ActivePaper Archive ‘Beiber’ plan moves forward - Hobbs News Sun, 2013-03-20

‘Beiber’ plan moves forward

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The City of Hobbs is moving forward with plans to lure a Top 10 act like Justin Beiber to the community and approved working out the terms of a contract with an event coordinator for just such a purpose.

Hobbs Parks and Rec director Mia Russell presented the proposal to the Hobbs Commission Monday night. The city department had previously sent out a bid package to seek interested event coordination companies that would help put on a large-scale concert. “We sent out five bid packages and received one back,” Russell said, “but it is from a very reputable and highly-qualified company.”

The company, Axcess Marketing, presented the city with a list of past large-scale events it had coordinated and the total cost.

The company organized a U2 concert which cost $1.2 million, a Radiohead concert that cost $1 million and a 41-band event that cost $1.8 million. The company also estimated that if the city put on an event with 20,000 attendees it could see $550,000-$1.7 million in revenues.

However, none of the projected costs took into account the cost of paying the performer up front, which would likely run around $500,000.

“The next step is to negotiate a contract with them,” Russell said. “They don’t know what we want at this point. They have not been to Hobbs to look at site for a venue.”

Russell said the company’s management fee, if a contract was secured and the company did organize a large-scale concert, would be $200,000-$400,000.

“We are hoping for attendance in the 30,000-40,000 range, and we think that is certainly do-able,” Russell said, adding Del Norte Park would be the likely location for such an event.

Despite the company’s estimates, which would put the cost of such a concert at around $2 million, Russell said she doesn’t believe it will cost the city that much.

“I don’t think there is any way we will be in the $1.7 million range,” she said. “I think it would be more like $1 million because of the resources we can provide.”

Russell said partnering with non-profits, local youth organizations and contracting vendors to sell T-shirts and concession sales at the event would lower the cost of the project.

“When you talk about a $1 million concert, it is important to talk about you will be bringing in a lot of revenue,” Russell said, discussing lodging, local dining and retail revenues that would be generated by bringing in attendees from outside of Hobbs.

“This will draw people from Colorado, Texas and all across New Mexico,” said city manage J.J. Murphy, who first proposed the idea.

Russell said the plan is to offer the ticket prices for the event in the $10 range for Hobbsans and perhaps in the $50 range for those from outside the community.

Commissioner John Boyd, who was the only one to vote against the city working on a contract with the event coordinator, said he could-n’t wrap his mind around the plan.

“$1.5 million for a 3-hour show is a hard thing for me to get me head around as a good way to spend our money,” he said. “I can think of a lot of other things we could be doing.”

Murphy said the school district has set up a group of volunteer students that would help decide who the entertainer will be from a list the coordinator puts together as possible candidates.

Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said he wouldn’t support the project if the commission’s approval would require the city to pay the coordinator anything up front.

“I won’t support this if we are going to approve it and write them a check to come see us,” he said.

Murphy said the city will negotiate a contract with the company and then it will require city commission approval before that contract is signed. Russell said once a contract is signed the city would only owe the company 20 percent of their total fee up front for them to begin work.

Russell mentioned a fee of around $150,000 for the company to put on the event. The city has set aside $450,000 from the Lodger’s Tax fund to pay the coordinator and act as a the up-front fee for the potential band or performer.

City commissioner Crystal Mullins said she would like to see the city bring in as much local talent as possible to perform as opening acts for the headliner and make the concert an all-day-type event.

The city commission approved moving forward with contract negotiations. Boyd was the sold dissenting vote.

Levi Hill can be reached at 391-5438 or reporter2@hobbsnews.com.