(COLUMBUS, Ohio – March 3, 2022) — ASM Global—the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences, venue management and event strategy—celebrates 25 years as the venue partner for the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC). Since commencing management of the GCCC on March 1,1997, the GCCC has never gone to RFP for management services. Earlier this year, the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority (FCCFA), owner and developer of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, renewed its management agreement with ASM Global to oversee the venue through 2026.
The GCCC is part of ASM Global’s network of more than 350 venues around the world, which host 20,000 events and welcome 165 million guests every year. Other flagship exhibition and convention centers in its portfolio include McCormick Place in Chicago; Moscone Center in San Francisco; ICC Sydney in Australia; Shenzhen World in China; and P&J Live in Aberdeen, U.K.
“We thank the FCCFA board of directors for the continued confidence in ASM Global to manage this top convention asset,” said GCCC General Manager John R. Page, who has managed the venue since 2013. “During the last 25 years, the GCCC has become not only a national destination for meetings and conventions but also has received numerous accolades for delivering best-in-class and innovative services.”
In fact, ASM rolled out VenueShield, a comprehensive and best-in-class program, at venues across five continents in March 2020, providing the highest levels of cleanliness and safety while inspiring consumer confidence, all in partnership with leading medical professionals, industry experts and public health officials. ASM Global has more than 40 years of experience in managing and marketing venues as well as supporting the events, entertainment and activities in its venues around the globe.
In Columbus, the GCCC serves a hub for the community and a draw for international visitors. Prior to pandemic the GCCC hosted 317 events, which attracted 820,000+ attendees, In 2020, as COVID-19 set in, the GCCC was turned into a 1,000-patient surge hospital but was never activated. Later, it served as an adjunct municipal courthouse for 13 months. Despite the impact of COVID, the GCCC hosted 134 events—which attracted 183,000+ attendees—in 2020. Last year the venue hosted 183 events attracting 278,600+ attendees.
As 2022 begins with a strong forecast for the return to live events, the GCCC welcomes back the Arnold Sports Festival & Expo, which will be held March 3-6. The Arnold Sports Festival is the largest series of multi-sport festivals in the world, and the 2022 Arnold Expo will feature more than 1,000 booths of the latest in sports equipment, apparel and nutrition and two stages that hosts unique, nonstop competitions and entertainment. More than 80 nations are represented and 20,000+ athletes will compete at the Arnold Festival.
After a two-year hiatus, the event will be returning at full capacity to Columbus after COVID-19 disrupted the city’s largest annual event. In September 2021, the Arnold Classic, a key event to the Arnold Sports Festival, returned to the venue and was held inside the historic Battelle Grand Ballroom. The Arnold Classic has been a staple in Columbus for more than 34 consecutive years.
“It’s exciting to be able to welcome back our signature event here to the GCCC,” Page said. “We’re fortunate to be in a position in this pandemic where we can safely move forward with this event. The Arnold is a lot of events within one larger event with more than 60 different individual sports and competitions as well as more athletes competing than in the Summer and Winter Olympics games combined.
“It’s difficult to predict attendance for this year’s Arnold Festival; however, the expectation is the event will see close to 80-90% of the historical mark of 200,000,” continued Page.
In February, GCCC hosted a number of local and regional sporting events and conventions, including the Ohio Valley Region Boys WinterFest Tournament and Terry Miller All American Classic, Americheer Winter Open, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, OHAYOCON and the Spirit Championships.
For the first time in 2023, GCCC will host PCMA Convening Leaders 2023, Jan. 8-11. The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), a leading association for the convention and meeting industry, will bring its flagship education and networking event to Columbus. This follows the GCCC’s hosting of the American Society of Association Executives in 2019. Columbus stands in rare air as a city that has hosted these top two leading convention and meeting industry events within a four-year span.