Sunday, January 19, 2014

Elton John Negotiating to Close Sydney Entertainment Centre in Late 2015

Bulldozers were set to raze the 30-year-old venue at the end of 2013 until a last minute naming-rights deal was brokered between the venue's operators AEG Ogden and Qantas Credit Union.

Sir Elton John will now hold the record for the most concerts at the Qantas Credit Union Arena after a naming rights sponsorship will keep the doors open at the former Sydney Entertainment Centre for another two years.


Originally slated for the wrecking ball at the end of 2013, new venue operators AEG Ogden have brokered the deal with the airline employee credit union to keep it rocking until December 31.

AEG Ogden, who also run Allphones Arena, took over the 30-year-old "Ent Cent" in December.
Chairman Harvey Lister said the naming rights deal was part of their business plan to keep the venue viable and not a drain on the public purse as the entertainment and convention precinct is rebuilt.
The credit union, which has 90,000 members and almost $3 billion in assets, is on a drive for brand recognition in the banking market.

While the new name is a mouthful, Mr Lister said corporate titles for music and sporting venues is now standard worldwide.

"If you look at the names of arenas around the world, there are a lot of long names," Mr Lister said.
"The important issue is for people to recognise this financial institution put their hand up to help keep this building open."

The reaction from promoters keen to continue to book acts into the old Ent Cent has been "overwhelmingly positive",

Already booked to play the arena this year are Celtic Woman, Dolly Parton, Queens Of The Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, Bruno Mars, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dave Matthews Band, Arctic Monkeys, Jason Derulo and Sydney Kings matches.

Mr Lister said music fans could expect to see some artists play concerts at both the city venue and Allphones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park.

"Some venues work better on certain nights of the week. Bruno Mars is playing both venues - as have Kylie and Pink," he said.

"It can also depend on the style of music and where most of their fans live."

The venue is expected to stage farewell concerts by some of its biggest and favourite acts at the end of 2015.

Besides Pink's phenomenal last two tours, the arena also hosted the emotional return of Kylie Minogue with the Showgirl Homecoming tour after undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

It is believed negotiations are already underway with Sir Elton John and John Farnham who have enjoyed a friendly rivalry over the years who hold the record for the most concerts at the old Ent Cent.

Mr Lister said he also wanted Sydney's music fans to nominate who they would want to see close the venue.

- SMH

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