Boeing Center at Tech Port will host even more concerts over the next year, CEO says

Since its launch, the 3,200-seat arena has played host to acts ranging from heavy metal legends Judas Priest to Mexican indie-pop singer Carla Morrison.

click to enlarge Port San Antonio CEO Jim Perschbach speaks during Wednesday's community update on expansion at the industrial facility. - Sanford Nowlin
Sanford Nowlin
Port San Antonio CEO Jim Perschbach speaks during Wednesday's community update on expansion at the industrial facility.
After hosting roughly 40 concerts, boxing and esports events during its first year of operation, look for San Antonio's Boeing Center at Tech Port to sharply increase that number over the next 12 months, its top official told the Current.

"I'd like to see more shows coming through; I'd like to see more events coming through," said Jim Perschbach, president and CEO of Port San Antonio, the 1,900-acre industrial campus on which the arena is located. "I'm confident we're going to see that build up substantially."

The $70 million Boeing Center opened last May — a bid by Port San Antonio to raise the community profile of its development, a repurposed Air Force base nestled in the city's largely overlooked southwest quadrant.

Since its launch, the 3,200-arena has played host to acts ranging from heavy metal legends Judas Priest to Mexican indie-pop singer Carla Morrison. Those shows, along with esports competitions and boxing matches, racked up a total attendance of roughly 50,000, according to Port San Antonio officials.

LA-based venue-management giant ASM Global oversees Boeing Center, and Tobin Entertainment LLC — the tour promotion arm of San Antonio's Tobin Center for the Performing Arts — books touring acts into the facility.

Perschbach said some performers and promoters were likely cautious about booking Boeing Center during its first months of operation because they wanted to make sure the site could deliver on its technical capabilities and draw crowds.

"What I'm being told by people in the industry is that everyone wants to see that the building works for a show before they bring their bands in, before they bring their production in," Perschbach said. "We've had a very good year, the shows have been successful. Nobody's instruments have caught on fire. Nobody's truck has gotten stuck."

While the arena isn't yet generating a profit for Port San Antonio, Perschbach said that was never the project's primary intent.

"We didn't build that building to make a profit," he said. "In fact, we said that when the building stabilizes, all of the profits are going to go into our educational foundation. We built it to attract people in and to show them the opportunities here on this campus ... and on that end, we've been extraordinarily successful."

Both esports contests and visits by schools have both been on target this year, according to Perschbach. Additionally, Port San Antonio in January inked a seven-year naming rights deal for the arena. That transaction generated $2.3 million for a nonprofit tied to the campus that funds science, technology and math education as well as workforce development.

On Wednesday, during Tech Port's annual community address, Perschbach said employers at Tech Port have created 2,000 new jobs since the start of its current fiscal year, which began in October. That brings the total number of jobs generated there since 2017 to 8,000.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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