distortedlogic

Bi-Lo Center

509 posts in this topic

Ok, I wanted to hear your opinions on the bilo center. If memory serves, it opened in 1997. That means that next year will be it's tenth anniversary (hard to believe). It opened as the largest in the state, and remained so until the opening of the Colonial Center in Cola. The bilo center is a beautiful facility, has been very successful thus far, and has put Gville and the upstate on the entertainment map. It has competed very well with other regional arenas, many of which are larger. So how do you all see the future of the bilo center? How long will it's lifespan be?

Is it already too small? I rmember thinking when it opened that they should have spent the extra money and made it to hold 20K. And seeing the success of the concerts here, I do not think that would have been too big. But with the Colonial ctr and Charlotte's new coleseum opening, will acts start to pass us by. The Greensboro coloseum is larger, and it is only a matter of time until Charleston/N. Chas will build a new larger one. And the way MB is growing, would not be surprised to see them build a sports and entertainment venue in the not too distant future. Opinions?

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Well, the Bi-Lo Center opened in 1998 with a Janet Jackson concert. The Memorial Auditorium was imploded in 1997 - kind of a shame really, I understand the economics, but I always thought the "Big Brown Box" was kind of nice architecturaly.

The B-L has changed management in the past year, to a local group, and it was revealed at some point in the past that it was struggling financially, I forget when, memory tells me about 2003.

The Greensboro Coliseum is taking a bath financially right now. They have no tenant like the Grrrowl to even bring in fans on a consistent basis. All they have is ACC basketball tournaments and concerts.

The Colonial Center has struggled some as well. USC basketball rarely ever gets more than 8 or 9,000 fans in the arena. It was designed for hockey, but due to a dispute with USC, the "Inferno" has had to play their games in the old Carolina Coliseum and has recently announced that they were going to build their own arena near the Columbia airport. It's been a convuluted process down Columbia way.

The North Charleston arena has been doing fine, it's very similar in many ways to the Bi-Lo Center in design and what services it provides.

The new Charlotte Bob Cats arena is luxury suite heaven. I went to a hockey game there back in April and it was amazing how many suites there are in that place. Time will tell if it was a solid investment for the city of Charlotte, especially since the voters did not want to spend money on it.

The Bi-Lo Center, for what it offers and can offer: concerts, minor league hockey, basketball, etc. does what it does well. After 30 years of "Auditorium fights" in the city about an arena (Memorial Audiorium was regarded as undersized within months after construction), the Bi-Lo Center is probably exactly what Greenville needs for the forseeable future.

It has plenty of luxury suites, no shortage of entertaiment options, though the amount of concernts has shrunk due to regional competition, and it is a clean and modern place.

I do believe that within the next few years, the place will need a good two or three month cleaning and refitting just for age purposes, but for what Greenville needs it serves it purposes.

Really, to be honest with you, the Bi-Lo Center is sorta underused. I checked the schedule and there are only 4 concerts scheduled this summer.

I haven't heard anything about how succesful the new management is with the operations there. Has anyone else?

Oh, and as far as Bi-Lo Center lifespan goes, if the facility is maintained and run well, it will probably have a 60-70 year lifespan. Pefectly fine arenas have been knocked down for less, I know but the Bi-Lo Center is comparable to places like the MCI Center or Phillips Place in ATL or the Birmingham Arena. It's fine.

Edited by whitehourseview

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So it is no longer owned by Scheersports then? I did not know that. As i read your post WHR, it occurs to me that the bilo center probably does pretty well considering that it does not have a major league sports team, AND is not part of a major university. Are there many arenas around that are larger and are not part of a major league team or a major univ? I have also noticed that we have not been getting as many concerts.

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So it is no longer owned by Scheersports then? I did not know that. As i read your post WHR, it occurs to me that the bilo center probably does pretty well considering that it does not have a major league sports team, AND is not part of a major university. Are there many arenas around that are larger and are not part of a major league team or a major univ? I have also noticed that we have not been getting as many concerts.

Yeah, I think the local group that manages the facility is partly run by folks like Joe Erwin and Ed Rubenstein (who used to be Carl Scheer's right hand man). Scheer got to a point in his career where he realised he had done all he could do as the managing partner of the Bi-Lo Center and moved back to Charlotte. No harm there, the man did in a matter of months what 30+ years of arguing in Greenville could not accomplish as far as an arena goes, and Greenville should be grateful for him.

The only major arena that I can think of that does not have a major league team or major college tenant and that is larger is the Greensboro Coliseum. It was retrofitted specifically with the hopes of being the main ACC basketball tournament site at about 23,000 seats, of which the majority of those seats are only used for a few days a year.

