But guess what, we are stuck with the beautiful $10 Million dollar mortgage for the next 15 years;
Recently, however, there are signs that the venue’s initial luster has faded. The Premier Center is more profitable than ever, but ticket sales and attendance have failed to match the Garth Brooks-fueled bump of 2017. Along with turnover in management, there have been fewer sellouts, and a smaller portion of the acts coming to town are the big names blowing up box offices in other markets.
It’s a different market out there, not to mention the Denty has just been a money vacuum from day one;
City staff declined a request to interview Mayor Paul TenHaken for this story.Â
I found this very odd since PTH has nothing to do with booking acts at the Denty. He is also not responsible for selling the white elephant to us. I can tell you why he turned down the interview, because he doesn’t have a clue what is going on out there.
And while it has proven to bring in more revenue (net operating) we never hear what the actual sales are. Why is that? Ticket sales and attendance is also down;
Pollstar ranked the Premier Center as the 84th top performing arena in 2017. But more recently Sioux Falls’ largest facility fellÂ to 125th in 2018 and 136th in 2019.
Tickets sold also plummeted, according to Pollstar. Those fell from 239,089 in 2017 to 117,411 last year.
In 2019, just 43 percent, or nine out of the 21 concerts that performed at the facility, were ranked in Pollstar’s Top 100 worldwide acts ranking, which is based on ticket revenue a band or artist brings in. In 2018, 53 percent of Premier Center’s music entertainersÂ cracked that listÂ and in 2017, the last full year that Semrau did the booking, 72 percent of the 22 concerts were among Pollstar’s top-ranked acts.
Then Terry ‘left’;
Not long after, Torkildson himself left the Premier Center, though his departure came after being let go by ASM when it was still SMG.
Terry took a job a few months back up North and is already back in Sioux Falls. He promised me once he would give me an ‘off the record’ run down of what happened out there, than told me later he was just bluffing me. But he did tell me the interior walls of the Events Center are thinner than the walls of a Japanese cat house (those are my words, not his). He basically said, don’t lean to hard on them.
When acts return for a second or third time, it’s harder to sell out. People who have budgeted their money for entertainment find it more difficult to spend money on a performer who they’ve already seen live, Opp said.
That line right there explains why the Pavilion really hasn’t increased attendance much over the past 20 years, because they do the same stuff over and over, and still cater to a certain demographic and not the entire city.
The Denty was built for a small window of time, and once that clock runs out, we are still stuck with mortgage payments, maintenance and operating, whether we use it or not. But hey, we can’t afford to trim boulevard trees, because that is a ‘hand out’.