Civic Center looks to boost attendance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Civic Center looks to boost attendance

November 23, 2005

Albany- Civic Centers don't often make money even in large cities. They do draw people into a city where they might spend money at hotels or restaurants. City Manager Alfred Lott says the Civic Center needs to draw in crowds of 500 or more, whether it's a concert or convention.

They're working on drawing acts like Little Richard or Stix to put more people in the seats and eventually help get bigger names to consider the Good Life City. The annual Peppermint Pops community concert is one of just a handful of major events during the holidays at the Albany Civic Center. City Manager Alfred Lott wants to improve the Center's lackluster performance.

"We have to become better at marketing the Civic Center and better at getting more diverse, cross over venues here," said Alfred Lott, Albany City Manager.

Especially when Columbus, Tallahassee, and even Valdosta seem to book bigger names.

"I'm disappointed that we don't have more events like that here and that's one of the goals for 2006," said Lott.

Meetings with the Civic Center staff are now held weekly and marketing director Tony Ford's sole focus is to market the Civic Center.

"We have to get better at making the right pitches to the right persons at the right time," said Lott. "A partnership means that we're putting something up at risk," said Tony Ford, Civic Center Marketing Director.

The risk, for the next 90 days the Civic Center will try something new. The city will split the cost of the building with a promoter who's willing to take a chance on the "Good Life City".

"We're not the easiest market to play, no one is lining up, saying I got to come to Albany, GA," said Ford.

It's a change that could bring bigger named talent and put more people in the seats.

"We haven't done right as far as promoters are concerned. We haven't bought tickets in advance and we haven't brought numbers to the concerts that we have had," said Ford.

Eventually attracting more people to Albany.

"So we want to use our Civic Center to bring this kind of prosperity to the city and we aren't doing a good job of it yet, but we're going to get better at it," said Lott.

Marketing manager Tony Ford says, if splitting the cost doesn't work, they'll try something else. The key is to rebuilding relationships with promoters both local and nationwide.

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