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Huntington arena named a 'venue to watch'

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 11:29 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The Big Sandy Superstore Arena has been included in Billboard Magazine's "New and Renovated Venues to Watch" list for 2013.

Huntington's arena landed at No. 14 in a list of 17 venues across the country and the globe.

The arena also landed on a Venues Today Magazine ranking of 2012 ticket sales, with the Big Sandy clocking in as 11th in the world among venues with seating capacities between 5,001 and 10,000. Brian Sipe, general manager of the arena, which is itself managed by SMG, says it's exciting to get more international attention.

"This shows that Huntington is not just a player, but a leader on the world's stage when it comes to arenas our size," he said in a press release.

Billboard's announcement also comes on the heels of three sold-out concerts at the arena -- Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert -- and a $4.6 million renovation to the arena. Amenities at the arena now include 24 rows of telescopic seating, which provides space for a crowd of 7,500 for an end-stage concert.

"It lets us host a wide variety of attractions giving north of 40,000 square feet of floor space with the seating retracted, or a full-set arena for a concert or family show," Sipe said in the report. "We also purchased new spotlights, new carpeting, big-screen TVs, furniture and even an electric fireplace in the dressing rooms. We have also replaced our HVAC system. This spring we will finish with a renovated outdoor plaza and double the amount of box-office windows from four to eight."

Those renovations were approved by Huntington City Council in 2011 after obtaining a low interest rate on the federal government's American Recovery Bond program.

Other national recognizable venues on Billboard's watch list include the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the New Orleans Arena and USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

Some upcoming events at the arena include the Harlem Globetrotters, Willie Nelson and Larry the Cable Guy/Bill Engvall among others.

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