BANGOR, Maine — The new Cross Insurance Center won’t open until Labor Day weekend next year, but Bangor’s new $65 million arena and events center already has calendar dates reserved for events, concerts and shows.
“When we open, the building’s going to be busy,” said Doug Higgons, regional vice president for Global Spectrum, an international public assembly facilities management company hired by Bangor to manage the Cross Center. “We’ve had a lot of interest from concert promoters, meeting and event planners, and event organizers already.
“A lot of times, when we do a particular project like this, we have to get the word out ourselves, but the good news here is there’s been a lot of advance publicity and a lot of recognition already, even nationally.”
Higgons said that’s especially true on the entertainment level.
“I credit [promoter] Alex Gray and the folks at [national promotional and ticket sales agency] Live Nation for making Bangor an entertainment destination,” said Higgons, referring to the success Gray’s Waterfront Concerts has had the last three years attracting headliner acts to the Bangor Waterfront.
“When we pick up the phone and call people, we don’t have to explain where Bangor is and why it’s a place they can sell tickets.”
In addition, Front Row Marketing — an agency hired by Bangor to handle corporate sponsorships and other advertising and promotional deals — is engaged in talks with local and regional businesses, as well as national corporations. Front Row also handled naming rights for the arena.
Global Spectrum and Front Row are subsidiaries of Comcast-Spectacor, an international sports and entertainment provider.
Once the Cross Insurance Center opens, Global Spectrum’s local staff of 17 full-time employees will work in offices there, but until then, they’ll work out of temporary office space at or near Bass Park.
“We will literally start hiring and bringing staff on board this August,” Higgons said. “We already have a calendar for the center and we have dates on hold already. We’ll likely start announcing events the first part of 2013.”
In the meantime, Higgons says he’s having a lot of contact with event and trade show promoters.
“There will never be a moment that will cause any member of the public to regret what this council put in motion,” Higgons told Bangor City Council members Monday night at a special council meeting at City Hall. “We’re the newest, most exciting facility around New England, and we are very well-positioned for success.”