National News

H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation & Oak View Group to Build Sports and Entertainment Arena

New Arena to Bring Entertainment’s Biggest Names to the Coachella Valley and Serve as the
Official Home of the Seattle Kraken’s AHL Franchise

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, a private foundation that generously supports educational and other charitable projects, and Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, today announced their partnership to build a state-of-the-art, privately financed sports and entertainment arena on private land owned by the foundation near the City of Palm Desert.

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders in doing everything possible at the county level to be helpful and supportive. Along with county staff from the Transportation & Land Management Agency, my office has been in discussions with the visionaries of the project to bring world-class hockey to the region. Our hope is that this project becomes a reality for our Coachella Valley region, which will also have a positive quality of life impact for the entire county,” said Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor, V. Manuel Perez.

Located on 43.35 acres of land at I-10 and Cook Street, in Riverside County, the arena will be more than 300,000 square feet and feature 10,000-plus seats and include modern suites and premium hospitality clubs. It will be the home of the Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League (AHL) team and will include an adjoining facility that will serve as a year-round community gathering space and the training center for the AHL team.

As previously announced in Sept. 2019, the arena was originally to be located on 16 acres of tribal land in Downtown Palm Springs belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, a federally recognized Indian Tribe.

“After more than a year of good faith negotiations we were unable to finalize an agreement with the Agua Caliente tribal leaders for OVG to lease, develop and operate the privately funded arena,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. “We appreciate the ongoing support and encouragement from the community and are very pleased to be partnering with the Berger Foundation who share our vision for creating a world-class venue for the Coachella Valley and what will be one of the most premier music and professional sports arenas in the world.”

“As a local La Quinta resident, I am excited about having a world-class arena built,” added Irving Azoff, co-founder of Oak View Group. “The venue will be a major must-play destination for top talent and be the ultimate fan-friendly showcase for both valley’s sports and entertainment attendees.”

“The Berger Foundation has always seen the potential of this property. We prepared the land many years ago for a project exactly like this arena and ancillary businesses and have since been actively seeking developers to create a world-class campus for the Coachella Valley and its visitors. We are deeply invested in seeing this project through as the benefits to the community are vast, including permanent jobs and activities for our area’s children and families,” said Douglass A. Vance, vice president of real estate for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

The Seattle Kraken’s AHL Franchise, led by David Bonderman and OVG, will play in the new arena once construction is complete. Groundbreaking and construction are scheduled for 2021. The arena is expected to open in the last quarter of 2022.

“On behalf of David Bonderman and our ownership group we are excited to share this vision of a championship AHL Franchise in a spectacular arena in one of the most beautiful communities,” said Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken. “This new arena will offer a great game day experience from parking to puck drop and house a state-of-the-art training center. We will engage our fans in the Valley starting with the Kraken’s launch in 2021 as we sequentially build toward the launch of our AHL franchise.”

Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s leading live entertainment company, will continue to work as a strategic partner and supply the new arena with its large stable of top touring artists and premium live events.

“We’re proud to work with Oak View Group and the Berger Foundation on what will no doubt be an amazing venue. This new arena creates the opportunity for the whole region to enjoy incredible concerts and our entire touring team is truly excited and looking forward to delivering a significant calendar of annual concert events,” said Bob Roux, president of Live Nation, U.S. Concerts.

The arena will also include the new AHL Team Hockey Training Center, which will be used by the public for youth hockey, figure skating, and adult ice skating. The Coachella Valley’s last ice skating rink, the Desert Castle, located in Cathedral City, closed its doors in March after ten years. The new facility will allow area figure skaters to continue to train while eliminating the need to commute to facilities in neighboring areas.

In addition to sports and entertainment, the arena will accommodate conventions, large meetings, international events, as well as award shows and exhibitions and will be privately funded at no risk to Riverside County taxpayers. Construction of the new arena is expected to create hundreds of permanent and temporary jobs for the community.

With a focus on the prioritization of technology, sustainability, and green initiatives, the world-class arena will be built for music and host the best and biggest names in the music industry on an annual basis, as well as serve as a home for artists to rehearse before the start of their respective tours.

