Wharton Center ranks No. 16 in the worlds top venues

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The July 2017 issue of Venues Today ranks Michigan State University’s Wharton Center at No. 16 nternationally for venues with a capacity of 2,001 to 5,000 seats.

The magazine also ranks Wharton Center’s November 2016 engagement of “Wicked” at No. 14 for top ticketed events internationally at venues with a capacity of 2,001 to 5,000 seats. The rankings are based on concert and event grosses from October 2016 to May 2017.

“Being ranked in the top 20 venues of our size is such an honor,” said Mike Brand, Wharton Center’s executive director. “Both of these lists included venues from all over the world, and we are proud to be recognized. The rankings send a message to producers and promoters that Michigan State University’s Wharton Center is the place to be.”

The ranking data do not include Wharton Center’s rental partners such as the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, MSU Department of Theatre and MSU College of Music. It does, however, include figures from the “Live at Wharton” series, which consists of shows that aren’t part of the standard Wharton Center subscription series.

“We are proud to offer diverse and abundant opportunities for entertainment in our community,” Brand said. “When you add up the numbers, we are also a major contributor to the local economy. Last year alone it has been estimated, based on industry standards, that Wharton Center had over a $47 million impact in the mid-Michigan region, including patron visits to restaurants and hotels, as well as the ripple effect of our own expenditures and local employment.

Wharton Center estimated its economic impact for the 2016-2017 season by using a calculation given by the Broadway League. In 2016-17, Wharton Center spent $13.5 million for an estimated economic impact of $47 million, which includes patron and employee expenditures at area restaurants, hotels, retail outlets and other places.

Live entertainment is vital to the state’s economy. According to 2015-16 statistics from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., nearly 96,000 people are employed by the state’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry. In addition, the Gross Regional Product of the industry exceeds $3 billion per year, while the estimated economic impact of Broadway shows touring Michigan in 2009 was $117 million. 

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