Kent’s ShoWare Center financial losses lower than projected

Financial losses were lower than projected for Kent’s ShoWare Center from April through June.

“Our second quarter was really good,” said Arletta Voter, ShoWare Center finance director. “We were better than budget by $191,214.”

The city-owned arena had expenses of $722,313 and income of $601,630 for the second quarter, according to the income statement released July 27 by operator SMG to the Public Facilities District board, which helps oversee the facility. The loss was $120,683 for the quarter. SMG staff had projected a loss of $311,897.

Revenues were boosted by the Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team, the anchor tenant of the $84.5 million arena. The T-Birds had eight home playoff games in the quarter, including crowds of more than 6,000 at two of the contests. The T-Birds won the Western Hockey League title.

SMG does not budget playoff games, which are not a guarantee, so when the T-Birds advanced each round, more games were played and the crowds twice filled the 6,000-plus seat arena. ShoWare’s rental income came in $108,754 more than the budget.

The hockey games also increased the food and beverage profits. The arena’s concessions brought in $236,817 for the second quarter, nearly $175,000 higher than budget.

The stronger than expected second quarter put arena losses for the year at $81,517 compared to projected losses of $209,958. The center had a profit of $62,846 in the first quarter, about $40,000 lower than projected.

The ShoWare Center, which has lost more than $3.5 million since it opened in 2009, has found a niche and revenue producers in the last couple of years with Christian and Mexican concerts. The Mexican group Banda MS drew a sellout crowd of 6,670 on April 2.

“We are seeing some of these (Mexican) shows selling out with 6,000-plus people,” said Tim Higgins, Showare Center general manager. “The Mexican community knows the ShoWare Center is the place to come for their events. They come here, have a good time, and every show builds off the last show.”

SMG continues to line up more concerts.

“We will be announcing in the next couple of weeks two more Mexican concerts that will sell out and a couple of country shows for this year,” Higgins said.

Christian music groups and promoters have made sure the ShoWare Center is one of the stops on national tours.

“Every date’s a plus,” Higgins said. “It’s great we can do these type of shows.”

Other events have attracted crowds as well. Rapper Logic drew 4,000 to his July 13 concert.

Top attractions coming up this fall include the International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association playoffs Sept. 1-3. Higgins expects the event to draw anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 people per day. Twelve teams from across the nation and Canada will compete.

“The more I look into this and hear about it, it’s big,” Higgins said.

Disney On Ice returns Nov. 1-6 for its annual stop in Kent. Tickets have yet to go on sale for Disney On Ice, which often sells out.

SMG also announced that the Tacoma Stars have renewed their contract to play the 2017-2018 Major Arena Soccer League season at the ShoWare Center. The Stars played 10 games at the arena last season.