The Capital Region Development Authority this afternoon is expected to award the management contracts for two of the Hartford area’s largest sports and entertainment venues: the XL Center in Hartford and the Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
Three bidders are vying to manage both locations: AEG Management CT LLC, the current manager of the XL Center and former manager of Rentschler; Capital Region Sports and Entertainment Group, led by Bushnell Management Services, currently manages Rentschler; and Global Spectrum, based in Philadelphia but whose head of business development is based in Glastonbury and once managed the XL Center when it was the Hartford Civic Center.
In addition, the University of Connecticut is seeking to manage Rentschler, but CRDA’s executive director, Michael W. Freimuth, has said he wouldn’t recommend that option. Freimuth has said he supports one manager for both the XL Center and Rentschler and believes a private firm could better attract non-sports events to the Stadium.
The management of the XL Center will have to wrestle with keeping the AHL — the Connecticut Whale or another team — in Hartford, making much needed capital improvements to the 40-year-old structure and boosting event attendance.