In about three months, the Chevrolet Centre will celebrate its one year anniversary between the Market St. and South Ave bridges. We can say our arena’s first year has been, if nothing else, at least well-documented. Articles on its concerts, ice shows, Steelhounds games, and any other event it may have hosted were considered front page news for the Vindicator. However, for all the events the paper covered, they published almost as many reports on the follies and shortcomings of its management, the Phoenix-based Global Entertainment.
Yes, you remember seeing stories on the top fold whenever you got the paper. You read about problems before the arena was completed, when the Steelhounds of the Global-owned CHL used their “no-compete clause” to ensure the now-Mahoning Valley Thunder wouldn’t play in 2006, even though their seasons don’t overlap each other (Yes, I was opposed to this greatly, being a great arena football fan who for years has awaited the arrival of a Youngstown team). There was the finding that the most profitable concert in 2005 was Lil Jon, whose attendance was 804. There was the embarrassing story when in April the Centre forgot to include the price of parking in their ticket prices. Even after it had opened, the city still had to approve contracts for additional work on the arena, causing it to go well over Global’s estimated budget.
Then a double-whammy was reported just two days ago. First, the Chevy reporting loses of over $130,000 in June, despite Global’s promise of a $17,616 profit, believing they could bring two concerts and a boxing card here, none of which happened. Second, through the arena’s first nine months, the projected profits set by Global are in sharp contrast to our actual profits: our arena has made $113,148, compared to an estimate of $669,880. Then you have to look at what Global will receive for managing the facility this fiscal year: something in the neighborhood of $300,000.
Now, to be fair, for the next fiscal year, Global will be make up for half the debt the city incurs from the Centre, and half of that would take away that 300 grand and more, and will pay the city if they lose money from the Centre. They’re also guaranteeing $600,000 to the city for the next fiscal year, but will also be given a flat rate of 12,500/month for management, compared to the current 4% of operating expenses. I take issue with the last two. First off, why are they guaranteeing us once again the arena will make 600 k, when they promised about the same estimate last year and we’ve seen that fall flat on its face through nine months? As to the new fee for managing the facility, perhaps this could work to our advantage during the winter months when events are abound, but in the down months, like in June, they could stand to make more than twice as much as they make at the moment.
What I’m also disappointed in is that Global, while lying to us, doesn’t even try to attract the kind of events here it attracts to the other currently operating arena it owns, the Dodge Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. Let’s compare event calendars:
- Summer Soul Fest, August 4
- WWE Raw, August 26
- Staind w/ Crossfade and 3 Days Grace, September 12
- Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus, September 14-17
- Doodlebops Live, October 21
- An American Holiday (Butler benefit) December 2-3.
- Fast & Furious Boxing, August 4
- Ricardo Arjona, August 10
- Aventurera, August 19 (2 shows)
- Scorcher 7 (festival sponsored by
Texas advert. Firm), September 3
- Fists of Fury Live Professional Boxing, September 15
- Shakira w/ Wyclef Jean, September 25 and 26
- Vincente Fernandez, October 14
- Blue Man Group, October 16
- Motocross, February 23-24
Granted, Dodge features several Hispanic performers, and can attract a few more events indoors in the summer being in south Texas, but Shakira? For two shows??? In an arena the same size as ours??? Chevy, in comparison, so far only has Staind, which will be in town for one day, and Rock 104 had more to do with bringing them here than Global did. It’s also somewhat infuriating the Blue Man Group is coming there when over here we’ll have to go to the Q. I personally think a touring Blue Man Group would do well here, because the show, I believe is better in a smaller setting, and for this area I believe it could sell out with little difficulty.
You may not feel the same way, but I feel the city is positively being screwed by Global. They promised a lot more than they delivered, and when you compare our events to Dodge’s it’s a slap in the face. Yes, I understand we’re in between Cleveland and Pittsburgh when Hidalgo is nowhere near Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio or Fort Worth (the closest big city to them is Corpus Christi, some two hours away when driving), but do you think the acts they get or have gotten would consider playing a venue with a capacity of 5,500 half the time? I think in a lot of cases, they might’ve just skipped the area altogether for the larger Texas cities. To me, it shows Global is working much harder to pull events towards the Dodge then they are with the Chevy, and I have to say I’m not sure I want to know how they’ll manage our arena in the coming years.
This is why I support at least looking into a new group to take control of the Chevy Centre. I’m not going to fully endorse it right now, since I want to see how Global handles things during the second year of the arena. I’ve presented all the evidence: highly inflated profit projections, debts incurred by the city, eye-opening figures in the red, calling into question their commitment to bringing events to the city; if this happens in year one alone, why should we continue to settle for this? I guess one could ask the Budweiser
Events Center in Colorado, which was built by Global but has since bolted from their management and now managed by Global Spectrum (manager of Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center and the major venues in
Sometimes, I feel like the city voluntarily allows Global to hold us by the throat when it comes to the arena. Between constantly restructuring deals, regular reports of shortcomings, and the usual lies, has anyone thought we could do better?
Youngstown doesn’t deserve this sort of incompetence, and we cannot passively allow it to continue.