record,” Cardone said.
Cardone said ASM Global’s software could help the Civic Center become more efficient with tracking revenue and expenses.
Rumors of the Civic Center being sold are false, Cardone added.
Thornton said the Civic Center’s facilities “are in remarkably good condition.”
“That theater is just beautiful,” he said. “It fits the sweet spot of size of theaters we could typically program. The stage is perfectly suited for Broadway.”
Cardone said the city is considering a 10-15 percent increase in its room rental rates at the Civic Center. That idea, he said, was being discussed before talks with ASM Global began. The rates haven’t been adjusted in seven years.
“We don’t want to make it unaffordable for those that use the Civic Center,” Cardone said of the increase.
The city will schedule a meeting for the public to discuss the issue, Cardone said.
“If the consensus is there is some benefit to the city and citizens, we will bring it before the council for approval,” he said.