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Despite March Madness, Intrust Bank Arena profit down 20 percent

Inside Wichita: Go backstage at Intrust Bank Arena

Go behind the scenes and see where the stars hang out backstage at Intrust Bank Arena. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)
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Go behind the scenes and see where the stars hang out backstage at Intrust Bank Arena. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

Intrust Bank Arena remains profitable but is reporting a 20 percent drop in income this year, despite a bump from the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

Net income for the first three quarters of this year was about $556,000. That’s down from just shy of $700,000 last year, according to a report to the Sedgwick County Commission.

That’s a drop of about $143,000 year to year.

The county owns the arena and splits the revenue with SMG Corp., which runs the facility under contract.

SMG gets the first $400,000 in revenue each year as a management fee. Anything over that is split 50-50 between SMG and the county, said county spokeswoman Kate Flavin.

The NCAA basketball tournament in March gave the arena a nice boost for the first quarter of 2018, said A.J. Boleski, the arena manager who works for SMG.

But concerts, the biggest source of arena income, were down this year.

“It’s kind of driven by the concert activity, who’s out on the road, how many shows we get,” Boleski said. “In our industry, every year is not the same. If you look back at the third quarter, 2017, there was a name in there like Paul McCartney. Those types of events, that’s what drives some of the variances sometimes.”

Both Boleski and county Chief Financial Officer Lindsay Poe Rousseau said they’re happy with the income despite the decline from last year. And the arena is expected to finish the year in the black.

“We’ll see how the fourth quarter goes,” Boleski said. ““We do expect the numbers to be positive, as they’ve been every year, which is a great thing that most arenas aren’t able to report.”

Added Rousseau: “It’s still $556,000, still pretty darn good.”

More than 13,000 people attended Wednesday's open practice for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. (March 14, 2018)

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Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.


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