Intrust Bank Arena has brought in profits of nearly $1 million since opening, but Sedgwick County leaders and the company that manages the downtown venue warn that events will slow down this summer.
The arena took in gross income of just less than $2.3 million in its first three months — January through March. Net building income was $973,878, Assistant County Manager Ron Holt reported to commissioners Wednesday.
March's net income of $653,656 was nearly twice that of January and February combined.
The Elton John and Billy Joel concert March 3 brought the most people to the arena, 13,988. Gross ticket sales for that concert reached just more than $1.6 million for an average cost per ticket of about $115.
The March 11 Bon Jovi concert also did well, bringing in 13,709 people. Gross ticket sales came in at about $1 million at an average ticket price of about $74.
Gross ticket sales for the entire month reached about $3.6 million for an average cost per ticket of $44.
The arena played host to 19 performances in March, including concerts, sporting events and family shows.
Holt told commissioners there has been "pent-up demand" for entertainment in Sedgwick County.
"We have gotten events that would not have come to the Kansas Coliseum," he said.
Commissioners largely were upbeat about the report. Chairman Karl Peterjohn expressed concern that revenue numbers did not include depreciation for the building, paid for by a 30-month, 1 percent sales tax taxpayers approved in 2004.
County Manager William Buchanan noted that depreciation will be addressed in an independent annual audit of the arena.
SMG does not own the arena, so it does not include depreciation in its financial reports to the county.
Under the county's agreement with SMG, SMG is responsible for any operating losses during its contract. SMG gets the first $450,000 of annual profit after recovering money for any prior losses. The county receives the next $450,000 in profit after being reimbursed for any capital expenses exceeding $250,000.
After that, the county would receive 60 percent and SMG would receive 40 percent of any remaining profit.
Commissioner Gwen Welshimer asked if the county had financial records for the first few years at Britt Brown Arena at the Kansas Coliseum complex to compare with Intrust Bank Arena's numbers.
Holt told her he would check but didn't think such records existed.
Commissioner Kelly Parks said he has advocated for keeping such records.
Parks recently told Rep. Brenda Landwehr in an e-mail that he couldn't wait for the new arena to be torn down in 34 years. Britt Brown, mothballed by the county earlier this year, was 34 years old last year. The Coliseum complex's pavilions remain open through next year. Their future beyond that is uncertain.
Commissioner Tim Norton said the arena is for future generations, "not on us old guys who have enjoyed the community."
Holt said the entertainment industry historically winds down in the summer as touring groups take a break.
Norton said although he expects a dip in summer activities, "I anticipate fall to be very good" as buzz grows about groups that will be on the road.
"I'm very optimistic that it's (the arena) going to continue to be something that's very good for our community," he said.