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Newcastle Entertainment Centre celebrates 20 years of success

Newcastle Entertainment Centre celebrates 20 years of success
June 20, 2012

The Newcastle Entertainment Centre (NEC) this week celebrates two decades of delivering quality, world-class entertainment for the people of the Hunter region.

Venue General Manager, Chris Blanch explains that the Centre had delivered over 1,000 events attended by more than four million patrons since it opened in June 1992.

Blanch states "more importantly, the Centre has been a financial success, delivering an operational surplus in 17 of those 20 years and a total of $5.8 million profit to the venue owner - now Venues NSW."

In addition, the AEG Ogden managed Centre paid $1.3 million to air-condition the venue and add 856 seats in 1998, as well as contributing towards a steady maintenance programme of the 10 hectare, 110 year old Newcastle Showgrounds.

AEG Ogden Chairman and Chief Executive Harvey Lister commended the venue on achieving this milestone, stating "we are extremely proud of the success the team in Newcastle has achieved under challenging circumstances over the 20 years of its operation. In addition to bringing a steady stream of entertainment and sports events as well as exhibitions and conferences to Newcastle, the Centre has been an important training ground for personnel, many of whom fill important executive positions in AEG Ogden's numerous venues around the country."

Blanch says the NEC has hosted a list of artists and events that any capital city venue would be proud of, adding "major concerts have included Pearl Jam, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Jones, Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Cher and more recently P!nk, Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Katy Perry and Usher, plus local stars John Farnham, Silverchair, Powderfinger and Cold Chisel.

"In addition, the Centre has hosted quality family shows such as the Grease Arena Spectacular, Riverdance, Cirque du Soleil, Walking with Dinosaurs, the Wiggles and Disney On Ice.

"From a sports perspective, the Centre was home of the Newcastle Falcons and the Hunter Pirates in the NBL and hosted boxing tournaments featuring Anthony Mundine and Kostya Tszyu.

"And with exhibitions and conferences, the Centre hosted the Newcastle Home Show, the Caravan and Camping Show and the Australian Trucking Conference.

"This is proof that the Centre punches well above its weight on the national entertainment scene and why it is rightly the number one arena in regional Australia."

Blanch believes it is appropriate that an event of the scale and significance of Disney On Ice will be on hand to assist in the 20th anniversary celebrations this week.

Disney On Ice holds the record for attracting the most patrons to the Centre, selling more than 600,000 tickets since 1992.

The special Disney On Ice visitors are in town for the commencement of another Ice spectacular at the Centre, 'Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate!' from 21st to 24th June. Stars from the show will assist with the cutting of a ceremonial cake at the Centre at 1.30pm on Thursday (21st June).

Built at a modest cost of $12 million, the Newcastle Entertainment Centre opened in June 1992 with American country music star, John Denver.

The Centre employs 19 permanent and 160 casual staff and last year hosted a total of 56 events attended by 216,061 patrons. It is regularly acknowledged on the world stage, ranking in the Pollstar Top 100 Global Arenas and in Venues Today's Top 10 arenas (5,001 to 10,000 capacity).

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