McCue Replaces Evans at SMG; Sipe Heads to Big Sandy

20 Aug

Jim McCue has been hired as the new Sr. VP of Entertainment for SMG and will oversee national bookings and tours for the company’s 70 arenas and 40 Performing Arts Centers.

“We’re bringing someone on who really understands the landscape of the sports and entertainment industry,” said Bob Cavalieri, the company’s Sr. VP of Sales and Development. “Not only does he have plenty of experience to bring to our booking division, he has the ability to expand our nationwide reach and boost our presence abroad.”

McCue has worked in nearly every facet of live entertainment serving as a booking agent, facility executive, promoter and producer. He replaces Mike Evans, who left the company in June to serve as president for Arenas, a newly appointed position at Live Nation.

“There was a bit of a leadership gap when he left,” Cavalieri said, later adding  “Jim (McCue) has had quite a career and I can’t imagine a better fit.”

McCue is currently based in Denver, where he worked as co-producer and co-promoter of the popular Walking with Dinosaurs show, and worked in booking for ArenaNetwork. From 2003-2005 he worked as the Sr. VP of House of Blues Denver, overseeing the club of the same name along with the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the former Fiddler’s Green (now the Comfort Dental Amphitheater) and the Paramount Theater. Before that he spent seven years working at the Rose Quarter in Portland, Ore., and served two years as the Director of Events for Palace Sports and Entertainment in the Detroit area. He began his career as an agent at International Creative Management.

He will oversee a staff of seven, including Jon Petrunak, VP of Entertainment for Arenas and Bob Papke, VP of Entertainment for Theaters, both out of Philadelphia, and Chris Wright, VP of Special Events, based at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, N.Y.

McCue will oversee the regional divisions as well, including Bob Belber who heads the Northeast, Cyndee Pennington who heads the Southeast, Jerry Goldman who heads the Midwest and Dan Spellens who oversees the West Coast.

Cavalieri said McCue will take the helm during a slow period in the concert business, but added that he expects things to pick up in 2011 with a number of artists reserving holds throughout the year.

Brian Sipe is leaving the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa. for his first GM position at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, W. Va. Sipe will begin his duties at the SMG managed facility on Aug. 30, replacing A.J. Boleski who was hired to manage the Intrust Bank Center in Wichita, Kan.

“My first goal is to get into town and continue to bring strong bookings to the building,” said Sipe, who will oversee shows by Sugarland and Chris Tomlin. “My biggest goal will be to continue to bring concerts to the facility,” he said.

Built in 1977, the arena seats 9,000 for concerts and will host the Huntington Hammer of the United Indoor Football League beginning in the 2011 season. Sipe will also book the nearby 2,500-seat amphitheater and work with the 20,000-student Marshall University to bring more campus events to the arena. — Dave Brooks

Interviewed for this article: Bob Cavalieri, (610) 729-7920; Brian Sipe, (304) 696-5566

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