Oak View Group announced the launch of a new division focusing on the Canadian sports and entertainment business, OVG Canada. The division will be led by Tim Pistore, who will serve as President of OVG Canada after most recently working at President of UBS Arena on Long Island. As part of the launch, the new division also announced its first flagship partner, Canada Basketball.

News of the new division follows the October 2021 announcement of Oak View Group’s first project in Canada, the redevelopment of the Hamilton Ontario Arts & Entertainment District and FirstOntario Centre Arena. OVG Chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke, who once headed Toronto’s Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, saw the need to spin up operations focused on the unique markets north of the border.

“During my time running MLSE, I realized that the Canadian sports and facility marketplace is uniquely driven by the Canadian consumer and Canadian companies. You cannot develop, operate, or sell Canadian facilities or assets from the U.S., and therefore it’s critical for us to be a part of Canada,” says Leiweke. “With Tom Pistore leading the charge of our OVG Canada group, we want to create the best sports and facility sales organization in Canada. Very few companies in our industry have the infrastructure that we have now in Canada and the U.S. to serve our Canadian clients, giving OVG the competitive edge to deliver best in class results.”

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OVG360, the company’s venue management division, already operates several properties in Canada, including Budweiser Gardens in London, ON; FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON; CAA Arena in Belleville, ON; Ovinitiv Events Centre in Dawson Creek, BC; Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, SK; Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, ON; Penticton Trade & Convention Centre at SOEC Complex in Penticton, BC; The Hangar at Downsview Park in Toronto, ON; Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, ON; Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Vancouver, BC; and WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON. Additionally, the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, is a member of the OVG Arena Alliance.

Pistore also has previous experience in Canada, having worked at MLSE as an executive.

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace, and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities to the Canadian market,” Pistore said. “After an exciting journey launching UBS Arena in New York, I could not be more excited to launch OVG Canada alongside a best-in-class leadership team that will deliver incredible results for our present and future partners.”

In its deal with Canada Basketball, OVG Canada will operate as the agency of record for national partnership sales, where it will “leverage knowledge and relationships across the Canadian marketing landscape to develop strategies for partnership development and integration while securing new relationships with globally recognized brands” for their partner.

“With basketball popularity on a dramatic rise across Canada and the strength of the Canadian talent pool, Canada Basketball is in the midst of an purposeful evolution,” Michael Bartlett, President & CEO, Canada Basketball, said. “There is no doubt Canada Basketball is a valuable partner for brands wishing to engage a truly diverse fan base across Canada, as we leverage our new broadcast partnership and our renewed event hosting strategy. We are excited to work with OVG Canada to align with brands that understand more basketball is good for Canada.”

Oak View Group has grown substantially since its launch in 2015 as a joint effort between Leiweke and former Ticketmaster chairman Irving Azoff. It oversees buildings including Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, USB Arena, and Moody Center in Austin, TX. It recently announced plans for a major development in Las Vegas, which it hopes will be centered by a 20,000 seat arena eventually home to an NBA franchise.

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