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12/28/2018 10:39:00 AM
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum to end 2018 with about a $200,000 deficit

Rosa Salter Rodriguez, Journal Gazette

For one of only a few times in its 66-year history, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum will likely end 2018 in the red.

The venue's operating budget is expected to run about a $200,000 deficit, Randy Brown, executive vice president and general manager, confirmed Thursday in an interview with The Journal Gazette.

During the December meeting of the facility's board of trustees, Brown alluded to the possible deficit – attributing it to higher utility costs and dips in attendance and use days for the facility.

The dips came despite a $2 increase in parking fees and a 14,000 boost in attendance from a visit in November by President Donald Trump, he said.

Although final tallies for the year aren't in, Brown said the facility was not in financial trouble because it has a reserve fund. The venue also is showing strong bookings for 2019, he said.

With the 2018 operating budget at $7.14 million, the deficit amounts to about 2.7 percent. A 2019 budget of $7.46 million has been approved by the Allen County Council.

Brown said he knew of perhaps three other years when the Coliseum ran a deficit. In recent years, it has had a narrow profit margin – last year, it showed $61,426 in net income, up from about $40,000 in 2016.

The Coliseum hosts Komets hockey and Mad Ants and some Purdue Fort Wayne men's basketball games, as well as concerts, conferences, trade shows and corporate and private parties, including weddings.

Brown said November's attendance, at 84,843, was the best November tally for the facility, up more than 31 percent from November 2017.

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