Great year for Covelli Centre predicted
By DAVID SKOLNICK
Coming off a weak 2017, the Covelli Centre bounced back during the first three months of this year with a $194,702 operating surplus.
It was the fifth best January-to-March quarter in the center’s history, dating back to 2006, and nearly double what the facility made during the same three months last year.
The $194,702 operating surplus was also better than the projected $154,792 for the first quarter.
“We’re pleased with the results,” said Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director. “It was better than we anticipated. We’re off to a good start. The bigger shows make our financials what they are. We should end up with a great year.”
The biggest shows in the first quarter were concerts by Luke Combs; Earth, Wind & Fire; and Judas Priest. All three attracted audiences of about 5,000 people, Ryan said.
There were 32 total shows – including well-attended monster truck and professional bull-riding events – in the first quarter with about 80,000 people in attendance, Ryan said.
The city also made $34,336 during the first three months of the year from its 5.5 percent admission tax on tickets sold for events at the center, said Kyle Miasek, the city’s interim finance director.
“The center exceeded its budget, which makes us happy,” he said. “The numbers are looking strong to start the year.”
The center had a $100,482 operating surplus during the first quarter of 2017, but continued to lose money during its worst year in a decade, and finished with only a $2,247 operating surplus for the year.
The center’s budget for the second quarter – April to June – is expected to be break-even, Ryan said.
That quarter already featured a Justin Moore concert that drew about 5,000 people, and will be highlighted by a June 19 concert by John Fogerty and ZZ Top, Ryan said.
The center is budgeted to have a $220,000 operating surplus for the year, but Ryan said, “We plan to exceed that. We hope to do much better than that.”
The city borrowed $11.9 million in 2005 to pay its portion of building the $45 million facility. The city still owes $9.76 million in principal. It paid nothing in principal until 2011 and has increased its annual payment.
For example, it paid $600,000 in principal last year. It will pay $700,000 in principal this year with about $200,000 in interest, Miasek said.
The city uses money from the center’s operating surplus and the admission tax along with the carry-over fund balance it has from previous years to make the principal and interest payments.