Venues Today, an international trade publication, recently recognized Casey Sparks, assistant general manager and director of sales and marketing for SMG, as a nominee for the Generation Next Award. The annual award honors young leaders that are 35 years old or younger who are making a difference in sports, music, conventions, family shows and festivals.
Sparks, now 33 years old, began her career in Columbia, SC at the Colonial Life Arena after graduating with a degree in Sport and Entertainment Management. Since then, she was recruited to the AT&T Center, a 18,500-seat venue in San Antonio, Texas home of the NBA San Antonio Spurs before moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma. At this location, she was the regional director of sales and marketing for 17 facilities, including the BOK Center, an SMG-managed venue. During her tenure, she led the new arena to a national and international ranked facility for ticket sales. Along the way, she was nominated for Venues Today Top Arena Marketer two years in a row and served as a board member for the Event & Arena Marketing Conference.
Sparks continued her career in Charlottesville, Virginia working for Red Light Management, the largest independent management company in the world, whose roster includes Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Tim McGraw and many more. There, she was responsible for promoting over 150 events each year at multiple facilities, as well as, leading the national marketing efforts for Third Day, a Grammy award winning Christian rock band.
Recently, she returned to SMG as the Assistant General Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing for Pensacola Bay Center. Less than 5 months after arrival, Sparks led the charge to rebrand the 27 year-old building from Pensacola Civic Center to Pensacola Bay Center. This change has generated exponential awareness locally, regionally and nationally. This is phase one of pending improvements planned for the facility. Since rebranding, the venue has noticed an increase of interest from sponsors, promoters and agents that will translate to more bookings and revenue in the near future.
"I have been fortunate enough to work in this industry since I was 22 years old. I would not be where I am today without my past and current mentors. To say I am honored to be recognized by my fellow peers as the next generation is an understatement. " stated Sparks.
This nomination and award is decided by industry professionals. Winners will be announced in April.