Arena Ranks High In Concert Sales

October 18, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Van Andel Arena ranked 16th worldwide for the number of concert tickets sold for the first nine months of the calendar year, according to trade publication Polestar.

The six-year-old building finished ahead of the United Center in Chicago, Nationwide Arena in Columbus, the Target Center in Minneapolis, the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, America West Arena in Phoenix and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"These venues have a much larger capacity than we do," said Lynn Ike, SMG marketing manager for the arena.

Polestar reported that the arena sold 206,547 tickets to concerts from January through September.

"We have made huge improvements on ticket sales," added Ike.

For the first eight months of this year, the arena sold 179,519 concert tickets. In contrast, only 62,067 concert tickets were sold for the same period last year.

Most tickets were bought by concertgoers in the greater metro area, along the Lakeshore and in the Battle Creek-Kalamazoo region. Less than 10 percent were purchased by consumers living in other parts of the state.

Ike said the arena doesn't focus its marketing effort on one specific area. Instead, she said her department sends out about 100 news releases throughout the state for each show.

"We don't spend the money. We just get the word out," said Ike.

SMG arena manager Rich MacKeigan said he was pleased with the Polestar ranking, but wasn't sure the building could hold that lofty spot all year. He said concert ticket sales for October were slow and he expected that December sales also would be slow.

MacKeigan said the arena was on pace to hold 150 events this year. His goal is to reach 215.

"I'm pleased with the event load. But I'm never going to be satisfied," said MacKeigan.

When asked why the arena was enjoying so much success with concert sales, MacKeigan said the routing of the shows has helped and that his staff has done a good job at staging the events.

"We're not screwing it up," he said.

Polestar also placed the DeVos Performance Hall at 27th for worldwide third-quarter sales of concert tickets in its ranking of the Top 50 Theatre Venues.

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