The concert business in North America generated more than $3.5 billion in gross ticket sales in 2016, according to Billboard Boxscore. Those dollars have the greatest economic impact in cities that boast the most successful music facilities, so investment in the development or refurbishment of facilities pays off.
Here are 23 of the most notable new and renovated concert venues vying for the year’s top-selling tours.
Concert capacity: 6,000
The most welcome news in 2017 from the nation’s capital comes from I.M.P. Productions, which owns the city’s famed 9:30 Club and operates D.C.’s Lincoln Theater and Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. I.M.P. in October will open The Anthem, a venue with a flexible capacity of 2,500 to 6,000. It will be part of The Wharf, a $2 billion mixed-use development rising on the banks of the Potomac River, south of the National Mall.
Concert capacity: 17,000
Home to the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, the AT&T Center has received more than $110 million in renovations, including new infrastructure, amenities, bars, restaurants and the upgrading of all seats in the hall. Theater-style boxes, with a private dining area and bar, overlook the arena bowl on the terrace level. The center started 2017 with the first show of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ The Getaway Tour.
Concert capacity: 19,000
Barclays Center welcomed visitors this past year to its renovated Billboard-branded lounge and hosted the final U.S. show of Bruce Springsteen’s River Tour on April 25, 2016, for a crowd exceeding 18,000, a new record for the building. Two months before the concert, the arena emailed fans to gather stories about their favorite “Bruce Moment” to collect as a book for the singer. When Springsteen was late to his sound check, he was found in his dressing room reading the tales.
Concert capacity: 18,000
A Jan. 17 groundbreaking signaled the start of construction on the Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The center is due to open in time for the 2019-2020 NBA season as the new home of the Golden State Warriors. For a city with a rich history of live music, it also will be the first concert venue larger than 10,000 seats within San Francisco proper.
DAILY’S PLACE AT EVERBANK FIELD
Concert capacity: 5,500
Daily’s Place amphitheater is adjacent to EverBank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and part of the city’s entertainment district. The venue’s design fills the need for a midsize music facility in the north Florida market. Jacksonville’s own Tedeschi Trucks Band will play the first show there on May 27.
FORD AMPHITHEATER AT THE CONEY ISLAND BOARDWALK
Concert capacity: 4,800
Built as an expansion of the beachside, landmarked 1923 Childs Restaurant, the Ford Amphitheater opened in the summer of 2016 with 46 events in its first season. The Beach Boys played a Fourth of July show amid the sound of the nearby waves.
THE GREEK THEATRE
Concert capacity: 5,900
Under new management by venue firm SMG, the historic 1926 amphitheater in Griffith Park has received such improvements as a new plaza bar, upgraded suites, Wi-Fi and LED video screens, and menu options with California cuisine.
GOLDEN 1 CENTER
Concert capacity: 15,000
The Golden 1 Center, which is completely solar-powered, is the nation’s first indoor arena to earn LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its state-of-the-art environmental design. Sustainability also marks the building’s “farm to court” concessions: 90 percent of food served is sourced within 150 miles of the center.
JIFFY LUBE LIVE
Concert capacity: 22,600
Jiffy Lube Live, an outdoor amphitheater located 40 miles west of Washington, D.C., has added a new VIP space, The Dominion, with premier seating and dining options, on the upper level of its grandstand. In September 2016, the venue became the first to host Willie Nelson’s annual Farm Aid benefit for a third time.
MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION
Concert capacity: 18,000
Located between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, the Merriweather Post Pavilion has a new 82-foot proscenium stage opening and $21 million in backstage renovations, including a swimming pool for artists, a private outdoor lounge with a stone fireplace and a band VIP suite with a balcony overlooking the performances.
LITTLE CAESARS ARENA
Concert capacity: 20,000
Michigan’s own Kid Rock not only agreed to play the first concerts at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena when the venue opens in September — the rap-rocker joined hard-hatted construction crews and arena developer Christopher Ilitch for a preview of the hall in January. “It means a lot to me to be the first act,” said Rock, “bigger than me just playing a show.”
NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM Presented By New York Community Bank
Concert capacity: 14,500
Reopening with an April 5 show by local hero Billy Joel, the venue has been redeveloped by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which runs Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The arena will offer artists luxury backstage quarters customized with one of four regional-flavored themes: Manhattan Modern, Gatsby’s Gold Coast, The Polo Club and Hampton Chic.
?NORTHWELL HEALTH AT JONES BEACH THEATER
Concert capacity: 14,000
In a unique oceanview location, within a New York State park, close to miles of beaches, the Jones Beach Theater has hosted summer performances since the early 1950s. This season brings a new title sponsor, Northwell Health, to the historic amphitheater.
Concert capacity: 20,700
Keith Urban, who played the -opening-night show at Rogers Place on Sept. 16, called the new venue “one of the best-sounding arenas I have played in.” Designed for concerts as well as the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, Rogers Place incorporates advanced acoustic treatments in its interior.
SMART FINANCIAL CENTRE AT SUGAR LAND CENTER
Sugar Land, Texas
Concert capacity: 6,400
Moveable walls and curtain systems allow the Smart Financial Centre, which is 20 miles from Houston, to customize its capacity from 1,950 to 6,400 seats. “What a life you’re living here in Sugar Land,” declared comedian Jerry Seinfeld at the venue’s grand opening on Jan. 14.
STEPHEN C. O’CONNELL CENTER
Concert capacity: 10,000
With a new naming sponsorship
from medical equipment firm Exactech for its arena, the O’Connell Center on the University of Florida campus serves a market with 50,000 students. The venue has undergone a $64.5 million renovation that includes a new entryway, expanded concessions, VIP seating with access to private dining areas and high-end video screens.
Concert capacity: 23,000
In November 2016, city officials OK’d a $21.3 million renovation of the Tacoma Dome that will bring new seating, redone restrooms, backstage and loading dock upgrades, and even a new exterior paint job for the 23-year-old arena. Work will proceed around upcoming 2017 bookings, including a Feb. 25 show by Blake Shelton.
Concert capacity: 19,250
The downtown Target Center began its $138 million renovation in spring 2016, amid continued bookings by acts including The Who, Paul McCartney and Garth Brooks. But the arena will temporarily shut its doors this summer to reconstruct its lobby, improve concourse areas and add luxury club spaces. The Target Center expects to complete renovations by the fall.
TIMES UNION CENTER
Concert capacity: 17,500 (center stage)
A three-story entryway waterfall is one highlight of the renovation of the Times Union Center, set for completion in September. The adjacent Albany Capital Center is an 80,000-square-foot convention facility that can stage general-admission shows for up to 3,500 fans.
Concert capacity: 8,400
A seven-day-a-week work schedule allowed a $3.7 million upgrade of the Tuscon Arena to reach completion by Oct. 1, 2016 without bumping any scheduled events. The arena, part of the Tuscon Convention Center Complex, is the largest venue in its market, drawing fans from throughout southern Arizona and northern Mexico.
U.S. BANK STADIUM
Concert capacity: 52,000
The newest field in the NFL, located in downtown Minneapolis, U.S. Bank Stadium has already proven its mettle as a concert venue, hosting Luke Bryan’s Kill The Lights Tour, with Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch, on Aug. 19, 2016, followed by Metallica, with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat the following night. The two tours shared the same stage structure for the back-to-back sold-out shows.
VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA
Salt Lake City, Utah
Concert capacity: 20,000
The 25-year-old home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz is undergoing a $125 million renovation that includes redesigned concourses, more VIP areas and a new 12,000-square-foot lobby. The arena, the largest in a five-state area, will present Billy Joel Nov. 29 in his first Salt Lake City show in a decade.
WELLS FARGO CENTER
Concert capacity: 21,000
One lasting impact of the Democratic National Convention held in 2016 at Wells Fargo Center is the creation of improved premium-seating areas. Luxury suites revamped for TV news crews during the convention were rebuilt afterward with better sight lines and decor. The work was part of an $18 million overall renovation of the 20-year-old arena, which so far in 2017 has hosted performances by Eric Church and Kings of Leon.
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 25 issue of Billboard.