SBD/June 28, 2011/Facilities

Philips Arena Looking To Fill Dates Following Departure Of Thrashers

The departure of the Thrashers leaves 43 dates open at Philips Arena
Downtown Atlanta is “no longer the region's only place for major event space and that logistical fact will make it more challenging to fill the 43 days suddenly available at Philips Arena because of the departure” of the Thrashers to Winnipeg, according to Leon Stafford of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Since the Thrashers began play in '99, the metro area “has exploded with events venues, especially in the northern suburbs where residents no longer have to drive downtown for a concert or a play.” Hawks and Philips Arena President Bob Williams said that the task of filling the dates left vacant by the Thrashers “will be challenging, but he expects to fare well.” Williams said that the facility “will target concerts, family shows, rodeos, figure skating shows, gymnastics meets, bull riding, multi-day events and big name sports contests like the NCAA basketball tournament.” He will also be able to place the Hawks “in some of the Thrashers' weekend dates, which attract bigger crowds.” Williams said that Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, two acts that played at the Gwinnett Arena, “could have played at the bigger Philips had the facility had the dates open to accommodate them.” Williams said that the arena's booking department -- “about six people -- are ‘aggressively’ in pursuit of business, talking with promoters, family show operators and others to find business.” He added that the departure of the Thrashers will also “open up more dates for the WNBA Atlanta Dream.” Veteran promoter Peter Conlon said that the “market has become over-crowded.” More available venue space “can drive down prices and force some facilities to cut deals that could be detrimental.” But Williams said that Philips, which “generally makes money on concessions, parking, suite sales, merchandising and sponsorships, has kept its rental rates flat for the last three years” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/28).

PARK & RIDE: Atlanta-based car dealership Jim Ellis Audi today announced a multiyear partnership with the Hawks and Philips Arena that includes the entitlement to the Jim Ellis Audi Lounge, which is located on the court and stage level near the courtside seats. The deal also includes sponsorship of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation’s Full Court Fest annual fundraiser and vehicle displays outside the arena (Hawks).
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