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Greensboro, Wake Forest venue deal may bring more concerts

Greensboro, Wake Forest venue deal may bring more concerts

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WINSTON-SALEM — Greensboro Coliseum Director Matt Brown’s empire is spreading across the county line.

Wake Forest University has hired the coliseum’s staff to book and manage events at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and three other athletics venues here.

The university will pay Greensboro $115,000 a year for the next five years, plus a share of Ticketmaster fees earned from events.

The mayors of both cities applauded the agreement as a sign of regional cooperation.

Brown said it will help ensure concerts don’t skip the Triad.

“As a region, we don’t want to lose an event to Charlotte or Raleigh,” he said.

The university bought the 14,665-seat Joel Coliseum from the city of Winston-Salem in August. The $8 million sale came with an agreement to keep it accessible to the public.

University officials looked into hiring a coliseum manager or a booking company to run the venue but decided to tap Greensboro because of its reputation in the event promotion industry.

“We knew the type of work Matt and his staff were capable of doing,” said Ron Wellman, Wake Forest’s athletics director, referring to Brown.

The Joel complex includes large and small event spaces. It’s the site of conferences, national concert and theater tours, and major athletics competitions.

The Greensboro staff will handle ticket sales, marketing and booking for Joel and three other Wake Forest venues: BB&T Field, a football stadium that can hold more than 31,000 people; the baseball park; and the tennis complex. The Greensboro Coliseum won’t handle university events at those venues, which will continue to be home turf for Wake Forest’s sports teams.

Wellman said university officials envision the area becoming an entertainment destination for the region.

Wellman and Brown said they don’t see Greensboro’s entertainment venues as being in competition with Winston-Salem’s.

The agreement between Greensboro and the university says that “all financial deals will need to be risk-free” for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. The agreement also indicates that any joint operations will protect Greensboro’s ticket revenue.

The university and the Greensboro Coliseum will share any net Ticketmaster fees earned. Greensboro doesn’t plan to hire new staff because of the agreement, said City Manager Denise Turner Roth.

The university will reimburse Greensboro at an hourly rate for the time of any city staff member — except Brown and his deputy — who works a Winston-Salem event.

Contact Amanda Lehmert at (336) 373-7075, and follow @alehmert on Twitter.

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Business terms of agreement between Greensboro Coliseum and Wake Forest University concerning Joel Coliseum.

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