Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land's Year-In-Review
As featured on FortBendFocus.com
Celebrating its first anniversary earlier this year, Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land presented its year-in-review as the region’s first state-of-the-art, indoor performance venue. The venue achieved major milestones during its inaugural year, earning national recognition by ranking number 12 in the world on Pollstar’s Top 200 Theatre Venues list. Smart Financial Centre was also recognized as one of North America’s most notable venues vying for top-selling tours by Billboard Magazine.
“Our goal with Smart Financial Centre was to create an entertainment destination for Sugar Land, Fort Bend County and Houston-area residents to enjoy a variety of performances in the comfort of an indoor, state-of-the-art facility,” said Gary Becker, President of ACE SL, LLC. “Our size and seating flexibility have made us an attractive venue to a wide range of artists that include legends like Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson and Rod Stewart, as well as today’s hottest acts like The Killers and A Perfect Circle. Our ticket sales have been so robust that if you compare our numbers to those of much larger facilities, we would rank among the top third of arenas in the world and top 15 percent of the world’s amphitheaters. We have had a phenomenal first year and 2018 is already tracking ahead of where we were this time last year, ranking #8 worldwide in the 2018 Mid-Year Top Stops in the 5,001-10,000 capacity by VenuesNow.”
Since opening to the public on January 14th, 2017, Smart Financial Centre has hosted a diverse lineup that spans 45 concerts, 34 theatrical and performing arts productions, 19 cultural events, 17 community and family shows and 16 comedy acts, exceeding overall expectations for the number of shows by 40 percent. In addition to its scheduled performances, the venue also welcomed the Fort Bend ISD high school graduations and convocations the last two school years and philanthropy events like Blue October, a fundraiser to support local law enforcement, and a number of City of Sugar Land Events.
In addition to its number of performances, Smart Financial Centre’s paid attendance for the year also surpassed projections by more than 35 percent. This led to a new direct sales tax revenue of more than $580,000 received by the City of Sugar Land in 2017, exceeding expectations by nearly 50 percent.
“Smart Financial Centre’s continued accolades are proof that we have created a world-class venue for performing arts, music, comedy, family entertainment and other activities like no other in the Houston area,” said Allen Bogard, City of Sugar Land City Manager. “Smart Financial Centre is a cultural and entertainment asset that is quickly becoming the pride of Sugar Land and the region. It also benefits our local community and taxpayers, who benefit from the economic development and tourism dollars generated this inaugural year, as well as its anticipated community economic benefit of $26.1 million annually over 30 years.”
Built by the City of Sugar Land in partnership with ACE SL, LLC (ACE), Smart Financial Centre is intended to further position the city as a destination location for culture and entertainment. At 200,000-square-feet, the venue features moveable walls that expand and contract to create four seating capacities, ranging from an intimate setting of 3,400 seats to a maximum of 6,400 seats. It also includes the latest sound, light and video technology that can be used for a variety of productions. Its flexible design and state-of-the-art features also enable the venue to swiftly accommodate last-minute performances, including former Smiths frontman Morrissey. Following a series of thunderstorms that saturated White Oak Music Hall’s outdoor lawn, Smart Financial Centre quickly arranged to host Morrissey and approximately 3,500 fans after confirming and announcing the venue change just two days prior.
Most notably, the venue also served as one of the alternative venues for Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker after Hurricane Harvey severely damaged The Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Smart Financial Centre welcomed more than 31,000 patrons to 14 performances throughout the holiday season.
“As the lead sponsor for Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, we have seen a tremendous impact on our business as the venue’s name and top-notch shows continue to be introduced on television, radio, and conversations throughout the greater Houston area,” said Larry Seidl, CEO of Smart Financial Credit Union. “The venue’s success continues to be validated with its many honors like the #12 ranking in the world for attendance to a facility of its size. We are very fortunate to be part of this wonderful venue for years to come.”
“Our overwhelming success this first year is a testament to the City of Sugar Land’s vision and leadership, our venue staff and the hundreds of thousands of customers who have come through our doors,” said Becker.