Atlanta's State Farm Arena Sees Supersized Grosses From Super Bowl Music Fest

SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images
Cardi B performs at Rodeo Houston on March 1, 2019 in Houston, Texas. 

Senior vp/GM Trey Feazell explains how three concerts timed to the big game put his venue over the top.

A three-night concert during Super Bowl LIII weekend brought in over $10 million in ticket sales for State Farm Arena in Atlanta, helping the 20-year-old venue secure the first No. 1 on Billboard Boxscore's new monthly chart for venues with a capacity of 15,001 seats or more. Produced by the arena, the NFL and On Location, the three-night Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest began Jan. 31 with a hometown show by Ludacris and Migos that grossed $1.2 million, followed by a Feb. 1 co-headlining concert with Aerosmith and Post Malone that grossed $3.6 million from 12,894 tickets. The final concert, on the eve of the Super Bowl, paired Bruno Mars and Cardi B in their first concert in months, selling 14,152 tickets with a gross of $6.5 million, the highest for any single-night concert in the arena's history. The eight-figure gross was a major win for Trey Feazell, who has been with the building since it opened in 1999 and oversaw last year's $192 million renovation.

How did you manage five events during Super Bowl week?

The Super Bowl's opening night is for media and fans who want to be on the floor with the players. We had to raise the floor 10 feet high to create a larger area for media interviews. We broke it down that night and began setting up for concerts starting Thursday, followed by a tailgate party on game day. It was a lot of work, but it was a blast. I wish we had the Super Bowl every year.

How long was it in the works?

A couple of years. Our renovation completely transformed the arena, and with [NBA team] the Hawks on the road that week, we met with On Location to discuss hosting one concert, which grew into three concerts.

What did you want to see changed in the renovation?

We're in the right location, but we felt that the interior needed an update, so we gutted and rebuilt the arena. We built a more open seating bowl with two 360 concourses for all guests; in the past, you needed a VIP ticket to access certain parts of the concourse. Finally, we changed naming-rights partners before we reopened [it was Philips Arena until 2018] to really give it that new-building feel.

Why did you swap out the suites for social clubs?

We've shifted some spaces to clubs and spread premium offerings throughout the building. We have one level of the traditional suites, but we also have loft suites and a new area called Atlanta Social that's a little more comfortable. Our fans wanted more intimate, communal experiences, including when they're sitting in their seats. The venue now feels more connected and intimate, and because the music industry is so healthy we're on track to have one of our busiest summers for concerts.

What music is working now in Atlanta?

All music is working. We're hosting Mumford & Sons for the first time this summer, we're having Travis Scott return, and P!nk just wrapped up two sold-out shows. We have Muse coming, as well as the Impractical Jokers and Jeff Dunham, and then Maxwell and KEM. We have 11 shows in March and the [WHTA] Hot 107.9 concert that sold out before an artist was announced.

This article originally appeared in the March 23 issue of Billboard.


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.