Operators of University of South Florida‘s Yuengling Center are working to boost the venue’s concert programming, hoping that it can stand out in a competitive market.
Originally opening in 1980, Yuengling Center (which was known as the Sun Dome until a naming-rights deal with Yuengling was announced this summer) is home to multiple USF athletic programs. It is also used for concerts and developed a strong run at one point, as by 1996 concerts accounted for an estimated 40% of its revenue. However, it has become less competitive on that front in recent years as it ages and is confronted with more competing venues in the Tampa market.
The venue’s operators, however, are hoping to change that. The arena’s operations are managed by Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties, LLC (TBEP), an entity that is owned by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. For arena officials–including Yuengling Center director of events management Kelli Yeloushan–the goal is to find ways to improve the areas needed for a solid concert experience, while promoting the venue for appropriately sized shows. More from The Tampa Bay Times:
“You’ve got this niche of 5,000- to 7,000-seat boutique amphitheaters that didn’t exist before, and the dome’s becoming relevant there,” [Amalie Arena’s senior vice president of event management Kevin] Preast says. “(Promoters) are looking at putting more shows in there this year than they probably had in the past seven years combined.”
In her desire to turn Yuengling into “Amalie’s edgy little sister,” Yeloushan coordinates daily with Preast on shows. Having two venues gives them more options, always handy when working around Lightning and USF baskeball schedules.
The dome has brought in production experts from Amalie and elsewhere to help develop sound plans for incoming acts. Overcoming the dome’s dinlike reputation is an ongoing challenge.
“There are adjustments that need to be made,” she says. “You have to put a little extra love there and be attentive to it.”
Tampa and the Tampa Bay region is competitive market when it comes to concert venues, as Amalie Arena is part of that mix, along with several other smaller venues. It remains to be seen how Yuengling Center factors into that scene down the road, but clearly its operators want to make concerts–once one of the focal points of the venue’s event schedule–a big part of its future.