OUR OPINION: Here’s hoping activity level at Tyson picks up
In a July 22 editorial, we suggested the need exists for a bigger, busier Tyson Events Center schedule because without the Sioux City Bandits and Sioux City Musketeers, the Tyson is dark and devoid of an event most weeks. It’s reasonable, we said, to ask when the city will begin to see dividends of the move to private management of our community’s signature entertainment venue by Philadelphia-based Spectra.
Four months later the Tyson remains a largely quiet venue, but we see signs for at least cautious optimism moving forward.
First, we were pleased when Councilman Rhonda Capron publicly shared a concern similar to ours at council meetings on Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. The latter meeting included Spectra representatives. Capron’s comments spoke to accountability on behalf of citizens for the new direction in Tyson management the city embarked on last year.
“We made a big decision to have Spectra here, and we had other choices,” Capron said at the Nov. 5 meeting. “We thought that we made the best choice. We’re looking for bookings ...”
Second, Spectra representatives assured council members the company is making progress on booking events.
“We do hear you. Our No. 1 goal right now is bookings. We have a lot of activity that will pay off,” Rick Hontz, regional vice president of Spectra, told council members at the Nov. 5 meeting. “We believe once these events start hitting, we’re going to be successful.”
Spectra deserves credit for a busy schedule at the Orpheum Theatre under its management and for what it projects will be a reduction of $270,000 in the city’s Tyson subsidy this year, but part of the reason for the change to private Spectra management was an expectation for bigger and more concerts at Tyson. It appears the only Tyson concerts booked by Spectra for this calendar year will be “Lost ’80s Live” on Aug. 11 and “Gen-X Summer Tour” on Aug. 30. The only concert announcement on the schedule for next year as of today is Kelsea Ballerini on May 4.
For today, we will remain patient, along with everyone else. Because a robust Tyson is crucial to local quality of life and local quality of life is essential to economic growth and prosperity, though, we hope community patience is rewarded by increased activity at the Tyson - sooner rather than later.