As concerts return, still long road to recovery for entertainment industry after pandemic

Your Money Matters

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As scheduled concerts and events are slowly starting to return to KELOLAND, it will likely not be enough to help the entertainment industry fully recover from the hard losses of the pandemic. 

“Our 2020 budget has been toast,” PREMIER Center General Manager Mike Crewson said.

The PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls is one of hundreds of entertainment venues across the nation experiencing steep losses this year.

“We’re at least half of our stated budget which is close to $14 million dollars in revenue,” Crewson said.

“We’ve postponed between $3 and $4 million in ticket sales,” Jered Johnson with Pepper Entertainment said.

It’s not just venues hit hard, but all aspects of the entertainment industry.

“You have the primary touring artist of course, but then you have their band, you have their touring group, their management companies, their agencies,” Johnson said.

Jered Johnson with Pepper entertainment, the company bringing Toby Keith to Sioux Falls this September, says his company has been able keep everyone fully employed with the help of the PPP, but many entertainment companies haven’t been so lucky.

“A lot of people in our industry that we’re close with have been furloughed and they don’t know when they’re getting back to work,” Johnson said.  “They have families, they have mortgages, they have kids. And then there’s the other side of that where they didn’t make the furlough, they got cut or terminated.”

The PREMIER Center recently let a handful of full time staff members go to help cut back on expenses, but there are also many others financially impacted by their continued closure and cancellations.

“Our cleaning company that would bring in revenue from cleaning after events, our part time staff, our food service company Spectra that orders food,” Crewson said.

With so many people financially impacted by the pandemic, it could continue to impact the entertainment industry as consumers tend to cut back on those kind of luxury expenses when they’re dealing with personal economic struggles.

“When you have options to go out and do things, you want to feel comfortable, so I thinks it’s really important, specifically in entertainment, that there’s relaxed refund policies, more relaxed than there’s ever been,” Johnson said.

“The willingness to get people to spend a little money, that all goes towards getting us back to whatever the new normal is,” Crewson said.

Johnson says many concerts cancelled this year have been postponed to next year, which means they won’t have a lot of revenue in 2020. They say the entertainment industry is counting on those concerts to come back and ticket sales to rebound next year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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