JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – In a set of documents released to News Channel 11, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) officials said the Miranda Lambert concert hosted on campus in April resulted in roughly half a million dollars in net cost.
The full document can be found below:
“The SGA Concert Series is an initiative to support student engagement,” the report reads. “Because this is an investment in the ETSU student experience, our goal is not to recover costs, or realize a profit, on the concert series.”
The event’s expenses were paid from student activity funds, which make up a portion of each student’s tuition each semester. ETSU officials said the large payment was made possible after many student events were placed on hold due to COVID-19 precautions.
“We had money that we had not spent from previous concerts because so many of those were held in a virtual environment. We really wanted to go after a big headline name,” Joe Smith, senior director of ETSU strategic communications, said.
Overall, 11,180 people were in attendance the night of April 29, according to the document. That number is just under 4,000 shy of the University’s expectation of 15,000. The university gave out roughly 3,000 student tickets for free.
The concert revenues break down as follows:
Of the over $81,000 in concessions revenue, roughly $60,000 were earned through beer sales. Despite the high volume, ETSU officials said there were no arrests or major incidents throughout the night.
Smith said it was a successful venture as the concert was the first time beer had been sold at William B. Greene Jr. Stadium.
“At this time a decision’s not been made when alcohol will be sold at an event in the future. But looking at this, it went very well and we’re very pleased how it went,” Smith said.
Not all of the revenue generated that night will return to the school or SGA fund, however.
“The way the concert was set up, a portion of the money does go to the vendors,” Smith said. “So for example with Sodexo, there would be revenue there. But some of the revenues do come back to the university. So there’s a percentage there that does come back to ETSU, and that money will go into our fund that will support future concert series here at ETSU.”
The concert’s largest expense by far was Lambert’s appearance fee of $600,000, and revenue totals provided by the school do not cover this initial expense. Production equipment and labor provided by Express AV cost over $132,000, and a field covering system provided by Matrax cost $110,000. Unarmed security cost ETSU nearly $26,000, and public safety officers from nearby police departments made up another $12,600.
The university’s expenses totaled $1,045,254.55 when all factors were accounted for. After accounting for ETSU’s revenue of $539,210, that means a difference of $515,044.55 remained.
School officials said they’re considering the event a success and plan to host other headliners in the future when possible.
“We never went into this with the goal of recouping all our money or to realize a profit,” Smith said. “Our goal for success was just to have a positive experience for the students.”
In a statement to News Channel 11, ETSU Student Government Association President Mason Mosier said, “SGA has never profited off of concerts. In fact, this is one of the first times we have recuperated any cost. To think we made around half of what we spent is incredible news.”
The school doesn’t expect the unique circumstances that made Lambert’s larger fee affordable to repeat themselves for the upcoming semesters, but significant investments into stadium infrastructure like stair construction are intended to make performances easier in the future.