I don't know much at all about what the new group's strategy about concerts, etc. is. The Colonial Center in Columbia and the arena near the Mall of Georgia in Gwinnett I'm sure broke up a lot of the country and rock tour stops to the Bi-Lo Center. Which could be ok, some of those groups demand so much in fees, arenas sometimes lose money on the Aerosmiths or the Dixie Chicks of the world. Sometimes it's better to not host them from a financial standpoint.

Believe it or not, the Bi-Lo Center's most profitable events are gospel music concerts. Invariably, the big tours sell out every seat.

But yeah, like I said, the Bi-Lo Center has everything a succesful arena needs: no shortage of luxury suites, a clean, modern accesible concourse area, plenty of office and dressing spaces, and at 16,000 seats, it is similar in size to some NBA/ NHL big league arenas. So it's ok and certainly serves whatever need Greenville has for the foreseeable future.

Now if the crowds can keep coming to Grrrowl games or to other events to make the physical upkeep possible is the question.

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Grrrowl average attendance:

1998 - 9269

1999 - 8000

2000 - 7015

2001 - 6148

2002 - 5302

2003 - 4617

2004 - 3662

2005 - 3443

oh boy.

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Hmm... while it is typical for a minor league team's attendance to decline over a period of time, those are some disturbing numbers. It's really the recipe for the team to either move or be disbanded.

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Hmm... while it is typical for a minor league team's attendance to decline over a period of time, those are some disturbing numbers. It's really the recipe for the team to either move or be disbanded.

It really doesnt take a genius to see what has happened to the Growwl. Every year except for the last one, ticket prices have gone up. To take a family of four to a growwl game, your looking at 40 bucks for tickets alone. Now i will be the first one to admit I am not a business man, but If i could run the organiztion for a day, I would reopen the top part of the Bilo center and charge 5.00 a ticket. You could make the upper bowl area general seating. If you want the crowds to return, you have to drop the prices significantly.

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The Colonial Center has struggled some as well. USC basketball rarely ever gets more than 8 or 9,000 fans in the arena. It was designed for hockey, but due to a dispute with USC, the "Inferno" has had to play their games in the old Carolina Coliseum and has recently announced that they were going to build their own arena near the Columbia airport. It's been a convuluted process down Columbia way.

Not to get too much off topic, but the Colonial Center has actually been doing relatively well, despite not always having capacity crowds during USC basketball games. About 3 years ago, it ranked somewhere around #18 for the number of tickets sold worldwide as far as arenas go, and it was also ranked the #1 arena in the Carolinas for number of tickets sold for 2005. And the Inferno couldn't play in the Colonial Center because tax-exempt bonds were used to finance the new arena, which means the facility cannot house a professional team, so it wasn't a situation like the USC-Bombers fiasco.

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Not to get too much off topic, but the Colonial Center has actually been doing relatively well, despite not always having capacity crowds during USC basketball games. About 3 years ago, it ranked somewhere around #18 for the number of tickets sold worldwide as far as arenas go, and it was also ranked the #1 arena in the Carolinas for number of tickets sold for 2005. And the Inferno couldn't play in the Colonial Center because tax-exempt bonds were used to finance the new arena, which means the facility cannot house a professional team, so it wasn't a situation like the USC-Bombers fiasco.

Ummmm.....isn't this the Greenville thread? Did the Colonial Center sprout wheels and roll into Greenville? ;)

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Ummmm.....isn't this the Greenville thread? Did the Colonial Center sprout wheels and roll into Greenville? ;)

I think the point of that post was to point our comparable information that help us analyze the Bi-Lo Center; I find that information very useful as if we don't explore other cities, we won't learn new things that will help make Greenville an even better place to be.

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Thanks mallguy. Wasn't trying to start a "versus" competition here, but just provide more information for comparison purposes. I'm sure the Bi-Lo center received great rankings when it was the largest in the state, and even continues to do so.

I can also believe that the Bi-Lo center's biggest profits come from Gospel music/religious events.

And as distortedlogic said, with the growth happening in Myrtle Beach, it will only be a matter of time until an arena there challenges the main arenas in the state.

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Thanks mallguy. Wasn't trying to start a "versus" competition here, but just provide more information for comparison purposes. I'm sure the Bi-Lo center received great rankings when it was the largest in the state, and even continues to do so.

I can also believe that the Bi-Lo center's biggest profits come from Gospel music/religious events.

