Region 5 To Meet at SEVT

Industry professionals join university students and professors in Columbia in November

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: June 5, 2013

University of South Carolina Professors Tom Regan and Frank Roach are pictured with Patti Anne-Tarlton, now with Ticketmaster, and USC student Staphani Ruguseo during SEVT in 2009. (VT Photo)

In an innovative collaboration, IAVM Region 5 is partnering with the academic side of the sport, entertainment and venue industries for its 2013 conference.

The 673-member group, the largest U.S. region of the International Association of Venue Managers, will meet as part of the Sport, Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow Conference presented by the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and Venues Today since 2008. This year’s gathering will be Nov. 20-22 in Columbia.

The conference annually attracts 350 participants, including students and professors from 20 universities and industry professionals from across the world. Major industry and academic luminaries are honored each year. This year, Canadian concert promoter and touring impresario Michael Cohl is scheduled to attend to receive the SEVT Pioneer Award. The reach is global, not regional, but Region 5’s commitment is expected to greatly enhance industry participation.

“All of the regions of IAVM at times struggle to attract attendees because content gets old and there are so many meetings to go to,” said John Rhamstine, director of Region 5 and director of Cultural Facilities, Arts & Entertainment for the city of Norfolk, Va. “Rather than reinvent ourselves, we decided it would be better to collaborate with someone doing something good already.”

The board of Region 5 was unanimously in favor of collaborating with SEVT, Rhamstine said. They are particularly pleased they will be interacting with so many students preparing to enter the industry.

“The broadening partnership between the University of South Carolina, Venues Today and our newest partner, IAVM Region 5, positions The SEVT conference as the largest gathering of industry professionals, educators, researchers and future industry leaders (students) available,” said Andy Gillentine, professor and chair, Department of Sports & Entertainment Management at USC. “The uniqueness of this collaboration will offer each of the stakeholders an invaluable opportunity to enhance their knowledge, impact and professional network. "

Interacting with professors in the field of sports and entertainment is also appealing to professionals, Rhamstine agreed. “So many of us are so far from our school days. I completed graduate school in 1980.” Mixing with academia, both students and professors, is definitely perceived as beneficial to understanding the industry and the future of the industry.

“The focus of the conference has always been to bring the academic and industry sides together,” added Frank Roach, professor in USC’s Department of Sports & Entertainment Management and one of the conference organizers. “It’s a real bonus to get Region 5’s commitment.”

In general, academia tends to think industry professionals don’t understand the finer points of things, while sports and entertainment professionals see no immediate return on investment from academic research, Roach believes. In other industries, like automobile manufacturing, it’s common for the two to collaborate to make advances, he added.

Venues Today began collaborating with USC on SEVT because this gathering is the perfect think-tank in which to explore the future of the industry it covers, according to Publisher Linda Deckard. Venues Today has been documenting the news and trends in sports and entertainment for 10 years and SEVT presents everyone with the chance to look at issues from multiple viewpoints. “It’s definitely not the same-old-same-old, which is why we brand it ‘The Conference Like No Other,’” Deckard said.

Location also helps in this instance, Roach pointed out. Columbia is within driving distance of most of the Region 5 members. Miami is only eight hours away.

Programming is well underway for this year’s SEVT. One topic to be discussed is particularly germane to this gathering – Internships That Work. Besides exploring what makes internships successful for all parties involved, SEVT features a Career Fair, which brings companies and venues face to face with students studying for a career in this industry.

Panelists on life lessons and success in this industry traditionally include the current year’s winners of Venues Today’s Generation Next and Women of Influence Awards. “Academia and the Industry: Opportunities for Meaningful Research Collaboration” will feature Daniel A. Rascher, Ph.D., CVA, director of Academic Programs and Professor, Sport Management Program, University of San Francisco, from one coast and Allen Johnson, Orlando Venues, from the other.

Other topics include Emergency Preparedness: Today’s Problems with Tomorrow’s Technology, with two FBI agents and Jim Redick, director of emergency preparedness for the City of Norfolk, confirmed to speak; Moneyball Marketing: Big Data Powered Ticket Sales; Entertainment Districts and the Changing Urban Experience; Going Green to Create Green: Using Sustainability Measures to Increase Your Bottom Line; and Social Media Campaigns that Break Through The Noise.

Throughout the three-day conference, research papers and case studies are presented by professors from around the country.

Conference attendees also have the opportunity to network at the opening reception, two luncheons, including the awards luncheon and during Vista Lights, a street festival that kicks off the holidays in Columbia, S.C. Venues Today hosts a hospitality suite the first two nights of the conference.

Registration is open at

Interviewed for this article: John Rhamstine, (757) 664-6953; Frank Roach, (803) 777-5214; Andy Gillentine, (803) 777-4690; Linda Deckard, (714) 378-5400, ext. 22


  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: June 5, 2013