The city of Tulsa is getting into the event ticket business

Wednesday, November 17th 2004, 10:26 am
By: News On 6

If you've ever gone to an event at the Tulsa Convention Center, chances are you bought your ticket at Carson Attractions.

The company's name has become almost synonymous with city events. But no longer. As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, the city is going to start taking its own tickets.

Carson Attractions has been tied so closely with the city over the years that their office is actually in the Tulsa Convention Center. But they are not a city office and the city now wants to do its own ticket sales.

Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: "If I can generate revenue that's significant, this might be the kind of revenue that keeps the expressway lights in the condition we want. I mean this is the kind of thing we're looking at, every dollar is important."

For example, Mayor Bill LaFortune says when the producers played at the Performing Arts Center, which the city does control, it generated $18,000 in fees for the city. And he says the Convention Center would add more. "We're looking at between $100,000 and $150,000 a year in new revenues for the city. To help address our basic needs and that can be police, fire, expressway lights, pools for kids."

Of course, Carson is well aware of the numbers too. Owner Dick Carson says the Convention Center is 35% of their business. And without that, he says, it's very questionable if they can survive.

Carson says he was told by the city he has just 45 days to vacate the premises and find a new place, but the mayor says he will work with the company if they need more time. "We certainly respect Mr. Carson. He's had 40-years plus relationship with the city. We respect him, we respect his family, but as mayor, I have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers."

If the attraction is over, it would be a sad end to a company that has a lot of history in Tulsa, dating back to 1916. Carson Attractions has been in the Carson family for 3 generations. They do" still have an exclusive contract with the Tulsa Oilers and the Tulsa Talons for "their" ticket sales.