Originally Posted Online: May 13, 2013, 9:05 pm
Last Updated: May 14, 2013, 12:12 am

i wireless Center marks most sellouts since 1st year

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

As the i wireless Center in Moline prepares to mark 20 years in business at the end of the month, it has racked up the most sold-out concerts in a single year since its first year.

For the fiscal year ending March 31, the eight sold-out shows in the arena and their attendance numbers were:

--Lady Antebellum (April 5, 2012): 10,493
-- Nickelback (April 10, 2012): 10,254
-- Jason Aldean (May 11, 2012): 10,995
-- Zac Brown (Aug. 3, 2012): 10,574
-- Eric Church (Oct. 5, 2012): 10,659
-- Carrie Underwood (Nov. 16, 2012): 10,189
-- Maroon 5 (March 1, 2013): 10,864
-- Luke Bryan (March 2, 2013): 10,779

Seating capacities are dictated by the size of the production, so that's why the total attendance number varies, i wireless Center Executive Director Scott Mullen said Monday. The i wi also had near sellouts with Rascal Flatts, Journey and Green Day, he noted.

"I would attribute this year's concert success to the surge in popularity of country music," Mr. Mullen said. "Country acts have done a great job of keeping their artist guarantees at a reasonable level, which allows promoters to offer tickets at reasonable prices.

"Country acts also tour more extensively than other genres of music -- playing more dates," he said. "We have worked very hard at the manager and agent level in terms of networking and building relationships to get all types of shows to play the Quad-Cities."

The best year for sellouts at the former Mark of the Quad Cities was 1993-94, when the arena opened May 28-29 with two sold-out Neil Diamond concerts. Being "starved for entertainment," Mr. Mullen said, Quad-Cities fans flocked to the then-new arena in droves.

For the 10-month year ending March 31, 1994, The Mark hosted 13 sellout shows, including Billy Ray Cyrus, Dwight Yoakum, the Beach Boys,Kenny G,Bette Midler, Michael Bolton, Aerosmith,Reba McEntire,Tim McGraw, Rod Stewart and Frank Sinatra.

The good year just past helped the i wi reach its most profitable bottom line since 2008-09, when it posted a surplus of just more than $1 million. In 2012-13, it ended with an unaudited profit of$910,956. The audited annual report will be presented to the Illinois Quad City Civic Center Authority board at its June meeting.