Verizon Wireless Arena says slow September is the norm
The Providence Bruins and the Manchester Monarchs line up for the national anthem at the Verizon Wireless Arena in October 2010. September is the Verizon Center's least busy month, according to General Manager Tim Bechert. (UNION LEADER FILE)
Bechert said a September with only one headliner, as was the case in 2011 and 2010, is more common. This September, the Barstool Blackout Tour would have fit the bill, but that was cancelled after two New Hampshire students apparently overdosed on Molly, a pure form of the drug Ecstasy, at similar events in Boston and New York City.
"We don't gauge our business on one month. We look at the year," said Bechert. "And we don't control the touring schedule, so a lot of what happens here is at the mercy of the band schedules — where they are going to be touring and when they are going to be on the East Coast."
Cheryl Cohen, director of marketing and public relations for the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, agrees. "July, August and September are always our challenging months," she said. "That's when the outdoor venues thrive."
Doing better than most
The economy has taken a toll on ticket sales nationally, but according to Bechert, "We're doing better than most." The Verizon Wireless Arena, which can accommodate more than 11,000 fans at centerstage concerts, was ranked 10th for the 2012 calendar year among all arenas in the country with capacity between 10,000 and 15,000.
"Our performance is judged on a calendar year," said Bechert. "I don't know if 2013 will stand up to 2012. It will be close, but we are somewhat at a disadvantage because we lost two shows."
The October schedule is packed, with five circus performances, five Monarchs games and a Celtics pre-season game. "American Idol" judge and country star Keith Urban is expected to be a huge draw in November.
Performances by the Boston Pops and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are expected to anchor a busy holiday season, he said.
The city's contract with SMG, a management company for convention centers, arenas and stadiums nationwide, protects Manchester from financing any operating losses at the arena.
Until three years ago, the city of Manchester paid $400,000 a year into the arena operating account to make up for the fact that, unlike most arenas, the Verizon Wireless does not have parking revenue to help balance the books.
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