Everett public facilities district trims loss in 2014

EVERETT — Xfinity Arena and the public taxing district that owns it both lost money in 2014. But they also managed to rein in their expenses, to the point where the arena almost broke even.

“We were pretty much one good show short at the end of the year,” said Rick Comeau, the arena’s general manager.

The arena lost $35,151 in 2014, an improvement over the previous year’s loss of $140,795.

The Everett Public Facilities District, which developed and owns the arena, lost $517,000 in 2014, down from $616,000 the previous year.

The district’s losses include operating expenses, such as salaries and maintenance, as well as intangible items like depreciation of the facility, which must be accounted for even if it involves no cash going out the door.

The district also paid about $1.2 million in 2014 on the bonds it issued to build the arena in 2003. Those bonds are scheduled to be paid off by 2026.

All told, the district grossed $3.55 million in revenue for 2014, slightly down from the previous year’s $3.64 million. Revenues include ticket sales, concessions, advertising sales, naming rights and other sources of income.

Xfinity started off 2014 minus one key tenant: the National Lacrosse League’s Washington Stealth moved to Vancouver, B.C., in June 2013.

Filling that revenue gap was going to be tough.

“That was a lot of revenue we tried to make up in other ways,” Comeau said.

The arena added a number of smaller events in 2014 that could come back annually, such as a rodeo, motorcycle ice racing, and “Jurassic Quest,” a dinosaur-themed show targeted at younger audiences.

In addition, when it became apparent that revenues were falling short, the organization started cutting expenses in the form of salaries, operational costs, looking for savings in utilities and materials costs, and leaving some vacant positions unfilled.

“I think last year was a good year for us,” Comeau said. “Not as good as we hoped, but it was a step in the right direction.”

The $71.5 million arena was built in 2003 with public bonds and still carries about $50 million in debt. The city guarantees $27.4 million of that debt and refinanced those bonds with its own superior credit rating, which will save money on interest payments over the long term.

The city of Everett owns the conference center and the ice rink, and also the land underneath Xfinity Arena. The city also plans to take over ownership of the arena in 2026, when its bonds are paid off.

In the coming year, keeping the arena’s and district’s finances on the right track involves bringing in more customers.

“What we really need is just three big shows a year,” said Gary Weikel, the president of the Everett Facility District.

The first big concert of the year was Saturday’s R. Kelly show, which Weikel said sold more than 3,000 advance tickets.

In 2014, Demi Lovato and OneRepublic were the big touring acts to visit Everett, and country star Eric Church played a sold-out Tuesday night show in late 2013.

Xfinity Arena’s capacity is about 8,500 seats for concerts and 10,000 for sporting and other arena events.

This hockey season, the Everett Silvertips might qualify for the playoffs, meaning more ticket sales from home games.

Global Spectrum, the company that manages the arena, also has lined up five Sesame Street Live shows for May, and Disney on Ice returns for the third consecutive year in November, with nine “Frozen” shows.

“We’re trying to appeal to a very wide audience,” Comeau said.

“At some point during 2015, I’m hoping the majority of people in Everett will say, ‘I want to go to that show,’” he said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett
Everett gets state Auditor’s Office stewardship award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy presented the award during the most recent Everett City Council meeting.

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen to hold community meeting in Everett on Monday

The veteran Democratic lawmaker will address recent legislation passed by Congress and other topics.

King County map logo
U.S. 2 closed near Skykomish again due to Bolt Creek fire

A 1-mile stretch of U.S. 2 was closed in both… Continue reading

FILE - Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference the vote to codify Roe v. Wade, in this May 5, 2022 file photo on Capitol Hill in Washington. Murray is one of the U.S. Senate's most powerful members and seeking a sixth term. She is being challenged by Tiffany Smiley, a Republican from Pasco, Wash. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
Providence continues to face questions about hospital debt collection

The hospital group has pushed back against the notion that Providence “intentionally takes advantage of those who are vulnerable.”

Officers working in North Everett located and arrested the suspect from a June 20 shooting that left two dead and one injured in the 2000 block of Lexington. (Everett Police Department)
Everett triple shooting suspect tied to another homicide

A search warrant points to Shayne Baker, 26, as the suspect in the killing of Scott Pullen at a storage facility in Everett.

People gather outside of the new Northwest Carpenters Institute building prior to a grand opening celebration Thursday, Sep. 29, 2022, in Burlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Building a workforce: Northwest Carpenters expand training center

About 160 Snohomish County tradespeople take the apprentice classes in Burlington center. There’s ample room to grow.

A Coast Guard cutter searches for a crashed chartered floatplane near Mutiny Bay Monday afternoon in Freeland, Washington on September 5, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
5 more bodies recovered from floatplane crash off Whidbey

About 80% of the plane, including the engine, was recovered using remotely operated vessels.

Students make their way after school at Edmonds-Woodway High School on March 12, 2020. All public and private schools in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties must close for six weeks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Police: Student, 15, arrested with loaded gun at Edmonds high school

Around 1 p.m., students reported a classmate with a gun at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Carolanne Warren directs her mother through the ruts on Mt. Pilchuck Road Wednesday afternoon in Granite Falls, Washington on September 7, 2022.   (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To get to iconic Pilchuck lookout, hikers must brave ‘hell on wheels’

Mount Pilchuck is one of the most beloved hikes in the region. The 7-mile pothole-riddled road to get there? Not so much.

Most Read