Idaho Center’s Cost-Benefit Ratio

The Idaho Center, which includes an arena and amphitheatre of the same name, requires a half-million dollars in annual taxpayer subsidy every year. But Nampa city officials are asking the public to look at the big picture.

Some residents are reportedly disappointed that the complex, which also includes a horse park, does not turn a profit. Officials, however, say it’s a bargain considering the complex brings in an estimated $20 million or more to the community.

"From an economic standpoint, it has been a resounding success," Nampa Economic Director Cliff Long told the Idaho Statesman. "And we’re going to see continued economic growth anchored by the Idaho Center."

SMG has done its part to help lower costs since it became facility manager in 2005. The arena historically had a $750,000 subsidy, arena GM Craig Baltzer told Pollstar. Since then, the subsidy has dropped to $600,000 for fiscal 2006, then $500,000 last year.

The facility operator is also helping to lower the bottom line in F&B, staff training, guest services and security.

With the economy tanking, Idaho Center officials are telling the city council that it will be tough enough to keep the subsidy at $500,000 for 2009, rather than a further drop, Baltzer said.