Sportscenter forging forward as live performance venue

Jan. 26—Greater than 70 years after its development, the Owensboro Sportscenter is having fun with a second act as a live performance venue, after primarily internet hosting sporting occasions for many years.

Laura Alexander, common supervisor of the Sportscenter and Owensboro Conference Middle, stated it was initially believed that the Sportscenter wouldn’t be sensible as a live performance venue as a result of it was believed lighting and audio system couldn’t be rigged from the metal beams within the middle’s roof.

“Again in October 2016 is when town employed Spectra, World Spectrum at the moment, to come back in and handle the Sportscenter,” Alexander stated. “And at the moment, we had been instructed that we may probably not do concert events on the Sportscenter, primarily as a result of rigging.”

That left any potential artists with having to make the most of what is called floor assist for concert events, which means audio system and lighting must be stacked on the bottom. It is a usually undesirable and extra pricey choice than rigging from the ceiling.

Nevertheless, it was decided that the Sportscenter’s metal beams are robust sufficient to assist the rigging {that a} live performance usually requires.

“There was an architect who I suppose had interpreted another person’s architectural drawing,” stated Alexander of how town acquired the unhealthy data. “Each time we acquired up into the rafters, we had been like, ‘there’s a lot metal up right here, how are you going to not rig up right here?’ “

The Metropolis of Owensboro employed two totally different structural engineers to do a feasibility research. Each decided that gentle and sound may very well be rigged from the ceiling beams.

“You may’t are available in and do a Cirque du Soleil, with a bunch of individuals hanging from the rafters, however you are able to do sufficient for the concert events that will be coming to Owensboro,” Alexander stated.

The newfound income had town working to develop a advertising and marketing plan showcasing Owensboro and the Sportscenter as an awesome place for artists to carry out.

“Lots of people hadn’t heard of Owensboro,” Alexander stated. “As a result of that they had simply been sort of discounting the truth that you could not do concert events right here, we actually needed to virtually create a advertising and marketing plan that was very like constructing a model new facility.”

That concerned visits to Nashville and conferences with live performance promoters in an effort to get the Sportscenter on extra folks’s radar.

Whereas the venue has welcomed traditional rock acts like Kansas and REO Speedwagon, which turned out to be the Sportscenter’s most profitable live performance, county acts are additionally a well-liked selection.

“With our proximity to Nashville, nation is one thing that does very properly right here,” Alexander stated. “It’s far sufficient outdoors of Nashville that it would not battle with routing dates, however it’s shut sufficient to the place the artist can simply drive dwelling that night time and be dwelling with their households on the finish of the present.”

Whereas the 5 or 6 concert events the Sportscenter hosts every year could not sound like a big quantity, they’re the very best income producers out of all occasions the ability hosts. Nevertheless, in addition they could be the largest threat.

“Live shows are very dangerous enterprise,” Alexander stated. “Earlier than you promote your first tickets, you’re most likely going to have someplace between $60,000 and $100,000 value of bills.”

Whereas the Sportscenter has a sporting occasion capability of 5,500, capability for concert events is restricted to about 4,200 folks, as seating behind a stage with a poor view isn’t obtainable.

Alexander stated seating capability is among the most vital components a promoter considers when deciding the place to guide an artist.

“That will be the largest one,” she stated. “The artists want to see what number of seats they will promote.”

Owensboro’s inhabitants, reported to be simply over 59,000 in 2019, is one other vital issue for bookings.

“A few of them, although we are going to provide to pay them precisely what they’re making elsewhere, and now we have the capability, and the ticket costs are the proper quantity, generally they’re like, ‘Owensboro isn’t large enough, we’re going to main markets this 12 months,’ ” Alexander stated.

It has been about three years for the reason that metropolis acquired the information that the Sportscenter was a viable live performance venue, and plans are persevering with to evolve for reserving concert events. The following scheduled live performance on the venue is a March 19 present by nation singers Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker.

“I feel we’re simply hitting the tip of the iceberg,” Alexander stated. “There are some promoters on the market that we’re beginning to get on their radar somewhat bit, and they’re calling us now as an alternative of us having to beat down the door for them.”

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer,, 270-228-2837