The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 16, 2014

Two's company: Competitive venues should be communicative, complementary

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — When reading about the relationship between the Enid Event Center and the Chisholm Trail Expo Center, a quote from President Franklin Roosevelt comes to mind:

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”

The city of Enid built the Event Center downtown last year and picked private firm Global Spectrum to manage its operations alongside the renovated Convention Hall.

On the far north side of the city sits the Chisholm Trail Expo Center, owned and operated by Garfield County. The Coliseum was built in 1999.

How do the two taxpayer-financed venues coexist, and where do they overlap?

“I think competition is good for Enid,” Event Center General Manager Keller Taylor said. “If there’s two people out there trying to actively recruit events to the town, it’s going to help us get more events.”

If promoters start playing one venue off of the other, however, that’s not so good.

“If we’re going to grow and if we’re going to become a destination, we’ve got to have everyone work together and promote Enid and Garfield County as one,” Steve Barnes, general manager at the Expo Center, said.

Barnes sees the distinction between the two different venues, but both can hold sporting events, trade shows, concerts and rodeos.

Spirited competition is healthy. Hopefully, it will sharpen management of both facilities and help clearly define their strategic roles.

While each venue serves a valid niche, we hope both places communicate and complement each other.