MGM Springfield to take over sole management of MassMutual Center
MGM Springfield has finalized a deal to take over exclusive management of the MassMutual Center, 10 months after winning a joint management bid with the Comcast-owned company Spectra.
The arena had been operated by Spectra, formerly Global Spectrum, since 2005. Last year MGM and Spectra began joint management of the venue, and the casino company has now cemented plans to take over day-to-day operations.
"We are thrilled to enter into this agreement that leverages the best of what our company has to offer, in order to make best use of the MMC and drive downtown economic development," MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said in a statement. "We commend Spectra and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on all they have accomplished with the MMC, and we are excited about the future opportunities that will come with the opening of our $950 million casino resort across the street."
The changeover is expected to start as soon as July 1, with Spectra continuing to oversee food and beverage service until a deal on those operations is reached with MGM.
MGM's takeover also means a change of employer for about 175 Spectra personnel who currently work at the MassMutual Center. MGM Springfield is holding a town hall-style meeting with the venue's employees Thursday afternoon to explain the new arrangement and field questions.
"For almost five years, MGM has had an opportunity to see MMC employees host special events, small and large-scale meetings and first- rate entertainment offerings," MGM Springfield Director of Human Resources Marikate Murren said in a statement. "Our entire company looks forward to welcoming these hard-working, proud and diverse group of professionals, and learning from their local experience, passion and knowledge."
In an interview, Mathis said that all venue employees are expected to be kept on in comparable positions.
"Compensation and benefits will generally be commensurate with currently received compensation and benefits, subject to MGM's company-wide employee compensation and benefits policies," Mathis said in a statement.
The new arrangement will also save the state money, as MGM is waiving the venue fee the MCCA currently pays to Spectra, Mathis said.
It will also give MGM greater control over the MassMutual Center's events calendar, and facilitate efforts to attract conventions and corporate groups, Mathis said.
"The theme of this transition is to reposition the MassMutual center as part of a campus with MGM Springfield," he said.
The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which owns the MassMutual Center, cheered MGM Springfield's heightened role in a statement.
"The MCCA is excited about the future of the MassMutual Center and downtown Springfield. Spectra has been a great partner in the management of the center since it opened in 2005," MCCA Executive Director David Gibbons said. "And with a world-renowned entertainment and hospitality leader moving in across the street, we now have the power of MGM's extraordinary industry relationships to look forward to on our future marquees."
MGM Springfield has already committed to bringing additional performances to the MassMutual Center as part of the broader development surrounding its downtown casino, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.
The MassMutual Center is also home to the Springfield Thunderbirds AHL franchise, whose ownership group includes Paul Picknelly, a major Springfield landowner and MGM Springfield business partner.
The 8,000 seat arena sits a block away from MGM Springfield's 14.5 acre campus, which is currently in the midst of construction. On Thursday morning city officials said that the company had reached the halfway point of construction and was meeting its commitments.