Northern Kentucky University for years had been holding all of its graduation ceremonies in an Ohio arena. Through aggressive advocacy, the Kentucky General Assembly appropriated the funds necessary to construct an 8,000 seat arena on the Campus of NKU. Who could manage this new, state-of-the-art arena for the University? A request for proposal for venue management was issued. SMG, an affiliate of The Hyatt Hotel Company and ARAMARK Corporation, was one of three companies vying for the management contract.
The administration of NKU set up a committee to determine who would help shape the new Bank of Kentucky Arena on their campus. SMG sought the help of Commonwealth Capitol Group to develop a strategic plan to ensure the end result would have SMG managing the new arena on the campus of NKU.
Commonwealth Capitol Group built a strategy based on “grass-tops” support in the Northern Kentucky community at large. Meetings were held with SMG officials and “grass-tops” leaders from the Chamber of Commerce, economic development groups, the Covington Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as local government leaders. The meetings had two objectives: 1. Fact finding to discover what was important to these leaders regarding the arena, giving them ownership, and 2. Create a buzz about the professionalism and abilities of the very qualified SMG team. After a combined effort of the SMG expertise coupled with the personal relationships of Commonwealth Capitol with community leaders, SMG was able to put together a presentation second to none for the NKU decision makers.
SMG was awarded the contract for the management of the new Bank of Kentucky Arena on the Campus of Northern Kentucky University. Furthermore, the SMG team was able to be involved in pre-construction planning and offer assistance in design for the new arena. In May 2008, Northern Kentucky University held their first commencement ceremony in the new Bank of Kentucky Arena on the campus of NKU.