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Published: 9/30/2009

Arena events doing brisk box office

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Ticket sales are brisk as the countdown continues toward the grand opening of the new Lucas County Arena.

The Oct. 9 show featuring comedian Jeff Dunham is nearly sold out. Tickets also are going quickly for the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour 2009 performance on Oct. 10 and the WWE Raw Live wrestling event on Oct. 11, said Steve Miller, general manager of SMG, the firm that runs the arena.

"The majority of the shows are doing fairly well," he said yesterday.

The only national act that's off to a slow start for ticket sales is the Oct. 15 Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. Mr. Miller said he expects sales to pick up soon, though.

Expectations are also running high for the Toledo Walleye's first home game in the new arena on Oct. 16. The month ends with an Oct. 31 concert by the rock band Daughtry, which is expected to draw a big crowd.

Arena officials are hoping to feed the region's appetite with diverse entertainment to go along with this fall's menu of fish and sticks - that is, Walleye players and their hockey sticks. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus is scheduled for eight shows Nov. 11 to 15.

Bowling Green State University will give arena-goers a taste of the college hockey scene with a game against the University of Michigan on Nov. 21.

And on Dec. 29, the court jesters of basketball, the Harlem Globetrotters, will perform a pair of shows. Tickets for that event went on sale yesterday.

Mr. Miller said negotiations are under way for an indoor rodeo, Disney on Ice, a monster truck pull, and Star Wars: In Concert. The latter features a live orchestra performing theme music from the popular film trilogy as clips are shown on a high-definition screen. In addition, artifacts from the George Lucas collection are to be on display.

The arena is attracting acts that otherwise might have bypassed Toledo for Detroit and Cleveland, Mr. Miller said.

People are "very interested in Toledo being Toledo again," he said.

"Now that we've got this brand-new, great building, promoters are eager to come here," he added.

The arena's seating capacity for concerts is 7,600 to 8,000, depending on the act.

"Eighty percent of the shows out there now are for 8,000 seats or less," Mr. Miller said.

Seating capacity for Walleye and Toledo Bullfrogs, the city's new arenafootball2 team, is 7,500. The football team's 16-game season begins in March, with eight games planned for the arena.

Walleye tickets can be obtained at the Lucas County Arena ticket office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, by calling 419-725-WALL, or by going to toledowalleye.com.

Ticket prices: concourse (lower bowl) level, $15; suite (club) level, $20 (no availability at this time), and Black Swamp (first three rows of lower level), pricing to be determined.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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