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Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square will bring national touring acts to downtown New Orleans

Posted Feb 24, 2014

Rita Benson LeBlanc is the founder of Bold Sphere Music

Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square was introduced Monday in a formal press conference at Champions Square in the Sports and Entertainment District in downtown New Orleans.

Rita Benson LeBlanc, the Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans and the founder of Bold Sphere Music, unveiled the vision of Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square, which will positively change the landscape of live entertainment in New Orleans by bringing a wide-range of national touring acts to the state-of-the-art, re-designed Champions Square amphitheater.

"It is with tremendous excitement that we introduce Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square today on the brand new, state-of-the-art Bold Sphere Stage and re-designed façade of Champions Square,” LeBlanc said.  "This boutique amphitheater venue will host countless world-class touring acts, while appealing to a wide range of tastes across the music entertainment concert spectrum. We look forward to seamlessly integrating this flow of musical entertainment into the amazingly rich and diverse musical culture in New Orleans by hosting popular national acts along with legendary bands who are loved for decades of contributions to the memories of our lives. I'd like to personally thank the myriad of visionary individuals, city and state leadership, the office of Louisiana Economic Development, Blue Deuce Entertainment, Red Mountain Entertainment and the performing acts who have already committed tour dates to Champions Square, for bringing their enthusiasm to this project and helping Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square become another point of pride for our entire community. New Orleans continues to evolve through positive engagement between public and private sector leadership, and this is the latest in exciting quality of life initiatives that everyone can enjoy. World class music in the heart of a great American city."

Champions Square, which is located on the campus of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Smoothie King Center, is a first-of-its kind boutique amphitheater that will take advantage of its direct proximity to downtown accommodations and is located on the same campus as two professional sports venues.

The addition of the Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square will further enhance the appeal for attracting major events to New Orleans, which in recent years has hosted such marquee events such as Super Bowl XLVII, two NBA All-Star Weekends, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Final Fours, and the upcoming WWE WrestleMania. In addition, both local and state governments will directly benefit from the added revenues associated through the major events, and local businesses anticipate an increase of patrons throughout the New Orleans Sports and Entertainment District. The Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square will also serve as a catalyst for increased activity in the New Orleans and Gulf South tourism sectors, ranging from increased demand for hotel rooms, restaurant patrons and travel. Recent economic studies have identified the positive impact of hosting major events such as the Super Bowl (2013) added over $480 million in direct and indirect spending and the 2014 NBA All-Star weekend an estimated $89.3 million. Economic impact of the Final Four was estimated between $135-$145 million and while the most recent WrestleMania generated over $100 million to the economy.

 “This concert series adds another exciting dimension to New Orleans’ world-class sports and entertainment complex,” said Ron Forman, LSED chairman and president and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute. “The LSED commends the vision of Bold Sphere and SMG in activating this venue for a stand-alone concert series. We are proud to support this vision, which will only enhance the appeal of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center.”  

“The development of Champions Square as a concert venue is the latest in a series of enhancements that have given the SMG-managed campus renewed life,” said Doug Thornton, SMG executive vice president. “Enhancements at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center have ensured long-term viability for these venues. Now, it’s Champions Square’s turn to show its versatility and potential.”

“We are thrilled to announce this concert series, which firmly establishes Champions Square as a full-fledged concert venue in New Orleans,” said Alan Freeman, general manager of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center and Champions Square. “In the past year, we have had successful concerts from Merle Haggard, Sigur Rὀs and FUN., which have shown the potential of this space as a venue perfect for outdoor shows.”

“Bold Sphere Music is an exciting addition to downtown New Orleans, solidifying our region’s reputation as the cultural epicenter of America," said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO, Inc. “This means more than entertainment for Greater New Orleans, it means jobs, because our cultural authenticity and accessibility is one of our major corporate attraction points."

"Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square is a welcome addition to the Downtown entertainment scene," said Kurt Weigle, president & CEO of the Downtown Development District. "Using New Orleans' reputation as one of America's great music cities to expand jobs and tax base is a key element of our Industries of the Mind economic strategy. Bold Sphere Music plays an important role in cementing our brand and expanding the economy. I have no doubt it will positively impact Downtown restaurants, hotels, and other businesses."

Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square will further enhance the landscape of the live entertainment sector in downtown New Orleans by attracting national musical acts of every genre, while focusing primarily on the public’s desire to see genres that include, but are not limited to, classic rock, country, pop and urban music. The re-designed boutique amphitheater will be able to comfortably seat 6,500-9,000 guests in front of a custom-fabricated, outdoor, permanent stage system capable of accommodating any major touring act. The addition of Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square will further enhance New Orleans’ well-deserved recognition as host of world class music festivals, joining the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Festival, Essence Musical Festival and the VooDoo Music and Arts Experience.

"The Bold Sphere Stage represents another exciting investment in the revitalization of downtown New Orleans and a new celebration of our creative culture," said Rodrick Miller, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. "New Orleans' international recognition as a cultural hub attracts millions of visitors who support our economy each year — this festival will position Champion Square as a year-round entertainment destination and support a prosperous future for our city.” 

“In addition to our wonderful food, history and festivals, music is one of New Orleans’ greatest cultural assets and a main draw for visitors. The new music series at Champions Square is a fantastic complement to the city’s thriving music scene,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We look forward to the high-caliber musical acts that Champions Square will bring as an added attraction both visitors and locals can enjoy.”

Dates for the concerts for the Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square will run year round, further enhancing the viability of events which currently feature Saints and Pelicans home games, indoor concerts at both the Smoothie King Center and Mercedes-Benz Superdome, as well as special events. Bold Series Music at Champions Square is expected to organically evolve in response to the musical and cultural interests of the community with a focus on out-of-market promotions that will garner an increase in the number of visitors to Greater New Orleans.

Country star Jake Owen, with special guest Parmalee and the Cadillac Three, will play the venue Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. Reserved seats are $43.50 and general admission tickets are $32.50 (plus fees and service charges). Tickets will go on sale Friday, March 7 at 10 a.m. at ticketmaster.com, the Smoothie King Center box office or you can charge by phone, 800.745.3000.

Boyz II Men, Keith Sweat and En Vogue will play the next night, Aug. 24,, at 7 p.m. Those tickets will go on sale Friday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. Reserved seats are $75, $55 and $45 with general admission tickets available for $25. They can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, the Smoothie King Center box office or you can order by phone, 800.745.3000.

Promoters Russell Doussan of Blue Deuce Entertainment and Jay Wilson of Red Mountain Entertainment were consultants in developing the series and the venue and will be bringing in some acts. Both said the outdoor venue fills a hole in the New Orleans music market.

Doussan said the spectator enjoyment of sitting under the stars and watching a show will be unmatched.

"It's an intimate setting," Doussan said.

"This is going to be really amazing," Wilson said. It will create "that 'wow' experience."

You can find more information about Bold Sphere Music on Facebook, Twitter (@BoldSphereMusic) and Instagram (@BoldSphereMusic).

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