Local record company signs partnership deal with national entertainment group

Sonic Unyon announced Tuesday a partnership with national entertainment group SMG and Equity Forum just before HECFI management bids are reviewed by the city.
Copps Colliseum, one of HECFI's three properties, is up for new management. (Sheryl Nadler/CBC)

Hamilton-based record company Sonic Unyon has formed a "strategic partnership" with national management group SMG and Forum Equity.

The announcement Tuesday comes in the midst of bidding for new management of the Hamilton Entertainment and Convention facilities Incorporated (HECFI).

A statement on Sonic Uynon's website says the partnership begins "with the HECFI opportunity in Sonic Unyon's home city of Hamilton."

On Wednesday, the city's General Issues Committee will hear presentations from five bidders for HECFI's three properties, Copps Colliseum, Hamilton Place and the Convention Centre.

SMG/Forum Equity is listed as one of the five bidders to make a presentation. International management company Anschutz Entertainment Group and Live Nation Canada are the other big names making presentations.

Carmen's Inc and the current HECFI management are local bidders.

"Sonic Unyon has a keen interest in seeing what will happen," said Sonic Uynon co-owner Mark Milne, adding that both he and co-owner Tim Potocic will be present at Wednesday's meeting.

Milne confirmed that Sonic Unyon has withdrawn its bid to operate Hamilton Place.

"Certainly Sonic Unyon is a proven entity in what they can do in this city," said downtown councilor Jason Farr.

Councillor and committee member Terry Whitehead said what is crucial for councilors is to hear how presenters can reduce or eliminate the near $5 million subsidy the city carries to manage HECFI's three properties.

The subsidy includes operating and maintenance costs.

"We want to see a decrease of the subsidy over time," said Whitehead. "We're looking out for the taypayers."

Whitehead said he's also looking for an industry leader that can to bring names to Hamilton.

"I'd like to see some healthy competition," he said.

Farr said he doesn't anticipate a decision on HECFI's management to be made at Wednesday's meeting.