Janesville72.4°

Levitt: City would make money on hockey team

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
February 14, 2009
— Janesville’s city manager has reworked some numbers and renegotiated a contract with Wisconsin Hockey Partners, and the results show the city could collect $14,000 to $20,000 in net annual revenue if a junior A hockey team locates here.

Originally, the city said it would earn little or nothing.


The money earned would go to the general fund and offset the city’s annual $85,000 subsidy to the ice arena, City Manger Eric Levitt said. The city previously released an incorrect subsidy figure of $65,000.


The council will consider signing an agreement with Wisconsin Hockey Partners at its meeting Monday, Feb. 23.


North American Hockey League rules require separate locker rooms for the teams, and the council is being asked to spend about $200,000 to upgrade its facilities. The council already unanimously approved paying $29,000 to an architectural firm to design the rink remodeling.


But Levitt said he listened to concerns from residents and council members who were concerned the city might be subsidizing the team.


So Levitt renegotiated with Wisconsin Hockey Partners, and the group now would pay all security costs rather than just some.


In addition, the city likely will receive additional revenue from concessions run by the Janesville Youth Hockey Association.


He also took another look at the estimated costs to the city to host the team.


The costs already had been figured before Levitt assumed city manager duties in December. He took a second look and believes the costs for utilities and staff were overestimated.


Levitt said revenue from a hockey team would be more stable than Friday night open skate, where attendance fluctuates. Open skate still would be held on nights the team has away games.


Revenue could grow even more if the team becomes very successful, Levitt said.


Levitt said staff is investigating ways the city can partner with the team to create more interest in the ice arena, as well. An extra youth hockey team, for instance, would create more revenue for the city. And staff could package hockey tickets with other city offerings.


Wisconsin Hockey Partners also agreed to make tickets available to local charities.


Bill McCoshen of Wisconsin Hockey Partners said he and his fellow investors continue to pursue the project and will decide by March 15 whether to commit to the venture. Wisconsin Hockey Partners started investigating bringing a team to Janesville before GM closed and the economy worsened.


The team’s revenue depends on tickets sales, concession and beer sales and corporate sponsorships.


The city must also OK a liquor license so the team can serve beer, and that matter would probably come before the Alcohol License Advisory Committee in April.


The ALAC can only make recommendations to the council. It is unlikely the council would vote against a liquor license if it approves the contract with Wisconsin Hockey Partners on Feb. 23.


The contract specifies Wisconsin Hockey Partners can void the contract if it does not get a liquor license.


HOCKEY NUMBERS

City Manager Eric Levitt refigured some of the numbers for the proposed junior A hockey team that would use the city ice arena. Levitt estimated a range in net of revenue of $14,000 to $20,000 because of the many variables involved. For instance, the team would pay less rent if it does not do well. He estimated utilities and personnel on the high end. The revenue does not account for playoff games.


Revenue

$35,020—Paid by the team for ice time for games, practices and camps.


$4,200—Paid by the team to rent office, locker room and other space in the arena


$2,000—Concessions


$41,220—Total revenue


Expenses

$3,200—Increase city staff time


$7,600—Increase in utilities


$1,600—Increases in equipment and supplies


$12,000—Loss of revenue from other activities


$24,400—Total expenses



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