After previous financial issues, both Cool Insuring Arena and its ECHL team–the Adirondack Thunder–are experiencing rebounds.
Previously known as the Glens Falls Civic Center, Cool Insuring Arena was at one point losing in excess of $600,000 annually. Meanwhile, the NHL’s Calgary Flames reportedly lost $2 million during its first two years of operating the Thunder. In 2015, the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition entered into a five-year operating agreement that included an option to buy the arena from the city, and the local entity took another step last year by purchasing the Thunder from the Flames.
Recent numbers indicate that both Cool Insuring Arena and the Thunder are on the financial upswing. While Cool Insuring Arena finished 2017 in the black, the Thunder reportedly had a modest profit through December. Jeff Mead, general manager of the Thunder and the arena, notes a few factors that have been key thus far, including an increased number of events and the Thunder’s relationship with its NHL parent, the New Jersey Devils. More from The Saratogian:
The building has gotten on solid fiscal ground by hosting more events, boosting attendance and cutting costs. An estimated 225,000 people visited the arena last year, about 20 percent from Saratoga County, versus 160,000 in 2015.
“We have a lot more people in general coming to the arena,” Mead said. “We specifically target the Saratoga County market digitally and with social media when we promote shows and hockey. Our relationship with the New Jersey Devils has allowed us to be able to contact all their former Albany Devils ticket holders, so we have reached out to this group for season tickets, groups, and certain ticket packages. We are seeing more people from Saratoga County and below attend Thunder games. This is an opportunity for us to continue to grow.”
One of the biggest business model changes was taking in-house control of food and beverage concessions, which nets about $300,000 per year. Previously, concessions were handled by an outside firm, which received monthly payments even if there were no events.
Concerts and shows are a “risk-reward” type venture, Mead said.
Prior to this season, the Thunder changed their affiliation from the Flames to the Devils. In addition, there was a big change to the arena, thanks to the new naming rights partnership with Cool Insuring Agency. Prior to last July’s announcement of that agreement, the arena-which opened in 1979–had not had a corporate naming rights partner at any point in its history.