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World For Sale!

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 6, 2007 5:39PM

Live Nation has put the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park up for sale after an evaluation on their real estate holdings by CB Richard Ellis. If the venue is sold, it does not mean that concerts won’t be held there anymore, but it sounds pretty likely that this single-use venue could become a warehouse. With rezoning of the 110-acre property, we can imagine condos, condos, town homes, and more condos filling up the site, too.

2007_06_world.gifThere are a million ways to make a buck or two off music. Ask any agent, manager, promoter, scalper or artist - they have some ideas or maybe even a business plan. We don’t think that dwindling ticket sales or lack of available artists that can sell 28,000 tickets are the main reasons for the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre’s sale by Live Nation, which stated many factors were involved. We think it’s more likely that the venue only has one use and therefore less opportunity to bring home the bacon for Live Nation. This corporation cannot live on live music alone.

Live Nation brings in 17% of their total revenue in the venues and sponsorship aspect of their business. (They have brought in $584 million in the first quarter of 2007 overall.) The FMBA nee Tweeter Center nee World Music Center can only add to that revenue by hosting more concerts. Unlike other similarly sized venues in the Chicagoland area - the United Center, Toyota Park and the Allstate Arena - the FMBA only books live music. All three of these other venues have sports teams operating out of them, which gives the venue owners more opportunity for ticket sales than the mere 13 concerts scheduled this year out in Tinley Park. Plus, these venues are indoor, unlike the outdoor FMBA, and have more than just the summer to rake in cash for their owners.

If this sale becomes the death knell for concerts at the World (we just can’t stop calling it that), how should the venue’s epitaph be written? What were some of the best concerts held there? What will we miss about going to Tinley Park for a concert? It certainly won't be the drive.