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Elton John to bring largest concert crowd in JQH Arena history

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More than 9,000 tickets were purchased on March 19 for the upcoming Elton John concert at Missouri State University's JQH Arena, with tickets selling out in three and a half hours, a university official said.

"This will be the largest attended nonathletic event in JQH Arena's three-year history since we opened in November 2008," said Keith Boaz, director of JQH Arena.

He noted that the line of people waiting to purchase tickets at the box office also was the longest yet.

"We had our first individual arrive at 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning, waiting more than 25 hours," Boaz said. "By the time we opened at 10 a.m., I estimated our line at somewhere around 400 people in line."

One record, however, is still held by The Eagles, who played the inaugural event at the arena to a sold-out crowd in November 2008.

Tickets for The Eagles sold out in less than two hours, Boaz said, noting the Elton John show could have clipped the record had it not been for technical difficulties with online ticket sales.

He said there was major slowdown with the box office's online ticket vendor, Tickets.com. Typically, several hundred transactions are able to be made per minute, but Boaz said it was no where near that amount during the Elton John sale.

"It is very, very frustrating when you've got the largest show to come to JQH to have that kind of problem happen," he said. "We've been in discussions with our vendor, and they are in the process of trying to research as to what went wrong."

Still, the the concert could likely spell good news for JQH Arena, which was in the red its first two years of operation and is projecting a net loss in its third, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

But, possible revenue for the arena brought on by the concert is purely speculative at this point, Boaz said, as the arena makes money through concerts via a rental fee, a portion of merchandise sales and food and beverage sales. Boaz did note that with more than 9,000 patrons, there is a "quite a gross potential."

As to whether concert revenue would aid the struggling JQH Arena - which was projected to have a fiscal year-end net loss of more than $320,000 - Boaz noted the possibility.

"We don't do shows to do them at a loss. All of the shows we do bring in revenue for the arena and the university as a whole," he said. "This will be another one of those that will be another profit-day for the university.

"Hopefully the magnitude of Elton John will be a springboard to get some additional acts with Springfield in mind as well."

John and his band will perform their "Greatest Hits Live" concert on April 16.[[In-content Ad]]

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