And as distortedlogic said, with the growth happening in Myrtle Beach, it will only be a matter of time until an arena there challenges the main arenas in the state.

There is at present a 7,000 seat arena under construction in Conway, just outside of Myrtle Beach for use of Coastal Carolina and the former Pee Dee Pride ECHL hockey team that played in Florence. It is scheduled to open this year I believe. It will be known as Coastal Arena with Pepsi and Costco as sponsors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coastal_Arena

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That's great; the Inferno arena in Lexington County could also be a joint-use arena, housing an arena football team. Do we have any arena football teams in SC?

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The Grrrowl maybe the the dead canary in the mine shaft here. I expect some serious problems to arise with the financing and operations of the Bi-Lo Center.

They have to figure out how to recoup the money they made off the Grrrowl by getting more concerts and other events in the arena. With a lot of acts choosing the more intimate setup of the Peace Center, or moving on to places like Gwinnett, Columbia or Charlotte, I'm not sure that's possible.

Remember, the Bi-Lo Center has been losing money for some time.

If right decisions are not made the Bi-Lo Center will end up being a foreclosed white elephant, which is a shame, for I think still think it's better than a lot of NBA quality arenas.

Check out this blurb from the local MediaChatter site:

http://www.mediachatter.com/pages/splatterchatter.html

Edited by whitehourseview

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The Grrrowl maybe the the dead canary in the mine shaft here. I expect some serious problems to arise with the financing and operations of the Bi-Lo Center.

They have to figure out how to recoup the money they made off the Grrrowl by getting more concerts and other events in the arena. With a lot of acts choosing the more intimate setup of the Peace Center, or moving on to places like Gwinnett, Columbia or Charlotte, I'm not sure that's possible.

Remember, the Bi-Lo Center has been losing money for some time.

If right decisions are not made the Bi-Lo Center will end up being a foreclosed white elephant, which is a shame, for I think still think it's better than a lot of NBA quality arenas.

Check out this blurb from the local MediaChatter site:

http://www.mediachatter.com/pages/splatterchatter.html

You really have to take MediaChatter with a grain of salt. As with nearly every website, don't believe everything you read there.

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How cool would it be to land an indoor soccer league such as the MISL or the USIndoor, given the departure of our beloved grrrowl?

Edited by adrockc2

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I've wanted Greenville to have a pro indoor soccer team for years. That would be incredible! A pro outdoor team would be awesome as well! :shades:

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How cool would it be to land an indoor soccer league such as the MISL or the USIndoor, given the departure of our beloved grrrowl?

It'd be great to have an MISL or AISL team here. Both leagues are rather short on teams and are looking to expand. Our best bet may be the AISL since the MISL is appears to be going after big league cities/markets.

Edited by RestedTraveler

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I think we could support the larger soccer league teams, but there's no way of knowing ahead of time. There is a fun indoor soccer league that meets on Batesville Road.

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I am a doubting thomas on the indoor soccer. Soccer is just not big enough around here. The biggest sports around here are football, basketball, and baseball. Our Indoor football team folded, as did the basketball team. The braves fan base dwindled to almost nothing (took a shiny new stadium to get some spectators), and even the fancy bi-lo center's team went the way of the dodo. I just don't see indoor soccer working here anytime soon. Most people I know are not that big on watching soccer. But, I do think we need at least one team in bilo center. How bout another try at arena football?

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Actually, next to baseball, soccer could run a close second among active sports in the Greenville area, including a wide range of ages.

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There probably is a difference between active participation of sports and spectator viewing. A high school soccer game will draw a couple of hundred around here, while a high school football game can draw up to 10 to 15 thousand in this area on a Friday night.

The demise of the area's recent minor league teams tends to have a common denominator: they have played in the Bi-Lo Center.

Before we start lining up yet one more off-brand game to try and fill seats and eventually fail, some serious thought needs to be given as to why now three minor league teams have crashed in that building, as well as including the failure of the Southern Conference basketball tournament and some other regular season college basketball games in the Bi-Lo Center, which have drawn small crowds.

The GBraves drew relatively well for 18 of the 20 years they were in Greenville. In 2003 they drew alright crowds, but the clamor of competing plans for one of the three or four new sites for a stadium distracted from the product, as well as the lack of maintenance in Municipal Stadium, a facility that was once considered so special it was featured on ABC's 20/20 in the mid 80's to demonstrate how succesful minor league ball could be. 2004 was a lame duck year that was hard on all involved.

Given the right structure, and there is no reason to believe that the Drive don't have this together, minor league baseball can continue its succesful fun in Greenville, as it has for 70 of the last 80 years or so.

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