Coliseum Commission, 6/16

Here are some highlights from today’s Coliseum Commission meeting at the BancorpSouth Arena:

  • The arena is still on pace for a record year in attendance. So far more than 235,000 visitors have been to the arena, which edges out last year’s numbers with two months left to go in the arena’s year. “It’s already our third best year and only 10 months in,” said director Todd Hunt.
  • Four recent events that have helped the arena reach this achievement:

    – Father/Daughter Ball, which was sold out. The event will be at the arena again next year.

    – CME conference. The event went from being a North Mississippi event to a state-wide event this year, which meant more in attendance. The conference could grow to a regional event next year and will also be at the arena.

    – Down on Main, which moved from a soggy Fairpark to the dry arena last Thursday. Attendance was at about 1,100 for the event. The arena’s crew was getting in dirt for the Professional Bull Riders event that weekend when Down on Main folks called and needed a venue. Hunt said the arena was half-full of dirt and half-full of concert for the evening, but it went well. “It looked like we’d been planning it (that way) for months,” he said.

    – Professional Bull Riders, which drew in more than 4,300. The arena is still removing dirt from the building, but Hunt and co. were very pleased with the attendance numbers.

  • Upcoming events at the BancorpSouth Arena:

    – Jeremy Camp concert on Friday

    – Nautic Star, a boat show

    – a United Way school supply giveaway

    – WWE, which will be on Aug. 10

  • The Coliseum Commission approved Trane to come in and work on one of the arena’s two 500-ton chillers (air conditioners). The arena has been running with just one chiller for a while, but they need the other one replaced. Trane will come in and rebuild the broken unit, which is cheaper than purchasing a new one. Both chillers are original to the building, so they’re nearly 20 years old, and the life expectancy of a chiller is about 30 years, Hunt said.
  • The arena’s financials are healthy, but the Dierks Bentley show didn’t do so well financially. As chairman Scott Reed pointed out, it’s still considered a success for the city because it brought folks in to town, where they spent money at restaurants, etc. Most buildings lose money on concerts often, but for the arena to do so is an “anomaly,” he said.
  • Commissioner Neal McCoy suggested to the board that they look at hosting a Winter Jam-type Christian music festival/show sometime around back to school. He said lots of churches are often looking for ways to get their youth groups excited about going back to school and such an event would do that.