Broomfield Event Center on life support

broomfield e v e n t s center.jpg

The Broomfield Event Center has been twisting since at least earlier this year, when Tim Wiens announced that he wanted out of his contract to manage the venue -- a lack-of-success story almost from its opening in 2006. And while the willingness of Anschutz Entertainment Group/Kroenke Sports Enterprises, a joint venture of two big moneymen in the area, to run the facility is good news for the city of Broomfield, which bankrolled the arena with $60 million worth of bonds, it's hardly a panacea. There are already too many arenas of its size (6,000 seats) in the area, and even though it's right off Highway 36, it's got some bizarre accessibility issues, as I discovered when attending a concert featuring Weezer, Angels & Airwaves and Tokyo Police Club last October. My account:

In the live review linked above, I described the joint as "weirdly inaccessible" -- and that's as politely as I could put it. My daughter Lora and I had tickets for the gig, and in attempting to get to the show, I took what seemed to be the most logical exit off Highway 36 only to discover that roads leading to the west side of the center had been closed. After driving around aimlessly for a few minutes, looking in vain for assistance from signage, I got back on the highway headed in the opposite direction, took a different exit and then traveled along a frontage road for a mile or more before encountering my next problem: The main route to the structure's east was blocked, too.

I subsequently stopped to ask a security staffer for help, but she seemed as confused as I was. In the end, I headed south for quite a stretch, then followed headlights to a fairly empty parking structure. The lack of cars corresponded to the small crowd size. The arena was only about 20 percent full when Lora and I arrived, about ten minutes after the concert's published start time; it wound up at between half and two-thirds of capacity, maybe, by the time Weezer took the stage.

Simply put, relatively few concert-goers have attended a show at the Broomfield Event Center, which is new but not posh -- it's essentially a concrete barn, with the acoustics that description implies. To get folks to give it a try, the Anschutz/Kroenke team will have to schedule in some high profile productions -- a legitimate risk that could have negative consequences if things go badly. And occasional successes may still not be enough to save the most prominent white elephant on Denver's live-event scene.

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