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Billboard names Huntington arena as one of its ‘venues to watch'

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By JAMES E. CASTO

 

For The State Journal

 

HUNTINGTON – Billboard Magazine, a widely read trade journal in the entertainment industry, has recognized the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington as one of its "venues to watch" in 2013. 

The Big Sandy Arena has landed in the No. 14 spot on Billboard's just-published list of "New and Renovated Venues to Watch."

 "After being recognized as a top 11 venue in the world for ticket sales in 2012 by Venues Today Magazine, we are thrilled to be the focus of another article now by a world-famous magazine such as Billboard Magazine," said Brian Sipe, the arena's general manager. "This shows that Huntington is not just a player, but a leader, on the world's stage when it comes to arenas our size."

The arena, managed by national management services company SMG, is in the final stages of an ambitious upgrade.

"We have 24 rows of telescopic seating, which lets us have 7,500 for an end-stage concert," Sipe said. "This lets us host a wide variety of attractions giving north of 40,000 square feet of floor space with the seating retracted, or a full-set arena for a concert or family show."

The arena also purchased new spotlights, new carpeting, big-screen TVs, furniture and even an electric fireplace in the dressing rooms. "We've replaced our HVAC system," Sipe said. "This spring we will finish up our improvement projects with a renovated outdoor plaza. And we will double the number of box-office windows from four to eight.

Huntington City Council approved the arena renovations in 2011 after obtaining a low interest bond rate as part of the federal American Recovery program. No increase in taxes was required to finance the work, Sipe noted.

Upcoming scheduled events at the arena include the Harlem Globetrotters, the WSAZ Home & Garden Show, Willie Nelson and Larry the Cable Guy/Bill Engvall, among others. For a full list, visit www.bigsandyarena.com.