Global close to Abbotsford Heat sales goals

Global Spectrum has generated 78 per cent of its corporate sales goals for the Abbotsford Heat.

To date, Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre operator Global Spectrum has generated 78 per cent of its corporate sales goals for the Abbotsford Heat in the 2011/12 hockey season (July 1/11 to June 30/12).

A general manager’s report released as part of the agenda for Monday’s Abbotsford city council meeting stated the total Heat-related commercial rights and corporate sales, handled on behalf of the AHL hockey team by Global Spectrum sister company Front Row Marketing Services, currently stands at just over $2.3 million.

That number does not factor in concert and event-related revenues.

The sales goal for 2011/12 is $3.025 million, which goes toward the supply fee agreement between the Heat and Global Spectrum, the agent for the City of Abbotsford. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, the hockey team is guaranteed an annual break-even budget of $5.7 million to play out of the AESC. The balance of the revenue stream is handled directly by the Heat. The parties are currently in the third year of that deal, with the deficit over the first two years approximately $1.85 million.

Front Row is nearing the premium seating sales targets – they’re at 101 per cent of the goal in club seat sales, and have done well with suites (95 per cent) and loge boxes (91 per cent). Advertising sales, which make up nearly half of the total goal, are at 75 per cent.

However, the fact the arena’s naming rights have not been sold amounts to a $250,000 hole in the budget. AESC general manager Jason Blumenfeld said Front Row continues to work on a naming deal, but declined comment on whether there was anything imminent.

In September, Lane Sweeting, a member of the Heat’s local operating group, told The News he’d like to see the city negotiate a restructuring of the commission Front Row takes from Heat-related sales, to a rate “more realistic in today’s market.”

According to the AESC report to council, a revised agreement is close to being signed.

“It’s a substantial decrease in the rate from what it was,” Sweeting said.

The report did not go into detail on the AESC’s overall financials, with a full report on the 2011 fiscal year expected to be released in July.

The report did list eight events confirmed for this year, ranging from a basketball showcase featuring the University of the Fraser Valley vs. Trinity Western University this Saturday, to the Cirque du Soleil show (Aug. 29-Sept. 2).  A further seven potential events are currently in process for 2012 and 2013, with dates being held for three country music shows, two other concerts, a family show, and a theatre event. Another offer has also been submitted for a country show this fall.

The AESC ran an overall deficit of $2.6 million in 2009 and $3.4 million in 2010, but Blumenfeld said the AESC’s finances are “going in the right direction.”

“We continue to decrease the deficit, and that’s our goal …” he said.