Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hockey in Greensboro; All Pucked Up!

From her little office full of paperwork, binders, books and bins,(and two computers right now as she puts a new one online) Greensboro City Council Member Sandy Carmany broke our lead story on Friday, and rattled this little town, all via her Blog.


There has been much debate lately about exactly how 'Pucked Up' the budget is over at the city run Greensboro Colliseum. Everyone speculated, but few really knew, that ever since the Greensboro Generals Minor League Hockey team left, the colliseum has been on a downhill ride of red ink.


Carmany recieved the proof via email earlier in the week and when her blog iced it's way through the blogosphere a ping went through the radar of a pesky ambitious reporter, namely Caron Myers.

Caron Live

Caron's internet savvy for finding interesting news stories out in cyberspace is quite advanced for a reporter who has nearly strangled every computer she has ever sat in front of, but that doesn't stop her from finding the latest juicy gossip news items.

Her her newest internet resource is one that has recieved much acclaim and chatter around the Piedmont. Caron, you see, is an avid blog reader. She even reads this blog. I think?


So it was not really a surprise to me that we were going to interview a fellow blogger. It is actually quite pleasing to see the blogosphere being utilized in such a manner, both from the perspective of Caron finding the story and realizing it as a hot topic, and for Carmany's use of the blog as a public official to imform her constituency and the Main Stream Media.

The source of all this stir is an e-mail from this man, the director of the Greensboro Colliseum, GSO Colliseum Matt Brown

His email backed up the suspicions that the Colliseum DID NOT close the gap on the deficit that forced the Generals out of town.

They went from a loss of $259,000 the last year the Generals were in Greensboro to a loss of $331,974 the first year they were gone. (And $200k of that first number was an amount owed by the team to the Colliseum)

GSO Colliseum Jumbotrom

Yes, the Colliseum saved money by not having to staff the games BUT as Carmany points out from Brown's email, the losses were greater than expected:

"In addition to loss of parking and concessions money for 36 games, revenue in three other critical sources (Advertising and Sponsorship Sales, Luxury Suite Leases, and Carlyle Club Memberships) fell for a total loss of $574,399. This amount was offset by $242,425 in savings in operating expenses from not having to staff hockey events, put down the arena ice, clean-up, utilities, etc. to reach the net figure of $331,974."

GSO Colliseum2

So now the Greenboro Colliseum sits empty more than ever. And with the NHL skipping the season for their strike, this could have been a banner year for Minor League Hockey in Greenboro.

It's certainly been a banner day for Blogging in the gathering of hot topic news stories.


Sandy Carmany said...

Thanks for this great coverage! (And you managed not to reveal too much of the clutter in my office.)

One minor correction -- I received the information origninally in hard copy from Matt B. when he handed it to me at the coliseum commission meeting. I later requested it in electronic form so I could post it on my blog.

The rest is history! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the rest is not history because there is way too much left un-said about Matt Brown and the coliseum. No Newspaper or Television station dare cross Matt BRown because he can make it very unconfortable for the media by limiting access.

I started this story by stating the obvious on my blog and in the News & Record. The Generals made money for the coliseum and Matt Brown did not want hockey there because he wants to run the coliseum "his" way. This is not a big city facility like where he was last employeed.

Don Moore

Roch101 said...

I'm not sure your facts fully relate the the story you're telling. As I understand it, it was not the Coliseum's operational defict that forced hockey to shut down, but rather the inability of the team itself to get out of the red.

Secondly, you might want to look at the history of deficits at the coliseum, it has long operated in the red. Even with hockey, there were years where the deficits were $1M +. I think it's an oversimplification to look at this as a bivariable equation (hockey and coliseum operating deficits only.) Throughout the years, many factors have contributed to the financial performance of the coliseum.

Sandy Carmany said...

Roch is correct. The coliseum has consistently run an operating deficit through the years, hockey or no hockey. If you do a bit of research, you will find that less than 1 out of 10 coliseum/arenas - publicly or privately operated -nationwide make a profit or even break even.

So why do cities operate these venues if they're such money losers? Because they contribute to the vitality of a community with the various sports, concerts, circuses and ice shows, etc. they that bring -- just as parks, recreation centers, and libraries do (with a heck of a lot bigger "deficit" than the coliseum).

Roch101 said...

And I agree with Sandy. My observations were not intended to be a condemnation of the Coliseum's operations. Sandy is right that there is some value to the community at large from the Coliseum, even if it operates in the red.

mbondur12 said...

One small correction. The hockey team shut down because they couldn't find an owner(s) who was willing to put up with Matt Brown, and the city did not want to continue running the hockey team indefinitely.

It is about time that somebody in Greensboro took a long hard look at the Coliseum and its operations and its management (or lack of same).

Matt Brown has had free reign to do just as he pleases since the day he got there, and for whatever reasons, no one there has the guts to stand up to the man and call him to task.