Tag: November 2019

Active at 90

Clockwise from top left: T-Mobile Park’s chapulines, Las Vegas Convention Center’s Meat Locker pizza, pork belly banh mi sliders, Vancouver Convention Centre’s Bliss Cake. (Courtesy Centerplate) Centerplate heads toward centennial by keeping concessions fresh for clients, fans In 1929, Nathaniel Leverone started a vending service in Chicago and called it the Automatic Canteen Company of America. Leverone got the idea to start the company when he got a handful of bad peanuts from a vending machine and he thought he could do better.  He founded the company on the idea that customers deserved a square deal: fairly priced high-quality food and beverage, served with professionalism and a smile. Leverone’s first real get turned out to be the historic World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933. He sold chocolate milk and concessions, and he even installed a few pop-up restaurants. The vending business eventually split off and the rest of the company […]

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Esports Levels Up

Confetti rains down on the winners of the Call of Duty World League Championship at LA’s Pauley Pavilion in August. (Getty Images) The competitive video game industry is here to stay Nicolaj Jensen, a 23-year-old from Denmark, sits onstage. He is fixated on his monitor and the voices in his headset as he and his four Team Liquid teammates all deftly maneuver their mice and keyboards, eyes transfixed on their monitors. They sit in front of a massive LED screen before a boisterous crowd at the 4,353-capacity Verti Music Hall in Berlin, while opposing team members sit at their own rigs in front of another LED screen. Commentators’ voices are piped into the venue’s sound system alongside the game’s audio effects, but Jensen can’t pay attention to any of that. He has to remain laser-focused. In a flash his opponent — Song “Rookie” Eui-jin, a 22-year-old from South Korea playing […]

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D.C., Virginia and West Virginia: The Spice of Life

Fans gather on the lawn at Filene Center at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., for a night show. (Courtesy Wolf Trap) Variety in bookings helps keep venues of all sizes humming Altria Theater, Richmond, Va. Tim Miller, director of sales and marketing  How did you do in the last year? Overall, it was an extraordinary year. Our contemporary offerings have performed very well at both theaters. We also have tripled our subscriber base and have grown our food and beverage catering offerings, thanks to continued growth of our private events, corporate functions and weddings. Big shows In 2019, Altria Theater continued to host its Broadway in Richmond series, with productions of “The Book of Mormon” and “Waitress” as well as sold-out concerts like Hozier. Dominion Energy Center’s resident companies pack the house with the Richmond Symphony’s production of “The Nutcracker” as well as “The 85 South Show.” But without a […]

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Conventional Wisdom

The Las Vegas Convention Center is getting a $1.5 billion expansion and renovation. (Courtesy Tvsdesign) Convention centers, designers innovate to meet growing expectations Can trendy features equal better design? That’s the multibillion-dollar question for the burgeoning business of creating and running convention centers.  Cities across the country and from all market sizes are building, expanding and renovating their public meeting halls, no matter whether you call it catching the zeitgeist or going upmarket to attract more events and attendees. “The convergence of convention center and hospitality design” is how the movement is described by Rob Svedberg, a principal with Tvsdesign. “There are a lot of things people talk about as trends I consider best practices. If you’re in a building that’s in desperate need of help, it feels like a trend because it’s something you don’t have.” Svedberg explained the need for a hospitality focus with flexible, open spaces bathed in […]

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Sustainability Upgrades Come at a Cost but Deliver Return on investment

New LED lighting at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center provided a quick return on investment. (Jeff Blake) Sustainability has quickly become table stakes for convention centers vis-à-vis competition and with attendees. That raised not only the ante for facilities but also costs. “Now every delegate expects that you are sustainable, but nobody wants to pay for it,” quipped Rafael Viñoly-Menendez, a partner with LMN Architects. That sentiment was echoed by others in the industry, but Viñoly-Menendez noted that there generally are payoffs for these measures, especially energy-efficient initiatives.  Cheryl Swanson, general manager of the Columbia Parabolan injection (Tren Hex) (S.C.) Metropolitan Convention Center, agreed, saying, “The LED lighting was the most expensive upgrade, but with a 67% energy savings, the return on investment is quick.”  The Columbia complex has taken steps to greater sustainability large and small: “We replaced trash cans with two-stream units (trash and recycling in each) which […]

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A Tradition of Moving Forward

