September 4, 2019 Share

Cure Insurance Arena’s Fran Rodowicz Featured on NJ.com

Kevin Shea from NJ.com wrote…

A rock concert is playing Trenton’s arena this fall. Here’s why that’s kind of a big deal.

The Degenerates Tour, headlined by Florida pop-punk rockers A Day to Remember, fresh from co-headlining the 25th anniversary of the Warped Tour that rocked Atlantic City in June, will play Trenton’s CURE Insurance Arena in November.

Rodowicz, who works for Spectra by Comcast Spectator, the arena’s management company, said he and his staff are constantly working to put Trenton back on the live music tour map a bit, through hard work and networking.

“It’s just making sure that agencies, and the acts, know that this is a viable and great spot to do a show,” he said.

Rodowicz, a 20-year Spectra employee, knows the city. He was the Trenton arena’s assistant general manager from 2004 to 2006, when it was Sovereign Bank Arena. And returned to Trenton in 2017 after managing the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall and Convention Center, and The Liacouras Center at Temple University.

But it’s a different entertainment landscape. The arena, which opened in 1999, enjoyed several years of ‘new arena’ favorability and buzz, he said.

Nowadays, the booking landscape is different, he explained.

Casinos have entered the live music market, from Atlantic City to Parx across the river in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. And the two amphitheaters in Camden (BB&T Pavilion) and Holmdel, Monmouth County (PNC Bank Arts Center) are Live Nation venues. BB&T also has an all-year venue as well.

Trenton city officials have always marketed the capital city’s attractive location: between New York and Philadelphia, and near major highways that connect them.

But Rodowicz said that can work against the area, and the city, with what are called “radius clauses.” Due to an array of contractual issues, musical acts are often prohibited from playing a certain city, like Trenton, if they are playing in an area within a certain distance or time, like Atlantic City or Philadelphia.

“We’re working with all of that,” Rodowicz said.

Every day, he says, he sells Trenton.

As economic development continues, he said, “Driving people into Trenton and Mercer County remains our focus. And maybe the hotel comes back on line.” (The city’s only hotel was shut down by state inspectors in 2017, and remains shuttered and in a state of limbo.)

“We just keep focused on what drives the arena so we can maximize the amount of shows,” he said.

Meanwhile, the arena does not have cobwebs, Rodowicz said. Although they are down from about 125 to 130 events 15 years ago to about 90 to 100 now, it remains a stop for professional wrestling, monster truck jams, cheerleading competitions and ice shows.”

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