For season ticket and club seat information, hockey arena fans can visit www.ahlpalmsprings.com and www.palmspringsarena.com.

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About Oak View Group (OVG)
Oak View Group (OVG) is a global sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff in 2015. OVG is focused on being a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports and live entertainment industry and currently has eight divisions across six global offices (Los Angeles, New York, London, Seattle, Austin, and Philadelphia). OVG is leading the development and operations of all our global development projects in Seattle, WA; Austin, TX; Palm Springs, CA; Manchester, UK; and Milan, Italy. OVG Global Partnerships, a division of OVG, is the sales and marketing arm responsible for selling across all OVG Arena Development projects. OVG Global Partnerships has successfully sold four world-class naming rights deals in the past nine months – Moody Center (Austin), Subaru Park (Philadelphia), Climate Pledge Arena (Seattle), UBS Arena (New York City). For more information, visit www.oakviewgroup.com.

About H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation
The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is a private foundation that generously supports educational and other charitable projects. Since 1988, the Berger Foundation has expended more than $800 million for charitable endeavors throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.hnberger.org.

About The Seattle Kraken
The Seattle Kraken are the National Hockey League’s newest franchise, set to play its inaugural season in 2021-2022 at Climate Pledge Arena, developed by Oak View Group. Visit www.nhl.com/kraken for the latest news and information including press releases, multimedia content, and the latest hires.

About Live Nation Entertainment
Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Sponsorship. For additional information, visitwww.livenationentertainment.com.

Irving Azoff, co-founder of Oak View Group
Board of Directors, Ivey Ranch Country Club
Josh Bonner, president of the Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce
Aftab Dada, president of the Palm Springs Hospitality Association and P.S. Resorts
Jeff L. Grubbe, Agua Caliente tribal chairman
Steven Hernandez, mayor of Coachella
Geoff Kors, mayor of Palm Springs
Jeff Larson, hockey director of Desert Blaze Hockey
Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group
Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken
Harold Matzner, community philanthropist, humanitarian, and owner of Spencer’s Restaurant
Gina Nestande, mayor of Palm Desert
V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County Fourth District supervisor
Bob Roux, president of Live Nation, U.S. Concerts
Sandra Schulz, The Desert Figure Skating Club
Douglass A. Vance, vice president of real estate for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation
Scott White, president & CEO of Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

“As a local La Quinta resident, I am excited about having a world-class arena built. The venue will be a major must-play destination for top talent and be the ultimate fan-friendly showcase for both valley’s sports and entertainment attendees.”

Irving Azoff, co-founder of Oak View Group

“Development near Ivey Ranch will increase our property values and the desire to live and play north of the freeway. We trust that the Berger Foundation is partnering in a responsible project, as they built with the beautiful Classic Club. They have been a good neighbor.”

Board of Directors, Ivey Ranch Country Club

“The new arena will be instrumental in helping grow our local economy and will greatly benefit and advance the overall business climate and economic development of the region,” said Joshua Bonner, President of the Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce. “As the project continues to develop, we look forward to being a very active partner and resource for the community.”

Josh Bonner, president of the Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce

“Imagine the impact 120+ additional nights of sports and entertainment events will have on the entire Coachella Valley. The new arena is a game-changer and a substantial new asset for our entire community to attract visitors throughout the entire year. I really appreciate Leiweke’s commitment to privately fund this project. It’s extraordinary.”

Aftab Dada, president of the Palm Springs Hospitality Association and P.S. Resorts

“The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Oak View Group will not be moving forward together on an arena project in Palm Springs. After working together for more than a year to put a joint-venture project together, and then another three months to negotiate a land lease, we couldn’t find that common thread to reach an agreement for the arena project. In light of the global pandemic, the Tribe has re-evaluated its economic development priorities and is focusing on its current construction projects – the new Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City and the Agua Caliente Cultural Center in downtown Palm Springs.”

Jeff L. Grubbe, Agua Caliente tribal chairman

“Any investment in the region, in a project of this quality, benefits and strengthens us all. I am particularly excited about the construction and permanent local jobs the Arena will create.”

Steven Hernandez, mayor of Coachella

“I am thrilled that the new OVG arena will be located in the Coachella Valley. This new arena will be a great benefit to our residents and help our local tourism industry by adding a world-class sports and entertainment venue to our world-class destination.”

