Tulsa's BOK Center maintains a profit despite slowdown
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
1/31/12 at 6:27 AM
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The BOK Center has generated a $366,769 operating profit during the first half of the fiscal year through December, a figure that is projected to grow to $742,980 by the end of the fiscal year June 30.
Management is thrilled with the arena's financial performance so far in its fourth year of operation, because only a $205,878 profit is budgeted. But the figures are far below the $1.1 million realized in its first year and $1.6 million in years two and three.
The profit decline is a combination of two things, said General Manager John Bolton.
First, the concert industry has been sluggish because of the country's economy, he said. Artists are either staying off the road or, when they do tour, they stick to the major metropolitan areas.
The BOK Center suffered a blow to its March schedule when the Red Hot Chili Peppers was moved to October, Bolton said. There also are no college basketball tournaments this year, as there have been in years past.
"The shows that we have do very well," he said. "If you look at the concert lists of other arenas in similar or even larger markets, you'll see that we're snagging most of those, too.
"But there's still some overall hesitation in the industry. We're slowly starting to see it bounce back. Rock acts tend to only go out in the best of times, and we're getting more of that."
Second, each venue traditionally has a honeymoon period with elevated profit levels, and the BOK Center's has been longer than most, Bolton said.
Most arenas in the United States envy the profit margins seen in Tulsa, he said.
"It's frankly a very strong number," said BOK Center Finance Director Tom Simpson. "Really, anything on the positive side is a good number for an arena."
The BOK Center still routinely collects honors and top rankings based on its ticket sales, customer service and operation, Bolton said.
Just last weekend, the arena was nominated for the third consecutive time as the arena of the year by Pollstar, the industry's publication.
"We value each and every award and nomination we get because it means ticket buyers and our industry customers are having good experiences in Tulsa and will come back," Bolton said.
The $366,769 profit generated from July 1 to Dec. 31 is based on the center's $2,886,214 in expenses being offset by $3,252,983 in revenue, financial reports show.
All of the venue's profit at the end of the fiscal year will be placed into a reserve fund to help pay for any major maintenance needs. The fund has a balance of about $3 million.
The arena also has turned over a total of $835,520 in sales-tax revenue during the first half of the fiscal year to the city, county and state based on their shares of the 8.157-cent sales tax rate.
The sales taxes came from the facility netting $9,937,153 in sales of tickets, T-shirts, concessions and other items.
The BOK Center, which held its first ticketed event in September 2008, was funded with $178 million from the Tulsa County Vision 2025 initiative and about $12 million from sponsorships.
BOK Center top 5 attended events Oct. - Dec. 2011
|Event || Dates || Tickets sold || Sales tax remitted|
|Winterfest ||Nov. 25 to Jan. 2||133,463 || $2,199|
|Trans-Siberian Orchestra || 2 shows Dec. 16 ||13,116 || $51,134|
|Zac Brown Band||Nov. 11 ||10,657|| $63,847|
|Reba McEntire ||Nov. 14||8,732 ||51,993|
|Dolly Parton ||Oct. 8||4,157|| $29,326|
BOK Center food changes
Papa John's recently took over the pizza concession stands that were formerly operated by Mazzio's.
Also, the arena has just added Yolotti, a Tulsa-based frozen yogurt company, into its mix of offerings. It has a stand in the main concourse where patrons can choose from nine flavors.
Original Print Headline: BOK Center maintaining a profit
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Reba McEntire's BOK Center show Nov. 4 was fourth in attendance for the quarter but second in sales-tax remittance. Tulsa World file
ROCKERS HOLD BACK
BOK Center General Manager John Bolton: "There's still some overall hesitation in the industry. We're slowly starting to see it bounce back. Rock acts tend to only go out in the best of times, and we are getting more of that."