Arts and sports organizers weigh virtual and in-person events this year
Sports events return to the Greensboro Coliseum while Tanger opening remains TBD
As the pandemic rages on, local arts organizations and events centers are cautiously optimistic about hosting large-scale events this year.
While some have decided to stay safe with all-virtual renditions, other entities will have to wait and see how the vaccine works to curb the epidemic.
“It’s very different without operating at full capacity,” said Matt Brown, the managing director of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex during a Jan. 19 Greensboro City Council work session presentation. “It’s not practical to have any live entertainment.”
The Coliseum Complex, which includes the Greensboro Coliseum, the Greensboro Aquatic Center and the Tanger Center, operated at a $7.5 million revenue loss last year due to the pandemic, with a total of about 1,000 events that were affected. The revenue loss does not include the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem which the Coliseum Complex books events for but is owned by Wake Forest University. Because of the revenue loss, Brown said that it just doesn’t make sense to open the Tanger Center at half capacity.
Originally, the Tanger Center, downtown Greensboro’s new state-of-the-art performing arts center, was scheduled to open in March 2020. After the pandemic hit, the center had to cancel or reschedule 250 events, including a slate of Broadway shows. At this point, Brown said he’s hopeful that they’ll be able to kick off their Broadway performances sometime in October.
“We couldn’t be more appreciative of our season-ticket fanbase who remains 99 percent retention of our over 16,000 season tickets,” Brown said during the presentation. “That’s a remarkable national number, and it speaks to the success when we do open of how well our first season will be, and I can attest to you that our second season of Broadway will be even more phenomenal.”
On the coliseum side, Brown said that “Greensboro will remain Tournament Town come February and March,” hosting both ACC and NCAA events. According to a schedule from Brown’s presentation, the Coliseum Complex is set to host eight ACC and NCAA events this year starting on Feb. 17 with the ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. The ACC women’s and men’s basketball tournaments also return to the city after being relocated from Washington DC, where it was originally scheduled to be played this year. The women’s event takes place March 3-7 while the men’s tournament will take place a few days later, March 9-13. And while fans may rejoice at a sense of normalcy returning to the city, Brown clarified during the presentation that only friends and members of the teams’ families will be allowed inside the stadium to watch. Tickets will not be sold to the general public for these events, so fans will have to watch from home. Brown also added that the city is available to host any in-season ACC conference men’s games if events elsewhere in the country get canceled due to the pandemic.