Call it the little arena that could. The 14,500-seat Cleveland
State University Convocation Center made the Pollstar "Top 50 Arena
Venues in the World" for 2003. It entered the list at No. 43, two
spots behind Gund Arena at No. 41.
According to Pollstar editor-in-chief Gary Bongiovanni, the
weekly Fresno, Calif.-based concert-industry trade publication
compiles its annual list based /n the total number of tickets sold
for touring shows as supplied by each venue.
"We actively solicit it, but it is a voluntary reporting
system," he explains.
lhe worldwide designation is a bit of a misnomer. Although there
are some European arenas on the list -- the Manchester Evening News
Arena in England, for example, came in at No. 1, posting 823,000
tickets sold vs. the Convocation Center's 156,768 -- most of the
reporting venues are in North America.
During the past year, the Convocation Center played host to
everything from concerts by platinum-selling rock princess Avril
Lavigne to a self-help presentation by TV talk-show host Dr. Phil.
Convocation Center general manager Joe Mazur in ,art credits SMG,
which took over management of the center in 1999, for the
increasingly full schedule of events. He says the
facility-management giant, which runs 10 of the 50 sites on the
Pollstar list, wields a measure of influence over smaller promoters
looking to route a touring show.
PIn some instances, we have a ton of influence," he says. "In
others, we don't."
Mazur adds that the university may eventually parlay the
center's position on the Pollstar list into something even better:
a lucrative sale of naming rights to the building.
-- Lynne Thompson