Oak View Group Expands Executive Leadership Team for Moody Center

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  • Veronica Cantu, Moody Center VP of Marketing
  • Michael Owens, Moody Center VP of Booking
  • Tim Vogt, Moody Center VP of Arena Operations
  • Ansel Gardiner, Moody Center Director of Finance

Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, today announced the expansion of its executive leadership team for Moody Center, a new $338 million, state-of-the-art, privately-funded arena in the heart of Austin, Texas.

L – R: Veronica Cantu, Michael Owens, Tim Vogt, Ansel Gardiner.

Joining OVG is Veronica Cantu as vice president of marketing, Michael Owens as vice president of booking, Tim Vogt as vice president of arena operations, and Ansel Gardiner as director of finance.

All assume their new roles immediately and will report to Jeff Nickler, senior vice president of OVG Austin and Moody Center general manager, and Casey Sparks, vice president of OVG Austin and assistant general manager.

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“We are thrilled to have such a diverse and talented group of leaders join OVG and Moody Center team,” said Nickler. “We handpicked each person for their respective roles, knowing they had a skill set to amplify a culture and vision that is authentic to Austin and that can deliver on the promise we made to have one the finest arenas in the country on every level.” 

The executive leadership team will focus on creating a vibrant company culture built on the foundation of exceptional service, employee and community engagement, and a commitment to excellence.

Cantu will oversee public relations, marketing, and promotion for the arena and events. She is a native Texan and comes to OVG with more than 18 years in the sports and entertainment industry in sales and marketing working for iconic brands like the University of Texas (University Interscholastic League), Dallas Cowboys, and Dallas Mavericks.

Cantu stated “I am honored and privileged to be able to work alongside some of the greatest visionaries and most influential players in the music, sports, and entertainment industry. The live music capital of the world will have a first-class venue to celebrate the most notable artists and powerful brand in collegiate sports. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing project and can’t wait to see the excitement it brings to Austin.”

Before joining Moody Center, Owens was most recently assistant general manager of Chesapeake Energy Arena, an NBA venue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As Moody Center’s vice president of booking, Owens will be responsible for developing a robust and diverse calendar of live entertainment and sporting events for the new arena.

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In 2019, Owens was recognized with the VenuesNow “Generation Next” award and was named a “Rising Star” award finalist by Pollstar Magazine. He has extensive experience in the entertainment industry working as director of live entertainment for Canucks Sports & Entertainment at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia as director of booking for BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and as general manager at Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, Missouri.

Owens said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join this executive leadership team for Oak View Group in Austin. This city has music in its DNA and this arena will be known worldwide as the place to perform. Austin’s unique culture, combined with the culture of OVG is unmatched in the industry and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”

With more than 25 years of experience, Vogt will oversee the construction and completion of Moody Center and will manage venue operations, maintenance, information technology, and event production.

He comes to OVG with a deep knowledge of venue operations with executive-level experience at Infinite Energy Arena (formerly Gwinnett Civic Center Arena) in Duluth, Georgia, Enterprise Center in St Louis, Missouri, BOK Center, and Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Florida.

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Vogt stated, “Very seldom do you get the opportunity to be a part of a project this special, especially when you get to work with the best people in our industry. I am thankful and excited to be a part of Moody Center project and to join Oak View Group.”

Joining Moody Center with more than 25 years of industry experience, Gardiner comes to Austin from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  His resume also includes over two decades of venue finance experience at Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona, Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Ansel said, “To be a part of the startup of any new venue is amazing. Add to that the unique partnership between OVG, Live Nation, C3, and the largest college brand in the United States, the University of Texas, made this opportunity a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

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Moody Center’s executive team is led by Nickler and Sparks. Nickler has been named senior vice president of OVG Austin and Moody Center general manager and for the last two years has served as and will continue as the senior vice president of OVG’s Arena Alliance, an elite membership of the top 29 NBA & NHL venues in North America representing 102 million fans and 50+ professional sports teams. Sparks recently joined the company from the award-winning 19,000 seat entertainment venue, BOK Center, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Scheduled to open in early 2022, the 15,000-seat world-class arena at The University of Texas at Austin campus will be built for music and host the best and biggest names in the music industry on an annual basis, and finally provide a world-class venue for top touring concerts and shows.

Moody Center will also be home to Texas men’s and women’s basketball games, graduations, as well as university, community, high school, and other events for the Austin community.



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