the big time
Now that the John Labatt Centre has had some
time to settle into its London home and residents have had
time to get used to the fact there is a huge new venue in town,
it’s time to take a look at what the JLC has added to
the Forest City.
There were some legitimate initial criticisms of the JLC,
including concerns about the lack of parking around the venue
and whether it would actually draw any decent acts to London.
The JLC, however, has proven its worth in spades and has done
a lot to revitalize our somewhat drowsy downtown.
First, it’s the new home of the London Knights, and
it’s a hell of a sight better than the old Ice House,
the little hole-in-the-wall arena shoved over between the 401
exit and McDonald’s. Bringing the team to a bigger and
more easily-accessible venue has done wonders for the Knights’ fan
support, bringing more Londoners to cheer them on.
The JLC has also encouraged bigger musical acts, like 50 Cent,
Nickelback and David Bowie to book shows in London. Pre-JLC,
these artists would surely have overlooked a town whose best
offering in the venue category was Centennial Hall.
The arena offers a great alternative for London concert-goers,
who previously had to make the trip to Toronto in order to
see big-name bands. Though tickets for JLC shows tend to be
pricy, it is still a better deal than having to pay for gas
or a bus to Toronto.
In addition, the venue brings in people from surrounding towns
in southwest Ontario, as London is situated right between Toronto
The JLC has definitely benefited the London economy, especially
downtown businesses. People who go to see shows or sporting
events can visit a restaurant or coffee shop while they wait
for the doors to open. In fact, the Covent Garden Market is
situated right across the street from the venue and has been
one of the biggest benificiaries.
There has also been a wide variety of acts coming to the JLC.
From Tom Jones to Disney on Ice, there has been something for
The John Labatt Centre was ranked 38th among major world venues
in Pollstar’s 2003 concert venue rankings, which are
based on ticket sales. It was also ranked the third biggest
ticket-selling venue in Canada.
Obviously, the JLC has proven its worth, and most students
would probably agree that it’s about time a venue of
this calibre came to London. With the huge market of Western
and Fanshawe College students in the city, it makes sense to
have a venue like this — one that not only offers a better,
more permanent home for the Knights, but also brings in the
big names of the entertainment world.