On Oct. 1, the new Washington Convention and Sports Authority held its inaugural board meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The newly created board is a result of the merger between the convention authority and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission.
The merger creates one synergized organization with a broader vision for increasing economic impact through the promotion of conventions and meetings as well as sports and entertainment offerings for the District of Columbia.
“The Washington Convention and Sports Authority will lead the way as one of the city’s premier catalysts for economic activity – not only by running a world-class convention and meetings facility, but also through the promotion and coordination of key sports and entertainment activities for the District,” said Beverly Perry, board chair of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority. “The new Authority will only enhance the city’s offerings for the benefit of visitors, residents and the business community.”
The Authority will own Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and Nationals Park and be responsible for securing sports and entertainment programming in Washington, D.C. There will be a separate sports, entertainment and special events division dedicated to provide these services, while the core convention center operations team remains unchanged. Also, as part of the merger, the facility maintenance tasks previously performed by the D.C Sports and Entertainment Commission will be assumed by the district’s Department of Real Estate Services (DRES).
Gregory A. O’Dell will head the Authority as president and chief executive officer. Erik Moses, former CEO of the Sports and Entertainment Commission, will serve as senior vice president and managing director of the sports, entertainment and special events division, while Samuel Thomas, former deputy general manager of the Washington Convention Center Authority, will serve as senior vice president and general manager of the convention center operations division.
“Our convention stakeholders and customers will continue to work with the same dedicated team that has supported them to consistently execute successful events at our award-winning convention center,” added Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO of the Authority. “This merger will further enhance the previous great work of the commission, bringing more sports and entertainment events to the District like last year’s inaugural EagleBank Bowl.”
The Authority’s board of directors will grow from nine to 11, with Emily Durso, president of the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. and William Hall, the current vice chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Commission. Hall also will serve as chair of the newly-created Sports and Entertainment Committee as part of the new Authority’s governance structure.