Arena loses box office manager: Coliseum Commission 3/19

By Sheena Barnett

The Arena’s Coliseum Commission met on Monday. Here are a few notes of interest from the meeting:

– Craig Russell, the arena’s director of operations, talked about how busy the building was a few weeks ago, with lots of meetings, events and concerts (Senior Beta, Monster Jam, Riverdance, Jason Aldean, Winter Jam, Hound Dogs football). He talked about how hard his crew of 30 worked to turn the building over between the events – “Making it look like we didn’t have anything the night before,” he said.
The trickiest weekend was the Aldean show on Saturday, Feb. 25, followed by Winter Jam on Sunday the 26th.
That weekend had the highest turn-out on back-to-back nights in the building’s history. That weekend’s turnout totaled 18,253, breaking the previous record of 18,150 in 1994, on a weekend with performances by Reba McEntire on a Saturday and Carmen on a Sunday.

– Winter Jam was, as it usually is, a sell-out, and the arena estimates they turned away 3,000 who showed up for the festival a little too late (tip for anyone wanting to go next year: lines start forming as early as 8 a.m. the day of the concert). Winter Jam officials set up a stage outside for a mini-concert and meet and greets for those who couldn’t get in.
Winter Jam tix are $10 at the door, and no advance tickets are sold. That’s Winter Jam’s policy, not the arena’s.

– Director Todd Hunt said he’s seen “amazing attendance” for Hound Dogs football. About 400 tickets were sold before the first game, and then about an hour before the game started, about 2,200 folks bought tickets at the box office.

– Upcoming events include more football games, Jr. Beta Club and MS Natural Gas meetings, a cheerleading event and Eric Church on April 12, followed by the Avett Brothers on April 14 (which is selling well, Hunt said).

– The Coliseum Commission gave an official thank you and farewell to Pat Pratt, box office manager. She’s leaving at the end of this month. “The opportunities I’ve had here allowed me to move on to bigger and better things,” she said.

– Mayor Jack Reed Jr. attended this meeting, in an effort to meet with many of the city’s department heads. He asked for better communications between the city’s various departments, including the arena, and thanked them for their hard work so far this year.