Ralph Engelstad Arena attendance marks milestone
Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks ended its second-best year ever Tuesday, according to attendance figures it released Thursday. From Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, the arena had 501,133 visitors. Attendance at UND Fighting Sioux hockey games reac...
Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks ended its second-best year ever Tuesday, according to attendance figures it released Thursday.
From Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, the arena had 501,133 visitors.
Attendance at UND Fighting Sioux hockey games reached a record high and the arena hosted more special events than during any other year, according to spokesman Chris Semrau.
During the year, the Ralph also reached a milestone, welcoming its 3 millionth visitor since it opened Oct. 5, 2001.
Semrau said he anticipates attendance in the 2008-09 fiscal year to be closer to the average of 451,000.
The attendance figure is for events and does not include those taking daily tours of the Ralph.
Hockey attendance notwithstanding, this past fiscal year's attendance, has been a constant over the years, Semrau said. It's the special events that have been the variables that cause some years to see spikes in attendance, he said.
In the 2007-08 fiscal year, for example, the Ralph hosted the Brad Paisley concert in February, the World Men's Curling Championship in April and, last week, the sold-out Carrie Underwood concert.
In its best year ever, the 2004-05 fiscal year, REA had 627,501 visitors, thanks to the World Junior Hockey Championship. Arena officials are competing to bring that event back in 2011.
Compared with the other major arena in town, the Alerus Center, attendance at REA has been higher.
In 2007, the Alerus Center had 263,400 visitors.
The two arenas are seen as rivals, especially when the Ralph books concerts. REA, however, focuses primarily on athletics and can rely on the wildly popular Fighting Sioux hockey team.
The Alerus Center aims for a broader mix of athletics, concerts and conventions. Attendance there has suffered in recent years because of a dearth of major concerts.
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