KCUR News
7:39 am
Thu October 1, 2009

Kansas City Breaks Even As Sprint Center Profits

Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center is doing well, paying the Kansas City, Missouri a $1.8 million dollar bonus for the year. That's because the city gets 50 percent of the arena's profits after Anschutz Entertainment Group reaches its guaranteed profit amount. But AEG also manages Kemper Arena, and Oscar McGaskey, who is in charge of the city's revenue-producing properties, says the contract estimates on the older arena just didn't pan out.

McGaskey: "They said they they could come in and increase the bottom line, and they said that the deficit would be $559,000. That's what they said. However, it didn't come out that way. It was $1.4 million. It was just more difficult than they had thought."

McGaskey says if you add in the additional smaller loss on the American Royal building and what the city already expected to lose on the older facilities, nothing will be left for the general fund. From his point of view, at least the Sprint deal covers the losses. But council members are disappointed that there will be no windfall for infrastructure or police.

McGaskey says the best solution would be to sell or lease Kemper, if not for one big problem.

McGaskey: "Six weeks out of the year, Kemper belongs to the American Royal. So it's difficult to have a situation in which you were going to sell the facility. A buyer's not going to buy a facility and know that for six weeks out of the year they can't have it."

Council members want to encourage AEG to put more effort into marketing Kemper while minimizing improvements to the facility. For example, Deb Hermann commented that it seems wasteful to continue upkeep on ice-rink facilities for both arenas.