The City Beat has been checking around for the results for the Britney Spears concert at Grand Forks’ Alerus Center this weekend.
No dice so far. Executive Director Steve Hyman‘s out of town at a conference of some kind. It seems convenient I’m sure, but, even if he were in town, I doubt he’ll have all the numbers yet.
First, let me mention that I suspect a good chunk of the 13,000 tickets available were sold, at what price I don’t know. As of Friday evening, I saw Steve telling WDAZ that he had about 1,000 tickets left.
Then I talked to Alerus Center Commission Chairman Curt Kreun today and he said there were a ton of walk-ins at concert time and by his estimate, it seemed like there were some 600 to 800. He might be just crazy enough to stand there with a clicker for all I know.
Going with the lower end of the estimate, that’s 97 percent of tickets sold. A while back, I sort of figured the Alerus Center would have to sell some 12,500 tickets to break even. But that was before the steep discounts on floor seats that went to students. Since the promoters were responsible for that and for reducing the number of tickets available, one would have to assume the guarantees the events center had to make to them also dropped.
Regarding the break-even point: One of the challenges of calculating that, even for the Alerus Center, is figuring out the ancillary revenues and expenses.
Typically, promoters get paid the night of the concert, as Alerus Center Commissioner Randy Newman said when I talked to him today, so the events center staff should know how much that amount was. As past research shows, in a typical arrangement, the promoters get all the ticket revenues with the guaranteed amount serving as the floor. The venue — e.g., the Alerus Center — would cut the check only if venues were lower than that floor.
What matters when it comes to figuring out if the Alerus Center broke even or not include things such as beer sales, perhaps merchandise sales if the promoter was willing, staff expenses (security and ushers) and expenses related to the concert itself (Curt mentioned the cost of feeding Britney’s people, who numbered about 250, according to her press releases.).
None of that will come quickly and having chatted by e-mail with arguably the events center’s toughest critic, the Whistler, even he agrees it’s hard to tally in a short time. (I think he’d like to know what was paid to promoters ASAP, however. I’m curious, too, but I’m mostly just interested in if the events center broke even or not.)
Randy and Curt both said they have not received any e-mails from Steve regarding Britney numbers. Randy said that he did press Steve on the importance of getting those numbers out expeditiously, but said Steve does want to be 100 percent accurate rather than releasing an estimate.
On a different note, did anyone notice how many people were out and about this weekend?
I went to get a haircut at the mall on Saturday and, with an hour to go, they were booked solid. I called at 3 p.m. the next day and it was the same. I ended up sneaking in at 11:30 a.m. today. The woman cutting my hair said it’s always busy when there are a lot of events and this weekend there were the Special Olympics, the races and Britney Spears. It’s interesting to note that she said a lot of Canadians get their haircuts when they’re in town and there were a lot of them this weekend.