Oak View Group has launched OVG Canada, a new division focused on the Canadian sports and entertainment industry.

OVG Canada offers strategic services in the areas of venue development and management, booking and content development, sponsorship brand consulting, and third-party partnership sales.

The formation of OVG Canada follows the October 2021 announcement that the company would be taking on its first development project north of the border: the redevelopment of the Hamilton, Ontario Arts & Entertainment District and FirstOntario Centre Arena.

Tom Pistore, president of OVG Canada, and his recently formed team of industry veterans – including senior vice president of partnerships & brand consulting Josh Epstein and senior vice president of partnerships & revenue Zach Feldman will draw on their years of sports and entertainment experience working with global brands and properties, to offer the Canadian marketplace results-driven counsel and service.

 Pistore has more than 25 years working across major professional sports leagues, most recently as President of UBS Arena (home of the NHL’s New York Islanders) and, prior to that, was a member of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) executive leadership team. 

Epstein joins OVG Canada from Bank of Montreal where he was responsible for leading their North American sponsorship strategy.  Feldman was most recently the SVP of Partnerships & Revenue at the Premier Lacrosse League, where he helped drive triple digit revenue growth, while leading the development of ground-breaking marketing partnerships.

Tim Leiweke, chairman & CEO of Oak View Group and former President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), said: 

During my time running MLSE, I realised 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.

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.

Pistore said: 

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.

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 Canada, OVG360, the full-service venue management division of Oak View Group, operates multiple properties, 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.

With its growth into the Canadian marketplace, OVG Canada also announces its selection by Canada Basketball as the organization’s agency of record for national partnership sales. OVG Canada 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.

Image: By Jfvoll - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75140464