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Mighty Big Splash for The Pond

May 25, 1994|MIKE BOEHM

ANAHEIM — First, the upstart Mighty Ducks of Anaheim beat the Los Angeles Kings in the hockey standings.

Now, Barbra Streisand comes to The Pond, the Ducks' home base, having turned up her famous nose at the Forum, the famed Inglewood venue that is home to the Kings.

Score another one for the new arena on the block.

"I know that the Forum tried very hard to get those (Streisand) dates," said Alex Hodges, vice president of Nederlander Concerts, The Pond's concert promoter, last week. "I get a sense it was very close. Probably the pendulum swung back and forth a number of times."

As Hodges sees it, the Forum had its long history on its side, as well as geography--a location more convenient for the entertainment business multitudes who will attend.

The Pond had newness going for it, and at least one tangible economic advantage.

At the Forum, more than 3,000 seats, known as Senate seats, are reserved for season ticket holders who would have been exempt from additional charges to see Streisand. The Senate seats are in prime side locations that otherwise would have fetched the top $350 Streisand ticket price.

The Pond's equivalents are the season-reserved Club seats and luxury suites. Together they will account for about 1,800 tickets to Streisand shows, according to arena spokesman John J. Nicoletti. Some of the locations are at the far end of the arena, occupying areas that would sell for $125 per seat rather than $350.

Streisand's manager, Martin Erlichman, said the disparity in seats blocked off for season ticket holders "was part and parcel of the decision making--not all of it, but part of it."

He said Streisand's decisions about where to play revolved primarily on how the contending buildings would impact her performance. "For what we want, which is to deliver the best sound and sight lines possible, we thought (The Pond) was the best bet," Erlichman said.

The Pond, which opened in June, has already been honored with best-new-venue citations by concert trade publications. Nicoletti says he sees Streisand's stand as an important opportunity to confirm and extend the arena's reputation.

"The fact we were given six nights lends us a tremendous amount of credibility," he said. "Other performers who may not have been sold on Orange County as a place to hold an event had to stand up and take notice. This concert will draw a tremendous amount of press and music industry executives to this building, probably for the first time. If things go as smoothly as possible, we'll see some future bookings" as a result.

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