Arenas Revenue Has Been Soaring

November 27, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Revenue figures for this fiscal year at the Van Andel Arena continue to easily top the numbers from last year.

After four months of the current fiscal year, net income after capital expenditures for the arena stood at $461,684 — almost 10 times higher than the same period last year when the figure was $48,839. And last year, FY2002, was the second best net income year in the history of the building with a take of $1.6 million.

Thirteen events in September contributed $118,854 to the current net-income total. The net income was only $9,062 for 11 events in September 2001.

As reported in the Oct. 21 edition of the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the arena placed 16th in concert ticket sales for the first nine months of the calendar year on a listing of the top 50 worldwide concert venues published by trade magazine Polestar.

“We’ve had a strong first nine months,” said Rich MacKeigan, SMG general manager of the arena and the Grand Center.

The arena sold more concert tickets this year than bigger buildings in larger markets such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

“I like the fact that Van Andel Arena is 25 percent ahead of the United Center in Chicago,” said Mayor John Logie, who chairs the Convention and Arena Authority and has plans to notify Chicago Mayor Richard Daley of the arena’s ranking.

MacKeigan told CAA board members that the arena has gained a solid eclectic music reputation with concert promoters in the region, which bodes well for the creation of a downtown entertainment district. He used an upcoming concert date with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) as an example.

MacKeigan noted that TSO played to a sellout in Welsh Auditorium, part of the Grand Center, two years ago.

Then last year TSO sold out two shows at the Welsh and one was a matinee performance, a show time that often doesn’t do that well. This year MacKeigan said TSO has graduated to the arena, which has more than twice as many seats as the Welsh, for the group’s Nov. 27 date.

By the way, concerts aren’t the only type of shows that are selling tickets at the arena.

“We’ve got wrestling on Oct. 29,” said MacKeigan, “and that is doing very well.”  

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