Date: October 8, 2003

EVERETT EVENTS CENTER OPENS

Members of the City of Everett Public Facilities District (EPFD) and Global Spectrum celebrated the opening of the Everett Events Center Oct. 4. The WHL Everett Silvertips hosted the Prince George Cougars before a sellout crowd of over 8,300 fans at the first event for the $71.5 million facilty. The free Pre-Game Block Party began at 4:30 p.m. with live music, food and drinks. A community open house on Sept. 27 drew 8,000 for the five-hour event. PCL Construction, the principal contractor for the Everett Events Center, challenged facility manager Global Spectrum to a “friendly” hockey game on Sept. 29, which was open for all the construction workers and their families. However, the event was closed to the public.

Contact: Eric Blankenship, (425) 257-7702

TOYOTA CENTER OPENS

Toyota Center, Houston, opened with very few hiccups and generally rave reviews Monday, Oct. 6. Fleetwood Mac, promoted by Concerts West, was the $235 million arena's first ticketed event. Leading up to the concert, as is the norm on opening nights, “at 4:30 p.m. we had a major pipe burst into the dressing rooms so we had relocation and clean up,” said Doug Hall, manager of the Houston Rockets new NBA arena. “We also had a show power issue,” which turned out to be a loose breaker and that, too, was resolved before showtime.

Hall said food and beverage per caps were great, though lines didn't move as quickly “as they will a month from now.” The first ticketed event is always a learning curve. Due to a “scanning issue,” he said the ticket count and gross would be announced later, by the promoter. Toyota Center operates ticketing in-house, with partner Vertical Alliance. The arena seats 18,300 for basketball and 13,000 with an end-stage concert set up, Hall said. Tickets for the concert were $125-$39.50. Parking at the arena garage was $15. As to the usual bugaboo, post-opening, for new arenas, Hall said proudly, “We had no traffic complaints today.”

Contact: Doug Hall, (713) 758-7200 ext. 7365

XCEL RELEASES IMPACT REPORT

A new report released yesterday (Oct. 7) by the Saint Paul (Minn.) Area Chamber of Commerce shows that Xcel Energy Center directed $247 million into the Twin Cities economy and $103.8 million into Saint Paul's economy this year. In 2003, Xcel Energy Center generated tax and related revenues for the City of Saint Paul municipal government that totaled $1.68 million. The building and the activity it generates has increased household earnings in the Twin Cities by a total of $88.6 million and in Saint Paul by $20.5 million.

The economic study also showed that Minnesota Wild games draw more than 790,000 people each year, with approximately 80 percent of season ticket holders coming from outside the city; non-Wild events held at Xcel Energy Center (concerts, high school hockey, other competitions, etc.) draw an estimated 900,000 people each year, with 85 percent of them coming from outside of Saint Paul and 25 percent of the total visitors coming from outside the Twin Cities metro area. Xcel Energy Center and its occupants and users spend an estimated $126.4 million to operate the center an annual basis. The research was conducted by Development Strategies.

Contact: Ellen Watters, (651) 265-2796