Special Reports

February 28, 2013

Arena hopes to weather the summer with some big-name concerts

Intrust Bank Arena doesn’t want to have any summer void of events this year.

Intrust Bank Arena doesn’t want to have any summer void of events this year.

General Manager A.J. Boleski said the second half of this year looks to be busier than that of 2012, which he called promising.

Summers are the toughest seasons in the arena industry as performers hit the road on their own vacations. That has proven to be challenging for the arena, especially last year, when the SMG-managed downtown venue sat empty from early June to late September. In 2011, late May to late July was black. In 2010, the year the arena opened, the only empty month was September.

This year, Boleski said, the arena wants to have at least one event in each of the summer months.

“The second half will be heavier” this year, he said.

One big assist will come from Taylor Swift, whose Aug. 6 concert is sold out. Swift last performed at the arena in April 2010.

“We’re really fortunate to be part of that tour,” Boleski said. “That’s one we are definitely very excited about.”

Among other acts scheduled: the Gaither Vocal Band, April 5; Rascal Flatts, Aug. 9; Luke Bryan, Sept. 12; and Blake Shelton, Oct. 5.

Although disappointed the arena didn’t win a bid to host any of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year – or in 2014 or 2015 – Boleski said he hopes to “grow on our NBA and college basketball. It’s been supported very well.”

He also said Thunder hockey “just continues to grow.”

The arena also will bring back Ribfest this year, May 16-18.

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