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February 8, 2012

Intrust Bank Arena nets $390,000 in second year

As it did for the Giants at the Super Bowl on Sunday, the fourth quarter saved Intrust Bank Arena from a loss last year.

As it did for the Giants at the Super Bowl on Sunday, the fourth quarter saved Intrust Bank Arena from a loss last year.

The arena netted $389,659 last year, which Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan said was not as much as the county would have liked but was better than had been feared.

“It’s better than a poke in the eye,” he said.

A stronger fourth quarter pulled the arena out of the red.

The county will not get any of last year’s net profits. Its contract with SMG, which manages the arena, calls for SMG to keep the first $450,000 of profit. In its first year, in 2010, the arena made enough money to give the county a check for $1.1 million.

The arena had 99 performances last year, down by about 10.

Arena general manager A.J. Boleski said he expects this year to be better. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are playing April 26, which will be one of the venue’s few rock shows. In terms of concerts, the arena has mostly attracted country acts.

Boleski said he attended a Pollstar conference last week in Los Angeles and said “It looks like a good, solid year as far as concerts out on the road.”

He noted that the arena already has more concerts scheduled in the first quarter than it had last year, and “you’re going to see that trend throughout the remainder of the year.”

“I’m just glad that we had a profit,” Commissioner Dave Unruh said.

Boleski said Wichita State University and Kansas State University basketball games helped the arena in the fourth quarter.

“We continue to pursue college basketball games,” Boleski said. “Those are things we want to grow.”

Boleski said he’s also going after NBA games. Commissioner Tim Norton said the arena got “jilted” last year because of the NBA strike. Boleski said every venue did.

The arena’s reserve funds stand at $11.7 million, assistant county manager Ron Holt said. That money is used for operation and maintenance expenses.

Norton said it’s important for the county and SMG to keep the building looking good. He said the county took some criticism for allowing the former Kansas Coliseum to fall into disrepair.

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