Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

Garth Brooks buys Events Center

It really came down to Mr. Brooks running the numbers, according to his management,

“Hey, make no mistake, we were going to make an a**load of money from doing our 27 shows in Sioux Falls. We even had to charter a private jet to haul all of the cash OUT OF SIOUX FALLS. We just figured it would be more economical for us to buy the Events Center.”

While most of the year Brooks shows will be booked at the EC, think Celine Dion, Vegas Show, they will do other shows, like monster trucks and rodeos, but they will also do country, country and country shows.

While Brooks won’t live in Sioux Falls permanently, he did purchase a very nice residence on the South Side.

“Garth got a Hell of a deal on a home by the Walmart on 85th and Minnesota. He loved how the Walmart sign illuminated his driveway at night.”

We asked what Brooks would do about the bent up siding on the EC. Management had a positive twist on that.

Besides getting a $1 million dollar discount on the purchase price due to the whacked siding job, it was actually a selling point.

“Garth liked how it looked like an old grain bin. Actually we will be adding fake rust streaks and a big auger. We are also going to change the landscaping to a field of corn around the EC.”

We wondered if the secret siding settlement was disclosed during the negotiations.

“Yeah, we saw it, but we won’t be releasing it to the public, they would crap their pants.”

We wondered if City Hall had any comments about the sale, and the mayor released this statement.

“This is a darn good deal for the good folks of Sioux Falls. Not only will we be able to pay off the bonds early on the Events Center, we will still have a great entertainment facility that was pretty much built for country shows anyway. And I will never have to answer questions about the siding anymore.”

We asked if there would be any major changes with Brooks management running the facility.

Besides the bars now will only serve Jack Daniels and Coors Light, all shows will be $75. Whether that is a Brooks show, a rodeo or a State ‘A’ tournament.

We asked if Garth himself had anything to say about the purchase. He did,

“Sorry Denny, there’s a new Sheriff in town.”

A bronze of Brooks is already being minted for the campus of the new Brooks Events Center.

Garth Brooks sellout is a perfect opportunity to give us the real numbers

It didn’t take long for the usual mouthpieces to come out talking about the economic impact of the Garth Shows, which is no surprise;

Teri Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, said anytime a concert sells out it means an infusion of money to bars, restaurants, hotels and gas stations in the city. But a household name that draws people from all over the country like Brooks raises the bar even further.

“Even if we said the average person would spend an average of about $100, that’s another $4.5 million in economic impact — just in a blink of an eye,” she said. “Throw in the possibility of an overnight stay, going out to eat, maybe they do a little shopping, fill up their car with gas — it’s going to be a great week in Sioux Falls.”

That’s good news also for local governments that find themselves dealing with sluggish sales tax revenues.

Which comes to about $135,000 in sales taxes to the city coffers (if you count all 3 pennies the city takes in). But let’s say everyone spends double that, that’s a whopping $270,000.

I won’t dwell on that.

As I have said all along, I would like to know the amount of money that is spent at the Denny (not at other businesses citywide) that leaves town. In other words how much goes to Garth, SMG and Ovations, and how much of that gets recirculated in Sioux Falls?

People have argued with me that the Denny is bringing in MORE money to the community, yet;

1) The city and SMG won’t show us the actual sales numbers AND

2) sales tax revenue has been slowly declining in SF since the Denny opened YET most shows are sellouts.

With all the additional sales at the Denny and people coming to Sioux Falls for this extra entertainment, why haven’t we been seeing a boom in sales tax growth?

You know I know the answer why, but will the city have the nads to admit it?

Events Center closed for Summer Repairs?

The new car is in the shop already?

I heard a peculiar thing yesterday. I was told a part-time employee of the Events Center was recently informed that after the Paul Simon concert that the Events Center would be closed for the remainder of the summer for ‘repairs’.

Before I get my ‘conspiracy theories’ rolling I will say this from my experience of working at the Washington Pavilion’s performing arts hall, this isn’t all that uncommon for entertainment facilities.

I worked as a lead usher the first four years the Pavilion was open. We didn’t hold any entertainment events in the hall during the summer. Mostly because many touring acts either don’t tour during the summer or they do mostly outdoor venues. We also liked it as part-time staff because we got our summers off. The Pavilion would use the time to do light maintenance and ‘deep cleaning’ of the hall (clean seats, clean carpet, and make minor repairs to flooring, stage gear and seating). However, we were never told this was for major repairs.

