McCormick Place Taps Oak View Group As Its New Private Management and Food Service Partner
Following an extensive and competitive RFP process, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) has selected global sports and live entertainment company Oak View Group (OVG) as the new private management and food service partner for Chicago’s McCormick Place, Wintrust Arena and Arie Crown Theater.
Beginning Oct. 1 and running through Sept. 2028, the management and F&B contracts were awarded to OVG360 and OVG Hospitality, respectively, following a unanimous vote by the MPEA Board.
“I am thrilled to welcome OVG360 and OVG Hospitality to our campus,” said Larita Clark, CEO of MPEA. “We are always seeking ways to evolve and innovate to provide the best destination in the country for our event planners and their attendees. This new partnership gives us the opportunity to continue to enhance the McCormick Place experience, from the planning phase to the event execution phase, through the completion of each event.”
As a municipal corporation governed by Illinois state statutes, MPEA is authorized to employ private venue and private food service management companies for McCormick Place and periodically conduct new competitive procurement processes for these contracts, according to MPEA officials.
According to OVG and MPEA officials, planning will begin immediately to ensure a seamless transition for McCormick Place clients, guests and employees. Meanwhile, MPEA is in communication with upcoming events to keep them abreast of the latest developments, and OVG360 and OVG Hospitality have committed to honoring existing collective bargaining agreements on the McCormick campus in an effort to maximize employee retention.
Additionally, ASM Global and SAVOR...Chicago, the campus’ current private management and food service providers, will work closely with MPEA, OVG360 and OVG Hospitality throughout the transition.
“MPEA is grateful to ASM Global and SAVOR…Chicago for setting the standards as McCormick Place’s private management and food service provider for more than a decade, and we thank them for their assistance during this transition,” Clark added.
OVG360 and OVG Hospitality currently manage a combination of services in more than 400 venues worldwide, including convention centers, arenas, stadiums and performing arts centers.
“We’re incredibly proud that McCormick Place has entrusted OVG360 and OVG Hospitality as the new keepers of this world-renowned complex,” said Chris Granger, president of OVG360. “While McCormick Place has set the industry standard for decades, we are honored to help shape its future. We see an incredible opportunity to elevate the guest experience, support the surrounding community, drive sustainability and grow and inspire a diverse workforce.”
He added, “We look forward to bringing our depth of experience from around the globe to Chicago and to building upon McCormick Place’s incredible track record.”
OVG Hospitality is not only among the fastest-growing food and beverage providers worldwide but also one that embraces technology, sustainability, local investment and diversity, equity and inclusion to create customized experiences at every location, according to OVG officials.
“From onsite hydroponic gardens to high-tech market experiences to diverse local suppliers, OVG Hospitality has all the resources to elevate McCormick Place’s dining experience to the next level,” said OVG Hospitality President Ken Gaber. “We are excited to begin serving guests from around the world at McCormick Place.”
OVG currently oversees a combination of venue management and food services at leading venues across Illinois, including Navy Pier in Chicago, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates and State Farm Arena and Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois in Champaign.
The company also manages more than 60 convention centers across North America, including Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, Miami Beach Convention Center, Atlantic City Convention Center, Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center and I-X Center in Cleveland.
“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with the MPEA,” said Greg O’Dell, president of OVG360 Venue Management. “Our ability to attract more business events and optimize the McCormick Place Campus is a key differentiator for OVG360. Further, regarding our F&B offering, OVG Hospitality has partnered with the hottest local culinary groups to create amazing, authentic experiences while infusing the latest technology to offer compelling and convenient marketplace experiences throughout the campus.”
He added, “With our best-in-class service offerings and relentless pursuit of operational excellence, we look forward to helping McCormick Place maintain its stature as one of the preeminent meeting and convention venues in the world.”