Landers Center – Southaven, Mississippi

August 30, 2023
Landers Center - Southaven, Mississippi

Landers Center

the Mid-South’s leading entertainment complex


Located just outside Memphis, Landers Center is a big-ticket draw

When it comes to top-tier and inviting event centers, Landers Center has all that and more.

Located just 15 minutes from Memphis in charming Southaven, Mississippi, the 10,000-seat Landers Center is the place to catch a show featuring some of the biggest entertainers in the world.

We recently spoke with Landers Center leaders, including Executive Director Todd Mastry, General Manager Joel Crews, Director of Finance Jason Morgan, and marketing manager Jon Frost. We were able to learn first-hand how important the arena and convention center complex is to Southaven and DeSoto County, Mississippi.

Not only does Landers Center feature an arena, but its current footprint also includes 17,000-square-feet of meeting space and a community theater.

“With our convenient location to I-40 and I-55 and the flexibility of our venues, we are able to pull nationally for concerts,” says Crews. “We are then able to focus on our regional area for meeting events and small theater productions.”

Landers Center is the home venue for two professional sports franchises. The Memphis Hustle, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Memphis Americans of the National Indoor soccer league play home games here. Other than concerts and tenants, Crews says the venue continues to be an ideal stop for concerts, family shows, college basketball, gymnastics, tennis, and more.

Looking at what the future holds for Landers Center, Crews discussed progress on a major renovation project.

“We are breaking ground this fall on a $60-million convention center expansion that will connect the arena to a 200,000-square-foot convention center and a full-service hotel,” Crews stated. For the hotel side, we have partnered with Embassy Suites who will handle operations and construction for that piece of the project.”

With targeted completion in early 2026, the arena, convention center, and hotel will all connect for a seamless event experience.

Morgan discussed the third-party economic-impact study that Landers Center commissioned for the expansion project.

“At the time of the study, it was done with a slightly smaller convention center footprint than what we are actually moving forward with,” Morgan reported. “Even with a smaller space in mind, our study indicated approximately $45 million in annual economic impact to DeSoto County by the new center’s fourth year in operation.”

Morgan adds that those numbers are probably a little on the small side, but that’s good news.

“We are looking at somewhere around 150 new events annually in the convention center,” he adds.

Todd Mastry, the Executive Director for the DeSoto County Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimates that approximately 340 full- and part-time jobs will be created with the expansion.

From a tourism standpoint, Morgan shared that they expect 525,000 annual visitors to the convention center with half considered non-local. That means Landers Center will attract over 200,000 visitors and over 65,000 new hotel nights per year.

Landers Center - Southaven, Mississippi“This is a major deal for Southaven and DeSoto county,” Morgan concludes.

Mastry shared the impact of COVID and how the venue responded.

“It was certainly a shock to the system when everything came to a halt in March 2020,” he says. “We work in live entertainment and people gathering together is why our industry exists.”

Landers Center was closed to events right at one year.

“We had to think outside the box,” says Mastry. “In the year we were ‘closed’ we decided to do everything we could to be a great community partner.”

During the pandemic, the venue housed the Mississippi Army National Guard. From there, the National Guard partnered with the Mississippi Department of Health and utilized the convention space at the Landers Center as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site for Southaven and surrounding towns.

Also during that time, Landers Center leaders made some budgeted decisions to move forward with some capital projects to prepare the building for a fresh start when re-opened to the public. Mastry revealed that some of those projects included new seats, fresh paint, and other enhancements to the guest experience.

Mastry discussed adjustments made at re-opening.

“When we did welcome guests back in March 2021, we did so with safeguards in place,” Mastry stated. “We had public awareness graphics and messaging, our staff wore face masks, and we had panel dividers at concession stands.”

A big difference could be seen in event strategy. Where other venues opened with sporting events, Landers Center opened with a variety of entertainment events such as comedies, concerts, Disney shows and rodeos. The focus was to offer diverse entertainment options to a large demographic base of customers.

“We wanted to show the entire Mid-South region that Landers Center was not only open for business, but that it was a safe place to come,” Mastry notes.

“Before that,” he says, “our out of the box ideas led to us creating and hosting various drive-in and parking lot activities.”

Giving back and good stewardship

“We try to be a great employer and be a leader locally and in our industry,” Crews says.

Part-time positions at Landers Center start at $15-per-hour.

“We try to be good stewards of our employees and put them in a position financially we we can depend on each other,” adds Crews. “We may even have more staff than we need at times, but we pride ourselves on putting people to work.”

Landers Center officials want to ensure that people in the community keep working and they were able to do that during COVID. Crews shared that through that mutual dependency, the team really prides itself on keeping the building immaculate.

Landers Center - Southaven, Mississippi“We have promoters and guests who are really surprised that our building is 23 years old,” Crews laughs. “They tell us it looks like it’s five years old!!”

A crew that works that hard must also find time for enjoyment.

“We give back to our employees throughout the year,” he says. “Last year, for example, we took all 350 employees to a Memphis Red Birds baseball game.

Just as with employee events, Crews adds that when procuring equipment and supplies, they buy locally in the Memphis market. “Local” is the operative word.

“Anything we can do locally, whether it’s an employee event, a purchase, or signing a service contract, means we’re being good stewards by putting money back into the community and maintaining a positive economic cycle,” Crews surmises.

Landers Center also hosts the annual Mid-South Fair, which they run in partnership with the Fair’s board of directors. This year marks the 167th edition, which makes it one of the oldest fairs in the country.

Though being stewards of the fair and by either partnering or participating in other local events, Landers Center leadership ensures they’re giving back locally to DeSoto County and to the greater Memphis region.

Crews talks about the ongoing entertainment strategy.

“We do a lot of family entertainment, but we’ve also worked really hard to keep a very diverse event mix since we re-opened after the pandemic,” Crews says. “We have family shows, R&B shows, rap shows and country shows, and we even had an Indian artist in the past year.”

Memphis is a very diverse market, so Landers Center strives to match that diversity and create a good mix of entertainment to appeal to their community.

Morgan provides insight on sales, marketing, and revenue.

“When looking over the figures from pre-COVID years, we continue to see increased revenues in 2023,” he says. “We set a record last year for arena rent, which is a baseline indicator for us to understand how busy we are via the main arena of our complex.”

Morgan shared that they are still on track to have their second-best year financially in 2023. While arena rent may be a baseline indicator, ancillary revenues have become an area of focus for the team to be able to deliver and maintain quality service, says Morgan.

Frost cites the arena’s ranking.

“For ticket sales and revenue, we were the 49th ranked arena in the world coming out of the pandemic,” Frost says. “Our focus on a diverse event mix had our 10,000-seat arena ranked 49th compared to arenas such as Madison Square Garden.”

That’s how the center’s recovery has gone in terms of rebuilding what it is in the market. The importance of the diverse events that the Landers Centers hosts has truly given it a strong foothold to continue to move forward with success.

“We are not just a one-trick pony,” Frost adds. “If we have the date and the event is a good match for our region, we will host pretty much any entertainment option out there.”

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Landers center


Landers Center

Where: Southaven, Miss.



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