The man responsible for bringing Rihanna to Sunderland says it’s taken a year to secure her return.
This week it was announced that the global superstar, famed for hits including Umbrella, We Found Love and What’s My Name, will play the Stadium of Light as part of her world tour on June 18.
It comes two years after the Bajan singer - who has sold 54 million albums and 210 million digital tracks worldwide - attracted a record crowd of more than 56,000 at the home of the Black Cats as part of her Diamonds tour.
The 2016 tour will promote her eighth album, Anti, which is due for release imminently.
Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at SAFC, said: “It’s always great to have an artist who’s played here before come back. Rihanna was going to tour last year, but that was cancelled so she could work on her new album. It’s not just a case of asking an artist to perform, there’s 12 months of hard work behind the scenes before an announcement is made.
“It’s testament to Rihanna as an artist that she can announce a tour ahead of an album, but she has the confidence to do that. She will also be performing songs from her back catalogue, the Rihanna anthems.”
The Stadium of Light is one of only six venues in the UK to host the tour, which features support acts The Weeknd, whose album Beauty Behind The Madness reached number 1 in the UK charts, and American rapper Big Sean.
Gary said reaction to the announcement has been positive, in the majority.
“Whichever artist we announce, there will always be people who don’t like that particular act,” he said. “But Rihanna is one of the biggest stars in the world. Up until a couple of years ago Rihanna and Sunderland would never have been put together in the same sentence.
“To have her come here is great for the profile of the city and each concert benefits the city’s economy by £3.5m-£4m. This is the 19th concert we have staged here and we’ve had a broad range of music.”
Gary says although the stadium only has a small window in which to stage concerts between football seasons, he and his team are always in talks with acts to perform.
There are only a limited number of acts capable of filling a stadium and other factors, such as whether they have released an album and where else they are playing, also come into play when securing an act for the Stadium of Light.
“Rihanna is our only act confirmed for 2016, but we are always on the lookout and if we can get another act, we will,” said Gary. “We have a wish list of people we would like to see here. U2, Beyonce and Eminem would be great to secure, and we’d love to have Take That back.
“Adele would be great too, though I’m not sure if she would want to do a stadium tour.”
Tickets go on sale Thursday 3 December, from 9am, at the Stadium of Light ticket office and from approved ticket agents.
A pre-sale will be available for SAFC season card holders and official members on Wednesday 2 December, from 9am.
Stadium of Light sales information:
The Stadium of Light will offer General Admission (standing/Tier 1 unreserved seating) tickets only, priced at £60 and a limited number of Gold Circle tickets at £75. All sales are subject to a £4 booking fee per ticket (unless payment is made in cash). Tickets cannot be purchased from SAFC by telephone or online, tickets are available from the stadium’s box office to in-person purchasers only.
Please note £1 per ticket will be added onto the booking fee, this fee will be donated to the Clara Lionel Foundation.
Golden Circle £75, general admission tickets (standing/Tier 1 unreserved seating) £60. Tier 2 reserved seats £55 and Tier 3 reserved seats £55/ £50. All tickets are subject to a booking fee.
Please note that £1 per ticket will be added onto the booking fee, this fee will be donated to the Clara Lionel Foundation.
Online at www.livenation.com.
Online at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 0844 8440444
Wheelchair and special needs patrons:
Tickets for wheelchair and special needs patrons are available by telephone from SAFC, tel. 0191 551 5004 or email@example.com
Young people aged 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult aged over 18 and no unaccompanied youngsters aged 14 or under will be permitted entry to the venue.
There is a limit of six tickets per purchaser in place.
SHOW TIMES (approximate and may be subject to change)
External courtyards: 2pm
Show ends: 11pm
Visit www.safcconcerts.com or call 0871 911 1555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information or to make an expression of interest for a new concert hospitality concept. Existing SAFC hospitality customers should contact the club to reserve their package.
HILTON GARDEN INN
A new 141 bedroom Hilton Garden Inn will open adjacent to the Stadium of Light in April 2016. For more information or to make a room reservation call 0191 5515110 or email Catherine.email@example.com, prompt booking advised.