Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane Public Facilities District posts increase in operating costs for 2014

Total attendance rises at two of the three venues

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The Spokane Public Facilities District, the quasi-governmental agency that owns and operates the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the INB Performing Arts Center, and the Spokane Convention Center, reports that net operating profit, revenue, and attendance increased last year compared with 2013. 

For 2014, The PFD reported a net operating profit of a little more than $1 million, compared with $954,000 in 2013. Attendance at the PFD’s three Spokane venues was nearly 1.2 million guests at various events, compared with a bit more than 1 million spectators in 2013, according to the PFD’s 2014 annual report, which was released earlier this month.

Total revenue for all venues in 2014 was $11.7 million, up from $10.4 million in 2013.

While the PFD as a whole increased its net operating profit last year, the Spokane Convention Center lost money. For that facility, the organization reported a net operating loss of about $789,000 last year, compared with a net operating loss of $963,000 in 2013. 

PFD CEO Kevin Twohig says, however, that the Spokane Convention Center continues to exceed expected revenue, bringing in nearly $4.4 million in 2014, compared to $3.5 million in 2013. 

A total of 341,182 guests attended 373 major events at the Convention Center in 2014, up from 243,848 guests attending 358 major events the prior year. The $50 million, 92,000-square-foot Spokane Convention Center expansion project was completed last December.

Since the Convention Center’s main exhibit hall has increased in size from about 80,000 square feet to 102,000 square feet, it has put Spokane in contention for the largest conventions, says Twohig, who adds that those events use 100,000 square feet as the cutoff for consideration.

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, heading into its 20th year, concluded 2014 with $5.9 million in revenue, up from about $5.6 million in 2013. Net operating profit in 2014 was $1.3 million, down slightly from approximately $1.35 million the previous year.

As reported in an earlier Journal story, the arena’s expenses were higher as well, resulting in a $50,000 drop in net income from the 2013 volume. 

The arena hosted more than 653,000 guests who attended a total of 124 major events last year, which was down from 659,000 guests who attended major 120 events there in 2013. 

Matt Gibson, the arena’s general manager, says the increased revenue for the arena was due mainly to changes in pricing structures, such as for an annual Disney on Ice show, which grossed higher than ever but had a lower attendance.

The INB Performing Arts Center had revenues of $1.4 million last year, up from $1.3 million in 2013. Total attendance at the INB was 189,040 for shows such as Wicked, a Broadway show that ran last year in May. That show alone brought in nearly 50,000 attendees. Local school graduations held at the INB brought in over 8,000 guests last year as well.

Judith  Spitzer
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Reporter Judith Spitzer covers technology, mining, agriculture, and wood products for the Journal. A vintage-obsessed antique collector in her off hours, Judith worked as a journalist in Colorado and Oregon before joining the Journal.

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