Arena Tops List Again

September 9, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — The events just keep on coming to Van Andel Arena, which was recently rated by Billboard Magazine as the highest-grossing venue of its size across North America for the first six months of this year.

That ranking also earned the arena a third-place finish worldwide from Billboard.

"Van Andel Arena has proved that it can compete not only nationally, but internationally, with midsized arenas and larger venues," said SMG General Manager Rich MacKeigan of the nine-year-old building that seats almost 12,900 for some concerts.

Pollstar placed Van Andel 15th on its list of the Top 100 Arena Venues, a July ranking that was based on the number of tickets sold worldwide over the first half of 2005.

"That we continue to rank among venues of all sizes worldwide is a testament to the dedication of all involved, from SMG's corporate offices to promoters to SMG staff in Grand Rapids," added MacKeigan.

The unaudited figures reveal the arena had a $1.43 million surplus for the just completed fiscal year, a number that matched the surplus the building recorded the previous year. A similar surplus of $1.46 million has been projected for the current year, which began on July 1. The arena has never suffered a fiscal-year loss since it opened in October 1996 and has always earned a surplus of at least $1 million in each of those fiscal years — even during the first one, which was only nine months.

During FY05, which ended on June 30, Van Andel hosted 117 events that drew 647,682 paying customers. Concerts are the building's revenue bread and butter as each one is worth an average of $65,000 to the arena. Eighteen concerts took place there from mid-November through the end of June, the time period Billboard used to rank the venues. For the entire year, 24 concerts were held at Van Andel.

The SMG forecast for FY06 projects 123 events for the arena that will draw 709,400 ticket holders. Twenty-two of those should be concerts that should provide the arena with $1.42 million in event income, which almost totals the building's expected surplus for the year.

Billboard has placed Van Andel in its top five since 1998. For three consecutive years, from 1998 to 2000, the trade publication ranked the arena at the top of the midsized list. Other years have found the arena finishing second twice, third once and fifth last year. The Billboard ranking doesn't include sporting events.

As for the Pollstar list, the arena rose to the 15th spot this year from the 40th position it held on last year's list.

Foo Fighters and Weezer will play the building on Oct. 6. The Grand Rapids Griffins and the Detroit Pistons play in the building two and five nights later.

Pollstar also placed DeVos Performance Hall 40th on its worldwide list of Top 100 Theater Venues, a ranking based on the total number of tickets sold for the first half of the year.

      

Tops In North America

GRAND RAPIDS — Based on total gross receipts generated during the first half of this year, Billboard magazine named Van Andel Arena the top venue for its size in all of North America, and ranked the building third overall across the English-speaking globe.

The following chart lists the top 10 arenas in order, as ranked by Billboard according to box office sales for the first half of 2005.

Venue/
Location

Venue
Capacity

Total
Gross

Total
Attendance

No. of
Shows

Brisbane Entertainment Center
Brisbane, Australia

13,500

$12,357,782

122,901

14

National Exhibition Center
Birmingham, England

13,000

$9,499,456

158,721

16

Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, Mich.

12,864

$7,884,465

222,696

37

Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City, N.J.

13,800

$6,854,590

129,552

19

Giant Center
Hershey, Pa.

12,500

$6,455,547

226,274

46

John LaBatt Centre
London, Ontario

10,500

$5,995,095

181,205

41

Wachovia Arena
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

10,500

$5,356,613

115,715

22

Patriot Center
Fairfax, Va.

10,404

$4,631,732

118,329

34

Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Adelaide, Australia

11,000

$4,433,249

41,072

Metro Radio Arena
Newcastle, England

11,500

$4,350,702

80,531

14

Source: Billboard, Top 10 Venues 2005 1st Half    

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