Prestigious Alliance Designed to Boost Bookings, Content, and Sponsorship Opportunities

HOUSTON (January 17, 2024) – The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, along with Wortham Theater Center and Jones Hall—both managed by Houston First Corporation—recently joined a network of national marquee theaters and performing arts venues across North America that benefit from collective booking power, routing of non-traditional content, sponsorship opportunities, and industry best practices and resources. The three local theaters joined the alliance to amplify Houston’s reputation for high-quality arts experiences in Theater District Houston.

Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, created the OVG Theater Alliance in 2023 to provide member theaters and performing arts centers with new strategic resources within their markets. The Theater Alliance will help drive unique, exclusive, and traditionally mainstream content to its member venues. OVG recently hosted the inaugural Theater Alliance Gala at the Grand Ole Opry, a founding member organization, to raise funds for the non-profits represented in the network.

“Houston’s Downtown theater and entertainment venues are critical to our city’s cultural enrichment, economic development and tourism. By joining this alliance with Oak View Group, Houston First looks forward to tapping into a broader and more diverse mix of performances, creating more value for our facilities and increasing economic activity in the district,” said Michael Heckman, Houston First Corporation President and CEO.  

“Last year the Hobby Center underwent a comprehensive strategic planning exercise to assess how it can best leverage its resources to drive positive impact in Houston's diverse performing arts ecosystem. Partnerships like this one with Houston First and OVG will be critical to achieving our goals and positioning the Hobby Center as a connector, convenor and incubator for all Houston audiences, artmakers and arts organizations. Joining a consortium of the leading performing arts centers across the nation will ensure Houston is consistently present on the list of the stops for the top artist tours taking shape across the country,” said Mark Folkes, Hobby Center President and CEO.

Long-time music industry professional Noël Mirhadi serves as director of OVG’s Theater Alliance. Mirhadi, most recently at United Talent Agency (UTA), has spent her career focused on booking Adult Contemporary artists into venues nationwide.

“Theaters like Wortham, Jones and Hobby serve as the heartbeat of their community. I understand and appreciate this sentiment, having started as a musician and dedicating my professional life and career to music and the arts,” Mirhadi said. “The Theater Alliance supports these critically important institutions and helps them thrive. The Alliance allows us to support Houston’s continued growth and future success.” 

The Theater Alliance is modeled after OVG’s Arena & Stadium Alliance, a collection of the top 38 venues in North America that provides a united platform for booking, content development, procurement, and sponsorship sales opportunities. Theater Alliance members participate in monthly best-practice webinars addressing branding, public relations, community engagement, and government relations and can attend and network at the Alliance Summit at the international VenuesNow Conference.

“Performing arts venues across the nation face similar challenges, said Joe Giordano, OVG vice president overseeing the Theater Alliance and Arena & Stadium Alliance. “The Alliance, under Noël’s outstanding leadership, is eager to continue building the network of top venues in first-tier markets to help them meet and exceed their programming and budgetary goals and bring opportunities to the table that they didn’t even know were possible.”

The Theater Alliance celebrates its first anniversary in January 2024 by expanding the values it provides to its members as it implements new booking strategies and additional sponsorship opportunities.

 Theater Alliance members include:

  • ACL Live at the Moody Center (Austin, TX)
  • AT&T Performing Arts Center (Dallas TX)
  • Beacon Theater, Hulu Theater at MSG, and Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY)
  • Boch Center (Boston, MA)
  • The Chicago Theater (Chicago, IL)
  • Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (Orlando, FL)
  • First Interstate Center (Spokane, WA)
  • Fox Theatre (Detroit, MI)
  • Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jones Hall & Wortham Theater (Houston, TX)
  • Kimmel Center (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Loew’s Jersey Theater - opening 2025 (Jersey City, NJ)
  • Pabst Theater (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Paramount Theatre (Denver, CO)
  • Paramount Theatre (Oakland, CA)
  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Playhouse Square (Cleveland, OH)
  • Portland’5 Centers for the Arts (Portland, OR)
  • Ryman Auditorium & Grand Ole Opry (Nashville, TN)
  • Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa, CA)
  • Stifel Theatre (St. Louis, MO)
  • Tobin Center for the Performing Arts (San Antonio, TX)
  • Tulsa Performing Arts Center (Tulsa, OK)
  • YouTube Theater (Los Angeles, CA)

Venues in bold recently added to Theater Alliance.

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About Houston First Corporation
Houston First Corporation (HFC) is a local government corporation and the official destination marketing organization for the country's fourth largest city. In addition to serving as operator for the George R. Brown Convention Center and some of Houston's most prominent art, entertainment, and event venues, HFC is focused on promoting the city's vibrancy and rich tapestry of culture. By harnessing the city's collective energy, ambition, and creativity, including its diverse culinary scene, world-renowned performing arts, medical and space innovation, and elite filming locations, HFC is solidifying Houston as a premier national and global destination. For the latest news and info regarding HFC, visit www.houstonfirst.com.

 About Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts serves as a connector, convenor and incubator for all Houston audiences, artmakers and arts organizations. Opened in 2002, the campus houses two theaters including the 2,650-seat Sarofim Hall and the 500-seat Zilkha Hall. Delivering a best-in-class patron experience, the Hobby Center welcomes over 400,000 audience members annually to engage with high-quality arts programming including the Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center series. The Hobby Center is also home to a full season of musical theatre produced by Principal Resident Company Theatre Under the Stars, as well as a variety of diverse performances from both Houston-based and touring artists and companies. Education and accessibility initiatives are central to the Hobby Center’s impact in Houston through programs like the ExxonMobil Discovery Series that welcomes thousands of students to performances every season. Please visit TheHobbyCenter.org

About Theater Alliance
The Theater Alliance, a national collective of marquee theaters and performing arts venues in top-tier markets across North America, was founded by global sports and entertainment company Oak View Group. Members gain a competitive edge within their markets, benefitting from collective buying power, routing of non-traditional content, sponsorship opportunities, industry best practices and resources, and shared proceeds from annual fundraising efforts. The Theater Alliance is committed to helping theaters improve operations, enhance the overall guest experience, and creatively elevate the arts within local communities.

 About Oak View Group
Oak View Group (OVG) is a global sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff in 2015. OVG’s mission is to be a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports, live entertainment, and hospitality industries. OVG is world-renowned as the leading full-service live entertainment and hospitality group, with 10 major new arenas either open or under development including: Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center; UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY; Moody Center in Austin, TX; Acrisure Arena in Greater Palm Springs, CA; and CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD; as well as arena development projects for Co-op Live in Manchester, UK;  Anhembi Arena in São Paulo, Brazil;  FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON; a New Arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV; and a New Arena in Cardiff, Wales. OVG360 is a full-service venue management, hospitality solutions, and venue services company servicing more than 400 arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, culture institutions, and convention centers world-wide. More information at OakViewGroup.com, and follow OVG on FacebookInstagramX, and LinkedIn

 

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

pr@houstonfirst.com
Carolyn Campbell, (832) 982-9902
Jennie Bui-McCoy, (832) 374-3994

lbohn@thehobbycenter.org
Lise Bohn, (713) 315.2598

Teri Washington, Oak View Group
twashington@oakviewgroup.com

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