Local News

Apr 17, 2014 7:17 PM

Special Report: American Bank Center Finances

CORPUS CHRISTI - On Tuesday, City Council voted to give the American Bank Center $100,000 to promote the facility. The city has spent millions subsidizing the American Bank Center. So, why does the city continue to spend your tax dollars on a something that isn't making money?

Before we go any further with this story, I've been in contact with the American Bank Center since last week to try and set up and interview to discuss this. This afternoon I got an email saying the General Manager of SMG, the company that runs the ABC, will not do an interview with me on this matter either today or in the future. What makes this so disturbing, is that the event center is being subsidized with millions of your tax dollars and SMG is refusing to tell us why and how they are losing so much of your money.

SMG is the company paid by the city with your tax dollars to bring different performances to the area and generate revenue. Well, while you may have a good time at one of the many different performances when you look at the revenue its bringing in... it's almost non-existent.

When the city announced SMG as the company who will be running the event center in 2003, the city said the company would generate a lot of revenue and bring in great acts to the coastal bend. Well you can decide on the acts for yourself, but as revenue goes they're running in the red and are refusing to explain why.

As of July of last year. The American Bank Center Arena's gross income was almost $3 million. That sounds pretty good until you hear their expenses were $2.7 million. Making their actual net income a little over $200,000. That's nothing compared to how much of your tax dollars the city gives them to promote the arena.

As of 2013, the city has given them $1.1 million for promotional purposes. City council just agreed to up that amount by $100,000. Making the total $1.2 million.

Now when you look at the ABC Convention Center's numbers, it gets worse. The convention center's gross income last year totalled to just over $2.5 million. The expenses were so high that just to break even, the city subsidized SMG with over a million dollars. And that's a trend that doesn't look like it will get any better.

Now i'm sure the question for you at home is, why does the city keeps spending millions of your tax dollars on a business that is running in the red? We thought that was a good question too. So we asked the city.

They gave us the raw numbers, but no explanation or even an interview. What we did get was a very short and simple statement saying that the center has a positive economic impact on the community.

We will continue to ask questions and try to get answers from the people who work for you.


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