Never should have happened, says KC Councilman John Sharp. Not at a competing venue, in a competing city, anyway. That’s because concert promoter AEG made a deal with Kansas City in the Wayne Cauthen/Kay Barnes era to book both the new Sprint Center and Kemper and to not directly compete against those venues.
“I just got through a meeting with AEG last week in which they talked about their noncompete clause that extended from the Sprint Center 250 miles in any direction,” Sharp says. “AEG is not supposed to be involved in booking competitive events within 250 miles of the Sprint Center.”
As for booking Brown’s show at the new center in Independence, “This wasn’t just a show, this was the grand opening concert, that’s serious,” says one entertainment insider. “That concert would have done at least 20 percent better at Sprint.”
Translation: by putting the show in Independence, Kansas City missed out on the ticket revenue, taxes and money that otherwise likely would have gone to the Power & Light District and other local businesses from concertgoers who would have gone downtown to see the concert at Sprint.
That said, the flip side of Brown not playing a Kansas City date: Sprint was hosting the National Catholic Youth Convention and Kemper an American Royal event that night. However, that isn’t to say in the world of concert booking that an alternate date might have been made available for Sprint had AEG not scheduled Brown for the IEC.
“They didn’t have to do the show” there, says one entertainment booker.
AEG did not return calls for this column.
Councilman Sharp’s take on AEG’s involvement in the Brown concert:
“This news is very disturbing,” he says. “Because my understanding is that violates their agreement with the city based on what they (just) told me. And obviously with them managing our major entertainment destination in Kansas City we’d like them to concentrate their booking efforts on the Sprint Center not on competing venues – particularly nearby competing venues.”
As for the likelihood that AEG’s concert arm in St. Louis – not it’s representatives here in Kansas City may have booked the Brown show for Independence, “That’s fine and dandy, but our agreement isn’t with an division of of AEG, it’s with the entire company,” Sharp says. “And they need to live up to their agreement.”