Civic Center numbers up for '09 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Civic Center numbers up for '09

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Despite a slumping economy, just as many people bought tickets to events at the Albany Civic Center this year as last year. Director, John Mazzola, says the arena's economic impact on the area is growing.

He hopes to attract more big name acts in the coming year. Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, and Kofi Kingston are some of the big names that have made their way to the Albany Civic Center.

Mazzola says the WWE event last weekend reeled in about 3,000 people and a previous WWE event in March brought in 5,000.

Mazzola says the biggest battle is getting people in the door. Deborah Hayes says she would if there was more of an option to choose from.

"It seems like it's been quiet lately, "Hayes said. "I like classical music and symphonies. I would like to see an evangelical group come to town. Anything that brings the family together would be great for Albany."

Which is why the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus is coming to town in February.

"We'll draw from the WALB circle where people would be able to see it without having to go to Atlanta or Tallahassee," Mazzola said.

Here's an idea of how the civic center is doing: in 2008 attendance for the civic center, auditorium, and conference rooms was 143,000. With an economic impact of more than 6.2 million. This year's attendance was about the same, but Mazzola says the impact increased to about 7.2 million.

"It tells me what the entertainment dollar is and how important it is to patrons even with our economy sliding,"Mazzola said.

Critics say not enough goes on at the civic center, but Mazzola says he's had nearly 20 events in the past two months some private and others public.

Mazzola says some of the events coming to Albany in 2010 are Tyler Perry Plays, Disney live, and the Ringling Brothers Circus in February. The Ron White comedy tour will also make its way to town next month.

John Mazzola says he tries to schedule event most weekends of the year. Though many of them are not public events.

For more civic center events click here.

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