November 29, 2006
The James Brown Arena has a new general manager.
Local music veteran Robert "Flash" Gordon signed a two-year contract today. He will officially take over as early as Monday, according to the Coliseum Authority.
Gordon's background could help the local economy.
Gordon plans to use his decades of experience in the music industry to draw crowds of people to the Arena and downtown Augusta.
The bigger the crowd, the higher the traffic through downtown, and the higher the profits for downtown business managers like Preston Keel, who manages 1102.
"It's helping a dying area grow again," Keel said.
The new general manager plans to bring that "dying area" back to life. He says the key is bringing in good performers.
"They'll come, they'll talk...and things will happen," he said.
Gordon says he can make it happen thanks to his decades in the music industry--in radio, promotions, stores, and working with famous artists.
His passion could help pay off Augusta's $7 million budget deficit, according to Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
"There's a multiplier effect," he said. "The folks that go to shows also eat at the restaurants and patronize downtown spots."
Low turnouts bring lower revenues and less sales tax for the city. But, at $10 a ticket, a packed house means more than $6000 per event goes straight to the city's budget--and that money trickles down to the people who live here.
"My thing is to serve...and I want to serve this community to the best of my ability," Gordon said.
"It makes the job a lot better, makes the job worth it, bringing people in here and everything," Keel said.
Gordon says he has a lot of plans to make his goal of a packed house at the arena a reality. He told us he couldn't share them just yet, but hopes to get started as soon as possible.
Gordon got a unanimous vote by the Coliseum Authority. His contract gives him a $75,000 salary, with a $5000 bonus if he cuts expenses by 20 percent.