Think About It: Seating Disorder - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

June 25, 2018

Think About It: Seating Disorder

The Neal S. Blaisdell Center Master Plan has been created, morphed, discussed, revised, revamped, and is now moving toward execution. And it's a winner… mostly. If all goes according to plans, renovation work could begin in two years. The Terrace, the Civic Plaza, Coconut Grove, The Gardens, a new parking structure, pools of water, moving water, and other aesthetic enhancements will surely modernize this 54-year old facility so badly in need of modernization.


But a big mistake is being made in the plans to simply upgrade the existing Arena from approximately 6,500 seats to under 9,000 seats. That is plainly not enough additional seating to make it economically feasible for Honolulu to attract major concert attractions that currently aren't set up to play at a 50,000 seat, outdoor Aloha Stadium nor able to work out the numbers to make two or three indoor shows work out. Simple math, we need a larger concert and sports venue. Then, major concert acts and professional sports events can play here for one night and earn their living, without promoters having to book two or three nights, which is currently the problem as you then have to pay up to twice the rent, artist fees, security, etc.


Adding fewer than 2,500 seats to the Blaisdell Arena will not get the job done. Check out most of the major mainland concert venues where artists perform across the country, and you'll see that having at least 12,000 to 15,000 seat represents the sweet spot. One night, one show, event costs that work for the promoter and ticket prices that seem should be reasonable for fans. There have been public hearings, but perhaps it's still not too late, as interested stakeholders, like Live Nation, AEG, pro sports leagues and others need to be consulted before we renovate an obsolete building by adding only 2,000 seats, and then find out that top acts and events still can't make the numbers work here. Think about it…

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