Mesa Amp Not What It Used To Be

The Arizona Republic recently did a hard-hitting investigation into the Mesa Amphitheatre and uncovered some alarming news: that the amphitheatre business is not what it used to be.

According to the Republic, the city-owned and -managed shed has seen annual revenue drop from $2.3 million to $366,446 during the past four years. The 32-year-old venue has also seen the number of bookings decline and the facility lost $97,6478 during the 2007-08 season.

“The amphitheatre is run under essentially the same business model set up more than 30 years ago,” the paper reported, “and has not kept pace with the fast-changing entertainment industry.”

Managers of the aging facility stressed to the Republic that the 4,950-capacity venue has turned a profit for two of the past three years despite the economic hardships. J.D. Dockstader, assistant director for the Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities Department – which runs the amphitheatre – noted the amphitheatre operates as a self-sustaining enterprise and receives no dedicated funding to book talent.

Dockstader also noted that the amphitheatre depends on promoters like Live Nation and Lucky Man Concerts to bring in shows so the shed can share in the revenue. He said slippage has accelerated since Live Nation became facility operator of Comerica Theatre in Dodge and Cricket Pavilion, while Lucky Man began concentrating on the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.

“Now that they have their own venues they don’t need us,” he told the paper.

The paper noted that Live Nation took over operation of Comerica Theatre four years ago “and the Amp revenue decline continued.”