Wink Hartman Sr. hires Iowa-based VenuWorks to manage Hartman Arena

Wink Hartman

WICHITA — A new company is going to manage the 4-year-old, 7,200-seat Hartman Arena in Park City.

Wink Hartman Sr. has hired Iowa-based VenuWorks, which will book events and handle food and beverage services among other things

Previously, Hartman and his staff have been running the arena.

“I was not doing a very good job,” Hartman says.

“We need to book more events. You know, more concerts, more local events, and I just felt like it was a time for a change in management to try to meet our objectives.”

VenuWorks president Steven Peters started the company 16 years ago to manage arenas with 5,000 to 10,000 seats.

The company manages United Wireless Arena in Dodge City and the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

Peters says his goal with Hartman Arena is clear.

“One word: events. We’ve got to bring more events.”

Hartman Arena has been averaging close to 50 events a year, including soccer games with Hartman’s Wichita Wings and football games with his Wichita Wild.

“Most of our arenas, we try to do 90 a year,” Peters says.

Being the smaller arena to the larger Intrust Bank Arena isn’t a negative, he says.

“That can be the really enviable place to be.”

Peters says there are more shows to fill 6,000 seats than 12,000.

“Obviously, you’ve got a market with a lot of alternatives, a lot of choices for consumers, a lot of choices for event planners.”

Peters says his company has a full-time booking department.

“We do a lot of sponsorship development,” he says. “We do a lot of promoting our venues to agents and promoters.”

Current staff at Hartman Arena will also remain to work with VenuWorks.

Hartman says he did his due diligence before selecting the company.

“Their people have great experience in arenas of Hartman Arena’s size,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll be able to expand.”

Hartman won’t say whether the arena has been profitable or not.

“I can’t discuss financials,” he says.

“The arena’s been everything I ever had hoped for. It’s exactly what I anticipated. There’s no surprise,” Hartman says. “The arena’s like all the businesses I’m involved with. It’s a tough business. It deserves excellent leadership.”

Peters says Hartman Arena is “a really easy facility to come to and enjoy an event.”

“We think there’s an awful lot of potential.”