From now until early June, it will be incredibly busy at the multi-million-dollar recreation facility, with the Summerside Storm and the Western Capitals in the playoffs, a visit by the Harlem Globetrotters, two world-renowned performers set to take the stage and a 10-day national sporting event coming up.
“This is actually going to be the busiest spring-time season since the building opened in terms of traffic,” said Desrosiers, the city’s special events development officer. “We start, actually, this weekend with the Globetrotters then we roll into the playoffs for both teams. We get into Alan Jackson on May 1 and into the Chamber trade show May 3to the 5th and start Royal Bank Cup on May 11. After May 11, we have Sting coming in.
“For the next 70 days it is looking like we’ll put 100,000 to 120,000 tickets through our building. It’s pretty crazy.”
Tickets are almost gone for the Globetrotters stop on their “You Write the Rules Tour” at Eastlink Arena this Friday at 7 p.m.
Alan Jackson’s May 1 concert and Sting’s concert on June 24 are sold with the possibly of some tickets being released in coming weeks for Jackson’s performance.
The sale of tickets is going much more smoothly compared to last spring, when the facility was using its own system for Elton John’s back-to-back performances.
Credit Union Place has since signed on with Ticketmaster, one of the largest ticket sales and distribution companies in the world.
“From a customer service level it’s been phenomenal. It works seamlessly, doesn’t crash or go down,” said Desrosiers of the system. “The method of purchase with the online system is probably one of the best in the world, if not the best.”
Buying tickets for CUP events will soon become even easier, he added.
“You can go online and download an iPhone app and buy your tickets from your phone. Starting in May, we’re going to be able to scan your phone right at the door so you won’t even have to print off a ticket.”
Desrosiers admitted the success of Elton John’s concerts, coupled with staff and the facility’s pool of volunteers, was instrumental in signing other artists.
“We’ve got some great partners at Live Nation who have opened up some doors to some other promoters to come into our building,” he added. “Our staff here has worked so hard and our volunteers have worked so hard to make it go off flawlessly that it really helps us get the next one. Without our staff’s hard work it wouldn’t even be close to being possible.”
There have been those openly critical of the city’s efforts to bring in events.
Desrosiers said what the public needs to realize, particularly with many of the concerts, is that the facility is being rented at little or no risk to the city.
“We work with promoters to provide a rental rate for the building. We work with them to ensure the events will sell,” he added. “As long as they continue to sell, the promoters will continue to bring them in.”
Desrosiers wouldn’t tip his hat as to what future concerts or events are in the works for Credit Union Place.
“We are certainly looking at broadening our scope,” he added. “Annually, the community can expect one to two major signature sporting events being hosted here. There are always things we’re chasing.”
He did point out that all events — concerts, hockey tournaments, Storm and Caps games — help businesses inside and outside the complex.
“Right now, for Alan Jackson, the local hotels are all sold out. We see with a show like Sting, for example, 48.5 per cent of tickets sold to people off Island. Almost half the tickets were sold to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which fills our hotels, fills our restaurants and has a huge economic spinoff and at no investment by the city.”