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OVG hires Steve Mattson as Director of Operations

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Steve Mattson at the Target Center renovation ribbon cutting ceremony
David Sherman-NBA.com

The Oak View Group have taken a big step in their journey to build a new Seattle Center arena. According to KING 5’s Chris Daniels, the company has hired former Target Center vice president Steve Mattson as its new Director of Operations.

As Daniels says, the Target Center, home to the Minnesota Timberwolves, just re-opened after completing a $145 million renovation. It included increasing premium seating and club suites, things that OVG CEO Tim Leiweke has pointed to as essential for increasing revenue at the Seattle Center arena. While there, Mattson also held the positions of Executive Director and Director of Finance. Mattson was also the general manager of Leiweke’s former company, AEG Facilities.

It’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about NBA arenas.

In a recent interview with Sonics Rising, Leiweke said he would be building up an executive team for the arena very soon and this appears to be the first domino to fall. This team will shepherd us through the entitlement process in preparation of demolition and construction, scheduled to start in less than a year.

Mattson, 55, moved to Seattle in May when his wife Marissa got a job at Amazon.

Statement from OVG:

OVG lands Industry Veteran to support New Arena at Seattle Center Redevelopment

(Seattle, WA) – December 13, 2017 – Oak View Group (OVG) today announced the hiring of Steve Mattson as Director of Operations for the New Arena at Seattle Center.

Mattson brings 27 years of major market arena operations experience to OVG. He comes to Seattle from the Target Center in Minneapolis, home of the NBA Timberwolves. For the past 16 years he was Vice President/General Manager with full responsibly for all aspects of the 19,000-seat facility.

During the approval, construction, and pre-opening phases of the New Arena at Seattle Center, Mattson will provide critical operator background on analysis, labor relations, design and overall understanding of how the arena will operate upon opening. Having just completed an 18-month, $140 Million renovation at Target Center, Mattson will bring relevant experience to the entire design and construction process.

“Steve is a special talent in our industry and someone who has a track record of excellence and innovation in his work as an operator and in his dealings with the professional sports leagues,” said Tim Leiweke, OVG CEO. “His expertise will be critical as we move into the next phase of our work with the City of Seattle in revitalizing the Key Arena and Seattle Center.”

Over the course of his time at the Target Center, Mattson oversaw:

* The $140 million public/private partnership with the City of Minneapolis for the renovation of the Target Center.

* Industry record concert tour

* National events, including: NBA All-Star Game, NCAA Women’s Final Four, NCAA Wrestling Championships, and International Figure Skating Championships

* 8 consecutive years in the NBA playoffs (1997-2004)

“As an arena operator, this project is an opportunity of a lifetime. We will deliver a cutting edge and innovative world-class arena to Seattle and make it one of the most desired sports and live entertainment venues in the country. We have a lot of exciting work to do: By entering the project at this moment – we are in the design phase and early in the NHL expansion process – there is a platform to build on that will lead to a great outcome for the residents of Seattle. I’m fortunate to join the OVG team and utilize my arena operations experience for the New Arena at Seattle Center,” said Steve Mattson, Director of Operations, New Arena at Seattle Center.

The addition of Mattson comes on the heels of The City of Seattle and OVG’s recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the privately financed redevelopment of KeyArena at Seattle Center. The MOU provides an agreed-upon framework for OVG to construct, operate, and maintain a redeveloped arena nearly double the size of KeyArena. It anticipates a 39-year lease with two eight-year renewal options for a total of up to 55 years. The arena will also be designed to preserve the current and historic roofline, and meet LEED Gold or equivalent standards. The City and OVG will next work to memorialize the MOU terms into a Development Agreement, Lease Agreement, Seattle Center Integration Agreement, and other related transaction documents.

About OVG:

Oak View Group (OVG) is global advisory, development, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles, OVG is helmed by its CEO Tim Leiweke and backed by Azoff MSG Entertainment. OVG comprises of a sponsorship/partnership company, a consulting division, a venue security company, a media and conference division, a venture fund/equity division and the Stadium and Arena Alliance.