QUESTION: Aren't there enough music venues already in Athens?
- There is a variety of options when it comes to music and entertainment venues. Each venue serves a different purpose. An arena like this is a versatile facility that can provide permanent seating for 6,000, standing attendance room for 7,500, has adjustable flooring for sporting events, and also has acoustics created for optimal sound throughout. The new arena would expand the scope of possible programming in Athens.
QUESTION: Is the cost of the new arena burdensome for Athens-Clarke County residents?
- It is not. The cost of the venue will be shared by the public and private sectors. We anticipate a quick return on the taxpayers’ investment -- the arena will generate $33 million per year in economic impact for Athens-Clarke County and will pay for itself in less than three years.
QUESTION: Does The Classic Center really need to expand?
- The Classic Center hosts an average of 660 events and outperforms similar venues two to one, reaching near or at maximum capacity for events each year. When an event is hosted, not only is a space occupied the day of an event, but also the day prior to and the day following the close of an event, for set-up and breakdown, appearing as though the space is unused. This arena will add an additional 125 events per year, resulting in over 300 additional event days, with larger attendance numbers, but the nature of its construction will allow us to better leverage our existing space. Already there are more than 20 acts or activities interested in hosting an event at a space of this size specifically in Athens, with more to come.
QUESTION: How will traffic be affected by this new arena?
- Downtown is used to hosting big events, and we anticipate current infrastructure will be able to handle any new traffic. Given the location of the multi-modal station adjacent to the arena, we anticipate an increase in public transportation use for special events along with robust ride sharing.
QUESTION: Will shows and events in this new arena appeal to all demographics and be priced reasonably?
- The Classic Center provides a variety of events for all and the arena will help us broaden that mix even further, including family shows, youth sports events, concerts, ice shows and more. Ticket prices will be set by the performers and promoters, but with the opportunity for more events of ranging size and style, and more seating options, there will be more options for price levels.
QUESTION: Will this new arena be focused primarily on out-of-town visitors?
- While we draw visitors from across the southeast, we are proud of our strong local visitor base. The new arena will help us provide more variety that will appeal to locals and visitors alike.
QUESTION: Is there a demand for a new arena?
- The Classic Center hosts an average of 660 events and outperforms the industry of similar venues two to one, reaching near or at maximum capacity for events each year. Already there are more than 20 acts or activities interested in hosting an event at a space of this size specifically in Athens, with more to come. There is strong demand for this venue.
QUESTION: Isn't this new arena too formal for Athens?
- The Classic Center Arena will be an adaptable venue that can adjust to fit the needs of each event and its attendees. A more comfortable, flexible style with the professionalism and cleanliness of The Classic Center will be on display in the new arena. The Classic Center Arena will continue to strive to fulfill its mission to “impress” its guests, while also providing a place that is suitable for everyone and every event.
QUESTION: Due to other proposed venues in our community, is this new arena needed?
- We are not opposed to the open-air projects proposed and believe the community can accommodate multiple performance venues, especially given the limited ability to schedule outdoor shows and events. Our goal is to provide a flexible facility that will work for musical acts but also appeal to other events that our community is currently missing out on.