NO SHOES STADIUM: Kenny Chesney’s 2024 tour plans include NFL, MLB and MLS stadiums, as well as amphitheaters. (Getty Images) 

After multiple years of monster outdoor concert seasons, the stadium-concert trend roars into 2024 with more venues and artists getting into the mix.

“There’s going to be a consistent rotation of artists that are viable in the stadium environment,” says Jonathan Shank, head of artist management and tour production firm Terrapin Station Entertainment. Shank notes the prevalence of one-off stadium shows like the Fool In Love festival, topped by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross at the Hollywood Park grounds outside SoFi Stadium, as one example of the diversity of stadium content this year.

“You’re going to see more Latin, more international artists doing stadiums,” he said. “More country packages will be the next wave. For the rest of this decade, stadium entertainment will continue to be at the forefront.”

Shank would know, as his Terrapin Sports division, which books concerts for 16 big league teams, has grown rapidly in its year and a half of existence. This year, the group has scheduled eight stadium shows, which kick off March 9 with Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“Last year, there was the story that we built the network and now we have eight shows that should gross in the $30 million to $40 million range,” he said. “It’s highlighting the fruits of the labor; the great work of the Terrapin team, Steven Lundy and Andrew Pauls,  to fuel this network and its growth.”

The eight events have one common thread despite market size.

“All of these facilities are in underserved markets that are not getting enough shows, or in oversaturated markets where they’re having a hard time getting shows, because there’s so many other venues in their vicinity,” Shank said. “I give Andrew and Steven a tremendous amount of credit for understanding where those areas are and for continuing to find ways to penetrate the marketplace and get offers in to promoters like Louis Messina and AEG.”

Shank says the Billy Joel/Stevie Nicks date, which have been in the works since 2022 and postponed once due to illness, is on pace to sell out. 

Terrapin’s relationships run deep with teams and promoters. Pauls previously worked 17 years for the Milwaukee Brewers in sponsorship and suite sales. Their stadium, American Family Field, a building with a retractable roof, booked two nights of Luke Combs in April.

“They are in a market where there’s a tremendous amount of competition between Summerfest and (Chicago’s) Wrigley Field,” Shank said. “It took us a long time to lay the groundwork for them as a viable option in the market. We’re proud that this Luke Combs show is going to be one of the most successful events in their stadium and it has opened up the possibility other shows in the coming years.”

Momentum is also picking up at the company’s Major League Soccer stadium clients, where strong relationships have led to more shows as well.

“We’re doing a handful of Kenny Chesney shows at Cincinnati, Salt Lake and Washington in MLS stadiums, which, is a leap of faith for all of us to present Kenny an MLS stadium,” Shank said. “They’re performing incredibly well, so we’re thrilled about that.”

Shank says the show deals vary, with some teams taking financial risk and others structured as traditional rent deals.  He says the biggest challenge in making these shows happen is that some MLS stadiums don’t have adequate built-in staging, resulting in production equipment required to be trucked into the buildings. 

“It’s been a challenge to get content into the stadiums. We are starting to penetrate the market with these Chesney shows, and we have a handful of others that we’re about to announce,” Shank said, noting that his company is involved in the Breakaway Festival on the grounds of Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, in late June. “These events are a good example of what can be done in and around these facilities. We’ve been working on a handful of other activations with MLS over the next 18 months that will be announced soon.”

He says more shows are already confirmed for 2025 to keep up the demand for stadium content across the big leagues.

“We’re in this for the long run and grateful and appreciative to partners like Louis Messina and the Arfas, who have continued to support what we’re doing,” he said, referring to Billy Joel’s longtime agent, Dennis Arfa and Jarrad Arfa of Independent Artist Group. 

“We’re certainly looking to parlay this year’s success into even more shows next year.”