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Spectra Tapped for Ralston Arena Management

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Seeking to reverse the venue’s worrisome financial trends, Ralston, NE officials have turned over Ralston Arena management to Spectra Venue Management

Under the terms of a contract approved by the Ralston City Council on Tuesday, Philadelphia-based Spectra will take over operations of Ralston Arena from the city and receive a fixed fee of $96,000 per year adjusted for annual inflation. The firm will begin operating the arena on April 1, part of a five-and-a-half-year contract that gives the city an optional renewal for another five years.

Spectra’s appointment comes as part of a process that has seen officials in the Omaha suburb explore ways to put the arena on better financial footing. Venue Solutions was hired last May to analyze the arena, and the Ralston City Council’s unanimous vote on Tuesday puts Spectra Venue Management in the position to help turnaround the venue’s financial fortunes. More from the Omaha World-Herald:

The $41 million arena has not operated in the black since its 2012 opening. Last May, the City Council paid a national consulting firm about $38,000 to analyze the arena. In September, it paid the firm an additional $17,600 to search for a private manager.

Spectra has more than 750 clients, including 75 arenas, according to Tom McDonnell, the company’s vice president of business development and client relations.

“They have such a volume of arenas already and such a proven track record of success,” Mayor Don Groesser said.

The contract includes financial incentives Spectra can earn if it exceeds $2.2 million in annual revenue, a benchmark based on the average revenues over the past three years. The city also could pay an incentive to Spectra based on performance areas including innovative marketing, customer service surveys and quality of the food and beverages.

Ralston Arena is used for a variety of events, including home games for hockey’s Omaha Lancers (USHL), concerts, and more. Diversifying Ralston Arena’s event slate will reportedly be one of Spectra Venue Management’s priorities, along with a variety of other tasks, including boosts in sponsorship revenue and increased usage of the facility’s banquet spaces.