DeVos To Sell Ads

December 19, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Now that the Convention and Arena Authority has a premium-seat plan in place for DeVos Performance Hall, board members can turn their attention to filling the second of four options they approved this fall to raise revenue to cover upgrades and repairs to DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena.

CAA member Gary McInerney told the Business Journal that selling advertisements in

DeVos Place
, the city’s convention center, would likely be the next enterprise the board will undertake to add revenue to the capital improvement funds of both buildings.

“Our effort, in time, will go toward designing and developing the interior advertising in DeVos and the hallways,” said McInerney, who huddled with SMG General Manager Rich MacKeigan to come up with the four funding options.

The board needs the revenue to cover a $12.7 million shortfall that has been projected for the fund by 2016.

The ad sales campaign could be similar to the one that has been going on at the arena since the buildings opened in October 1996. DP Fox Ventures has sold the interior arena advertising since the beginning and, although no agreement has been reached, SMG has been talking with DP Fox about doing the same for

DeVos Place
.

“We are definitely very interested and have had conversations with Rich (MacKeigan) already,” said Scott Gorsline, DP Fox COO.

SMG has projected that ad revenue to the arena should be worth $575,000 for the current fiscal year. But before the ad selling gets under way in earnest at

DeVos Place
, the board wants to put the hall’s seating program to rest.

“First, we will concentrate on the implementation and facilitation of this plan,” said McInerney. “It looks like those seats are going to sell rather quickly.”

McInerney felt that most, if not all, of the 400 premium seats offered in the orchestra section would be leased within the next 60 days. The leases run for one, three or five years.

Leasing a seat gives a seat holder the first chance to buy tickets to all SMG-sponsored events booked in the building; a minimum of 10 shows are guaranteed each year.

SMG recently announced it was making 200 seats in orchestra rows G through S available to the public. Each seat can be leased for $200 per year for one, three or five years. A $200 per-seat deposit is required, which can be refunded or applied to the final year of a contract.

If all 400 seats are leased for the next five years, the CAA would raise $400,000 for its capital improvement fund. But MacKeigan felt it was unlikely that every seat would be leased for five years. He thought the effort would add about $50,000 to the account during the program’s first fiscal year.

In addition to the premium-seat program and the ad-selling campaign, McInerney and MacKeigan recommended that the CAA host an annual fundraising event and capture a portion of the convenience fee from ticket sales at the hall and arena as two other methods to raise revenue for repairs and upgrades to both buildings.    

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