The Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion (A&P) Commission reported mixed financial news at the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 27).
According to budget numbers, the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) continues performing in the black while the Fort Smith Convention Center (FSCC) tries to find its footing.
On the CVB side, revenues are outpacing expenses through September. For the first nine months of the year, the CVB logged $577,124 in revenue compared to $556,568 in expenses. The revenue is at 102.3% of the year-to-date (YTD) budget while expenses are 94.5%. Compared to 2011, the CVB revenues are $34,318 higher while expenses run $31,929 lower than expected.
News is not as good for the Fort Smith Convention Center, however. While YTD revenues have already eclipsed the entire 12-month period of 2011, the FSCC is a long way from break-even. The $517,494 in revenues the Center has collected are up against $1.062 million in expenses for the first 10 months of the year.
The $75,374 increase in expenses from last year comes as a result of increased activity. In October alone, the Center hosted 50 event days compared to 29 during the same period in 2011.
Out of 32 total events in October, the five top-grossing were the Industrial Tool Show on Oct. 1 ($8,925); the Total Non-Stop Action (TNA) wrestling show on Oct. 6 ($5,870); the Fort Smith Symphony on Oct. 20 ($3,356); the Midtown Men event on Oct. 8 ($2,979); and the Jewelry Sale on Oct. 12 ($2,750).
Actual revenues for October trailed last year’s performance by a slight margin. The FSCC brought in $47,303 for the month compared to $49,664 in October 2011, but a closer look at YTD event revenues reveals the Center is ahead considerably with its $517,494 tally against $374,768 through the same period last year.
The FSCC will begin its second year in 2013 under management of the A&P Commission, which took over after a 1% prepared food tax that would have funded the location failed with voters in November 2011 and ignited debate over whether the Center should be supported by the city’s General Fund.
The city of Fort Smith, which agreed to aid the FSCC as a result of the vote, has allocated approximately $1.5 million to the Convention Center for the coming year.