CenTel Center Holds Up

Officials in Bossier City, La., are seeing the city-owned CenturyTel Center as a winner although the popular venue has reportedly been operating at a loss since opening in 2000, with another projected shortfall this year.

The 14,000-capacity, SMG-managed facility is said to be doing well in attendance and with earning revenue hosting concerts, Mudbugs hockey games and other events, but not so well with operations and maintenance costs, according to the Shreveport Times.

The paper said the facility earned $3.1 million in gross income last year but operating costs were more than $3 million, including $181,238 for SMG’s management fee and $191,154 for marketing.

CenturyTel Center GM Mike Cera told the paper the facility did lose a lot of income in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina. The venue canceled events and functioned as a shelter for victims at the time, and again in 2008.

“I think the important thing to keep in mind here is that an arena is considered a quality-of-life issue. It’s great for the community,” Cera said.

The arena also needed $650,000 in repairs in March because design flaws allowed rainwater to erode large cavities in the concrete. The building’s foundation reportedly settled so much that concrete steps leading to the main entrance also had to be rebuilt, the Times said.

There’s still a bright side, though.

A regular source of revenue is the venue’s naming rights deal with CenturyLink, formerly CenturyTel. That’s $500,000 a year to the city for a 10-year naming rights deal that expires this year.

Negotiations to renew the deal are ongoing, the paper said.