Elton John, who would be one of the biggest names to ever perform in South Dakota, will be in concert at the Sioux Falls Arena in October, promoters confirmed.
It’s been a long, long time since John first shot into the upper stratosphere of pop music. But after nearly 40 years as a flamboyant pop star, the “Rocket Man” will finally be touching down in Sioux Falls.
John, the piano-pounding Brit whose hits include “Your Song” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” will bring his deep catalog of hits to the Arena on Oct. 7.
Tickets go on sale at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. They can be purchased at the Arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 334-8181. There will be a six ticket limit per customer with about 7,000 seats available for the show.
The show is expected to sell out.
“I think the only question is how many days will it take to sell out,” says Russ DeCurtins, the Arena’s executive director. “It definitely is one that will sell briskly.”
This will be John’s first performance in the state. It’s already being called one of the biggest concerts to come to the Arena in the building’s 46-year history.
“It definitely ranks right up there in the top three or four,” DeCurtins says.
Annually, Elton John’s concerts are among the most popular and profitable shows in the country.
Last year John only played 20 cities – including an extended run in Las Vegas – and still had the 10th highest-grossing concert year. According to Pollstar, he accumulated $48.9 million in ticket sales with an average ticket price of $125.08.
Ticket prices for this show haven’t been announced yet.
“It will definitely be less than he charges in most markets,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar. “He realizes that in Sioux Falls you can’t charge the same price as you do in Chicago.”
And though Bongiovanni says John tours more than most pop artists of his stature, there’s still the lingering question of, “How did the Arena land a date with Elton John, one of the most in-demand musicians in the world?”
Keep in mind that John typically plays venues with twice the seating capacity of the Arena – he’s also playing a 20,000-seat arena in Kansas City and a 17,000-seat venue in Omaha this fall. So how did Arena pull it off?
Well, it wasn’t an overnight process.
“We’ve been negotiating this specific date for six months,” says Mike Evans, senior vice president of entertainment for SMG, the company that manages the Sioux Falls Arena.
Evans says SMG has a good working relationship with John. And since they knew John would be in the Midwest this fall they pitched him the idea of playing South Dakota for the first time in his well-traveled career.
“Elton had wanted to play to South Dakota,” DeCurtins says.
But, notice how he didn’t say John wanted to play “Sioux Falls.”
Remember, on the opposite side of the state in Rapid City sits the 10,000-seat Rushmore Plaza Civic Center with more room for people and profit than the much older Sioux Falls Arena and its 7,000 seats.
“We know Sioux Falls is a stronger market and that’s one of the pitches we made to the management,” DeCurtins says.
DeCurtins says they pushed facts like Sioux Falls’ higher per capita income – $21,374 for Sioux Falls, $19,445 for Rapid City; according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
And they reminded John’s management about the Arena’s 2004 Cher concert that sold more than 6,000 tickets at $82 a piece.
“It was an uphill battle against a building that was quite a bit larger than us,” DeCurtins says. “I have to give a lot of credit to Mike Evans. Without that relationship he has with Elton’s manager we probably wouldn’t have gotten this.”
But we did. Captain Fantastic is coming to Sioux Falls. Even if it took a long, long time to get him here.
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