USF Sun Dome named second best venue its size in Florida
The University of South Florida Sun Dome got some love from international trade publication Venues Today magazine, which has named it the second best venue of its size in Florida. The ranking was based on total gross ticket sales and attendance for the year for venues with a capacity of 10,001 to 15,000.
The magazine's number one spot went to Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, which has 15,000 seats and grossed grossed $5.9 million. The Sun Dome, which has 11,400 seats, grossed $2.5 million. Management has predicted earning $4 million per year, and expected to at least break even in the first year.
The Sun Dome, situated on the USF campus in Tampa, first opened in 1981 and recently underwent a $35.6 million makeover to take it from a traditional sports venue to something worthy of hosting more big league musicians. It also got a new management team, Global Spectrum, which runs more than 115 other facilities in the world.
The first act for the new venue was Elton John in September, a name that came up in a recent review of university financial statements to illustrate the project's success. Since the makeover, the Sun Dome has welcomed Florence and the Machine, Sesame Street Live and the Mythbusters tours among other acts. Hip hop stars Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are on the way for November. And now, it's a much fancier place to host graduations, too.
At a meeting last week, the Board of Governors approved the issuance of a $20 million debt to reimburse USF for the costs of financing the Sun Dome project, essentially changing the structure of the credit.