Is the Pavilion going to take over the Orpheum?

There has been a rumor circulating for awhile that Mayor TenHaken had been thinking about changing the leadership of that building. In fact, when I met with him before the election (April) we briefly talked about it and he sent me a text asking if I had any ideas.

But this isn’t the first time the Pavilion wanted to get their claws into the Orpheum, they actually asked during the Munson administration, but the Pavilion’s finances were so bad at the time, the answer from city hall was a resounding Hell No!

I guess over the past couple of days some SMG employees have been gossiping about the fact that they were told that the Pavilion would take over the Orpheum this summer. Not sure about all the details of the transfer of power. But if the rumors are true, it would be no surprise, because Mayor TenHaken himself told me he was looking at a better use for the facility, and this just might be his grand idea.


#1 D@ily Spin on 01.29.19 at 4:31 pm

The Pavillion has a stage they can’t keep booked. Why would they need another? This looks like a way to confuse accounting and hide losses. In business, you acquire with depressed stock so you can take write downs and skip an annual report. The city has become private enterprise. However, they do not have to profit. If/when they profit they don’t reimburse share holders (citizens) nor pay income tax. If the city has become a religion or cult, don’t drink the KoolAid.

#2 Michael L. Wyland on 01.29.19 at 5:45 pm

The city owns the Pavilion and the Orpheum, but they contract with different nonprofit organizations for management services of each facility (as they do for the zoo, Levitt Shell, etc.). I defer to those who follow the management company operating the Orpheum (Sioux Empire Community Theater?), but the Pavilion’s nonprofit management company may be making the offer as an alternative to SECT, which I seem to remember has been having difficulties.

#3 l3wis on 01.29.19 at 6:55 pm

MW- Actually SMG has been managing the Orpheum for a long time, I think for around 20 years. The SECT has only been a ‘renter’ in name only as I understand it. The rumor is the last mayor and finance director wrote off thousands in unpaid rent by SECT. That’s why their was a big shake up. The Pavilion deal has been in the works for awhile, as I understand it. I guess it will throw an interesting wrench in the contract with SMG while they lose a property to manage.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.30.19 at 2:05 pm

Maybe they can turn the Orpheum into some lofts.

And does the Pavilion understand they will be acquiring a ghost, too?……:

#5 l3wis on 01.30.19 at 2:42 pm

What I find interesting is that if this contract change is happening is that the Mayor could make this decision without the consent of the council in a public meeting. In other words there should have been a public discussion about this before even proposing changing the contract. It would be interesting to know if any executive sessions were held to make this decision.

#6 Raul on 01.30.19 at 4:00 pm

Anyone who thinks there’s $$$ to be made at the Orpheum doesn’t know the first thing about promoting a concert in Sioux Falls. The Orpheum has the highest overhead of any facility, relatively speaking, by an order of magnitude. It’s almost impossible to run a profitable show there, which is why so few shows are ever done there. Maybe if the Pavilion gets in there some of the ways in which SMG’s hands were tied could somehow, magically get better. But because it’s a City owned venue, that’s probably not going to be the case. It’s a beautiful room and the sound is incredible, but it’s just very tough to make a show work in there because of the costs.

#7 scott on 01.31.19 at 10:10 am

what are high costs of running a show there, vs somewhere else?

#8 Raul on 01.31.19 at 12:49 pm

Most private venues are usually willing to cover production costs if they get 100% of bar sales; promoters get ticket sales to pay the artists. So there’s no venue-related overhead for promoters. At the publicly owned Pavilion and Orpheum, there’s a host of required expenses but nothing from the bar. Exactly zero bar sales from either venue goes towards the cost of the show. So if you’ve got a $7500 guarantee for a band at the Orpheum, you’re looking at approx. $2000 in additional rental fees, security, ushers, and other expenses, all of which must be funded by tickets sales and/or sponsorships. If you’re got a $7500 guarantee for a band at a privately owned venue there’s a chance 100% of ticket sales will go towards only paying for the band’s guarantee and other artist related expenses.

Obviously the Orpheum and Pavilion are entirely different buildings than other smaller venues. This isn’t a knock on those venues or anyone involved. The one really stupid thing is that there’s a separate bar vendor for the Orpheum, which is dictated by a City of SF bidding process. That should be changed. Hopefully with the Pavilion that City contract will be different.