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Climbing the attendance ladder

Resch Center jumps more than 60 places on concert attendance list

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January 12, 2023

ASHWAUBENON – Spurred on by a solid 2022, the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon saw a major leap in Pollstar’s list of the top 200 bestselling arenas in the world.

Built in 2002, the 20-year-old venue jumped from 154th on the list in 2021 to 90th this past year.

“We’ve had a lot of opportunities because of our relationships with the people we work with,” Kristie Haney, vice president of events and booking at PMI Entertainment Group, said. “Whether it be agents or promoters, they’ve come to like doing business with us. When people do good business, they want to come back – it comes down to a lot of hard work from everyone involved. It makes me proud.”

The poll only took into consideration concert/comedy tickets sold – not other events.

In the Resch Center’s case, Haney said, that means it doesn’t include Green Bay Gamblers hockey, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men’s basketball, Green Bay Blizzard indoor football, Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournaments for girls’ basketball and volleyball, Disney on Ice, the circus and the Harlem Globetrotters – events that typically happen year after year in the facility.

“The Resch Center’s goal is to book as many quality events as possible, whether that’s a concert or a sporting event,” Terry Charles, senior manager/corporate communications with PMI, said. “If we have sporting events planned, that could take away from a potential concert.”

The arena reported 139,938 concert/comedy tickets sold in 2022, resulting in a $12.9 million gross.

In April 2022, Haney said the Resch Center hosted the highest-grossing concert in its 20-year history with Morgan Wallen.
“We’re not just talking about the U.S. – this is in the world,” she said. “For the size of the market Green Bay is, it’s impressive. Our maximum capacity for a concert is about 10,500, but most of them are between 7,600 and 7,800.”

Depending on the performer, Haney said setups are different, which affects attendance.

“When Elton John came, he only had a small stage,” she said. “There are a lot of markets with bigger buildings, so we had some good luck with bookings in the past year. We also have a willing audience in Northeastern Wisconsin to buy tickets to the events we attract.”

Charles said Pollstar’s ranking is updated quarterly.

“Halfway through the year, we were in the 60s,” he said. “You have to consider when some of these bigger arenas have their NBA and NHL seasons. If they’re in the middle of a basketball season halfway through the (calendar) year, they’ll have a different ranking by the end of the year when you take everything into account. Right now, some of those arenas can’t host concerts because they have professional teams playing there.”

// on stage setup and an entertainer’s walk-out, Kristie Haney, vice president of events and booking at PMI Entertainment Group, said the Resch Center can accommodate up to 10,500 fans. Photo courtesy of the Resch Center

Charles said ideally, the jump up Pollstar’s list will help bring in future shows.

“It doesn’t necessarily happen like that,” he said. “But I can tell you, I will be telling the story (of how we’ve jumped up the list) when we’re trying to get shows. We’re not a secret anymore – we’ve been around a long time. The promoters Kristie works with know what they’re dealing with here.”

Charles said proximity to another concert location is also a big factor.

“If an act in another city is too far away (from the Resch Center), they probably won’t want to come up this way,” he said. “How fast can you get to the next city? Six hours is probably the max.”

Why the jump?
Haney and Charles both said the reasoning behind the Resch Center’s jump was a combination of things.

“I wouldn’t pin it to anything specific, except the relationships we’ve built and a few other things,” Haney said. “Many people come to Green Bay for the Packers and Lambeau Field, but I don’t think that has led to (the jump). Not every year works out this well.”

Haney said the Packers’ schedule “definitely plays into scheduling at the Resch.”

“Like many organizations, we book around the Packers’ schedule,” she said.

Haney said the quality of the concerts is perhaps the most important aspect of attendance.

“Not every concert we host is a slam dunk,” she laughed. “Some are great and sellouts, but not all of them. Who’s on tour, how hot is the artist and the pricing the promoter offered – is it acceptable?”

Haney said timing is also another “huge factor.”

“Morgan Wallen is a perfect example of a show that was in the arena (where timing came into play),” she said. “Now, he’s only doing stadiums. It’s the same thing with Luke Combs (who held two shows at the Resch Center in September 2022). This next summer, Luke Combs is doing stadiums.”

2023 and beyond
Though Haney and Charles wouldn’t give hints about specific concerts coming to the Resch Center in 2023, they said “it’s a work in progress.”

“Our schedule isn’t complete yet,” Haney said. “One thing can happen that changes our day. We get the go-ahead to host something, and we’re all jumping up and down. We don’t release an annual calendar.”

Charles said concerts are more “as they happen” events.

“You don’t know the whole (concert) season at a time,” he said. “Sometimes you have a good sense of what the year might be like in advance, but there are still things that suddenly fall into our lap we didn’t know about or weren’t expecting.”
Looking forward, Haney said she’s excited about the future.

// Haney

“We look forward to seeing what that could be,” she said. “We’ll continue to work hard and make it as good as possible. We appreciate the market for purchasing tickets and helping people be successful when they come to Green Bay.”

Charles said as an event venue, the Resch Center helps impact the area’s economy.

“When we do something many times over the course of the year and bring 10,000 people in from Wausau, Upper Michigan and Sheboygan, they’re all spending money in the surrounding restaurants and staying overnight because they don’t want to drive home after the concert,” he said. “We’re certainly having an effect.”

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