Kansas Star Casino’s arena books Tim McGraw, plans other acts

The Kansas Star Casino’s new arena has booked several events over the next couple of months to begin finding its way as multipurpose regional venue, arena officials said Monday.

Country superstar Tim McGraw has been announced to perform at its grand opening on July 7. Arena officials plan to announce another act Wednesday to open the arena a week earlier, on June 29.

That’s just the start, they said.

“You’ll get a good sampling over the next six months of what we’re going to do,” said Tim Lanier, arena director.

For awhile, it will try anything that will work in a building that can seat 2,000 to 6,000 people, in order to gauge market demand – circuses, rodeos, motor sports, boxing, trade shows and more, said Lanier and casino general manager Scott Cooper.

Eventually the arena will focus equestrian events while continuing to book other acts, they said.

The building, which served as the Kansas Star’s temporary casino initially, has been remodeled since the permanent casino opened in December 2012. Walls were torn down, restrooms added and office space was converted into “green rooms” for performers.

The arena, with a 150-foot by 300-foot floor, will have 3,400 fixed seats along the sides, with retractable risers and extra seating that can increase capacity to 6,000 for concerts.

The stage, 40 feet deep and 60 feet wide, will be added at the south end of the arena, while a private room called the “Fire Club” – with a capacity for 200 people and patio seating for about 130 – will overlook the arena on the third floor of the north end.

Four suites for business partners and sponsors of the Kansas Star will serve about 20 people each above the seats on the east side.

“When we opened the casino, the idea always was we want to be a regional destination,” Cooper said. “The opening of this arena delivers on that promise to become a regional attraction, and we’re really excited about it.”

Lanier has spent 20 years working in arenas and oversaw construction of three of them, including two in Las Vegas for the Kansas Star’s management company, Boyd Gaming. He said the Kansas Star Arena will work with other Boyd casinos, as well as Boyd’s corporate entertainment director, to book acts.

“We do talk daily,” he said. “If it makes sense as far as routing goes, we might book an act in Vegas, and book it here. It helps us all if we keep that open line of communication. What works well for us here in Kansas and serves our guests well, we’ll book that in Las Vegas, as well. “

He’ll also seek acts independently. He expects some early acts may not work out well as he learns the market

Most acts won’t be as costly as Tim McGraw, he said. The arena exists to drive business to the casino and serve the community, Lanier said.

Tickets for McGraw start at $77 and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at