VenuWorks Picks Up Coliseum Contract

Iowa-based VenuWorks has been approved to take over the city-owned  in Bloomington, Ill., once the venue’s existing contract expires April 1.

The agreement, approved unanimously by Bloomington’s City council March 29, secures a period of 90 days in which VenuWorks will run the venue and not charge a management fee, while the city will assume responsibility for costs of transition from previous operator Central Illinois Arena Management, according tot he local Pantagraph. CIAM was formed to operate the venue and did not seek to renew its contract.

VenuWorks proposed a five-year agreement with the city, the terms of which will be brought before the council June 30. The agreement guarantees the company a management fee of $114,000 annually, plus 5 percent of concession fees, sales commissions and naming rights.

The agreement gives the city the option to terminate after three, and also includes a disincentive to lower the commission if budgetary goals are not met. The 7,600-capacity Coliseum may lose its name once its contract with Central Illinois Arena Management expires. VenuWorks Chief Financial Officer Tim Sullivan told the paper the 15 CIAM employees currently working at the Coliseum would be hired, and the existing staffing model would be evaluated to “make sure the positions line up with the jobs that need to be done.”

The Coliseum reported almost $500,000 losses in net operating income for the 2015 fiscal year, which more than doubles the loss from the previous fiscal year. An independent audit showed it had a net loss of $1.5 million in 2015, not including $1.45 million the city pays annually for construction bonds, the Pantagraph reported. Upcoming events are expected to remain unaffected by any changes in management. The Pantagraph reports that Venuworks is expected to appoint an interim manager within the week and hopes to find an onsite business manager within the month.