Encore at the Covelli: ’11 surplus tops $126K

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In 2011, about 190,000 tickets were sold for the Covelli Centre’s 94 events. The arena showed an operating surplus of nearly $16,000 more than in 2010.

By David Skolnick



The arena made a $126,314 operating surplus for 2011, an increase over the $110,434 it made in 2010, but not as much as the $153,950 surplus from 2009.

“We’re very satisfied with this,” said city Finance Director David Bozanich. “We always want to do better, but we are making money operationally and the center is an asset to downtown Youngstown.”

Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director, told The Vindicator in October that he anticipated 2011 would be the arena’s best year. He said Thursday that he expected the fourth quarter, October to December, to be stronger than it was. The center’s operating surplus for the fourth quarter was $36,107, but its projected surplus was $68,694.

The fourth quarter included concerts by Mannheim Steamroller and Guns N’ Roses; neither were sellouts.

But Ryan pointed out that 2011’s third quarter, July to September, was the only time since the center opened in October 2005 that it had an operating surplus — $35,230 — during that quarter.

“Overall, we’re happy with the numbers,” he said. “Anytime we can show an operating profit is great. We’re pretty pleased with our financials.”

The center had 94 events that sold 190,000 tickets total last year, Ryan said. Among the biggest draws were sold-out concerts by Barry Manilow with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra; M ∂tley Cr ºe and Poison; Tim McGraw; and ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The facility far exceeded its projected 2011 operating surplus of $40,399. The center’s 2012 projection is about $80,000, Ryan said.

“We had a good year” in 2011, said Mayor Charles Sammarone. “It’s more than we made last year.”

Ryan’s company, JAC Management, is expected to take over the center’s food-and-beverage contract March 1.

The switch would increase food-and-beverage sales for the center by about $51,000 annually with JAC making an additional $24,000 annually, Bozanich estimates.

Also, the city made $215,578 in 2011 from a 5.5 percent admission tax on tickets sold for events at the center.

The city made $218,429 on the tax in 2010 and $300,450 in 2009.

The primary reason 2009 was the center’s most successful year was a Kelly Pavlik middleweight boxing title fight that brought in nearly $75,000 in profit. It’s the single-most profitable event at the center.

The tax and the center’s operating surplus, $341,892 in 2011, will offset some of the estimated $920,000 the city will pay this year in principal and interest on $11.9 million it borrowed in 2005 to help fund the facility’s construction costs, Bozanich said.

The city will pay about $335,000 in September toward the loan principal and about $585,000 in interest that month, he said.

The $275,000 the city paid in September 2011 toward loan principal was the first time it paid any of that money borrowed in 2005. Until last year, the city paid only interest on that $11.9 million.

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