MICHAEL OWENS, MOODY CENTER VP OF BOOKING TIM VOGT, MOODY CENTER VP OF ARENA OPERATIONS VERONICA CANTU, MOODY CENTER VP OF MARKETING ANSEL GARDINER, MOODY CENTER DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
Austin, Texas, January 13, 2021 – Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, has announced its executive leadership team for Moody Center, a new $338 million, state-of-the-art, privately- funded arena in the heart of Austin, Texas.
Designed specifically for concerts, Moody Center will replace the 43-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center and will provide a world-class destination for music and live entertainment for the Austin community. Moody Center will feature over 150 nights a year of unique entertainment hosting the best and biggest names in the music industry, the University of Texas Women’s and Men’s basketball teams, family shows and other sporting and local events.
The executive leadership team will focus on creating a vibrant company culture built on the foundation of exceptional service, employee and community engagement and a commitment to excellence.
Before joining OVG Moody Center, Michael Owens was most recently assistant general manager of Chesapeake Energy Arena, an NBA venue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Michael will serve as Moody Center vice president of booking and will be responsible for developing a robust and diverse calendar of live entertainment and sporting events for the new arena. In 2019, Owens was recognized with the VenuesNow “Generation Next” award and was named a “Rising Star” award finalist by Pollstar Magazine. Michael has extensive experience in the entertainment industry working as director of live entertainment for Canucks Sports & Entertainment at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, as director of booking for BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and as general manager at Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, Missouri.
Owens said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join this executive leadership team for Oak
View Group in Austin. This city has music in its DNA and this arena will be known worldwide as the place to perform. Austin’s unique culture, combined with the culture of OVG is unmatched in the industry and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.
With over 25 years of experience, Tim Vogt was named Moody Center vice president of arena operations. Tim will oversee the construction and completion of Moody Center and will manage venue operations, maintenance, information technology and event production. Tim comes to OVG with a deep knowledge of venue operations with executive-level experience at Infinite Energy Arena (formerly Gwinnett Civic Center Arena) in Duluth, Georgia, Enterprise Center in St Louis, Missouri, BOK Center and COX Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Florida.
Vogt stated, “Very seldom do you get the opportunity to be a part of a project this special, especially when you get to work with the best people in our industry. I am thankful and excited to be a part of the Moody Center project and to join Oak View Group.”
Veronica Cantu joins the team as the vice president of marketing. Veronica will oversee public relations, marketing and promotion for the arena and events. Veronica is a native Texan and comes to OVG with over 18 years in the sports and entertainment industry in sales and marketing working for iconic brands like the University of Texas (University Interscholastic League), Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks.
Cantu stated “I am honored and privileged to be able to work alongside some of the greatest visionaries and most influential players in the music, sports and entertainment industry. The live music capital of the world will have a first-class venue to celebrate the most notable artists and powerful brand in collegiate sports. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing project and can’t wait to see the excitement it brings to Austin.”
Coming to Moody Center with over 25 years of industry experience, Ansel Gardiner will serve as the director of finance. Gardiner comes to Austin from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California. His resume also includes over two decades of venue finance experience at Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona, Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Ansel said, “To be a part of the startup of any new venue is amazing. Add to that the unique partnership between OVG, Live Nation, C3 and the largest college brand in the United States, the University of Texas, made this opportunity a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Moody Center’s executive team is led by Jeff Nickler and Casey Sparks. Jeff has been named senior vice president of OVG Austin and Moody Center general manager and for the last 2 years has served as and will continue as the senior vice president of OVG’s Arena Alliance, an elite membership of the top 29 NBA & NHL venues in North America representing 102 million fans and 50+ professional sports teams. Casey Sparks recently joined the company from the award-winning 19,000 seat entertainment venue, BOK Center, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She serves as vice president of OVG Austin and assistant general manager of Moody Center and the executive team will report directly to her.
Nickler stated, “We are thrilled to have such a diverse and talented group of leaders join OVG and the Moody Center team. We handpicked each person for their respective roles, knowing they had a skill set to amplify a culture and vision that is authentic to Austin and that can deliver on the promise we made to have one the finest arenas in the country on every level.”
Scheduled to open in early 2022, the new $338 million, world-class arena replaces the 43-year- old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center at The University of Texas at Austin campus and can seat over 15,000 fans for concerts. In addition to being home to Texas men’s and women’s basketball games, graduations, as well as university, community, high school, and other events for the Austin community, the new venue will be built for music and host the best and biggest names in the music industry on an annual basis, and finally provide a world-class venue for top touring concerts and shows.
About Oak View Group (OVG)
Oak View Group (OVG) is a global sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff in 2015. OVG is focused on being a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports and live entertainment industry and currently has eight divisions across four global offices (Los Angeles, New York, London, and Philadelphia). OVG is leading the redevelopment and operations of Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA and UBS Arena in Elmont, NY as well as leading arena development projects in Austin, TX, Manchester, UK, and Milan, Italy. OVG Global Partnerships, a division of OVG, is the sales and marketing arm responsible for selling across all OVG Arena Development projects.
About Moody Center
Moody Center will provide the nation’s 11th largest city with a premiere venue to host the biggest artists and acts on the planet. Designed specifically for concerts, the new arena will replace the 42-year old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center at The University of Texas and will be the home to the University of Texas women’s and men’s basketball games as well as other sports and community events. Moody Center is privately funded Oak View Group, Live Nation/C3 Presents, University of Texas and Matthew McConaughey and is set to open April 2022.