Alerus Center on track to produce profitIf it can break even until the end of the year, Grand Forks’ Alerus Center could post a nearly $500,000 profit.
By: Brandi Jewett, Grand Forks Herald
If it can break even until the end of the year, Grand Forks’ Alerus Center could post a nearly $500,000 profit.
“The football games are the single biggest factor for the remainder of this year,” Finance Manager Darryl Jorgenson said.
The loss or gain of other events also could affect the projected profit, according to Executive Director Cheryl Swanson.
This year’s profit won’t be the biggest one in the city-owned event center’s history. That came last year when the Alerus was $954,000 in the black.
That profit is the result of the Alerus hosting some large events that rotate through the facility every few years, such as the state Democratic Convention, according to Swanson.
While this year’s numbers may sound good, Swanson said she is wary of judging the center’s success based solely on its financial performance.
“I’m hesitant to focus on the financial success because the Alerus Center does so much for the community,” she said, citing the economic impact the facility’s events have on local businesses and entertainment opportunities it provides.
The projected profit would have the Alerus’s retained earnings topping $1 million this year, according to Jorgenson.
Retained earnings refer to net income kept by a company. That number was around $300,000 in December of last year. Swanson said conversations about what the center with do with the money are planned for later this month.
Budget projections for next year also have the Alerus Center ending in the black.
Numbers submitted to the city for approval predict a $74,000 profit for the venue.
This number is subject to change as events are added and subtracted from its lineup. The event center’s budgets are created based on the number of events that have already booked for the year and attendance numbers from previous years.
“Events can vary month to month and year to year,” Swanson said.
In its improvement plan, $2.4 million of video board upgrades and purchases for football games are planned.
While this year’s profit likely won’t be the biggest, community members from Grand Forks and afar have contributed to the Alerus breaking an attendance record this year.
As of July, about 126,000 people visited the events center for concerts, conventions and other events — more than 300 in total so far.
One of those events broke the facility’s all-time attendance record. Country music star George Strait’s “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour stop in Grand Forks attracted 20,500 fans to the venue — edging out the 2002 Cher concert for the stop spot.
Swanson said another county singer, Jason Aldean, attracted the next highest crowd at about 14,500 people.
Total, about 3.5 million people have visited the Alerus Center since its opening in 2001. Overall attendance has ranged from about 200,000 to 290,000 people over the past six years.
The number of events also varies each year, making year-to-year comparisons difficult, according to Swanson.
“You need to look at a trend over several years for a facility like this,” she said.
Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1108; or send email to email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @gfcitybeat or on her blog at citystreetbeat.areavoices.com.