NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Arena's Loss Tops $667K As VenuWorks Enters 3rd Year At Helm

Fans at the arena
Carleigh Gray
The arena, now managed by VenuWorks, saw 116,179 guests last year, down around 25 percent.

The city-owned Grossinger Motors Arena lost $667,349 in the past year, its managers said Thursday, even as they touted the venue’s economic impact from tourism.

The size of the unaudited net loss for the 2018 fiscal year that ended April 30 is about the same as in 2017. Those losses are each among the largest on record since the venue opened. The venue last posted an operating profit in 2013 (+$176,759), under different management.

The arena, now managed by VenuWorks, saw 116,179 guests last year, down around 25 percent, records show. The total number of events fell by 5 percent, to 190, records show.

The arena released its fourth-quarter report Thursday, covering February, March, and April 2018. The quarter was the arena’s only profitable one of the year (+$50,719). It also saw the largest number of guests for any quarter (44,445), drawn by Brad Paisley and Judas Priest concerts and the inaugural Bacon and Beer Festival.

VenuWorks said last year’s total contribution to the local economy was $5.9 million. That’s “based on Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau and Illinois Office of Tourism standard formulas to measure economic impact from tourism,” VenuWorks said.

VenuWorks took over arena management in March 2016, meaning they’re now starting their third full year at the helm. VenuWorks succeeded Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM), which ran the then-U.S. Cellular Coliseum for its first decade. The owner of CIAM and several of his employees were indicted in 2017 on fraud, theft, and money laundering charges related to their management of the venue. Those charges are pending.

The City of Bloomington has a five-year contract with VenuWorks, through June 2021. The city can exit that contract without cause after three years (in 2019).

People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.

Related Content