Global Media Juggernaut Eyes Lake Gregory

On Thursday, Jan. 23, attendees of the joint-Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) meeting held in the St. Moritz Lodge in Crestline were shown a presentation by Michael Krouse, Regional VP, Convention Centers West, of ASM Global.

Krouse’s presentation promoted ASM Global as the solution to the current concessionaire vacancy at Lake Gregory. ASM Global recently put in a bid to be the concessionaire at Lake Gregory and won the bid process. The next step will be for San Bernardino County to award the company a contract that would make them responsible for maintaining the Lake Gregory recreational area and its facilities - including St. Moritz Lodge - in exchange for possessing tenancy of the large outdoor woodland venue.

“ASM Global is in five continents. We serve 160 million guests annually. And we have about 23 million square feet of convention center space. We have 61,000 employees. We have 310 venues, and we have 2.7 million seats that we manage: meaning arenas, stadiums, parks that we serve, special event venues. Etcetera.” Krouse said.

And Krouse isn’t exaggerating: ASM Global are a subsidiary of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the world’s largest owner of sports teams and sports events and the world’s second-largest presenter of live music and entertainment. AEG are headquartered at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Staples Center - which they own. 

AEG also own the O2 Arena in London, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, the concert and festival promotional company Goldenvoice, the L.A. Convention Center, the Long Beach Convention Center, the Long Beach Aquarium, the Long Beach Grand Prix Racecourse, the Ontario Convention Center, the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and the Coachella Music Festival - among other interests.

AEG also own the company Xanterra, who are the concessionaire to Grand Canyon National Park, Glacier National Park, Mount Rushmore National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and The Oasis at Death Valley.

Following his introductory speech explaining how big the company is, Krouse played a short video promoting ASM’s services. The video provided a glimpse into the sorts of projects the venue management company currently undertakes in the nearby Inland Empire city of Ontario’s Greater Ontario Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

“We run the Ontario Convention Center. What was the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena - now the Toyota Arena, we got that naming rights deal by the way - and we also run premier food services, we run a little cafe for the city. And we run food services at the cultural center in Rancho Cucamonga - we’re partners with both cities.” Krouse said. “These folks are all local to us. We create an experience that is locally driven.”

Krouse went on to explain some of the locally-driven events he has helped facilitate for the City of Ontario.

“We run a little car show called the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion. Why is that important? It has 250,000 people that come to it every year. This one little show produces over a quarter-million people and over 2,000 automobiles. And did I mention it’s a free event?” Krouse said. “You have to keep in mind how these things can be created. Everything is customized for the area in which we’re doing things, so this example may not be for the Lake Gregory region, but it gives you an example of what we do.”

Krouse explained that the efforts of he and his team have generated more than $459 million in economic impact for the region through events, conventions, signature hotels, restaurants, and shopping.

“This is what the tourism world does. The fifth-largest tourism economy is right here in California,” Krouse said. “Six-out-of-ten dollars are spent and attributed to visitors that come here. This is what drives jobs. This is what drives things for people to do. Both local and out-of-market folks.”

To further drive this point home and to conclude his presentation before the assembled MAC committee members, Krouse screened one more shot video showing off another event called “Christmas on Euclid,” held in Ontario’s ‘Town Square’ shopping area centered around Euclid Avenue between C and D streets. The video showed family-oriented activities, carnival-style games and concessions, and drone footage of pedestrianized streets turned into an outdoor event venue centered around the historic shopping district.

“This event could be modified and created for something experiential up here for example. And that one little event - and we also own, don’t forget - the historic Nativity Scenes on Euclid Avenue. So we also own all those, maintain all those, maintain them in their historic preservation, so we recondition them and created them back to their original. So it’s an example of something we would do here. We would take very good care of your assets and the things you have here and hopefully improve upon them and make them more valuable to the region.” Krouse said.

“So I’m not going to give away all my secrets,” Krouse added, “As soon as the contract is signed we will show you everything we have planned for Lake Gregory. I can tell you that the Supervisor (Janice Rutherford) has already seen what I mean. There are some things that are exciting that I’m not showing you. That’ll be at the big roll-out when we bring the confetti cannons and the whole big deal. Those are some examples of some things you have coming to this destination as they fit into the model, so you can see what I mean on the local side.”

Following Krouse’s speech, County Supervisor Janice Rutherford told the crowd that she would keep the community informed about next steps involved in bringing on ASM Global as the Lake Gregory concessionaire.

“When we find out that that matter is coming before the Board of Supervisors we will let you know so you can take part in that conversation.” Rutherford said, “We are excited to see the lake, and this property and this park thrive so that the community can continue to thrive as well.”