SBD/May 24, 2013/Facilities

Kenny Chesney's Annual Summer Tour Continues To Be Profit Center For Stadiums

Country musician Kenny Chesney is “considered such a valuable off-season moneymaker” for sports venues that “when word got out that Mr. Chesney intended to lay off stadiums this summer to focus on sites with half the capacity, managers of some of the NFL’s biggest buildings teamed up,” according to John Jurgensen of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. MetLife Stadium Senior VP/Events & Guest Services Ron VanDeVeen said that he “called his counterparts" at Gillette Stadium and elsewhere, "urging them to jointly lobby Mr. Chesney’s team.” They persuaded Chesney “there was plenty of demand.” Jurgensen notes a stadium concert in the music industry is the “ultimate rock-star status symbol: Few acts can sell enough tickets to fill one, let alone a multitude of such venues year after year.” Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake “had to team up to book 14 stadium shows this summer.” But Chesney is “doing 18 -- a typical summer run for him.” Still, even as musicians are “more dependent than ever on touring revenue, few are willing to swallow the outsize costs of a stadium tour.” Over the next two weeks, Chesney’s “core convoy of 65 tour buses and tractor-trailers is expected to burn through $280,000 in diesel fuel." It takes “only eight hours to set up for a concert in an arena.” For a stadium show, a team “starts four days in advance by building the stage from scratch.” For Chesney, a “sports nut who hosts many top athletes backstage, stadium concerts help sustain a big-league aura.” But he is “increasingly wary of taxing fan loyalty, and is undecided about touring next year.” Chesney said, “You have to feed the machine, but there’s also the possibility of running it into the ground” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24).
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