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Kent's ShoWare Center lowers losses compared to 2012
Kent's city-owned ShoWare Center continues to lose money but the losses so far this year are lower than 2012.
The nearly 5-year-old arena has lost $346,865 through the first nine months, according to the center's income statement. ShoWare had expenses of $1.78 million and revenues of $1.43 million through September.
"The loss was about $628,000 through the first nine months last year so it's a significant reduction in loss - almost $300,000 compared to last year," said Mike Miller, chairman of the Public Facilities District board that helps oversee arena operations, at a Oct. 24 meeting.
SMG, hired by the city to run the arena, projected a loss of $552,685 through the first nine months of this year. But three additional Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey playoff games as well as savings in salaries and benefits helped reduce the losses, said Tim Higgins, ShoWare general manager.
"It's been a very busy year," Higgins said. "It's a good trend this year."
Rental income jumped $117,103 so far this year compared to the SMG budget. The salary and benefits savings amounted to $106,000 because of an unfilled marketing coordinator position as well as vacancies in other positions and the switch of an accounts payroll job from full-time to part-time.
The arena lost $2.01 million during its first four years of operation, including a record high $707,000 in 2012. The city puts aside money each year in its capital budget to cover the arena losses, money that could be spent on improvements to city streets, facilities and other capital projects.
A lack of high-profile concerts continues to hurt the arena's bottom line. But the ShoWare will get a big boost from the sold-out Florida Georgia Line country concert on Saturday, Dec. 14.
The arena will set an attendance record with just under 7,000 people at the concert, Higgins said. The ShoWare typically holds 6,000 for a sold-out concert but the stage setup enabled operators to add obstructed view seats to be sold for Florida Georgia Line.
"It's a big show for us from the country market perspective," Higgins said. "It's a show that sold out in two hours. It's a very high profile country act. It's helped put ShoWare Center on the mark in Nashville with agents and promoters showing that we are a country market in this building.
"This is our first country show. We needed to come out of the box strong which we did. It's showing that ShoWare is a proven market and will help us get further shows and go after further shows because we sold out Florida Georgia Line in two hours."
The arena received a clean opinion from the State Auditor's Office that it is following all the legal rules.
Auditors looked at 2012 contracts and financial statements as well as made sure the Public Facilities District followed public meeting requirements. Auditors do not address reasons for profit and loss.
The ShoWare also received a clean audit in 2011.
Ryan Hart is the new ShoWare director of sales and marketing while Arletta Voter is the new finance director.
Hart previously worked at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., and the Comcast Arena in Everett. Voter came to Kent from the Lynnwood Convention Center, also operated by Philadelphia-based SMG.