Lower attendance, higher expenses produced deficit for Coliseum in 2018

2018 was a good year for the Memorial Coliseum, General Randy Brown says -- but not great. (News-Sentinel.com file photo by Kevin Leininger)

The Memorial Coliseum attracted more than 1 million visitors for the 29th consecutive year in 2018 — an “amazing achievement” in the words of General Manager Randy Brown — but that wasn’t enough to prevent the first operating deficit in years.

“2018 was a good year, not great,” Brown said, referring to total attendance of about 1.064 million that represented a 3.2 decrease from the previous year. The complex’s estimated economic on the local economy also decreased by 2.11 percent to $113.66 million, which nevertheless represents a 10-year economic impact in excess of $1 billion, Brown added.

Revenues in 2018 totaled nearly $6 million, but the decreased attendance, coupled with increased costs, produced an operating deficit of $191,735 that will be offset by cash reserves. Utilities represented the biggest jump in expenses, up 16.5 percent.

Despite cold or icy weather early this year, Brown said 2019 is off to “a good start” in part because of such sold-out concerts as Bob Seger in January and former Beatle Paul McCartney in June.

The Coliseum showed an operating surplus of $61,426 last year.