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BOK, Cox Business Centers Management Company Not Counting on Events in 2020

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The company that manages the BOK and Cox Business centers is not expecting any event revenue for the rest of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many scheduled events and concerts have canceled or are talking about canceling. General Manager Casey Sparks told the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority they’re furloughing employees and are whittling down expenses as much as possible but expect to use money from a $17 million capital reserve fund to pay some ongoing costs, like utilities.

The pandemic could change things at the venues even after concerts and other events can resume.

About 60% of the BOK Center's acts come through events promoter Live Nation, which demanded changes at venues after 58 people were killed and hundreds injured in a shooting at a 2017 concert it backed in Las Vegas.

"They refused to play any arenas unless there were metal detectors. So, that was a capital expense that we had to go through in order to get the shows. The users are going to, in my opinion, define, really, what they’re going to require to come back," Sparks said.

Some measures already being talked about in the live entertainment industry include temperature screenings, personal protective equipment for performers, and catering services using only prepackaged foods and disposable items.

Sparks said they may have to limit crowds for awhile after events resume in order to accommodate phyiscal distancing.

"The arena making on a blockbuster show $600,000, $500,000, it’s going to be tough to make that kind of money for awhile until a vaccine’s out there," Sparks said.

The BOK and Cox Business centers are owned by the City of Tulsa but operated under contracts with ASM Global.

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