It wasn’t close to the big bucks that flowed after Intrust Bank Arena’s maiden voyage two years ago, but the arena did well enough in 2012 that Sedgwick County was able to take more than a quarter-million dollars to the bank.
The arena had a net income of $703,000 last year for an increase of about $314,000 over 2011, according to a report presented Wednesday to the Sedgwick County Commission.
For the second year in a row, a basketball game drew the largest crowd when the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder brought in a crowd of 15,004 for an October exhibition game with Dallas. The top three concerts brought in more than 12,000 each.
“It was a very good year,” Assistant County Manager Ron Holt said.
At least much better than 2011, when the county didn’t get any money off the arena. But it’s far short of the $1.1 million check the county received after the arena made $2 million in its first year, 2010.
“That was a spectacular year,” Holt said. “It’s a year you’d love to see again, but we probably never will.”
SMG, which manages the county-owned arena, keeps the first $450,000 of each year’s net income. The county didn’t pocket any money in 2011, because the arena’s net income was about $389,000.
After the first $450,000, the county gets all the money up to $900,000.
The county received $253,000 for 2012. From there, the agreement calls for a 60-40 split with the county getting the larger slice.
And the slice was huge in 2010.
“There’s a honeymoon period in the first year,” said A.J. Boleski, who works for SMG as the general manager of the Intrust arena. “Every promoter wants to put their shows in. They know people are going to flock to a new building.”
That first year saw 119 performances – ticketed and non-ticketed – including concerts with such varied music styles as Bon Jovi, the Eagles, Brad Paisley, Elton John and Taylor Swift.
There were 106 performances in 2012 and 99 in 2011. The arena also has evolved to attracting mostly country and classic rock concerts. Four of Intrust’s top seven attendance totals for concerts in 2012 belonged to country, led by 13,759 coming to see Jason Aldean in March.
“We’re always trying to attract events that market to every aspect of the community,” Boleski. “But country does extremely well here.
“We want to build on rock and pop shows. But there’s not a lot of history for pop shows in our market. Promoters look at history. They want to see how something is being supported. Country has always been supported here, and that breeds more country shows.”
A crowd of 9,628 saw classic rock artist Tom Petty at the arena in April, which led Intrust to being able to schedule Van Halen for September, Boleski said. In July, however, Van Halen cancelled its Wichita stop and the rest of its tour.
“We’re building a pretty good reputation nationally with promoters,” Boleski said. “We always want to be on their radar.”
Concerts for 2013 include a country lineup of Swift (Aug. 6), Rascal Flatts (Aug. 9) and Blake Shelton (Oct. 5)
Athletic events account for three of the top 10 draws in 2012.
After Oklahoma City’s NBA exhibition at the top, Wichita Thunder’s hockey team ranked seventh with a crowd of 8,522 in February.
For the third straight year, Wichita State University played a basketball game in the arena. It drew 8,364 in a December victory over Southern Mississippi. Intrust’s capacity for basketball is 15,004, which Kansas State University drew in 2011 for its victory over West Virginia.
“We’d like to add other college basketball teams in the state,” Boleski said. “Our goal is to have Oklahoma City from the NBA every year. We expect to have them back sometime in the future.”
Other figures from the 2012 report include: