James Brown Arena could lose popular event it's hosted for years

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The James Brown Arena had a busy month, hosting six events in four days. However, there's a chance the arena could lose a popular event it's been hosting for years.

The "Christmas Made in the South" event has been in the James Brown Arena for decades, but it could be moving to Columbia County at the new Gateway Center.

If "Christmas Made in the South" makes the move, it would be the fourth event to leave Augusta for Columbia County. And while some officials in Columbia County are ready for the event to leave the James Brown Arena, the general manager says not so fast.

"No, we haven't heard anything about it," said Monty Jones, GM of JBA.

He said News 12 was the first to tell him about the possible site change. Jones says the Christmas event has been at the arena as long as he can remember.

"We've had the 'Christmas Made in the South' for 30 years at the James Brown Arena," Jones said.

And as far as he knows, it's staying.

"We look to continue to have them here at the James Brown Arena, and we're looking to contract them out for next year," Jones said.

Carolina Shows Inc. brings the yearly event to Augusta. They say the ice on the arena floor is a problem.

Jones says he hasn't heard about those concerns, but he's willing to find solutions.

"We make adjustments here and there for every event. So, if there are any concerns, we'll do our best to meet those concerns," Jones said.

Barry White with the Augusta Visitors and Convention Bureau says the James Brown Arena would take the biggest loss, but it shouldn't affect local business.

"I don't think it's a huge event for out-of-town visitors to travel in, therefore the financial impact should be minimal," White said.

Jones says it's about more than that.

"It's been a tradition here. They've been coming for 30-plus years to the James Brown Arena. So, yes, we would see that impact," Jones said.

Again, all this is still speculation. If the event is moved, organizers say it would not happen until Christmas 2014.


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