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#019: The Visionary Leader Behind San Diego Sports Arena – Ernie Hahn

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Ernie H. Hahn (@ErnieHahn @valleyviewcasinocenter) of AEG and Valley View Casino Center 






AEG Arenas – VVCC:

Ole Hickory Pits:

Grill Grates:

Weber Grills:

Del Mar BBQ Championship Facebook Event:

Upcoming BBQ Events and Competitions:

Notable Links: Lacrosse:

Stadium Talk:

Ernie Hahn or Billy Idol? You decide:

Celebrate Ernie Hahn:


Ernie Hahn, GM of Valley View Casino Center

Valley Farm Market has been giving out complimentary water bottles during this tropical storm heat wave in Spring Valley

Ernie feasted at Cali Comfort BBQ on the Tailgater Feast the first time he visited Spring Valley

San Diego continues to grow and Ernie Hahn enjoys coming out to Spring Valley and values the different personalities that each city has in San Diego

Ernie Hahn philosophy: “Find GREAT people who are really good at their job”

Ernie discusses the voicemail intro to our show, how it happened and how Shawn got it saved to his computer

Ernie Hahn has three kids, all have attended Cathedral Catholic High School

Ernie Hahn worked in a restaurant at a young age at Albatross until they went under – learned a big lesson

Ernie Hahn was the first male employee at Hotdog on a Stick at the Del Mar Fairgrounds at age 13 – worked at the stand for 2 years

Ernie was accustomed to working hard at an early age – had a job every summer

Ernie was born into a great family and instilled that he was to work hard every year – Ernie interned for 2 summers

“If you’re born in a successful family you either work your ass off or you skate by and have money coming to you”

“Respect is earned, its not given”

Got to work harder, faster, more efficient, and you must be passionate about your career

You always want to make things better. Take the tools you have and make the best out of them.

Ernie’s dad is the smartest guy he has ever met. A huge role model to Ernie Hahn. 

Ernie says “Find your strength and your god given talents, take them to the bank”

Ernie shouts out Michelle Eager at VVCC – Finance

“You need a coalition of great people to accomplish great things” – Ernie Hahn

Ernie has learned so much in the past 26 years of the (VVCC) arena

Lemon Grove Plaza Mall in East County – First In N’ Out in all of SD was brought by Ernie’s dad and company

Ernie was working for his dad for awhile and then went on a surf trip in Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia before he knew he would have to work

Ernie came back from his surfing trip, and came back as Events Coordinator at the San Diego Sports Arena to learn the business and see how everything was ran in the business

Ernie noticed in his younger years with the Sports Arena how people weren’t taking their jobs seriously at San Diego Sports Arena – Ernie was working hard and noticing that others weren’t doing shit. He informed his Dad of this a

Ernie ushered for about a month at the Sports Arena for the shows he helped as an event coordinator, and learned all the different jobs at Sports Arena 

Ernie got to work every job title when he was young at San Diego Sports Arena and learned all aspects of the arena

Ernie Hahn empowers his team leaders to run their departments like its their own business, and Ernie will be there to help whenever they need it

Ernie worked as Business Manager in the Arena Group 2000 – AEG – San Diego Sports Arena

“The Dog That Keeps Fighting” VVCC – has had to fight hard for what they get. Because of it’s age and outer appearance, VVCC can be overlooked, but do not judge a book by it’s cover. Ernie has worked hard to ensure the experience makes up for it

AEG is a huge company with arenas and convention centers all over

VVCC has digital signage, nice and big flat screens that make for an epic fan experience

Understanding what hospitality means to you as a business owner

Shawn admires Ernie Hahn’s saying of “getting it” understanding the right way to do business, the code of business – making promises, shaking hands

Bob Breitbard – a legendary icon in San Diego, owned the Sports Arena in Nov 66 1966 as the International Sports Arena

Gulls were the first one in the Sports Arena and then the Rockets NBA team

Bob Breitbard also started the Hall of Champions, that is now moving to Petco Park

San Diego Sports Arena has lots of history with hockey and NBA

The Houston Rockets became the San Diego Rockets before being sold

Hockey came back to SD in 1990 with the Gulls 

Ernie Hahn talks about C.A.V.E.MEN. = Citizens Against Virtually Everything

San Diego can look forward to Lacrosse in 2018. Indoor lacrosse is extremely fast paced and exciting. Added 11 more home games to the VVCC schedule which creates more opportunity for businesses and another team for San Diego to root for. Hockey fans will love lacrosse as it’s a similar type of quick-paced sport

You can get Cali Comfort BBQ in the Valley View Casino Center

A new sports arena in San Diego would host 200 to 220 events in a year which brings tremendous opportunities to the city and all of the businesses in the area

uberEATS – VVCC was the first building/venue to work with uberEATS as a test market program in San Diego, it was cool, awesome, and different

uberEATS is back again this year in VVCC

$2 Bud Light Night at the San Diego Gulls hockey games brings a large, new and young crowd and brings a fun experience for every fan

VVCC recycles all the cans from the $2 Bud Light Nights and donates to charity

Ernie Hahn’s keys to life: fostering the atmosphere #nevertoogood “Great people who are really good at their jobs” not easy to find these type of people 

perception is reality

The man in the arena quote by Theodoore Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Raised over $100K for the Ernie Hahn golf tournament in 2017

The Boys to Men charity – 25 different schools every 20k raised opens another school –

Ernie Hahn has been fighting for San Diego for 26 years and will continue to do so

Ernie goal is to continue working hard, get the NBA in sd, new SD arena, downtown areas (Horton Plaza), and East Village developing

In closing, the VVCC experience is better now than its ever been thanks to technology and food experiences like Cali Comfort BBQ 

Be sure to check out Valley View Casino Center whenever you are in San Diego! Go Gulls!

Get in Touch

Derek Marso –

Shawn Walchef –

Cory Wagner –

Valley Farm Market – –

Cali Comfort BBQ – – –

Behind The Smoke – – –

Email –

About the author, Shawn Walchef

Cali Sports Entertainment Entrepreneur, Tailgating BBQ Event Specialist, Owner @CaliComfortBBQ, Behind The Smoke Podcast Host

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