Arena, DeVos still on pace

April 19, 2009
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The bottom lines for DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena are in line with the budgets at the fiscal year’s three-quarter mark.

If the year was to end today, the Convention and Arena Authority would capture about $850,000 worth of gross revenue from the buildings, and that is income the board can use.

After nine months, DeVos Place had a deficit of $353,274, about $16,000 more than the projected shortfall but nearly $100,000 over the deficit the convention center had at the same time last year.

SMG Director of Finance Chris Machuta reported revenue to the building has been less than expected. But he also said the shortfall has been offset by lower expenses, which has kept DeVos Place consistent with the budget.

After nine months, the arena had a surplus of more than $1.2 million, about $30,000 over the projected margin but still $140,000 below the surplus Van Andel had at the same time last year.

Machuta said the arena has performed consistent with projections for the first three quarters. But he felt the building will fall short of budget in the fourth quarter because some typical summer bookings have been pushed into the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Through three quarters, event income to DeVos Place totaled $3.35 million, or roughly $500,000 below budget. Conventions and trade shows brought nearly $1.2 million in event income to the building, while consumer shows were worth $957,613 through March. Both revenue figures were below expectations.

Business and organizational meetings spent 105 days at the convention center through nine months, while consumer shows rented the building for 51 days. Both booking figures were below projections.

Event income to Van Andel Arena stood at $2.7 million after nine months, about $40,000 over budget. Concert receipts totaled $1.1 million, or $400,000 below expectations. Revenue from Grand Rapids Griffins games were worth $502,453, nearly $100,000 above budget due to an attendance increase of 8 percent over last year.

Van Andel hosted 16 concerts through March. SMG tries to book 22 live music shows for every fiscal year. SMG General Manager Rich MacKeigan said the building has averaged 5.4 concerts each year between Memorial Day to Labor Day for at least the past five years, and he is expecting another decent summer this year.

“There are four shows booked and I’m still working on two more. The summer is not horrible,” he said.

At the end of March, the CAA had a deficit of $1.2 million. That posting didn’t include a month’s worth of parking revenue and interest income, as neither figure arrived in time to be entered into the financial statements. Still, that shortfall is $626,872 less than the deficit the board had after nine months last year when the expenses topped revenue by $1.8 million. In addition, the profit-and-loss statement doesn’t include gross revenue from the arena and convention center.

SMG has projected DeVos Place to lose $537,000 for the fiscal year and the arena to have a surplus of $1.25 million. SMG manages both buildings for the CAA, which is responsible for operations at both.

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