LOS ANGELES, CA (September 22, 2020) – Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, and Seattle Kraken today announced the appointment of five executives to its team at the newly named Climate Pledge Arena, future home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, located at Seattle Center. Joining OVG is David Curry as vice president of technology, Nick Vaerewyck as vice president of programming, Randy Foster as director of event production, Damon Murray as director of engineering, and Christine Spiller as senior director of event services. All will assume their new roles immediately.
“As we enter the next phase of development in bringing Seattle’s world-class arena to life, each of these new hires’ strong backgrounds will be invaluable in helping make that vision a reality,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. “I am very pleased to officially welcome each of them to the team.”
Curry brings more than 25 years of technology experience to the Climate Pledge Arena project, a facility which is historically important to him as a native Seattleite. Before joining Climate Pledge Arena, Curry spent 22 years with the Seattle Mariners, the final 13 as the vice president of technology. He led all team back office, audio/visual, and facility technologies for the Mariners at Safeco Field (T-Mobile Park), the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona, and the Academy in the Dominican Republic.
“I feel honored to join the Climate Pledge Arena team and be involved in the construction and operation of such an incredible sports and entertainment venue,” said Curry. “I grew up watching the Sonics and Pearl Jam under this iconic roof, and I am thrilled to be part of what I know will be an amazing and important entertainment destination. This, when combined with my involvement in the construction of Safeco Field, feels like I hit the hometown lottery twice.”
(Left-to-right) David Curry, VP of Technology & Nick Vaerewyck, VP of Programming
As vice president of programming, Vaerewyck will be responsible for strategic content programming of all concerts, family shows, and special events, as well as facilitating the NHL hockey and WNBA basketball schedules.
“It’s an incredible honor to join such a talented team at Climate Pledge Arena,” said Vaerewyck. “It has been inspiring to see the excitement the city has for the new building and the Seattle Kraken as the vision takes shape. Seattle has such a great history and tremendous support for its sports, music, and entertainment and I’m excited to play a role with everyone here.”
Prior to Climate Pledge Arena, Vaerewyck spent four years with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, New York, most recently as its senior vice president of programming and business operations where he oversaw the reopening of the facility following a $180M renovation. Vaerewyck started his career in entertainment at Talking Stick Resort Arena and Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, AZ, where he last served as the arena’s director of event booking before leaving for the East Coast. Recently he was honored as a 2020 VenuesNow Generation Next recipient.
Foster has worked the last three decades as a production manager, tour manager, and promoter rep. Most recently, he was the director of production for AEG Presents in Seattle, where he oversaw the production of 650 shows annually in the four-state region. Prior to that, he was the originating tour manager for Marvel Universe Live for Feld Entertainment, a 28-truck extravaganza that traveled with more than a hundred actors and technicians in its initial North American run. He also served as director of events of Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL Nashville Predators, from 2006-2012.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the team that’s bringing NHL hockey back to Seattle and expanding and renovating what will be the crown jewel of arenas in North America, the Climate Pledge Arena,” said Foster. “The team assembled here in Seattle is the finest in the world in sports and entertainment, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
With 20 years of venue industry experience, Murray comes to Climate Pledge Arena from the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena where he served as chief engineer and managed HVAC, plumbing, painters, maintenance, locksmith, and electrical staff. Before that role, he was the assistant general manager of the U.S. Cellular Center (Harrah’s Cherokee Center-Asheville) in Asheville, NC where he oversaw all aspects of event operations, engineering, security, and production. Murray held multiple roles at the Spectrum Center, home of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, from conversion supervisor, assistant chief engineer, with his last being director of facility operations.
“It’s an honor to join the outstanding team at Climate Pledge Arena,” said Murray. “I’m delighted to leverage my years of experience in the venue industry to help further shape what will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world.”
(Left-to-right) Randy Foster, Damon Murray & Christine Spiller
Spiller joins Climate Pledge Arena with nearly ten years of sports & entertainment and venue management industry experience. Before joining, Spiller recently served as the senior director of venue operations at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, where she led the overall guest relations & experience vision, and directed logistics and event implementation for concerts, the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Mammoth. During her eight-year tenure with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), Spiller successfully executed hundreds of events between all of KSE’s venues which include Pepsi Center, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and the Paramount Theatre.
“Joining this team of talented and dedicated industry leaders is an absolute honor,” said Spiller. “I’m excited to play a part in Climate Pledge Arena’s evolution and help bring this project to life. Most importantly, I can’t wait for the day our guests and the city of Seattle can experience what we will have created for them.”
Steve Mattson, executive vice president and arena general manager commented, “I am humbled by the caliber and breadth of talent we have attracted while building out our leadership team. We are so fortunate to find these five individuals, all bringing large market and arena experience, to this transformative project. Our goal is to continue to add people who match the culture we are building and be ready to welcome guests to this beautiful arena in 2021.”
Climate Pledge Arena will open in 2021 and will host the inaugural Seattle Kraken 2021-2022 season as well as the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and the best in live music and entertainment. The latest updates can be found at www.climatepledgearena.com.
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 8 divisions across 4 global offices (Los Angeles, New York, London, and Philadelphia). OVG is leading the redevelopment and operations of the New Arena at Seattle Center as well as leading arena development projects in Belmont, NY, Austin, TX, 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 Climate Pledge Arena
Located at Seattle Center, Climate Pledge Arena will be the first net zero certified arena in the world. It will serve as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action. The Climate Pledge, which was founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019, is a commitment from companies globally to be net zero carbon by 2040. The complete redevelopment of this historic landmark, originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, will be an industry first. Home to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and the world’s biggest performers of live music and events, Climate Pledge Arena will open in 2021. Learn More at www.climatepledgearena.com.
About Seattle Kraken
The Seattle Kraken are the National Hockey League’s newest franchise, set to play their inaugural season in 2021-2022 at Climate Pledge Arena, developed by Oak View Group. Visit www.nhl.com/kraken for the latest news and information including press releases, multimedia content, and the latest hires.
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Fearey for the Seattle Kraken