Arena Grand Center Had Good July

August 16, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Van Andel Arena and Grand Center showed profits for July, and both margins were higher than projections for the first month of the new fiscal year.

Net income for the arena was $150,297, which is 73 percent above a projected $87,039 margin for the month. Three shows drove that figure: a concert by Cher, a nationally televised Grand Rapids Rampage game, and a World Wrestling Entertainment event.

“We seem to be much more recession-proof than a lot of buildings have been,” said Chris Machuta, SMG director of finance for the arena and Grand Center.

The arena hosted six events in July that drew 38,618 ticket-buyers. Two shows that didn’t do as well as was expected were concerts by Korn and Mary J. Blige. Both were repeat shows from acts regarded as urban bands.

Machuta said repeaters often don’t sell as many tickets the second time around as they did on their initial visit. He added that there aren’t a lot of urban bands that can fill an arena on a regular basis, and he wasn’t sure if Grand Rapids was a strong market for that type of act.

“I don’t know if it’s been tested enough to say if it’s good or bad,” he said.

The Grand Center turned a profit of $32,587 in July. The building was expected to show a loss of $145,793. A training-and -hiring event contributed $165,000 to the bottom line and $126,000 of that total was billed for July. The building hosted 28 events during the month.

Machuta said it was too early to tell if the Grand Center would have a banner fiscal year with construction for the new DeVos Place going on around it. He remarked that SMG, which manages the building and the arena, usually waits until the end of the first quarter before making a forecast.

SMG earned $656,019 for managing both building during FY02, which ended on June 30. The total included $206,019 in an incentive fee the company has with the Convention and Arena Authority. Under its management agreement, SMG gets 20 percent of the first $1 million in excess revenue and 25 percent of the revenue above that. The fee, however, is capped at the base fee, which is set at $234,000 a year for each building.           

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