Xfinity Arena at Everett Paints A Bleak Financial Picture Including $700k For A Scoreboard

Arena losses 1

This chart shows losses over the last 4 years.

Arena chart 2

This shows losses have been greater than revenues over the last 4 years.

Chart 3

This chart shows the drop in available funds over the last 4 years.

Tips chart

This chart shows the Silvertips attendance from 2010 – 2014

“Our bottom line is lovely compared to Showare Center in Kent,” said Everett Economic Director Lanie McMullin as she was explaining the current financial picture of Xfinity Arena to the Everett City Council Wednesday night. The council asked for an update on the finances at the Arena as it looks ahead to future budgets and the city now paying $800,000.00 a year on debt service. The city will also be taking over ownership and operations some point in the future. Currently the event center is owned and operated by the Everett Public Facilities District. At this point ownership is scheduled to transfer to the city in 2026. While the event center was never expected to really make a profit, its Capital Reserve Fund is down to just $53,365.00 for 2014 after being as high as $394,446.00 in 2010. The Surplus account is down to $284,942.00 in 2014 compared to $1,765,142.00 in 2010. On average the arena has lost $200,000.00 a year for the last 3 years. In 2013 Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson re-affirmed his support for the Arena in an address to the PFD board. “We need to have as few “dark” nights as possible,” said Stephanson. “We need to get down in the trenches, go after business, pull out every attraction, we could even accommodate another pro sports team.” During last night’s report, Stephanson expressed his displeasure with long time Everett events that once were held in the arena that have now moved to other venues outside of the city. While he didn’t mention them by name, Providence General Foundation this year moved it’s annual Festival of Trees out of Everett for the first time.

The reasons for the financial decline for the arena are many according to McMullin. The original PFD legislation demanded a certain type of building, the recession hit the area economy, the Sonics and Thunderbirds both moved out of Key Arena in Seattle so dates that traditionally were taken in Seattle but open in Everett were now open for promoters in Seattle in a building that would give them bigger attendance. Also, the biggest money-maker for the Arena, the Everett Silvertips, have seen their average hockey attendance drop from an average per game of 4488 in 2010 to 3889 in 2014.

One other item that seemed to take the Everett City Council by surprise was the revelation that the administration will soon be asking the council to approve more than $675 thousand dollars for a new scoreboard. When asked where that money would come from, city CFO Deb Bryant said they would transfer it from under-expenditures from 2014’s budget. That news didn’t appear to sit too well with some of the council given all of the work that has been done to close Everett’s budget gap and bring it back into what the Mayor called structural balance in a letter to the council last March. During the citizen comment portion of the meeting Jackie Minchew told the council. “We can and will find $675k for a scoreboard but nothing for homeless, that makes me sad.”

McMullin told the council that the way they plan to turn things around is for Xfinity Arena to offer its own events and programs in the conference center. “The new trend is to do it yourself,” said McMullin. “Make your own action.” She also presented projections that show things turning around beginning in 2016. With regard to whether the arena has done what it set out to do when built, McMullin told the council she thinks it has. She says the goals established in the 1994 comprehensive plan to promote economic development were met. The building helps attract an educated and skilled workforce to Everett and enhances the city’s image when businesses and people look to move to Everett.

,

About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

View all posts by myeverettnews

4 Responses to “Xfinity Arena at Everett Paints A Bleak Financial Picture Including $700k For A Scoreboard”

  1. Joe Says:

    I work at the arena with the operations crew. I knew the arena wasn’t very profitable as soon as I walked in. It’s to small. The circus came to town, but they only have horses and 2 elephants. The seats are crap, and need to be replaced. I wouldn’t sit on them. What events they can bring are either crammed in there or have really low attendance. They only give us a couple days to convert the old events for new ones. Very hard and draining for little pay. Also, I don’t know which genius picked hockey for a sports team. Hockey is the least popular sport in the us. They should have done basketball. Yeah.I hate working there.

  2. Eleanore Says:

    *they

  3. Placido Says:

    If the general public had seen the mailings sent to city employees regarding the budget crisis and the many cuts that need to be made, they would be as upset as I am over the ability to “find” $675,000 for an unneeded sporting accessory.