The Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) agreed to a new lease for Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, and committed to modified terms in the process.
As announced on Monday, the Komets have signed a four-year lease for the coliseum, with this season included. With the new agreement came some new terms, including those relating to incentives and rent payments. Under the lease, the Komets will pay an annual base rent of $1, while having the opportunity to receive up to $65,000 in attendance incentives from the coliseum and Allen County. In exchange, the Komets have to commit to maintaining at least ECHL-level hockey for the next four years.
While the club has regularly drawn over 7,000 fans per-game in the last several years, the new lease is something team officials believe will help its finances and allow it to maintain its status as an affordable entertainment option. More from The News-Sentinel:
“We were in a situation where we needed to get an improved lease from a financial perspective,” Komets President Michael Franke said. “We really have struggled in recent years trying to create some sort of a long-term plan that will insure that the team is here for many, many years to come yet be an affordable alternative to everyone’s entertainment calendar. What you try to do is figure out ways to not pass along the never-ending increase of operating a hockey team to your fan base, but you can only go so far. We’re trying to look at this long-term 5, 10, 15 years from now when we’re not even involved with it any more.”
Though the rent is $1 per season, the Komets pay for other items such as scoreboard, practice time and food. Franke said that was $8,000 for opening night and usually runs about $4,000 per game.
Basically, Franke said, the Komets and coliseum need to continue to find ways to build a partnership that helps both be successful. Examples of that are promotions in recent years such as the “Kids Seat Free” and “Four for $55” nights.
“The fact that we don’t get any of the food and beverage money or the parking really limits our revenue to tickets and our corporate sponsors,” Franke said. “We have to take that into consideration, too. We’re trying to create a vehicle here to bring people into the building, and our sole revenue source is the ticket. That hinders us in many ways so that’s why we went to the coliseum a few years ago and tried to create these package deals. At least we are able to offer something to our fans that incorporates those important factors as to whether a family would attend.”
Through six home games for the 2017-18 season, the Komets were averaging 7,901 fans per-game, good for second in the ECHL.