The Durham Performing Arts Center isn’t just one of the country’s top-drawing arts venues – it’s in the top 10 worldwide.
The 2,712-capacity DPAC sold more than 240,000 tickets for the first half of 2017, according to figures released by the concert-industry trade magazine Pollstar in its mid-year report. That ranked No. 6 in the world for theater-sized venues, right behind The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Not only is the Triangle a much smaller market than the five cities ahead of it on Pollstar’s list, DPAC’s capacity is far lower than its competition. Mexico City’s 10,000-seat Auditorio Nacional is No. 1 on Pollstar’s list, which also includes fabled venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall at No. 2, and Atlanta’s Fox Theatre at No. 4:
2017 tickets sold through June 30, according to Pollstar:
677,572 - Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City (capacity: 10,000)
452,988 - Royal Albert Hall, London (5,272)
305,545 - Axis at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas (7,000)
299,191 - Fox Theatre, Atlanta (4,665)
246,316 - Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas (4,298)
240,351 - Durham Performing Arts Center (2,712)
“DPAC does really well every year,” said Pollstar magazine editor Gary Bongiovanni. “It’s the one real performing arts center that’s up that high. Auditorio Nacional is gigantic and borders on being an arena. Royal Albert Hall is an iconic venue, and Planet Hollywood and the Fox are also both enormous. What DPAC does is pretty impressive.”
Year-end figures are also out for DPAC’s 2016-17 season, which stands as the nine-year-old theater’s second-best year ever. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, DPAC drew a total attendance of 458,326, with 93 of 223 events selling out.
That trails only DPAC’s high-water year, 2015-16, when it had a total attendance of 511,073 and 119 sellouts.
Built at a cost of $48 million, DPAC opened in November 2008. It is owned by the city of Durham and operated by Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management. Upcoming events include comedian D.L. Hughley, pianist Tori Amos and the musical “Hamilton.”
For the 2015-16 season, DPAC generated a net income of more than $6.3 million. Under the city’s current agreement, Durham’s share of that came to more than $1.8 million, to be used for debt service, maintenance, building improvements and possible revenue shortfalls for the building.
The Carolina Theatre in Durham, which ranked No. 135 last year, placed at No. 140 in Pollstar’s mid-year report.