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. “These relationships,” says Fox, “create the opportunity for acts to extend their tours beyond the Wells Fargo Center and link to another Global Spectrum venue,” such as the PPL Center or Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
2. “I describe Huntington, W.Va., as the smaller market that could — and does,” says Brian Sipe, GM of the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, a venue managed by SMG, which operates theaters, arenas and stadiums worldwide. Between SMG’s clout and “my own personal relationships with promoters and agents,” says Sipe, “we are consistently on the minds of the decision makers. I know that the promoter, the agent, the artist have to know that the venue wants their show to succeed and will do everything they possibly can to sell every last ticket.”
3. The University of Texas’ Frank Erwin Center in Austin is a full-service operation with an in-house box office and ticketing system, management and marketing staffs, and production and maintenance operations. “We can co-present, co-promote or fully promote any sports, entertainment or special event,” says John Graham, executive senior associate athletic director. “In addition, we have recently embarked on a long-term partnership with the Disney Institute to enhance our guest experience, improve internal communication and upgrade our entire operational environment.”
4. One of the best features of the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill., is a new curtaining system that can cater to capacities of anywhere from 2,500 to 12,000, says executive director Scott Mullen. “The house can expand one section at a time as sales warrant,” he says, “which maximizes ticket sales to always give the artist a sold-out look with no empty seating sections.” The facility’s experienced staff offers first-rate service and will promote in-house or co-promote. The iWireless Center is centrally located on the Mississippi River off I-80 and is within easy reach for fans traveling from Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Omaha, Neb.
5. “The advantage of the FedEx Forum is that the building is run by the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies,” says Jeff Olson, director of event booking. The connection to the building’s anchor sports tenant allows the Forum to market other events through in-game promotions and the team’s live TV and radio broadcasts as well as its social media and email databases. The state-of-the-art building features a huge enclosed loading dock that can house more than 15 trucks, with great floor access for load in and load out. “We are also centrally located and sit along several major highways,” adds Olson, “which makes us a great place to play on an artist’s routing.”