Kent’s ShoWare Center financial losses lower than projected in third quarter

The city of Kent’s accesso ShoWare Center lost money in the third quarter, but not as much as arena operators estimated.

SMG, which operates the $84.5 million facility, reported revenues were $69,471 above projections for July through September, according to the income statement released Oct. 26 at a Public Facilities District Board meeting.

“We had another really good quarter,” said Arletta Voter, ShoWare Center finance director, in her report to the board.

The arena had expenses of $729,233 and revenues of $379, 898 in the third quarter for a loss of $349,335, but that was less than SMG forecasted. The third quarter typically suffers the highest losses as operators struggle to book shows in the summer months with the nice weather and multiple competitive venues, including several outdoor sites.

For the year, the ShoWare has expenses of $2.2 million and revenues of $1.8 million for a loss of $430,862. SMG estimated a loss of $628,759 through the third quarter.

“We will beat budget by year end,” said ShoWare general manager Tim Higgins. “I can’t say what that is now. But we are going to have a good year.”

The arena has lost money each year since it opened in 2009, a loss of nearly $4 million. But the losses have been lower the last couple of years with the anchor tenant Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team advancing far in the playoffs and a few more concerts and other events getting booked each year.

The sale of food and beverages jumps with more games and concerts. So far, food and beverage sales are $250,983 higher than projected in 2017.

Rapper Logic performed in front of a sellout crowd in July. The Outcry Christian music festival tour in August drew a crowd of 5,193. The T-Birds opened the regular season in September in front of a sellout crowd of 6,104.

SMG expects more than 400,000 people to attend events at the ShoWare this year, which would top last year’s mark of 397,944. The popular 10 shows of Disney on Ice from Nov. 1-6 will help boost the attendance and financial numbers in the fourth quarter as 18,000 tickets were sold through last week.

Bright lights

The arena’s parking lights now feature LED lighting, making the lots much brighter.

“You can see it from outer space,” Higgins said. “It is brighter and more inviting. We were talking about lighting up some of the sides of the building because they were too dark. We don’t need to now.”

It cost $33,000 to install the 72 new lights, but ShoWare received a $13,000 Puget Sound Energy rebate to cut the cost to $20,000. Higgins said the energy savings from the more efficient lights will cover the extra cost within two years.

Hot ticket

The Judas Priest concert coming to town on April 15 is expected to be a sellout, Higgins said.

Tickets went on sale last week and were going fast for the heavy metal band and its Firepower tour. Tickets are available at accessoshowarecenter.com.

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