There are some questions though. Is the honeymoon over with the Events Center? Notice we have many repeat acts already. Is there only so many sold-out shows we can do?

But the bigger question is the terminology ‘repairs’. I do know that some major renovation is being done at the Convention Center, but this is a facility that is as old as the Pavilion. So what is going on at the Events Center, a very NEW facility. Like I said, totally understand deep cleaning and regular maintenance, but if major repairs are already being done at the place, one wonders what is up. I joked when I first heard the revelation that it will probably take a few months to drain the water from the walls.

But will we ever know since the one time there seemed to be negligence by the builder (siding) the whole settlement became a secret that seems to be protected by state law (Still waiting for the Supreme Court to rule).

I’ve been asking around about the ‘repairs’ I will keep you posted. Too bad the buttrocker palace across the street isn’t still open to pick up the slack.

Mortenson must be taking time off from the Vikings Stadium

Image: KELO-TV

To find time to work our mini-disaster right here in Sioux Falls,

Beginning on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, crews will be working on the north side of the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center to repair a portion of exterior soffit. The work should be complete in approximately one week.

In late December 2016, a portion of the soffit on the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center became dislodged due to significant winds. The soffit is located on the north (back) side of the building, and the damage appeared isolated. Beginning May 10, a subcontractor will inspect the building’s soffit and perform any necessary repairs.

This work will be completed at no cost to the City*.

*How will we ever know? Everything is a secret agreement.

This is a good start, but can you fill in the blanks?

I guess the CVB has been listening to my requests for economic impact of the Events Center and other entertainment venues in the city;

“When there’s something big going on in town, people are at gas stations, filling up their cars to drive home.  They’re eating in the restaurants.  They’re shopping all over the town,” Schmidt said.

All of this made for a lucrative 2016.  Schmidt says concerts, plays, sporting events, conventions — you name it — brought nearly $500 million into the city.

Hey this is great, but without details, it’s just all fluff. I would like to see the formula the CVB used to come to these conclusions, I would also not only like to see the sales figures of the EC but of all the entertainment venues. We own, operate, take care of and pay the mortgages of these facilities, we have a right to see the numbers.

This story was just a teaser that leaves me with more questions.

Déjà vu?

Makes you wonder how much water the walls of our EC are holding back?

Minnesota Vikings stadium officials say they’re concerned about leaky walls and loose panels at the new $1.1 billion facility.

The Star Tribune reports that stadium executives said Friday that zinc panels covering the entire exterior of the building are being tested and that the panels’ durability are a health and safety concern. U.S. Bank Stadium has been open only nine months.

The facility’s general contractor, M.A. Mortenson, is working on the northwestern facade of the stadium after water seeped through and created puddles in various places, including a concourse.

Oh, but it gets better;

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says it doesn’t expect to have to pay for repairs. A Mortenson executive says the company will bear its responsibility for repairs.

I guess we will never know how much Mortenson has paid us or if it was sufficient. Because 1) we have no idea what damage could be behind the walls and 2) the settlement has been kept secret. If I were the next mayor, the first thing I would do is cut a hole in the wall, and see for myself.

Did they finally fix the siding on the Denny?

Nope, I realized it’s just a hockey puck graphic . . .

Graphic; KELO-TV screenshot

Argus’ new entertainment reporter writes puff piece on ticket sales at the Denny

Here we go again, breaking in another new reporter at the Argus that allows city hall and it’s minions to buffalo them into a puff piece.

It was so nice of Chris to tell us this;

“I don’t think you’ll find a market of our size with a venue of our size that has had the number and the level of touring events that we’ve had the last two and a half years in the country,” said Chris Semrau, assistant general manager for SMG, the management company for the Premier Center.

Pollstar, an international touring publication that collects venue ticket sales, ranked the Premier Center as No. 88 in the world for tour ticket sales in 2016. That does not include sporting or special events. Usually new venues decrease in rank their second year, but the Premier Center rose 12 slots from No. 100 in the world in 2015. The facility is already doing better in 2017 than consultants for the city had projected.

And that sales number are what? Still a highly guarded secret apparently.

Chris also added this;

“We have hosted many country tours for multiple reasons, first financially. They do very well in this market.”

Just how much have the artists made at the EC?

More smoke and mirrors to cloud what we really want to know. Stop with the BS and just give us the actual numbers. How much money is going straight out the door.

