May 15, 2013

Intrust Bank Arena gives Sedgwick County $253,260 check

SMG gave Sedgwick County a check for $253,260 on Wednesday for its share of profit last year at Intrust Bank Arena.

SMG gave Sedgwick County a check for $253,260 on Wednesday for its share of profit last year at Intrust Bank Arena.

Arena general manager A.J. Boleski presented an oversized check to Commissioner Chairman Jim Skelton and County Manager William Buchanan, who joyfully accepted it.

“It’s very pleasing to everyone here when someone brings us money instead of asks for it,” Skelton said.

The arena brought in $703,260 last year in net building income.

“It was a very successful year. We’re glad to have a good partner in the county,” Boleski told commissioners.

The county has a unique agreement with SMG, which manages the arena. SMG agreed to absorb any losses. SMG keeps the first $450,000 of profit; the next $450,000 goes to the county. After the $900,000 mark, 60 percent of profits go to the county and 40 percent to SMG.

The arena made $2 million and change in its first year, 2010, and gave the county a check the next year for $1,116,442.

That level of profit hasn’t been repeated. In 2011, the arena netted $389,659. That meant the county didn’t receive any check from SMG last year.

The first quarter of this year brought in about $428,000 less in net building income than it did for the same time period last year, assistant county manager Ron Holt reported to commissioners Wednesday.

That’s despite the fact that there were seven more events during that timeframe compared with last year, Holt said.

The average price of tickets sold was down, affecting revenue.

The average price per ticket sold for the first quarter of this year was $19.41. That compares with $22.95 for the first quarter last year. In 2010, the average cost per ticket sold was $38.40. The lower per-ticket-sold average stems from fewer concerts compared with previous years. Concerts the first quarter of the arena’s opening year included Elton John and Billy Joel and Bon Jovi. The arena’s first event was a concert by Brad Paisley, who returned last year.

First-quarter events this year included Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam,” Wichita Thunder hockey games, the Harlem Globetrotters and performances by Sesame Street. Tickets for Thunder games are markedly lower than concert ticket prices. Kid Rock played the arena Feb. 10, and the average cost per ticket sold was $49.83. The average cost of a Thunder ticket the first quarter of this year was $10.21, records show.

Intrust Bank Arena earlier this year announced it was ranked 40th for 2012 among entertainment venues of comparable size by Pollstar, a publication that focuses on the concert industry. The arena ranked 77th worldwide.

“Our goal is to be a Top 25 building,” Boleski told commissioners. Boleski said the arena’s third quarter looks good with performances by Taylor Swift, whose Aug. 6 concert has sold out as well as country musicians Rascal Flatts on Aug. 9 and Luke Bryan on Sept. 12.

The arena also has scheduled two sporting events in the fourth quarter that promise big crowds. The Oklahoma City Thunder is scheduled to play the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 23, and Kansas State University is scheduled to play Gonzaga University on Dec. 21.

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