Assembly Hall notices more last-minute ticket sales

The current state of the economy has not hurt Assembly Hall sales, but new trends in ticket purchasing and tour locations are emerging.

“A lot of people are waiting until the last minute to buy tickets,” said Jennifer Larson, assistant director for event management at Assembly Hall. “They want to hold onto their money as long as possible.”

Larson said, despite this new trend, sales this fall have been stable and comparable to last year’s sales.

The same number of tickets are being sold, but at different times, like at the door, she added.

Some students said they have waited to purchase tickets and still had good seats.

“My roommate and a couple friends bought tickets to The Fray the day before the concert and got on the floor,” said Rachel Holmes, freshman in Media.

Kevin Ullestad, director and booking agent at Assembly Hall, said the venue has to be aggressive in soliciting top-tier acts such as Jay-Z, whose show on Nov. 12 still has not sold out. In the past, an act was more likely to choose to perform in a big city, like Chicago or St. Louis than a secondary market, like Champaign. He said he has noticed bigger acts are now choosing secondary markets.

However, he added that entertainers are not touring as often.

“The touring business is definitely down,” Larson said. “Around the country, ticket sales have not been great even for the big acts.”

Larson said Assembly Hall surveys members of the community every year about what concerns they have with the venue.

“Price is an important point, as well as who the performers are,” she said about the top two concerns of people surveyed.

She said prices have not had to be readjusted and customers have not complained about them.

“One thing we’re being more aggressive about is student pricing,” Ullestad said.

The market is very sensitive to pricing and Assembly Hall is doing all that it can to bring in students, he added.

“We’ve tried to keep the ticket prices down,” Larson said.

Students can buy tickets for the OAR concert Wednesday for $20 and Assembly Hall is selling four tickets to the Jay-Z concert for $99, Ullestad said.

Larson said there are three events booked for the spring semester. Martina McBride is coming in March and the Broadway Series will bring “The Wizard of Oz” and “Cabaret” in April.

Ullestad said he is still working on bringing in future acts and there may still be more announced for spring.