Sudbury

Sudbury Arena manager points to economy, industry for soft events line-up

In 2008, the electronic marquee at the Sudbury Arena was lighting up with names like Elton John, Bob Dylan and the Backstreet Boys — but these days, it seems the big name acts aren't coming to the Nickel City.

2015 was a "challenging year," says Jeff Pafford

Is the Sudbury Arena struggling to attract big name acts these days? 

In 2008, the electronic marquee on Elm Street in the downtown was lighting up with names like Elton John, Bob Dylan and the Backstreet Boys — but these days, it seems the big name acts aren't coming to the Nickel City. 

International pop icon Elton John played the Sudbury Arena in 2008, and while most remember his visit for the ticket scandal the followed, the performance is also noted as an example of the calibre of acts the arena has attracted in the past. (CBC )

Arena manager Jeff Pafford says last year was a particularly tough one.

"2015 was a challenging year for the Sudbury Arena and the industry as a whole," he explained. 

Pafford said there were fewer events booked, and city revenues were $236,000 below what city staff expected last year.

He said some of that is the economy in general, with some acts simply deciding not to tour or to skip smaller cities to save on costs.

But Pafford points out that the 65-year-old Sudbury Arena has recently hosted some well-known comedians — and country superstars like Brad Paisley.

Brad Paisley, seen here performing elsewhere, packed the Sudbury Arena in Nov. 2014. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

And on Instagram, fans of the Canadian rock band Marianas Trench, which performed at the arena in March, seemed impressed by the production value of the concert. 

Pafford said 2016 is already shaping out to be a better year.

"We're getting lots of calls and you know, we're not forgotten about."

Pafford said the arena is also trying to get promoters to bring different kinds of shows to the facility. For example: the Price is Right travelling show "comes on down" to Sudbury in September.

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