New Year Starts Red

August 25, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place opened the fiscal year with losses in July, but both buildings lost less money than expected.

The arena dropped $51,524 for the month, while the projected loss for July was more than double that amount at $104,558. The building hosted four events, three more than was forecast. The Detroit Shock WNBA game sold more tickets than in previous visits to the arena and that helped push direct event income higher.

Still, the arena lost about $18,000 more this July than in July of last year, despite hosting one more event.

Summer is typically a slower time for business at the arena, especially the months of July and August as bands play outdoor venues. But SMG, the firm that manages the arena and convention center, expects business to pick up in the fall.

“The concerts we have signed are selling very well. In a few weeks, we will see some family shows announced,” said SMG Director of Finance Chris Machuta.

Eric Clapton plays the arena on Sept. 21 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers appear on Nov. 2. A 1960’s revival concert that was booked for DeVos Performance Hall next month has been cancelled.

The loss at DeVos Place for July totaled $151,423, about $100,000 less than projected. Direct event income was more than $40,000 over expectations at $109,000 because two conventions used additional space in the building. In July 2005, the center lost $203,000.

“It’s kind of too early to tell what is going to happen,” said Machuta.

DeVos Place has been projected to lose $725,642 for the fiscal year, while the arena is expected to end the year with a surplus of $1.4 million. 

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