CAA looks to promote more shows

September 28, 2008
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In an effort to create more bookings at DeVos Performance Hall, SMG Regional General Manager Rich MacKeigan wants to use an exclusive fund that would provide enough money to let the Convention and Arena Authority partner with a promoter to book a show for the hall or promote a show in the hall by itself.

MacKeigan thinks $100,000 in that account would do the trick.

The CAA has promoted two family shows in the performance hall — “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “The Backyardigans Live” — and has created a partnership with Showspan Inc. for November’s International Wine and Food Festival at DeVos Place.

“We do this every other year with NCAA hockey,” he said of co-sponsoring the college tournament played every other March at Van Andel Arena. “I think we will be co-promoting with a promoter more (than going it alone).”

MacKeigan said agencies that represent the smaller family shows are actively seeking promoters to buy dates, and, in turn, the promoters are eager to partner with someone to share the risk.

He explained that the CAA needs to respond promptly when a booking opportunity arises, and having to wait for the next monthly meeting to get the board’s OK often means a show goes elsewhere.

“If they can’t get an answer in a couple of days, they move on to another market,” said MacKeigan, also CAA executive director.

Revenue for the fund will come from the DeVos Place operating budget and a pro-forma will be done for each show. Any revenue generated from a show will go back into the same budget. The performance hall was worth $730,000 in event income to the board for the last fiscal year that ended in June.

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