Carrie Rengers

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Wink Hartman Sr. hires Iowa-based VenuWorks to manage Hartman Arena

10/30/2012 2:14 PM

10/30/2012 2:15 PM

WICHITA — A new company is going to manage the 4-year-old, 7,200-seat Hartman Arena in Park City.

Wink Hartman Sr. has hired Iowa-based VenuWorks, which will book events and handle food and beverage services among other things

Previously, Hartman and his staff have been running the arena.

“I was not doing a very good job,” Hartman says.

“We need to book more events. You know, more concerts, more local events, and I just felt like it was a time for a change in management to try to meet our objectives.”

VenuWorks president Steven Peters started the company 16 years ago to manage arenas with 5,000 to 10,000 seats.

The company manages United Wireless Arena in Dodge City and the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

Peters says his goal with Hartman Arena is clear.

“One word: events. We’ve got to bring more events.”

Hartman Arena has been averaging close to 50 events a year, including soccer games with Hartman’s Wichita Wings and football games with his Wichita Wild.

“Most of our arenas, we try to do 90 a year,” Peters says.

Being the smaller arena to the larger Intrust Bank Arena isn’t a negative, he says.

“That can be the really enviable place to be.”

Peters says there are more shows to fill 6,000 seats than 12,000.

“Obviously, you’ve got a market with a lot of alternatives, a lot of choices for consumers, a lot of choices for event planners.”

Peters says his company has a full-time booking department.

“We do a lot of sponsorship development,” he says. “We do a lot of promoting our venues to agents and promoters.”

Current staff at Hartman Arena will also remain to work with VenuWorks.

Hartman says he did his due diligence before selecting the company.

“Their people have great experience in arenas of Hartman Arena’s size,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll be able to expand.”

Hartman won’t say whether the arena has been profitable or not.

“I can’t discuss financials,” he says.

“The arena’s been everything I ever had hoped for. It’s exactly what I anticipated. There’s no surprise,” Hartman says. “The arena’s like all the businesses I’m involved with. It’s a tough business. It deserves excellent leadership.”

Peters says Hartman Arena is “a really easy facility to come to and enjoy an event.”

“We think there’s an awful lot of potential.”

Read more here: http://blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard/2012/10/30/wink-hartman-sr-hires-iowa-based-venuworks-to-manage-hartman-arena/#storylink=cpy

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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