According to an independent audit, the CenturyLink Center has a $205,651 deficit.
The shortfall was revealed in a audit by Shreveport-based firm KPMG LLP released Monday.
The auditors found that attendance dropped last year as did merchandise and concession sales.
However, Jake Wood, director of sales and marketing at SMG/CenturyLink Center, said the arena has made great strides to bring the numbers within acceptable ranges over the past nine months.
“The acceptable ranges are considered with the other benefits of the events that occur at the arena — highlighted by the tax revenues from ticket sales, concession sales, as well as event attendees staying in Bossier City hotels, eating at Bossier City restaurants, and entertaining themselves in the area,” he said.
Deficit from the arena’s budget is covered with revenue from the hotel/motel tax fund. Money in that fund is generated by visitors to the area who stay in local hotels and motels and that money is used for the Bossier Civic Center, riverfront development, and arena operations.
According to Bossier City Public Information Officer Mark Natale, the city currently has enough in the funds to cover the deficit.
One of the contributing factors to the deficit was the lack of premium seating purchases. Wood said, however, that number was already on the rise by the new year.
“Before January was over, we were contracted at 100 percent of our Luxury Suite capacity. Our Premium Seating program looks to be holding steady as a result of the terrific programming that has been put into place for 2014.”
In order to correct the deficit, the arena re-examined its departments, leading to restructuring and reducing positions.
He said since these numbers were compiled, the community’s “tremendous” response this year has resulted in success measured with high rankings in industry publications. The arena was named in the Top 50 Venues in Worldwide Ticket Sales for Q1of 2014 and Top 60 Venues for Worldwide and 25 for United States Venues in mid-year by Pollstar Magazine. Venues Today rated the CenturyLink Center as a Top Stop in their January, February, March, April, and June issues as well as awarding the arena the 11th overall ranking for mid-year attendance and ticket sales among facilities with capacities of 10,001 – 15,000.
“With events like George Strait, Elton John, and now Cher all in 2014, it is a positive indicator that the market is becoming more responsive to the programming that we’ve put in place,” Wood added.
The audit can be viewed HERE.