Since opening in 2010, Intrust Bank Arena has hosted a variety of big-name acts. Performances by artists like Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Fall Out Boy and many more have impressed Wichitans year after year. According to AJ Boleski, general manager of Intrust Bank Arena, it takes more than a few phone calls to bring these events to Wichita.
One of the major factors Boleski considers when booking tours is highlighting a wide variety of shows.
“Last year, in 2015, we celebrated our fifth anniversary here, and we really focused on having some big shows that hadn’t been in Wichita before. Things like Bob Segar, Fleetwood Mac, and the Foo Fighters were some of those, so again, focused on that variety,” Boleski said.
The Arena also hosted its first pop show in 2015, featuring Ariana Grande, as well as its first hip-hop show with Little Wayne. It’s variety like this that Boleski looks for when planning the Arena’s upcoming events.
The process of bringing an act to Intrust Bank Arena begins simply with finding tours that will be performing right part of the world at the right time. Once these details are nailed down, Boleski can begin taking steps to secure performances in Wichita.
“We’re reaching out to them in a variety of ways,” Boleski says, “whether it’s making visits to offices in L.A. and New York and Nashville and Houston and Chicago every year to make sure Wichita is top of mind,” Boleski said.
From here, the staff works with the production teams of each individual tour to make sure that the show will fit in the Arena, taking into consideration the light and sound equipment required for the show, seating capacity and more.
Advertisement and ticket sales begin shortly thereafter, and then it’s time to plan for the event itself. Staffing the event is the next challenge. While this may not seem like a significant part of the process, staffing plays a bigger role than you might expect. The Arena has 42 full time staff and about 400 part time staff, and Sedgwick county Sherriff’s officers and EMTs are scheduled to attend events for security and safety. According to Boleski, staffing is vital to the success of the events.
“It takes every bit of our team to make an event occur, and it’s such an amazing sight to see, and it’s an amazing part of our job,” Boleski said.
On average, Intrust Bank Arena hosts about 100 events each year. Of those, 36 are Thunder Hockey games and six are Wichita Force football games. The remaining 58 events are a mix of family shows, concerts and other sporting events.
Intrust Bank Arena saw its second most successful year in 2015, ranking 73rd worldwide and 35th in the United States in terms of ticket sales. In addition, the Arena hosted 13 of the top 100 tours in 2015, ending the year on a high note with six sold out Garth Brooks concerts in December.