The Mohegan Sun Casino, at Casey Plaza, is a major economic engine in Northeast, Pennsylvania and beyond. Concerts, national stage shows, professional wrestling events, and sports are just some of the entertainment focuses that fall under the management of a talented team of individuals guided by Mr. Brian Sipe. Mr. Sipe is the General Manager of the “Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza”, and we had the honor to interview him about what it takes to pull off such large-scale shows and promotions. We were fascinated by the industry and the ever moving, hectic world that goes beyond the shows we often take for granted and are privileged to give you an inside look into another major entertainment industry. We are honored to feature Mr. Brian Sipe in a special edition of the Electroshock Spotlight!
Electroshock Entertainment (EE): Can you please provide an overview of your career? Any highlights you would like to share?
Brian Sipe (Sipe)I started at Hersheypark as a teenager as a Costume Character and as a part-time ticket seller in the box office at the Giant Center. From there, I was able to become the Ticketing Manager in Trenton, NJ and moved to Reading, Pa as the Booking and Box Office Manager. At age 27, I was able to become the General Manager at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV. At the Big Sandy Arena, we were nominated for the ACM Venue of the Year two years in a row, sold out multiple shows including Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band and other great national tours. In 2014, I was blessed to be able to come back to PA and work at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes Barre PA. Since my time in Wilkes-Barre, we have hosted sold-out WWE Televised events, numerous concerts including Barry Manilow, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and hosted President Trump for two rallies in 2016.
EE: Describe your day to day position in managing the operations at Mohegan Sun Arena. How do you interface with employees? How do you schedule major, minor and local acts?
Sipe: My primary responsibilities are booking the venue along with our booking manager Kevin Eovitch, overseeing the 20 Full-Time employees we have, and being the direct contact to both the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority and SMG to make sure we are meeting all of our client’s expectations. We schedule all of the entertainment at the venue by having great working relationships with agents, managers, promoters and even the acts who play our venue. We are constantly working together to make sure that Wilkes-Barre is a must play destination on their tour schedules.
EE: What are the greatest challenges of your job? Where do you see the entertainment industry headed in the next 5-10 years and how do you foresee the Scranton/WB Market in terms of growth?
Sipe: The greatest challenge we have is making sure we schedule various types of events to meet all of the needs of our market and then making sure those patrons know about the show and buy a ticket so those type of events keep coming back to our area. Our market is very strong now because of the great success of the F.M Kirby Center, The Scranton Cultural Center, Montage Mountain Amphitheatre and the other festivals, carnivals, outdoor shows, special events and more that are in our area. We are thankful that our area is growing, people keep coming back to the shows we have and there are a lot of great people in our market making sure Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is doing great things!
EE: How do you decide what acts or talent is booked at the arena?
Sipe: We discuss with various media outlets, look at past history in the market of similar genres/shows and look at what our marketing plan would have to be to make sure the show is successful in our market. Once we decide on all of those things, we talk with the agent/promoter of that tour and try and sell them on our market. As long as we believe the show will sell well and it’ll be a profitable night for all parties, we try and make it work here.
EE: Are there any challenges managing the schedules of major shows with the Penguins?
Sipe: We have had a great working relationship with the WBS Penguins and we hope this relationship continues in that pattern for many more years. They are a great team and their President Jeff Barrett and I work well together to make sure we have a great balance of hockey games and other events for our market.
EE: In an ideal economic climate, what major acts or events would you like to host at the arena?
Sipe: Any that would sell out! 😉
EE: Any advice for those looking to enter the industry.
Sipe: Get a job, part-time even, at a venue or for a sports team in the area you think you would like to work. I started in a box office, but others start in Operations, Food and Beverage, Marketing or another department and cross train as much as you can to learn as many facets of the business as you can. It’s a great and fun business with long hours and weekend work but you get to work where many people come to play and it’s a great reward to know you helped people forget about life and their problems for a few hours and just have fun.
We would like to thank Brian for his time and dedication to Northeast, Pennsylvania. Brian’s efforts have brought major acts into the area and he has played an essential role in the region’s economic growth. Brian is a dedicated servant leader as well as a first-class professional that is committed to seeing Mohegan Sun Arena serve as a key component of economic growth for generations to come!