Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that Pinnacle Bank Arena ended its first year of operation August 31 with revenue exceeding expenses by nearly $33,000. "As we promised during the Arena campaign, there will be no property tax subsidy to the operating budget," said Beutler who chairs the three-person West Haymarket Joint Public Agency (JPA), which oversees Arena operations.
"The Arena and West Haymarket have brought new energy and excitement to Lincoln and put us on the national map," he said. "A tracking service estimates that more than six million people have heard or seen Pinnacle Bank Arena on television. That creates publicity and exposure that generates potential new business and new opportunities."
Beutler said the JPA learned many valuable lessons and made some tough choices during the Arena's first year. He said Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz of SMG cut staff and made operational changes to manage expenses. The JPA also moved a sponsorship revenue stream from the JPA budget to the Arena budget. More than 750,000 people attended events in the first year, making sponsorships very attractive investments for many businesses and organizations. Moving the revenue, he said, better reflects the Arena's role in generating those sponsorship dollars.
Beutler also announced that the tax revenues of the JPA continue to exceed estimates. In the year recently completed, the JPA grossed over $14 million in occupation taxes alone, an amount that original projections did not foresee happening until 2021. Those funds are used to pay back the bonds on the project.
The Mayor thanked those responsible for the Arena's first year including the other JPA members, City Councilman Doug Emery and University of Nebraska Regent Tim Clare; Lorenz and his staff; City Finance Director Steve Hubka; and the Pinnacle Bank Arena Advisory Board, including Chair Dave McBride, Mike Ayars, Tom Ball, Bob Caldwell, Jim O'Hanlon, Mike Stroup and Sharon Wherry.
"The overwhelming success of the Pinnacle Bank Arena is a shining example of what we can accomplish as a City when we work together to create a community vision, find consensus on financing, and put talented people in place to make it happen," Beutler said. "It again demonstrates that when the people of Lincoln make up their minds, there is nothing we can't achieve."