Solving the arena puzzle

Fresno’s “Convention Center was hobbled with aging facilities, considerable bond debt and a City Hall whose own money woes put it in no mood to help,” the Fresno Bee writes.

“In promoters’ eyes … the Convention Center already had two strikes against it — an aging facility, and no shortage of alternative venues locally and in the Valley. Forcing promoters to shoulder all the risk, he says, convinced many to go elsewhere.”

Sound familiar?

The city of Fresno accepted more risk by inking “co-promotion” deals that give promoters more of the net profits if the act succeeds.

More money — that’s talking promoters’ language. 

“The co-promotion of selected events over a six-month period has produced more than $200,000 for city coffers. None of the 10 events was a money-loser, they say. The concert by Tool, an alternative-metal group, in March made more than $70,000 for the city.

“City officials once thought they would be lucky to make that kind of money in a year.”

Ten events over six months. Precisely the sort of activity Stockton’s arena wants. Would selective co-promotion work for Stockton’s arena, also managed by SMG? Is the city too risk-averse? Do other market factors apply up here?

Questions worth asking the city and SMG.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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