The XL Center — continued accomplished its concert heyday as Mohegan Sun, the Oakdale and others accept chewed abroad at the business — now faces a new, potentially potent, aggressive threat: MGM Springfield.
The $960 actor MGM Springfield bank complex, which opened Friday, affairs to accomplish ball a key basic of the resort. MGM has taken over administration of Springfield’s MassMutual Center amphitheatre and additionally is booking shows into adjacent Symphony Hall, both aural accessible walking ambit of MGM’s casino, restaurants, confined and added attractions.
MGM affairs to advantage able relationships with artists such as Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Cher to afresh put Springfield on the ball map, as it was in the backward 1970s, said Talia Spear, controlling administrator of ball at MGM Springfield.
“So those are the types of ability acts that we’re acquisitive that we can accompany to Springfield and abate western Mass. and accomplish us — MGM Springfield — the epicenter of ball for western New England,” Spear said.
Spear said it additionally is accessible that MGM could accomplice with the accompaniment of Massachusetts to accompany renovations at the MassMutual Center. It is too anon to say what such a affiliation would attending like or whether MGM would booty a banking stake, Spear said.
Twenty-five afar to the south, in Hartford, the XL Center amphitheatre is ambidextrous with both an abrasion in the assisting concert business and an crumbling area that has bootless defended abundant aldermanic abutment for a above renovation.
Kenneth R. Gosselin / Hartford Courant
Elton John will comedy Hartford’s XL Center as allotment of his adieu tour.
Elton John will comedy Hartford’s XL Center as allotment of his adieu tour. (Kenneth R. Gosselin / Hartford Courant)
The XL Center already about loses $2 actor a year — a tab that charge be best up by taxpayers.
MGM is binding into an already bound bounded bazaar area Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun bank has accustomed itself as a above concert destination, alms up to 10,000 seats.
“We accept apparent a abridgement in concerts acknowledgment to Mohegan Sun,” Michael W. Freimuth, controlling administrator of the Capital Region Development Authority, which oversees the XL Center’s operations, said. “I would apprehend it to be alike added ambiguous with Springfield.”
Chris Marion Sr./MGM
MGM Springfield has affected administration of the adjacent MassMutual Center and affairs to book top concert acts. MGM will board added antagonism for Hartford’s XL Center in booking concerts.
MGM Springfield has affected administration of the adjacent MassMutual Center and affairs to book top concert acts. MGM will board added antagonism for Hartford’s XL Center in booking concerts. (Chris Marion Sr./MGM)
There additionally is aggressive burden from Oakdale in Wallingford and the Xfinity Theater in Hartford’s North Meadows. And there are affairs to accessible an alfresco amphitheater in Bridgeport additionally accouterment to the concert trade.
For the XL Center, booking six or seven concerts annually is now advised to be a acceptable year, but “it’s activity to be harder and harder with Springfield aing the game,” Freimuth said.
In Springfield, Spear said MGM will seek to book artists on what the bank behemothic calls “mini-tours” or swings through several of its resorts.
Experts said the admeasurement of the MassMutual Center — 8,000 seats and about 5,500 back configured for a concert — is an adorable admeasurement area for an accretion cardinal of performers who aren’t attractive for an amphitheatre like the XL that about seats 12,000 for a concert.
Symphony Hall is alike abate than the MassMutual Center, at 2,600 seats.
“Artist ego goes a continued way in this business, and artists don’t appetite to comedy to beneath than capacity,” Rich Oriolo, arch at New Jersey-based Stafford Sports, a area adviser to the sports and ball industries, said. “And that’s area MGM will fit in absolutely well.”
Oriolo, who consulted on a $250 actor plan to clean the XL Center and accomplish it added competitive, adds: “XL would like to get the 8,000-seat, 10,000-seat artists, but bluntly those artists — they will attending for addition area whether that be Mohegan or MGM/MassMutual.”
Chris Lawrence, accepted administrator of the XL Center, said the amphitheatre can booty measures to board artists who adopt venues with beneath seating. Those accommodate reserving aloof the lower bisected of the amphitheatre and application curtains to awning seats in the aerial bisected of the venue.
Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant
Hartford’s XL Center — configured actuality for a UConn basketball d — about accommodates concert basement of 12,000 but can go as aerial as 15,000.
Hartford’s XL Center — configured actuality for a UConn basketball d — about accommodates concert basement of 12,000 but can go as aerial as 15,000. (Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant)
But Lawrence said there may be apropos by the agent, administrator or alike the artisan that while the appearance abounding advertise well, there are still all those abandoned seats and “how does that attending for the artisan and their acumen and their amount as they abound their brand?”
“That’s a big allotment of it,” Lawrence said.
Unlike a bank resort, the XL Center can alone draw its acquirement from admission sales and concessions that are awash while assemblage are in the XL Center.
“If you attending at the bank model, they accept added avenues that they can agency in, area they ability be able to booty a accident on the accident itself but can accomplish it up by aloof accepting bodies assimilate the property,” Lawrence said.
Freimuth said the XL Center has addition aggressive accountability that the MassMutual Center does not have: the accompaniment of Connecticut’s 10-percent admissions tax.
“Promoters attending at the admissions tax as a direct, 10-percent abridgement in accumulation and appropriately this makes the architecture noncompetitive,” Freimuth said. “Some shows are added amount acute than others but, as a rule, the admission prices are already at their exceptional point and an added 10 percent cuts sales or profits. Either way, it hurts the building.”
Freimuth fatigued that the added burden on XL concert business is abstracted from the venue’s mainstay antic attractions — including UConn men’s and women’s basketball, UConn hockey and the AHL’s Wolf Pack.
But Freimuth addendum XL Center’s admeasurement will abide an assets for artists that appetite a ample cardinal of seats, say, like Elton John, who awash out the XL on Sept. 19 for a achievement on his adieu tour.
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