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Columbia on a concert booking 'hot streak'

As Elton John, Alan Jackson, and KISS announce concerts in Columbia, Colonial Life Arena staff say a variety of factors or bringing the big names

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In recent weeks, Colonial Life Arena announced Elton John, Alan Jackson, and KISS would be in town for concerts.

They join a growing list of headliners like Jason Aldean and Arianna Grande.

Colonial Life Arena General Manager Sid Kenyon said there's a lot of reasons Columbia is rocking.

“We feel like we're on a nice hot streak you might call it. Again, I think it's just further developing some relationships that we've had for a long time. But I also think it is the fact that Columbia is supporting these acts at a greater degree than they once did,” Kenyon said at the Arena on Monday.

But, those aren’t the only reasons.

Kenyon added the University's support for the arena and senior staff’s growing relationships with the entertainment industry are spurring more major concert and event announcements.

Credit: Al Wagner/Invision/AP
Alan Jackson performs at Loretta Lynn's 87th Birthday Tribute at Bridgestone Arena on Monday, April 1, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.

For example, Kenyon said clean dressing rooms and helpful staff at Colonial Life can impact concerts. As promoters and agents bring an artist in, if they have a positive experience, they might recommend other artists they work with to visit Columbia.

Across the street from the arena, 1801 Grille chef and ownership partner Jason Bruner said event crowds can double their business.

“With Colonial Life being so close, the reservations are just through the roof when it's concert time, so basketball games, concerts, all the things that go on at Colonial Life really support us and we try to support them as much as we can,” Bruner said.

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On a typical Friday night, 1801 Grill averages about 200 to 300 customers, but on a concert evening Bruner says they can get more than 500.

Across downtown, Hyatt Place marketing director David Erbacher said they’ve noticed the uptick in concerts as well.

Erbacher said the concerts bring in good business.

“We've seen bookings for Elton John, KISS-- it's funny how it works, typically you'll see the day the concert's announced you'll see a flurry of people booking, and then it'll kind of start trickling in and as soon as you get closer to the concert  you'll see ‘em start rolling in as well,” Erbacher said.

Erbacher added concert nights usually turn into sellouts at the hotel.

Colonial Life Arena makes its revenue off food and beverage sales, sponsorships, and usage fees for the venue. It also brings in some ticket revenue, depending on the artist and underlying agreement, according to Kenyon.