MTS Centre still rockin'

KISS performs at the MTS Centre in 2009
Photo Credit: Dan Harper

How do you fit wrestlers, old-time rockers, monster trucks and hockey players all under one roof?

Just ask Kevin Donnelly, the general manager of the MTS Centre who is one of the main men responsible for bringing these kinds of acts to Winnipeg.

In 2009, the Eagles, Beyonce, Coldplay, Rod Stewart and KISS all held shows at the MTS Centre – despite what Donnelly describes as a tough time to attract high profile acts to the city due to the economy.

“I am hoping the economic struggles are behind us,” says Donnelly. “The last six months have been our slowest to date and that is absolutely a result of the US economic troubles.”

For the record, the past six months still saw sold-out shows by Metallica and KISS and two by country crooner Keith Urban. Not bad for a troubled economy.

The MTS Centre opened in 2004 and four years later was named the third busiest arena in Canada behind the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and the Bell Centre in Montreal.

“The rankings are based on entertainment events only, so attendance for hockey and other sport franchises are not included,” says Donnelly. The numbers come from Pollstar Magazine – the largest touring trade magazine.

Donnelly believes the reason he’s able to attract high profile artists to Winnipeg is because True North Sports & Entertainment is a private company.

“Being a privately run business instead of a division of the City – as was Winnipeg Enterprises who ran the old arena – allows us to participate in some of the risks involved in bringing shows here that would otherwise drive through town,” says Donnelly.

Donnelly expects the MTS Centre to stay just as busy – if not busier – in 2010.

“We have a number of higher profiled artists slated to come to Winnipeg, so I am hoping this is an indication that the AAA artists are feeling better about the business of touring,” says Donnelly. “We will see an even stronger year in 2010 than we did for the bulk of 2009.”

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David Turnbull of Red River College

  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:39