Arena hits four-day attendance record

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com People fill BancorpSouth Arena last Thursday night to listen to performers during the annual Christian music concert Winter Jam.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
People fill BancorpSouth Arena last Thursday night to listen to performers during the annual Christian music concert Winter Jam.

By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Three events spread over four days last week at the BancorpSouth Arena drew a record number of attendees to the facility.

Todd Hunt, the arena’s executive director, said the Harlem Globetrotters, Winter Jam and Monster Jam pulled in 28,811 people.

“That contributes to the local economy – you had all these people eating here, buying gas and shopping,” he said.

Celebrating its 20th year, BancorpSouth Arena drew a record 280,896 people last year for concerts and other events. It smashed the attendance record from 2012, when more than 261,000 people attended events there.

Last week’s four-day turnout equaled 10 percent of last year’s figure, which is a good sign, Hunt said.

The busy season for the venue is from November to March, as more people are attracted to indoor events, Hunt added.

But he noted several upcoming acts should garner plenty more fans.

Sir Elton John is performing March 19, Ringling Bros. Circus is April 3-5, Casting Crowns is April 18, Bill Cosby is May 10 and the Tupelo Elvis Festival’s tribute artist competition will be at the Arena for the first time in June.

As for the four-day stretch last week, Hunt said he’d rather not have a repeat performance anytime soon.

“We had a small army working all four days. … I think everyone is happy to be able to catch their breath,” he said.

Hunt said the calendar wasn’t intended to be quite so packed. One event had already been booked, but another needed to move.

It was the only available date that worked for everyone, so Arena staff had a 96-hour marathon at the facility.

“That’s the first time we’ve had back-to-back-to-back events like that where we had three different setups,” Hunt said. “It was a first for us. … but we made it happen.”

dennis.seid@journalinc.com