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Dynamic Venues: The Crossover Between Sports & Music Events

The trend of music and sporting events utilizing the same venues is nothing new. However, in the past it involved concerts and tours making existing stadiums work since they could host the large capacity needed for some artists

Now the trend is trickling down to smaller venues as well. Even race tracks and speedways are getting in on the action. Whether it’s adding a stage specific for concerts or ensuring that a soccer stadium is constructed with stellar sound quality, venues all around the country are becoming better equipped to be multi-use facilities.

Over 50 years ago, the first tour to take place in stadiums was played by no other than the Beatles. On August 15, 1965, they played to over 55,600 people at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York. Until 1973, it was the most attended concert in the United States. It also changed the concert business immensely. Shea Stadium, now demolished, was home to the New York Mets for 45 seasons and the New York Jets for 19 years. It was also the first circular baseball park to be used as a concert venue.  In the bookThe Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz, the author states that the event was “a giant step toward reshaping the concert business. For promoters everywhere, the Shea Stadium concert was a major breakthrough. It freed them from the constraints imposed by a gym or cinema, thus turning a pop performance into an event.” Today massive stadium tours are a regular occurence and sports venues of all sizes are hosting musicians in addition to their home teams.

Now, not only are arenas being better equipped to handle concerts and tours, but they are striving to be optimal host for music festivals as well. While 2019 has continued to see the trend of many music festivals not returning, and every logistical mistake made by a festival is getting the event deemed the negative diss of being the next Fyre Festival, new festivals seem to be popping up. Smaller two or one day festivals seem to be the trend this year. Organizers are finding that hosting multiple artists for a longer range of hours than just a concert can allow for more vendors, alcohol sales, and other revenue generating activities to take place. This means that having a dynamic venue that can accommodate both regular sporting events as well as specialty music events can be a huge advantage for a building owner.

Adding to Existing Venues

One way to make an already existing venue more dynamic is to equip it with a stand alone stage. This will allow it to accommodate more events within an existing space. A recent example comes from the Padres Stadium in San Diego. This year they constructed, Sycuan Stage, a brand new outdoor music venue with a capacity of over 6,000. Sycuan Stage is located in The Park at the Park, which is a 2.8 acre park just beyond the centerfield fence and open to the public when games are not being played. This is the first kind of outdoor venue like this ever to be constructed inside of a baseball park and continues to uniquely integrate the stadium into the landscape of downtown San Diego.

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“Petco Park is more than a ballpark and has become San Diego’s premier entertainment venue” Padres President of Business Operations Erik Greupner tells FriarWire (Official Blog of the San Diego Padres). “In addition to our award-winning Padres gameday experience, we are proud to partner with Live Nation to bring some of the hottest musical acts to the Sycuan Stage at Park at the Park. This one-of-a-kind venue is the latest step in making Petco Park a world class entertainment destination.”

The first concert there will be a two day festival hosted by LED Presents. My Life Everyday will be a two day event taking place May 25th and 26th featuring electronic artists like Jai Wolf, Jauz, Gryffin, Seven Lions, Yellow Claw, and many more. Live Nation, who the venue was constructed in partnership with, will also bring a host of concerts to this stage in downtown San Diego, including a minimum of eight national touring acts. The main advantage of building a stage separate from the stadium itself is that it allows for smaller shows to take place. Petco Park can host over 42,000 people. That is great for a major artist wanting to make a stop but limits the venues overall usefulness. The addition of this new stage opens up even more possibilities for the space.

Construction with Multiple Uses in Mind

Banc of California Stadium is an example of a newly constructed arena that was made for a sports team, but also was produced to be able to host multiple types of events as well. Built to be the home to the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), the stadium can host a capacity of up to 23,000. Opening in April of 2018, the approximately $350 million stadium was designed to be more than just a sports venue. It was crafted to be a flexible, multi use stadium that can host an array of seating configurations. In December of 2018, Rolling Loud Music Festival took place here and surrounding ground which also include Exposition Park. This year, Mumford and Sons as well as other musical acts will make a stop there as well. It’s location, as well as dynamic creation give it a competitive advantage over other venues in Los Angeles.

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Image from LAFC website

“We understand that this is a market that has a lot of competition in it for top-touring talent,” Adam Friedman, President of Banc of California Stadium Entertainment, told the Daily News. “We’re going to get a fair share of that. We’ve already seen interest from top agencies and managers and we’ve had a number of artists come down to the facility and they’ve loved it. At the same time, we’re not solely dependent on touring talent. We have an ownership group that is deep in entertainment and willing to capitalize new projects so we see developing a lot of our own music festivals and other content.”

By creating premium hospitality spaces, focusing on high sound quality, allowing for many production capabilities, and diverse layouts, the stadium can host sporting events, concerts, and festivals. From adding to existing locations to make them more suitable for music events to designing a space from the beginning to be a multi-functional space, venues all over the country are becoming more dynamic to host both sporting and music events. This is desirable for investors since the venue is likely to be rented out more often and not just when the home team is playing.

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