Local News

Cumberland County Has New Hopes For The Crown

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FAYETTEVILLE — As a new floor is prepped for the National Basketball Development League's Fayetteville Patriots, there is a new outlook for the Crown.

SFX Entertainment -- a nationally known concert promoter -- will manage the Crown Coliseum complex. The company has brought in Rick Reno to run the crown and help get rid of the deficit.

"The way we do that is two-fold -- increasing revenue and reducing expenses," Reno said.

The Crown is just one of two coliseums SFX manages nationwide. The goal is to increase revenue. SFX can bring in popular names that would ordinarily not even think about coming to Fayetteville.

Rod Stewart is the first big act to be recruited. Tickets go on sale Saturday. Big acts are a priority for people like Gene Parker, who enjoys a good show close to home.

"For so long, we haven't had the opportunity to see the big name groups, we've had to go to Charlotte, Greensboro, or Raleigh, and so its important to see big names without having to travel across the state," Parker said.

There is also a renewed effort to make the coliseum more fan-friendly. For example, parking will be included in the Rod Stewart ticket price, so fans will not have to wait to pay the night of the concert. Also, instead of camping out to be the first in line to buy a ticket, a lottery system will be employed.

"I think it will definitely improve customer service here because of the time issue -- you won't have to stand out in the elements," ticket manager Antoinette Fairley said.

Another big focus will not be at the Crown at all. Reno says after the crown was built, an arena and auditorium on the Crown Coliseum grounds were hardly used at all.

He is hoping to change that by recruiting difference shows more suitable for smaller venues.