Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Speedway passes world test

Metallica concert among largest 2000 money makers

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPARTA — The Metallica/Korn/Kid Rock concert last July 8 at Kentucky Speedway grossed $3,280,030, the 19th most successful concert worldwide for the 2000 season, according to Amusement Business magazine's year-end box score.

        Part of Metallica's Summer Sanitarium Tour, the event attracted a sellout crowd of 52,147 fans to the new $152 million speedway, which also set attendance records for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA stock car events in its opening season.

    1. Barbra Streisand, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, $18.2 million (two sellouts).
    2. Barbra Streisand, Madison Square Garden, New York, $14.4 million (two sellouts).
    3. Barbra Streisand, Staples Center, Los Angeles, $12.6 million (two sellouts).
    4. Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden, New York, $12.2 million (two sellouts).
    5. Phish, Big Cypress Swamp Reservation, Florida, $11.6 million (two sellouts).
    6. Luis Miguel, Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City, $8.2 million.
    7. Tina Turner, Wembley Stadium, London, $6.4 million (two shows).
    8. Eagles/Jackson Browne/Linda Ronstadt, Staples Center, Los Angeles, $6.2 million.
    9. Dave Matthews Band, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., $6.1 million (three shows).
    10. Dave Matthews Band, Soldier Field, Chicago, $5.1 million (two sellouts).
    11. Billy Joel, Madison Square Garden, New York, $4.47 million.
    12. Dave Matthews Band, Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium, $4.43 million (two sellouts).
    13. Metallica/Korn/Kid Rock, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, $4.3 million.
    14. The Who, Madison Square Garden, New York, $4.08 million (four shows).
    15. 'N Sync, Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium, $3.99 million (two sellouts).
    16. Dave Matthews Band, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, $3.8 million.
    17. Tina Turner, Zurich, Switzerland, $3.7 million (two shows).
    18. Celine Dion, Molson Centre, Montreal, $3.5 million.
    19. Summer Sanitarium Tour, Metallica/Korn/Kid Rock, Kentucky Speedway, $3.2 million.
    20. Summer Sanitarium Tour, Metallica/Korn/Kid Rock, Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium, $3.1 million.
    Source: Amusement Business magazine

        The rock concert, which also included System of A Down and Powerman 5000, outgrossed two other Summer Sanitarium Tour concert events, at Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium and Texas Stadium in Arlington.

        Just ahead of the Kentucky Speedway concert was a Celine Dion concert in Montreal ($3,586,221) at 18th and Tina Turner in Zurich, Switzerland ($3,783,873) at 17th.

        “We'd love to do three (concerts) this year, in the spring, summer and fall,” Speedway executive vice president/general manager Mark Cassis said Tuesday from Las Vegas, where he was attending some auto race promotion meetings. “We're not that far along yet. The major concert events usually don't start bringing things together until February or early March.”

        Mr. Cassis said he and other Speedway officials had met with several of the larger concert promoters in the country since the Metallica concert.

        “They (promoters) know the numbers,” he said. “Now they're looking at our figures. We had to prove ourselves with that first concert, but now we've earned our stripes.”

        He emphasized that because the speedway is a large open venue, “You need the right act, someone who can draw 40,000 or more. We have to have the big promoters involved.”

        Belkin Productions, along with Ocasa Presents and Frank Productions, promoted the Metallica concert here. Belkin officials said last summer they were impressed with the versatility of Kentucky Speedway, with its 66,000 seats and 10 acres of grass in the infield.

        Speedway media relations director Tim Bray pointed out that the track set an attendance record for a NASCAR truck race June 17 at 63,750, despite torrential rain after the June 16 qualifying sessions that turned the parking lots into a sea of mud and produced a 7-mile-long traffic jam on Interstate 71.

        Similarly, the ARCA stock car race July 2 attracted a single-race record of 27,512 for that sanctioning body, and a total of 44,444 for the three-day weekend racing event.

        Mr. Bray said the IRL Belterra 300 Indy car race on Aug. 27 was the second-largest IRL draw of the season at 61,214, exceeded only by the Indianapolis 500, which outdraws every other auto race with a crowd estimated at more than 350,000 annually.

        The total attendance for the Speedway's four weekends last year was 287,542.

        “The bottom line is, as we continue the quest for a NASCAR Winston Cup race — which is our ultimate goal — we have to do as many things as possible to generate revenue,” Mr. Cassis said. “We need to keep the business going ... keep it active.”

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