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  • Not the same old Tower City Center

    One of Cleveland’s iconic physical spaces has been used for a multitude of purposes during its almost 90 years in existence. Originally developed as Cleveland’s primary train station, it was later redeveloped into the shopping mall it is today. However, on one Friday evening in November, picturesque Tower City Center becomes one more thing: a boxing and event venue.

    The second annual Cleveland Boxing Invitational presented by First National Bank will once again turn a space normally occupied by shoppers and busy professionals into a state-of-the-art boxing and dinner venue. The ability to transform an everyday shopping mall into a unique, event space is what makes the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission one of the best in country.

    For Lauren Harris, event manager at the Sports Commission, that transformation started with finding a boxing ring that could be constructed on the floor of Tower City Center. After researching potential options a portable ring was located.

    “It’s a really cool process seeing it (the ring) being built. It was challenging to find a portable ring, but we found one located here in Cleveland. That allowed us to spend some money locally, which is always our first choice,” said Harris.

    But a ring is just one piece of the puzzle. Lighting, sound and additional staging is needed for the event to meet the high standards set by the Sports Commission. NPI Audio Visual is the company behind all those elements at most Sports Commission events.

    “NPI handles all the rigging of the lights and sound above the ring,” Harris said. “The main video screen is actually on a tri-pod system that goes up about two hours prior to the event. In total, it takes NPI roughly five hours on Wednesday to set up the light and sound, then an additional three to four hours to set up screens and the soundboard on event day. NPI also supplies all the ancillary lighting around the event, which seems like a small detail, but makes a huge difference in how the room looks and feels.”

    Additional equipment is also brought in to make the event a success, everything from tables and chairs to pipe and drape to close off the event area. The Sports Commission also coordinates athletic training, food and drink and arranges for an event announcer and emcee.

    “We order roughly 80 tables and linens for the event, 500 chairs and roughly 500 feet of pipe and drape,” Harris said.

    It’s when all these moving parts connect seamlessly that a first-class event is created. It’s the ability to make those connections seamless that make the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission one of the best in the business.