Mark has losing year for first time
It shouldn't be, but news that The Mark of the Quad Cities had a losing year comes as a bit of a shock. The facility has had great success since it's inception and under it's previous management has been an outstanding success financially considering that it was not expected to make money at all.
But it appears among other factors in the loss, that concert ticket prices are outpacing what people are willing to spend for entertainment.
For the first time in 12 years, The Mark of the Quad Cities operated at a loss last fiscal year.
Ted Johnson, chairman of the Illinois Quad City Civic Center Authority, attributed the $70,000 shortfall to many factors, and stressed that he believes it will be a one-time occurrence.
"It is a fluke," Mr. Johnson said. "It has happened once. Our luck ran out a little bit last year. I don't think we'll get back into the $500,000 profits we have enjoyed over the years, but I think we can still show a profit."
He also said the deficit had nothing to do with the recent decision to sell naming rights, as that process was in the works long before the Authority knew about the shortfall to its $5 million budget.
The Authority last week signed a 10-year contract with i wireless, selling the cell-phone provider naming rights to The Mark for $425,000 a year.
The company already was paying $100,000 a year to be a sponsor of The Mark. That means the arena is getting an additional $325,000 a year from the sponsor.
Last year, The Mark received about $750,000 from sponsor revenue. Other sources of funding include event revenue, suites, concessions, ticket services, and parking -- several of which were affected by various factors last fiscal year.
Mr. Johnson, who has been a member of the Authority since it was formed in 1984, said net profits from concerts is dwindling, a trend that is industry-wide.
Last year, the number of concerts offered at The Mark stayed the same at about 20. However, artists are asking for more money and ticket prices have gone up significantly -- many of the concerts at The Mark were asking in excess of $75 a show. So less people are attending concerts, he said.
For those who do buy tickets, the high prices leave less in their pockets to buy concessions. So the arena's concession sales were down.
In addition, the number of people who are coming to The Mark to watch the Mallards and Steamwheelers also decreased last fiscal year, Mr. Johnson said