Toyota Center Preps for a December to Remember
For a venue celebrating its tenth year of operation, Toyota Center may have never experienced such high-caliber occupancy as it will this month.
Photo by Marco Torres Kanye West's Toyota Center half of Watch the Throne, December 2011
In late autumn, the murmurs from inside the venue's marketing department could be heard all the way across the street at the George R. Brown Convention Center. While the Rockets were finalizing the smiling "H-TOWN" visage of center Dwight Howard and guard James Harden that now greets fans, two more names were added to the arena's winter concert schedule.
Jay Z. Kanye West.
Those two names together aren't a new occurrence. Both men performed at Toyota Center in December 2011 on their rather gross and extravagant "Watch the Throne" tour. But this time around, the two are promoting completely separate ideas and albums: West a flamboyant middle finger towards conventionalism called Yeezus; Jay Z a rather polished nod to commercialism and inventive "new rules" under the name Magna Carta Holy Grail.
The Toyota Center staff plugged in the respective dates and realized both shows would land in a December stretch that already included pop royalty Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. Combined with the mid-November appearances of superstars Rihanna and Drake, soon the arena can say it will have seen six of music's biggest names enter its doors within a month's time.
"We've had many sections of the year where we've seen plenty of traffic," says Toyota Center associate general manager Amanda Mann. "But definitely nothing of this variety in the urban market."
Attending all four concerts, beginning with Timberlake tomorrow night through Jay Z December 19 (two weeks later), would rack up a minimum bill of $166. For premium seating levels for all four shows, tickets could easily set you back at least $725. Of course that's not factoring in tour merchandise, concessions and whatever else you may happen to run into. Plan to entertain the company of someone else and your escapade could vault into the $1,450 range, again with premium seating in mind.
But what those figures mean to the common fan is nothing. What they mean to the venue itself is quite astonishing.
This past March, high Rodeo season still towed in plenty of crowds to Toyota Center for concerts including Muse, Eric Clapton, Maroon 5, Elton John and Alicia Keys. Normally that would rank as the venue's busy season, a box-office windfall of some $3 million. This month, its urban swing promises to match that figure and maybe then some.
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