New Kentucky State Fair Board CEO discusses future plans for Exp - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Kentucky State Fair Board CEO discusses future plans for Expo and Convention Center

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Jason Rittenberry Jason Rittenberry
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

The Kentucky State Fair Board has a new CEO. 

Jason Rittenberry started the job at the beginning of November.

“I saw tremendous opportunities here in Louisville," Rittenberry said. This is a great city. It's an up-and-coming city."

Rittenberry is from Tennessee. He has more than 16 years in the venue management and event promotions industry. He previously served as Chief Strategy Officer for the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

He is the former President and CEO of IRG Sports + Entertainment. He was also Executive Producer for a motor sports television show broadcast on NBC Sports Network and MAVTV.

As President and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board, Rittenberry will oversee the operations of the Kentucky international Convention Center, the Kentucky Exposition Center and the shows operated by the Fair Board.

He says he's still learning the ropes at the Expo Center and the Convention Center, but he has some big plans for the State Fair Board. 

“The first 100 days, [I’m] going to [to spend] a lot of time listening and learning and meeting stake holders,” Rittenberry said.

First and foremost, he wants to make the board more financially independent. 

“It's not all about going and asking Frankfort for the money. That's obviously one solution, but I would rather look at how we can bring in our own dollars,” Rittenberry said.

Rittenberry says his biggest priority is to quickly find new partnerships, not just sponsors, to keep the Fair Board from spending operational dollars on necessities like repairs and maintenance like the board is currently doing. 

Next, as the Kentucky International Convention Center expands, he wants to focus on providing new opportunities around the Exposition Center.

“There is opportunity there now. Before, as many years as they have tried, and as many years as its failed, the deal wasn't a good deal for a developer to put a hotel here,” Rittenberry said.

A new state law could entice developers to build a hotel next to the Expo Center. Rittenberry will also prioritize building a large livestock and agriculture business building where the old Cardinal Stadium now stands. 

As for inside the Expo Center, Rittenberry says he doesn’t plan to make any changes to Broadbent Arena, but Freedom Hall is in need or updates and repairs.

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