Kent's ShoWare Center loses $34,956 in first quarter but stays ahead of budget

A berth in the Western Hockey League playoffs by the Seattle Thunderbirds helped lower losses at the ShoWare Center in Kent. - Kent Reporter, file photo
A berth in the Western Hockey League playoffs by the Seattle Thunderbirds helped lower losses at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

A $34,956 operating loss for the first three months of this year at the city-owned ShoWare Center in Kent turned out to be good news.

Arena officials had projected losses of $60,135 for the first quarter. But the losses were lower because three Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey playoff games and a sold-out Hispanic concert boosted revenue.

"We are better to budget by about $25,000," said Tim Higgins, ShoWare general manager, at an April 24 meeting of the arena's Public Facilities District board. "It was a good quarter."

A March 23 concert by Dos Mundos Una Historia, featuring Gerardo Ortiz and Julion Alvarez, drew 6,800 people.

"If you look at adjusted gross income we're ahead close to $50,000 and that's due to the extra hockey games we had and a concert that did well for us in March," Higgins said as he went through the income statement for the $84.5 million arena.

ShoWare officials do not budget for hockey playoff games because there's no guarantee of the T-Birds making the playoffs. Extra playoff games last year helped the arena turn a profit of $7,048 in the first quarter.

The arena had expenses in the first quarter of $685,676 and revenue of $650,720 for the $34,956 loss. The ShoWare Center has revenue losses of $2.4 million since it opened in 2009.

Higgins said the promoter of the Hispanic concert is looking at doing three more shows this year at the arena.

"It was a great show and great event," Higgins said. "It's a nice event for us. It went really well for us."

Concerts are the biggest moneymakers for the center as fans spend a lot on food and beverages. The arena made about $50,000 more in food and beverage sales in the first quarter than what officials had budgeted.

"That will help the bottom line even though I think you are doing great," board member Randall Smith said to Higgins about the additional Hispanic concerts coming up this year.

The T-Birds had about a 10 percent increase in attendance for the 2013-14 season, said Colin Campbell, T-Birds vice president. He credited the increase to the success of the team as well as promotions, including the popular 2-for-Tuesdays when two tickets are sold for the price of one and discounts are offered on beer, pop, hot dogs and popcorn.

"We're averaging almost 5,000 fans per game for Tuesday games," said Campbell, who added the promotion will return for next season. The hockey season runs from September to April.

The T-Birds also sold 10 of the 20 suites for the season and sold the other suites on a per game basis, filling them to 73 percent of capacity.

ShoWare notes: The arena will welcome its 2 millionth visitor early in the hockey season in the fall and plans to offer a big prize to that fan. Details will be released closer to the date. …About 4,000 participants per day are expected at the three-day CrossFit Games on May 16-18. The event features challenges to test the fitness of competitors. …Seventeen graduations are scheduled over 12 days in June, including the four Kent high schools. …New wall murals are going up on the arena's indoor concourse. The first one up features a photo of the country duo Florida Georgia Line, which played to a sold-out arena last December.


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