by Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations
In 2018, Erie Events drove nearly $88 million in direct spending to the Erie region. Erie Events, which operates the Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, UPMC Park and Bayfront Convention Center, is located in the heart of Erie’s downtown cultural, entertainment and sports district.
With a 2018 event attendance of 729,966, Erie Events is a major driving force that attracts people to downtown Erie. In addition to attending events, those people also visited restaurants, bars, and other businesses. Downtown establishments prosper on event days.
Bertrand Artigues, owner of Cloud 9 Wine Bar, said he sees a direct correlation between events held in downtown Erie and how busy his business is.
“If [Erie Events] is busy, I’m busy. When we prepare, one of the first things we do is look at the Erie Events website to see what is bringing people into town,” he said. “A big piece of the pie for business here is having events downtown. When events occur, everything flourishes.”
Rochelle Carlotti, bar manager at Jekyll and Hyde’s, agreed.
“We absolutely see an influx in business when events are happening. Weekdays especially are greatly improved by downtown events. Events at the Warner and the Arena, especially Otters games, more than double our business. People often come in for dinner before the event and often stop by after for a drink.”
The Erie Insurance Arena drew 291,862 patrons in 2018, with an average of 3,423 people per game coming to see the Otters during the 2018-2019 season. UPMC Park brought in a total event attendance of 217,868 and the Bayfront Convention Center had a total event attendance of 133,686. The Warner Theatre brought in an additional 86,550 attendees.
For J.B. Innes, manager and owner of 1201 Kitchen, a Warner Theatre crowd brings in a tremendous amount of business.
“When reservations start coming in for a certain date, especially a weekday, I know something’s happening,” he said. “For us, the Warner especially does a great job in bringing in a lot of our customers.”
Downtown businesses unanimously agree that Erie Events plays a significant role in the amount of traffic they get during an event.
“When there’s events and things are going well, there’s a momentum downtown. We get bombarded. It’s fun to watch and be a part of,” Artigues said.
“These events are the cultural center of our city. They bring people in business to all of the bars, restaurants and shops downtown,” Carlotti said. “[Downtown events] bring us a large amount of business from people who may not think to stop into our establishment otherwise.”