Ahead of the IEBA conference, five venue executives in smaller cities boast about what makes their buildings stand out.

1. The PPL Center "fills a void" in Allentown, Pa., the state's third-largest city, says GM Gunnar Fox. "Previously, patrons had to drive over an hour to Philadelphia or New York City to attend a major entertainment," he notes. The venue especially benefits from its link to Global Spectrum management, which handles Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, and parent company Comcast Spectacor.

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