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Agganis concerts, cultural events are making a splash

Ticket sales 10th nationwide

Juan Luis Guerra is one of many musical acts that have played at the Agganis arena.

It may always be known as the Terriers’ home ice, but since opening last winter, Agganis Arena has attracted a more diverse crowd than only sports fans. In fact, it has consistently booked major concerts, family events, student gatherings, and professional functions, establishing itself as a regional destination, as well as a BU hot spot.

Based on the success of its wide variety of programming, the arena recently was ranked 13th worldwide and 10th in the nation in a comparison of best-selling, mid-sized arenas (with 5,001 to 10,000 seats), according to a report in Venues Today, a trade publication that evaluates facilities by ticket sales. The 7,500–seat arena drew 53,570 guests for 17 shows, grossing $2.2 million, according to the report, which analyzed ticket sales for the period November 15, 2004 to May 15, 2005.

“That’s a very good showing, and is unusual,” says Linda Deckard, publisher and editor-in-chief of Venues Today. “It reflects all good things: good management, good position, good place, good size.”

Peter Smokowski, associate vice president for administration, adds, “It really is proof of concept and a testament to our very careful planning. The Boston marketplace did have a void, as we believed, and the arena fills the void quite nicely. The proof that our programming schedule has been successful is that people have responded with their feet.”

Of course, the arena’s primary mission is to support Terrier athletics, says Amy Brown, Agannis’ general manager. “So we have tickets available for our students for every one of those athletic events free of charge if they have a sports pass,” she says, “which the vast majority of our students have.” Brown said the space is an exciting venue for sporting events, citing the state-of-the-art video board and sound system.

“It’s just a great environment to come see a BU event whether you’re a student, faculty or staff, or you’re a student athlete playing on the ice or on the floor,” she says.

BU community events at Agganis have included convocation ceremonies for the School of Law and the College of Communications, a Superbowl party attended by over 3,000 students, and ice skating sessions for students (the arena has rentals for those who don’t own skates). Family programming has included Smuckers Stars on Ice professional figure skating and Sesame Street Live. Musical acts such as Sting, Alicia Keys, and Duran Duran have played the Agganis to date, as well as Maroon 5, O.A.R., Widespread Panic, the Pixies, Wilco, Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Vives. The arena has also played host to a private Bon Jovi concert for 6,000 clients and guests of global networking company SAP.

On sale now are tickets for Louis Miguel show on October 20, and Comics Come Home, a November 12 benefit for the Cam Neely Foundation hosted by comedian Denis Leary. Leary recently hosted a tribute at the arena to BU’s beloved hockey coach Jack Parker on Thursday, October 6. For more upcoming concerts and events, see the events calendar.

 

In addition, the arena’s can host events of a different sort. Its 5,600-square-foot Francis D. Burke Club Room can accommodate about 350 for a stand up reception and 175 for a seated dinner. With full multimedia capabilities and sweeping views of Commonwealth Avenue, the room can host meetings, dinners and parties and has already hosted the men’s basketball postseason banquet, the Sargent College alumni luncheon, BU’s student athlete awards, and several private parties.

Brown says catering for the room, by the same company that provides service for the Tweeter Center and Banknorth Garden, is exceptional. “They can do the highest white-glove service or can have a whole lot of fun and have a sports-themed banquet or anything in between,” she says, “and they do a phenomenal job for us so for anyone who’s interested in renting our Burke Club Room, the food and beverage element is just exceptional.”

To book the room or to have a look, call 617-358-7000 or e-mail amybrown@bu.edu or Assistant General Manager Kristoffer Brassil at kbrassil@bu.edu.

As a bonus, the arena 900 parking spaces on site, including 600 in covered lots below ground and an additional 500 spaces within a five-minute walk.