Independence has gone a little Philly.
By signing a long-term management agreement for the Independence Events Center with Global Spectrum of Philadelphia, the city stands to enjoy a higher profile among those who schedule acts and events for the 5,800-seat building that opened in 2009.
More shows would mean more tickets sold and, conceivably, more revenue to help finance future maintenance and upgrades.
It also could bring more glitz to Missouri’s fourth-largest city.
“This is an opportunity to expand the diversity of the entertainment offered there,” said Mayor Eileen Weir.
Several trends favor the building’s future, said David Ehrlich, a Denver-based venue consultant who helped negotiate the agreement.
“The business is moving rapidly toward this size of building,” he said.
While a finite number of acts or events can fill a 15,000-seat arena, he said, it’s less challenging to book shows for buildings that seat about 6,000 customers.
Having a partner with the profile of Global Spectrum, he added, will help bring such acts to Independence.
“What you’ve needed is a voice that could break through the clutter on a national basis,” Ehrlich said. “The only thing that has been missing is the national acts.”
The building’s two anchor tenants — the Missouri Mavericks hockey team and the Missouri Comets soccer team — have attracted fans who appreciate the always-free parking.
The arena also has hosted popular touring acts. Those who have performed there include blues icon B.B. King, hip-hop artist Tech N9ne, country performers Miranda Lambert and Eric Church, singer Kenny Rogers and rockers Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper and Paramore.
Other attractions already have been booked.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships will be held at the events center in 2015 and 2016. And in the fall of 2015, the arena will host one of nine regional contests for the U.S. figure skating championships.
But city officials believe the building could schedule still more events and attractions.
“I think we are just scratching the surface of the building’s potential,” said City Manager Robert Heacock.
On June 19, city officials unanimously approved the agreement with Global Spectrum, giving the company responsibility for scheduling, marketing and maintaining the building.
Global Spectrum representatives have announced a partnership with Live Nation Arenas, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, to provide further booking services.
Although Global Spectrum representatives announced no concerts or acts on June 19, the agreement with Live Nation Arenas will enhance its ability to schedule such events, said Hank Abate, senior vice president for arenas and stadiums for Global Spectrum.
Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster, which already handles ticket sales at the events center, will continue to do so, Heacock said.
The events center opened in November 2009, just southeast of Interstate 70 and Interstate 470.
At first, representatives of Global Entertainment Corp. of Arizona, which had helped build the facility, operated the building. After about a year, the city formed its own management entity.
“We have done a good job, but we have not had the benefit of national partners when it comes to bookings and managing,” said Heacock.
He said Global Spectrum fills that need.
Through ticket fees, the city hopes to generate revenue that can be dedicated to a building maintenance fund. Gobal Spectrum will conduct an audit of the building and its components to reach an up-to-date estimate of its condition, Heacock said. Ticket fees could vary from event to event and may not be attached to every event, he added.
The new agreement, which is good for 10 years with the possibility of a 10-year extention, took effect Tuesday.
Global Spectrum representatives were pleased to find the events center in good shape.
“A lot of times, buildings are in big distress,” Abate said. “But this building was very pristine and very well kept.
“We will be proud to show it off as one of our nicer buildings.”
Although Global Spectrum has partnered with Live Nation Arenas, it also maintains a relationship with AEG, the company that operates and books concerts at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Abate said. That arrangement doesn’t mean that Global Spectrum considers AEG a competitor in the Kansas City regional market, he added.
“AEG could have certain shows, and Live Nation could have certain shows,” Abate said.
In 2008, a majority of property owners within a community improvement district encompassing three of the four corners of Interstate 70 and Interstate 470/Missouri 291 approved a half-cent sales tax to help pay off bonds used to help build the events center.
The sales tax is now three-quarters of a cent, Heacock said.
Negotiations are continuing on a possible naming rights partner for the events center, Heacock added. Details could be announced in perhaps a month.
A news release distributed at the June 19 meeting noted that many top-tier attractions — among them the Rolling Stones, Beyonce, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney and Bruce Springsteen — often perform in venues managed by Global Spectrum.
Heacock, who earlier had suggested a barbecue event in and around the building, noted that.
“Barbecue for me, Springsteen for the mayor,” Heacock said.
“Not necessarily in that order,” Weir said.
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