The operating losses at the city-owned accesso ShoWare Center in Kent have hit more than $740,000 in each of the last two years. COURTESY PHOTO, ShoWare Center

The operating losses at the city-owned accesso ShoWare Center in Kent have hit more than $740,000 in each of the last two years. COURTESY PHOTO, ShoWare Center

City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

Just as in 2022, operating losses in 2023 at the city-owned accesso ShoWare Center in Kent were lower than projected but still among the highest since the facility opened in 2009.

The arena lost $742,674 in 2023, according to the ShoWare Center income statement, with expenses of $4.35 million and revenue of $3.61 million. SMG, which operates the arena, projected a loss of $973,575.

“For 2023, we were better than budget by $230,000,” said Tim Higgins, ShoWare Center general manager, in a May 17 email. “This was due to the 10 additional Thunderbirds (hockey) playoff games of which we only budgeted for four games. Also, there was a greater demand for concert tickets for all shows and our food and beverage numbers came in better than anticipated.”

Food and beverage concessions brought in $1.5 million in 2023, about $300,000 higher than projections.

The loss ranks as the third highest in ShoWare Center history, just behind the $744,191 in 2022 and the $752,324 in 2014. The $84.5 million arena opened in 2009 with the Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team as the anchor tenant.

A strong fourth quarter in 2023 kept the losses from approaching $1 million at the 6,200 seat arena. Nine Disney on Ice shows helped boost the revenue as well as a few more concerts than anticipated.

“For 2024, we have budgeted for a $937,000 loss and we are shaping up to be a similar year to 2023 with the number of events,” Higgins said. “At this time, we are projecting to come in better than the budgeted number.”

Higgins said the third and fourth quarter of 2024 are shaping up with more events including Lamb of God with Mastodon on Aug. 17, Junior H on Oct. 5, Godsmack with Halestorm on Oct. 13, Disney on Ice on Oct. 23-27, Ramon Ayala on Nov. 3, Air 1 tour featuring Crowder on Nov. 7, Los Temarios on Nov. 15 with a second show added Nov. 14.

“We will be announcing other shows soon,” Higgins said.

The arena in 2021 had operating income of $2.97 million and expenses of $2.54 million for a profit of $436,456, according to the income statement. The ShoWare Center used $1.63 million in federal grant money (issued due to losses during the pandemic) to help turn its only annual profit since opening.

The city helps cover the losses at the ShoWare with an annual contribution of $500,000 from the general fund to arena operating costs. The city also kicks in $300,000 a year for capital costs where needed to help keep the facility upgraded.

The city charges an admission tax of 5% on each ticket sold. That money goes into the city’s general fund but is transferred into a ShoWare operating fund to help pay for capital projects.

“The current capital project we are undertaking is the replacement of the building sound system,” Higgins said. “This system is a few years past its life cycle and has been in constant repair over the last few years.”

Despite the heavy financial losses at the ShoWare Center, city leaders emphasize that the arena brings in millions of dollars to the local economy, with many restaurants, especially at Kent Station, busy during events at the facility.

No official study about the economic impact, however, has been done since 2012, which showed an estimated $25 million impact to the local economy in 2011. The Kent City Council authorized that $36,400 study on a controversial 5-2 vote. A study about how the arena could break even or make a profit, as suggested in 2012 by Councilmember Bill Boyce, has yet to be done. Boyce and then Councilmember Dana Ralph voted against the economic impact study.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

SeaTac man sentenced to life in 2021 Des Moines triple murder

Jury convicted Joshua Puloka in May of shootings outside of sports bar

Tacoma woman, 18, faces vehicular assault charge after Kent crash

Reportedly had been drinking; female passenger, 18, in her vehicle suffers injuries

Cristopher Ruvalcaba (Court documents.)
Two Auburn men sentenced in murder of Kent man at Southcenter Mall

Chris Wesolowicz was shot in a carjacking incident on Nov. 18, 2022.

Asylum seekers again ask for former Kent Econo Lodge to be reopened

Several testify at Kent City Council meeting; but King County has no plans to open hotel

Volunteers enjoy the sunshine at Renton’s 2024 Juneteenth Celebration. The weather will be sunny this weekend as summer officially starts. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing
Summer kicks off with 80-degree weekend weather

Puget Sound region weather forecast for June 21-23.

Most Kent crime numbers declining so far in 2024 compared to 2023

Homicides, robberies, vehicle thefts, residential burglaries fewer in first 5 months

Kent Police chief says they have ‘strong leads’ in student’s fatal shooting

Rafael Padilla ‘cautiously optimistic’ detectives will solve who shot Kent-Meridian High student

Latter-day Saints make large food donation to Kent, Renton groups

Semi delivers shipment for Kent Food Bank, John Volken Academy and two local churches

Police arrest Kentridge High student who reportedly had gun on campus | Update

17-year-old boy under investigation for unlawful possession of a firearm and fourth-degree assault

Juneteenth flag goes up at Kent City Hall

Mayor Dana Ralph and Gwen Allen-Carston raise the flag for June 19

State Patrol honors 7 Kent Police Department members in trooper shooting

Officers helped save the life of Trooper Seaburg in February incident; detectives built case

Police arrest Kent boy, 16, for vehicular assault after 3-car collision

Teen and three others injured, two critically; boy reportedly stole vehicle prior to June 17 crash on East Hill