Page 26 - BusinessWest October 13, 2021
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  26 OCTOBER 13, 2021
fundraiser, a corporate meeting, a wedding, a bar mitzvah, you name it,” he told BusinessWest. “It’s a very important part of our business, and we want to see it grow.”
And while COVID-19 is certainly limiting the pace of progress when it comes to this all-important revenue stream in some obvious ways, especially with the emergence of the Delta variant, the early returns on the Hall’s status as an event venue are quite positive, and the out- look for the future — when COVID is far less of a hindrance — is quite bright.
“The facility lends itself to just about any kind of event,” Doleva said. “We’re in a great position to be ‘that place’ when we come out of all this and nonprofits need to have that all-important fundraising dinner or awards ceremony or celebration. I think the Hall of Fame is poised to be a very special place to do that.”
For this issue and its focus on tourism and hospitality, BusinessWest talked with Doleva about the Hall’s efforts to build this side of its busi- ness and how it is working to court many different kinds of event plan- ners — literally and figuratively.
Points of Interest
Perhaps the best evidence of the Hall’s emergence as an event venue and its promise moving forward, Doleva said, came at the recent induction ceremonies for the class of 2021.
“You can really be different — it’s a fun environment. We can alter the lighting and do lots of different things. Rather than just the four walls of
an institution, you have a special theme here.”
The actual enshrinement festivi-
ties took place at the MassMutual
Center, but before that, there was
a party for roughly 1,000 people at
the Hall, one that became a sort of
proving ground when it comes to
the many steps taken to bring more
events to the facilities on West Columbus Avenue.
John Doleva stands in Center Court
at the Hall of Fame, outfitted with a new 14-by-40-foot video screen.
        “We consciously forced people up into the museum rather than being in the lobby and on Center Court, where typically people would be,” he explained. “We wanted to show it off, so we expanded our food and drink offerings up into the museum, and it was a smash hit. It was so great to see everyone in the basketball community enjoying the Hall of Fame, enjoying the technology, the exhibits — just having a great time.
“We actually had a tough time getting people out of here and over to the MassMutual Center for the ceremonies — we had a couple of late buses leaving here,” he went on. “That just underscored the opportu-

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