The North End Event Center opened this year to welcome traveling exhibits. (Courtesy Minnesota State Fair) Minnesota State Fair additions reflect a philosophy of improvement Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said he believes it’s easy to fall into the “tradition trap.” Many state fairs and long-standing organizations become victims of it.   “I’ve seen some good quotes, but the best one is, ‘Tradition is an excuse for not thinking,’” he said. So, Hammer has worked to keep the Minnesota State Fair fresh. Recently it overhauled the north end of the facility so it could accommodate traveling exhibits.  “There are some really nice ones out there,” Hammer said. “The challenge was to build a building that could handle them. The sweet spot is 10,000 square feet. Ours is 12,000. There’s a gallery that’s part of the building but not in the exhibit hall.” The $16 million climate-controlled exhibit hall […]

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PBR’s Show Inside the Show

The Can-Am Cage, shown before a PBR event at Greensboro Coliseum, gives fans a view of the action from the middle of the arena floor. (Courtesy PBR) A Professional Bull Riders event focuses on the bull riding competition, but for fans that is only part of the show. During breaks in the action, the PBR emphasizes a range of activities in partnership with sponsors designed to elevate the entertainment value of the event for its crowds and keep the energy level high. PBR owns and operates each aspect of the events.  Flint Rasmussen, a well-known rodeo clown, is the official entertainer of the PBR. He banters with the audience while dressed in duds featuring sponsors Cooper Tires and Wrangler. He helps keep the crowd connected throughout the event and its string of in-arena promotions.  Among the sponsor tie-ins: Parachutes that rain down from the rafters containing a hat and a […]

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Before the Bulls

A dump trailer deposits a load of dirt on the Greensboro Coliseum floor before a PBR event. (Courtesy PBR) Planning and a creative crew help PBR prep arenas for its competitions Jim White, production manager for the Professional Bull Riders, compares the complex process of preparing a venue for a PBR event to peeling an onion. There are several distinct layers to the undertaking, he said, and every step must be taken in the proper order. “If you don’t, everything gets real ugly real fast,” White said.  The Unleash the Beast Series is PBR’s elite competition tour series. For each of the 26 events on the 2019 schedule, White said, planning for the load-in and load-out procedures begins long ahead of time. For instance, he said during an interview from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., on the day before the first night of that city’s Oct. 12-13 PBR stop, […]

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Gallery Adds to Theater’s Offerings

Brian Doyle, Jim Condron, Stephen Ubertini and Dominick Catoggio, co-owners of The Paramount, all took part in creating the Spotlight immersive art gallery, which occupies a space next to the Huntington, N.Y., theater. (Judy Walker Photography) The Paramount on Long Island puts the focus on experiential art in its new space, Spotlight One of the key dangers for concert halls is becoming too one-dimensional, thus limiting their long-term growth.  But a new breed of concert halls is starting to redefine themselves and expand far beyond the traditional offerings of music, comedy and sports events. Perhaps one of the most innovative and audacious efforts in this vein is the Spotlight immersive art gallery that The Paramount in Huntington, N.Y., opened in September.  The gallery, which is curated by Krystin Banko, features “experiential” live art, affording visitors an opportunity to observe art as it’s created.  She characterized the art as primarily “physical visual […]

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Opening Number: November 2019

3 Stops on Mannheim Steamroller’s first tour in 1979 — Denver, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Pollstar estimates the group’s total career gross at more than $156 million. $35 Price of five minutes in the Philadelphia Flyers’ new Disassembly Room at Wells Fargo Center. The room, which requires reservations, is filled with TVs, computers Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, dishes and glasses to smash. 10 Years for AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas, which celebrated its birthday Oct. 12. $100 million Price tag for a riverfront entertainment complex in Missoula, Mont., called the Drift, announced by promoter Logjam Presents. The development will include a 6,000-capacity indoor venue, a 200-room boutique-style hotel, two restaurants, a 400-stall parking facility, roughly 10,000 square feet of additional event space, 45 residential condominium units and a riverfront promenade. 2005 Last time that the roof at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park was open for a postseason […]

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Live! Roundup: Clapton’s Guitar Legends Score With Return to Big D

Eric Clapton plays with Jimmie Vaughan in 2004 during the Crossroads Guitar Festival’s first visit to Texas. (Getty Images) Heading up the highest-grossing concert engagements on Hot Tickets is the sixth edition of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, a two-show event Sept. 20-21 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The box office take from the two concerts totaled $6.3 million with 24,853 tickets sold. Among the 30-plus performers joining Clapton in Dallas were Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan and Tedeschi Trucks Band. It marked a return to the city for the multiple-artist event: The second installment of the guitar fest founded by the three-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member took place at Cotton Bowl Stadium in 2004. The festival (benefiting The Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which provides treatment for persons with chemical dependencies) began in 1999 with a performance at Madison Square Garden in New […]

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