Xcel Nominated for “Arena of the Year” Award

This is the ninth time in its 10-year history that the St. Paul venue has been nominated for the award, which is given by concert industry publication Pollstar.

The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul has been nominated for Pollstar's “Arena of the Year” award-marking the ninth nomination in the venue's 10-year history.

Nominees were chosen by a committee of several hundred randomly selected concert industry executives, and Xcel was one of seven venues nominated in the “Arena of the Year” category.

Pollstar, which gives the award on an annual basis, is a trade publication covering the worldwide concert industry.

Only three arenas have won the award since its inception in 1992-New York's Madison Square Garden (15 times), Los Angelesâ Staples Center (two times), and Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn, Michigan (one time).

Madison Square Garden and Staples Center both join Xcel as nominees for the 2011 award, which will be presented at Pollstar's Concert Industry Awards show in February. The other nominees are Air Canada Centre in Toronto; BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma; HP Pavilion in San Jose, California; and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It really means a lot to be recognized by the entertainment industry at this level,” Jack Larson, vice president and general manager of the Xcel Energy Center, said in a statement. “We are all passionate about delivering a superior experience to every fan, promoter, and entertainer that walks through our doors. We are fortunate to have a beautiful venue and an outstanding team of people that truly makes it shine.”

The Xcel Energy Center is home to the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild, the National Lacrosse League's Minnesota Swarm, the annual Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five, and four Minnesota State High School League tournaments each year. Xcel has hosted more than 1,500 sporting events, concerts, family shows, and special events since it opened in September 2000.

In 2010, numerous high-profile artists performed at Xcel. The group includes Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Dave Matthews Band, Taylor Swift, Carole King, James Taylor, Sting, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Brad Paisley. Other major events that have taken place at Xcel include the 2008 Republican National Convention, the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and the 2006 USA Gymnasticsâ Visa Championships-which will be returning in August 2011.

Winners of the Pollstar awards will be determined through an online survey of the publicationâs subscribers and select others within the concert industry.