We love being one of the premier facilities in Iowa to see a concert, family show or sporting event, and we take our job seriously when it comes to bringing acts to the Iowa Events Center for your enjoyment. Our General Manager Chris Connolly provides some insight to booking the events that come to our great city.
What types of acts we look to book:
“Our clients are looking for us to book world class entertainment. On the concert side, your Bon Jovi’s, Taylor Swift’s, George Strait’s, etc. Also, they are interested in us attracting national sporting events such as Figure Skating, Curling, NCAA basketball and wrestling.
For the most part, national promoters and agents have been bringing the bigger acts to us but there are definitely occasions where we will have to chase certain shows. Bob Seger is a perfect example of a show that we chased for months before actually confirming it. We, Iowa Events Center, were first approached by national promoter, Live Nation, way back in late July about a potential Seger show at Wells Fargo Arena. Seger notoriously has a high artist guarantee and Live Nation was not sold on the fact that Des Moines would be able to fully support this show on a Tuesday night in December right before the Christmas holiday. In addition, Wells Fargo Arena hasn’t hosted many successful classic rock shows in recent history. However, we felt strongly that this show would do well and had our Marketing department solicit feedback from the local media in order to help support our case. Once we were finally able to convince Live Nation to partner with us on the show, we then had to establish ticket prices that were affordable to the public but high enough for us to be able make a profit off of the show. After about 3 months of negotiation and tweaking the numbers, we went on-sale to the public in mid-October. When all was said and done, we sold well over 11,000 paid tickets which turned into a successful night financially for both Live Nation and the Iowa Events Center. In addition, we were about to host an entertaining show that more than gave the crowd their money’s worth!
Why we land certain acts over others:
“We are extremely lucky that the people in this region have been very supportive of the live acts that play at Wells Fargo Arena. With that being said, we are well known on a national level for having a great country and family show market. We have had all of the top country artists play at our building on an annual basis, and they continue to make return visits to Des Moines because of that success. As for family shows, we host Disney on Ice, Disney Live, Monster Jam, Arenacross, Harlem Globetrotters and Sesame Street on an annual basis. Like the country artists, these family shows continue to sell a lot of tickets and have been a staple in our building since opening in 2005.”
3 things to think about when picking a date to book a show:
“1. Tenant Schedules – it is important to completely understand the scheduling process. We must look at the schedules of the Barnstormers and Energy.
2. Other big events happening within the Facility – in bigger facilities like the Iowa Events Center and Roanoke Civic Center( where I was formerly a General Manager), your convention center events can have a big effect on your live events in the arena, both positively and negatively. Roanoke is a good example to show the positive and negative. Two years ago, Roanoke booked Cats as an add on Broadway show on the same night as Winter Jam. They ended up having their older and more upscale Broadway crowd ride the shuttles to the arena with thousands of screaming teenagers. Needless to say, they took a beating the next day from their loyal Broadway subscribers. On the positive side, they booked their Home & Garden show on the same weekend as Walking with Dinosaurs and they ended up attracting a lot of walk-up customers to both shows just for the simple fact that they were already on-site anyway. This turned out to be a real win and their Marketing department did a great job cross promoting the 2 shows.
3. Other big events happening in Town – In Des Moines, we cannot book a show during the 2 week State Fair run in August.”
Why acts like to come to the Iowa Events Center:
“There are a number of reasons why acts like to visit the Iowa Events Center, but the most important reason is money! We, Iowa Events Center, have a top notch Marketing team which has been very successful in being able to sell tickets to shows. The ability to sell tickets allows the artist to walk away from Wells Fargo Arena with more money in their pocket which makes the agents and promoters happy and more willing to return to Des Moines with other artists. In addition, we treat the artist and their crew well from the minute they step into the building until the last truck is loaded after the show. We take the time to research each artist prior to their play date and then we present them with an artist gift prior to the show as a sign of our appreciation for playing at our venue. The more comfortable the artist, crew, promoter, agent, etc. are in Wells Fargo Arena, the more willing they will be to come back the next time!”
We love hearing your feedback and requests about certain shows or concerts you’d like to see at the Iowa Events Center. Continue to send them our way – we hope to provide lasting memories for you, your friends and your families for years to come!