News Track: UI recoups costs of hosting Back Porch Revival

It was the first-ever concert held in Kinnick Stadium

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The University of Iowa in August hosted its first-ever concert in Kinnick Stadium — a “Back Porch Revival” of A-list performers that drew a crowd of more than 44,000 and raised thousands for charity.

In September, The Gazette reported the university and subcontractors projected their costs for putting on the eight-hour event would top $230,785, according to a lease agreement and supporting documents.

But because the show was the first of its kind, the university used some guesswork, anticipating more than $119,800 for UI Department of Public Safety support, nearly $90,000 for Whelen Security services, $8,160 for UI Hospitals and Clinics emergency aid, and $6,440 for university parking assistance.

Then-UI Associate Athletics Director Mark Jennings said the actual costs could take weeks, if not longer, to tally. But, regardless of the final bill, the university’s expenses would be covered through promoter reimbursements and press-box sales, he said.

The event sold about 50,000 tickets at $39 each, totaling more than $1.9 million in revenue. Organizers said proceeds would go to The Native Fund, a nonprofit headed by Hawkeye All-American and former pro-footballer Dallas Clark and actor Ashton Kutcher aimed at supporting Iowans — including those hit by natural disaster, post-Sept. 11 veterans and children with life-threatening illness.

Of the total ticket sales, UI handled about 1,750 press-box seats at $100 apiece, revenue it intended to keep to help cover its expenses.


The university has released, in response to a public records request from The Gazette, its final Back Porch settlement showing university expenses totaled $295,644, or more than $64,800 above projections.

About $5,180 in parking revenue and $160,700 in press-box ticket revenue — after taxes — helped offset the costs.

The remaining $129,763 was billed to the promoter, Basis Marketing. And Greg Davies, assistant athletics director of business and finance, said UI has received the reimbursement.

“So the university costs have been covered,” he said.

The most costly expenses in putting on the concert, according to the documents, included: public safety and additional security, at $201,183; student, ticket, medical and general staff payroll, at $21,528; and ServiceMaster restoration services, which cost $13,822 — the concert happened one week before the Hawkeyes kicked off their football season in Kinnick.

The university hasn’t received a report on how much of the total revenue went to the Native Fund charity. And organizers have declined to say how much went toward staging the show, which included performances by country music stars Blake Shelton, Big and Rich and Thomas Rhett.

University officials have said they’d like to have more Kinnick concerts, but Davies said any plans are on hold as the athletic department moves forward with an $89.9 million renovation to the stadium’s north end zone.

“I’m sure Gary (Barta, UI athletics director) and Dallas (Clark) are in conversation about that,” he said. “But I’m not sure what their timeline is.”

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