Why Is BOK Center Revenue Expected To Decrease?

Wednesday, July 8th 2009, 7:58 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The BOK arena's first fiscal year wrapped up last week, and revenue has exceeded all projections for profit, revenue, and ticket sales. For the first quarter of this year, the BOK Center was a top 10 arena world-wide in ticket sales.

So why are managers expecting a big drop off in revenue their sophomore year?         

For the first part of this year, the arena was ranked number two in ticket sales in the entire United States.

"It's really been a record shattering year," said General Manager John Bolton. "We have had roughly $35 million in ticket sales, representing about 800,000 ticket buyers."

Before the arena opened, they projected 550,000 ticket buyers.

"Obviously this is our grand opening year, and we have exceeded that expectation, and I think as we go forward, we'll see that average out, that 550,000 become more sustainable," Bolton said.

The first year is the arena's so-called honeymoon year, and many people wanted to come to at least one event to check out the building. Also the BOK began selling tickets for some concerts a year ahead of the grand opening - a one-time opportunity for new arenas.

"We'll never have that ability again, to really have a market to be able to put shows on sale so far in advance before the first one opened," General Manager John Bolton said.   

Bolton is taking a "big picture view" of an arena he expects to be around for generations.

"We know that we have created a very positive environment for acts to play here, and that's a monumental thing for any arena - to develop that reputation early on," Bolton said.

After taxes, expenses, and utilities, the arena this year has raked in almost $1 million in profit.

Kansas City's Sprint Center is an arena less than two years old, and is about the same size as the BOK Center.    They projected one million guests their first year, in large part because they hosted the NCAA Tournament.

They ended up with 1.5 million. A spokesperson says those numbers are tapering off a little bit, back to their original estimates.