The Chamber says I am wrong, but offers NO evidence

Just like most of our shallow leaders in Sioux Falls, the head mouth piece of the Sioux Falls Chamber, Mark Lee, had this to say about my city council testimony Tuesday night;

We often hear interesting things at City Council during public input, but on Tuesday we heard a new argument. The Premier Center is harming the economy of the City of Sioux Falls. You can listen to it if you choose by going to the City’s website and listening to public input between 12:34 and 15:21. The premise, if I might summarize, is that paying acts to come here and promoters to promote and SMG to manage means all our money is “going out the door.” Thus, there is no economic benefit, but rather harm.

Virtually all the empirical evidence is to the contrary and we’ve heard no other such contention, but we began to wonder. Has Omaha come to grips with how the CenturyLink Center is harming their economy? Or, how about the financial disaster must be happening in Kansas City due to the Sprint Center?  The Target Center and the Xcel Energy Center in the Twin Cities has to be bringing the metropolitan area economy to its knees, right? Why do communities build these money draining facilities?

Anyway, the City Council agenda was light on substantive issues Tuesday so this seemed to be the most interesting thing to report. Still, we’ll stay alert to the financial challenges our successful Premier Center imposes on our city.

Empirical evidence? We are not Kansas City or the Omaha. I WANT economic evidence from Sioux Falls. I actually have been asking for it since the Events Center has opened, and city councilors have asked also, with no avail. I guess the over 20 employees in the Finance Office don’t have the time to put together some simple tables;

I say prove me wrong and give us the numbers, because I have only guessed from extrapolating tax revenue that the EC had around $25 million in sales last year (but they couldn’t even give us those numbers).

So some would ask why I think the EC is a drain on the economy.

• While we have had continued sold out shows at the EC, sales tax revenue is down more then before we built the facility.

• The only development that has occurred at the site was a pawn shop that went out of business and a tax payer subsidized hotel.

• We take around $9 million a year directly OUT of 2nd penny road funds CIP to pay the bond mortgage on the EC. This is $9 million a year that won’t be spent with local contractors building our roads. That’s a lot of lost labor.

• We don’t use the net operating revenue to pay down the debt.

We can make the EC economically beneficial to the community though. If we start promoting the majority of the shows ourselves (like the Pavilion does) instead of just being a rental facility. We could probably inject enough money into the community to not only operate in the black but pay down the mortgage. SMG has argued they are not in the promotion business, OK, then we hire a management company that is, and we pay them a commission on the shows.

This isn’t rocket science folks, and it is hardly a steep request to ask for the sales numbers. But just like the secret siding settlement, the City, and it now seems the Chamber have something to hide. So instead of coming clean or even proving me wrong, they do what they know best, kill the messenger.

Is the city making ANY money on the Events Center?

It looks like we are going to get some more smoke blown up our butts tonight on Metli-Land TV (are they still calling it that, hard to keep track);

“A lot of the on sales we do, we have some of the highest grossing, out-of-the-gate sale of just about any building around the country of our size,” Torkildson said.

Ever notice when we ever hear anything about the EC it’s always about breaking records, but we never hear how all that record breaking is benefitting the community, in the form of revenue coming back into the town.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are some positive numbers somewhere, but why are we not seeing them?

As a tax paying resident of Sioux Falls, sorry to say, I just don’t see much sense on paying the mortgage on a building that I will never use because I still have to pay another $100 dollars for a ticket just to walk through it’s doors. From my perspective, I have to take VALUE in the Events Center in how much it’s existence benefits my community as a whole, and that means in dollars and cents.

We do know some things. The EC’s mortgage is around $9 million a year. The EC operations are covered and then some, a net of over $2 million this past year. We also know that we paid (mostly the state) $1.5 million in taxes.

But here is what we don’t know or only speculate on. Where does the net revenue go?  Back to the city to help pay the mortgage or in a secret SMG fund they get to play with for promotions, etc.

If the EC had approximately $20 million in sales last year, how much got redistributed in the community, and how much went straight out of town?

When will the CVB give us an educated estimate of how much money is spent in Sioux Falls by out of town concert goers? And how much tax revenue is generated?

While there are some positive things going on at the EC, I just don’t see how the city is benefitting financially from building the facility? Some would say ‘quality of life’. Sorry, but my life hasn’t gotten any better in respect to entertainment due to the EC, just more expensive.

I think it is time the city and SMG show the citizens just how much we are getting reamed while SMG and it’s associates are raking in the dough which never get’s redistributed in our community.