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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


BJC Loses $100k From Akon Concert

I was informed today by Raj Desai, President of the Student Programming Association (SPA), that the Bryce Jordan Center lost over $100,000 in putting on the recent Akon/Rihanna concert. That’s really unfortunate.

I know the BJC loses money on some events and makes it back on others, but I think that the failure of the Akon concert on a massive scale speaks to the lack of interest of the student body and surrounding community in not just this concert, but the event process as run by Penn State.

If only the Student Programming Association and Bryce Jordan Center could collaborate to have some kind of internet-based polling system whereby students chose by popular vote which acts they would be interested in and reject those that wouldn’t really go over that well, attendance/financial-wise.

Penn State talks about how it does “more with less”, according to resident spinmaster VP Bill Mahon — if they’re serious, they’ll take the BJC’s commitment to excellence and the SPA’s commitment to student programming to heart and provide the necessary resource to make this common-sense polling system a reality.

All that the BJC and SPA will need to do after that is make sure the thing is marketed correctly.

Correction – Nov. 13, 2007 — I’ve been notified by Raj Desai that I misunderstood him. Rather, it cost the Bryce Jordan Center in the area of $100,000 to put on the event, but whether the event was indeed profitable is what remains unknown.

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Comments

Ultimately, students are a hard market to please. There was an article in the collegian last year mentioning how less big name shows want to come to smaller, secondary markets such as the one we have.

Of course, the music scene is not as clear cut as it looks. Usually a band will not bother to control where they play. Their agent will get them X shows paying $X per show. A promoter is the party that is financing those shows and taking the financial risk on the,

Now, take a popular band and consider what happens: they can play 3 nights in the Philadelphia area, where the promoter knows it will sell out and make the big bucks, or they can come to Happy Valley, where depending on how apathetic the students are feeling, they might end up making just what they are guaranteed. Most of the promoters who control where the acts go want the $$$. If they aren’t going to make a lot of money here, than the promoters will steer clear.

The BJC has been doing a truly valiant job attempting to bring in acts by acting as its own promoter, taking on the financial risks on its own. Not the best policy of course, but the BJC needs to sustain itself somehow. now, I’m not going to argue that the losses are not a big issue, but it comes down to this:

We can have the BJC hosting concerts and bringing in acts, and occasionally losing money

Or we can have a silent, empty, decaying BJC which no respectable act will even touch.

On the topic of the polling system, its not so much an issue of getting the polls made, but getting the student body to take the polls.

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