Verizon Arena Battles Tough Entertainment Market

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jul. 19, 2010 12:00 am  

Marion said the biggest impact was felt when the Trojans left, taking many UALR season ticket-holders in the move.

"It didn't surprise me," Marion said of the SYS slide. "Plus the economy turning south."

Even with the whammy of financial cutbacks by SYS patrons that hit renewals, the priority seating arrangement continues to boost the arena bottom line.

Renewed seat licenses through the SYS program will add $102,750 yearly for the next four years. Seat licensing guarantees now booked drop to $77,063 in 2014, according to the arena's 2009 annual report.

Suite Leases
Renewed suite leases will contribute $192,500 annually during 2010-14. But that line item once carried more heft as well.

A decade ago, 27 of the 32 arena suites were leased. Budget cutbacks and financial casualties among the initial tenant roster pared today's count to 21 out of 32 leased.

Little Rock's One Bank & Trust remains the biggest player among the arena suite holders, renewing eight-year agreements for three slots in addition to its 20-year, premium spot.

When One Bank isn't using its suites to entertain clients or reward staffers and their families, the space is marketed.

"There is a big demand to sublease the suites for events," said Layton "Scooter" Stuart, CEO of One Bank. "The arena staff coordinates that and takes us out of the middle of it.

"All in all, it's been a great experience for us. From a marketing standpoint, it's the footing of our marketing program in Arkansas."

One Bank's deal includes handling the arena's bank business and ATM operations, banner advertising at the facility and name branding on the back of all arena tickets.

"Our experience with the arena has been nothing but positive and pleasurable," Stuart said. "It's in the long-term marketing program of this bank."



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