Schenectady County

Albany County sees $1.8M profit operating arena

The Times Union Center ended 2009 with a $1.8 million operating profit, up 95 percent from the prior

The Times Union Center ended 2009 with a $1.8 million operating profit, up 95 percent from the prior year, according to Albany County spokeswoman Mary Duryea. The county owns the 17,500-seat arena on South Pearl Street.

Duryea said the 2009 profit is the second highest since 2000. She said the center has turned a profit every year since 1995.

There were several major events presented in 2009, among them were concerts by Toby Keith, The Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Keith Urban with Sugarland and two performances of Phish. Among the other events were Cirque Du Soleil and an NBA pre-season game featuring the N.Y. Knicks and N.J. Nets.

Duryea said the county uses the operating profit to offset the center’s annual debt service of $2.8 million; the rest is used to make improvements to the center.

The county also uses a portion of the county’s motel-hotel bed tax to pay off the debt service, Duryea said. The county has a 6 percent tax on hotel and motel rooms, 4 percent of which is used toward the Times Union Center’s debt services; 1 percent goes to the convention and business bureau; and 1 percent goes to the convention center authority, she said.

The center is a sports and entertainment venue. In 2009, it played host to 158 events with a total attendance of 682,154 people. There were more events with overall higher attendance compared to the 146 events held in 2008. Attendance in 2008 was 589,585.

It also is home to several sports events, and is home ice for the Albany River Rats, a team in the American Hockey League. However, the future of the River Rats is in doubt because team owner Walter Robb may sell the franchise. The franchise may then relocate to North Carolina to be near its National Hockey League parent team, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Times Union Center officials said that should the River Rats relocate south, they would try to find a new AHL affiliate to play in Albany.

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