Geoff Kors, mayor of Palm Springs

“Desert Blaze Hockey Club is more than excited to welcome AHL Palm Springs/Seattle Kraken to our local community. We’re the only elite youth ice hockey club in the area affiliated with USA Hockey & the Southern California Hockey Association. Due to COVID-19, our arena was forced to close its doors this year and we’re in need of a great partner like Oak View Group to help us develop young athletes and promote the great game of ice hockey. WE ARE ALL IN!”

Jeff Larson, hockey director of Desert Blaze Hockey

“After more than a year of good faith negotiations we were unable to finalize an agreement with the Agua Caliente tribal leaders for OVG to lease, develop and operate the privately funded arena. We appreciate the ongoing support and encouragement from the community and are very pleased to be partnering with the Berger Foundation who share our vision for creating a world-class venue for the Coachella Valley and what will be one of the most premier music and professional sports arenas in the world.”

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group

“On behalf of David Bonderman and our ownership group we are excited to share this vision of a championship AHL Franchise in a spectacular arena in one of the most beautiful communities. This new arena will offer a great game day experience from parking to puck drop and house a state-of-the-art training center. We will engage our fans in the Valley starting with the Kraken’s launch in 2021 as we sequentially build toward the launch of our AHL franchise.”

Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken

“As Chairman of the McCallum Theatre, I have seen the value of world-class talent visiting the desert and making our regional community a better place to live and work. Amenities such as the new proposed arena add to the mix of attractions, festivals, and events that so many in our community have worked tirelessly to create and support. The arena is a wonderful added value for the Valley. It’s a big deal and it will do wonderful things for the Valley’s brand and for attracting segments of our population such as snowbirds. It’s exciting. And we are very lucky to be getting it.”

Harold Matzner, community philanthropist, humanitarian, and owner of Spencer’s Restaurant

“A multipurpose arena will most certainly bolster the economy. It is planned in a perfect, central location with convenient freeway access. I see endless opportunities with our local youth sports, higher education, and of course a driver for tourism, which will benefit many hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses.”

Gina Nestande, mayor of Palm Desert

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders in doing everything possible at the county level to be helpful and supportive. Along with county staff from the Transportation & Land Management Agency, my office has been in discussions with the visionaries of the project to bring world-class hockey to the region. Our hope is that this project becomes a reality for our Coachella Valley region, which will also have a positive quality of life impact for the entire county.”

V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County Fourth District supervisor

“We’re proud to work with Oak View Group and the Berger Foundation on what will no doubt be an amazing venue. This new arena creates the opportunity for the whole region to enjoy incredible concerts and our entire touring team is truly excited and looking forward to delivering a significant calendar of annual concert events.”

Bob Roux, president of Live Nation, U.S. Concerts

“In the past, the Coachella Valley has been home to one of the largest adult skating communities in the country. A regulation ice sports facility will allow residents the opportunity to engage in figure skating and hockey as never before. The Desert Figure Skating Club, the desert’s only U.S. Figure Skating-sanctioned member club, looks forward to supporting the Oak View Group and to participate in the development and expansion of the ice sports community in the Coachella Valley.”

Sandra Schulz, The Desert Figure Skating Club

“The Berger Foundation has always seen the potential of this property. We prepared the land many years ago for a project exactly like this arena and ancillary businesses and have since been actively seeking developers to create a world-class campus for the Coachella Valley and its visitors. We are deeply invested in seeing this project through as the benefits to the community are vast, including permanent jobs and activities for our area’s children and families.”

Douglass A. Vance, vice president of real estate for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation

“We are very excited about the new arena as it aligns perfectly with DestinationNEXT, our long-term tourism strategic plan. The arena will drive thousands of new visitors, support air service growth, brings thousands of jobs, and enhance our overall brand. We are extremely grateful to OVG for their persistence on keeping the arena in the Coachella Valley, and the Berger Foundation for their partnership and vision during this critical time. The new central location next to Interstate 10 will benefit both residents, visitors, and the broader business community across the entire valley.”

Scott White, president & CEO of Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Burea

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